What’s happening in Rainbow Schools?
Professional Development Day Friday, September 29, 2006
Catch a Rising Star: All together for Student Success
For the first time ever, all employees in Rainbow Schools, including teachers, office staff and custodians, will join together this Friday, September 29, 2006 to hear an important message about Student Success.
Barry O’Connor, the Province of Ontario’s Senior Advisor for the Student Success Initiative, will deliver the message in two presentations at the Radisson Hotel in Sudbury – 9 am and 1 pm. The presentations will be broadcast to Espanola and Manitoulin Island via video conference.
“Barry O’Connor will highlight the important role that each one of us has in ensuring the success of all students in Rainbow Schools,” says Jean Hanson, Director of Education for the Rainbow District School Board. “He will inspire employees to reach out, and in their own special way, to catch a rising star.”
She adds: “When young people find a place where they can achieve success, they are well on their way towards being happy and productive members of society. We all have a responsibility, as parents/guardians, educators, school board employees and members of the community, to support young people by opening doors and listening to what captures their interest.”
Board Chair Dena Morrison says there are many examples of staff in Rainbow Schools who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to support student success. “Small, yet significant acts, have had a powerful and positive impact on individual students,” she says.
The educational assistant who realized one of her students was having problems with attendance, who then went a step further and found out the problem was a lack of an alarm clock and filled the gap by calling the child’s home every morning.
The custodian who observed that one student began missing a lot of school as fall turned to winter. Investigating further, he realized the student lacked a warm winter coat. He too filled the gap and got this child a coat – quietly and for no personal recognition.
The special education resource teacher who recognized that one of her students in her care had deep self-esteem issues that were having an impact on the child’s life. She found a local orthodontist who agreed to do the needed dental work that has forever changed this child’s confidence and belief in others and self.
The principal who got to know the whole child by talking with the student during numerous visits to the office. He discovered this student’s love for classic Canadian rock and then gave him his very own copy of an old Rush album and concert program. The student made a connection that day that has changed the course of his life forever.
“By celebrating these success stories, we hope to inspire others in the community to join our efforts,” says Chair Morrison. “The ‘community, culture and caring’ component of the Student Success Initiative recognizes that it does indeed take a village to raise a child. We each, in our own way, have something special to contribute to student success.”
About Barry O’Connor
Guest speaker Barry O’Connor is a recognized leader in education. He was named to head the Minister of Education’s At Risk Action Working Group. He authored the At Risk Report that has had a significant impact on education in Ontario. He continues to serve in this important area as the Senior Advisor for Student Success. Formerly Director of Education for the Limestone District School Board, Barry O’Connor has given distinguished service to education and the wider community for three decades.
“We need to be ‘Agents of Hope’ for all of our students and help them to believe that there is a post secondary pathway that will meet their needs and interests. We need to equally promote the school to work, school to apprenticeship to work, college and university pathways,” says Barry O’Connor.
"The Student Success project has a foundation built on discovering and improving the individual strengths of each
person,” he adds. “Every person has strengths and talents, and if we can focus on success for each student, we will be able to help students to see the value of staying in school."
About the Student Success Initiative
The Student Success Initiative (Grades 7 to 12) is the Province of Ontario’s response to a number of expert panel reports that revealed some startling statistics about graduation rates in Ontario schools.
According to the Ministry of Education, over 70 per cent of parents/guardians expect their children to go to university.
Here’s what the statistics show:
- 33 per cent of high school graduates go to university
- 19 per cent of high school graduates go to college
- 19 per cent of high school graduates go directly into the workforce
- 29 per cent of high school students leave school before obtaining their secondary school diploma
Research has shown that “the idea that post-secondary education is the most desirable outcome does not reflect the reality of many students’ interests, abilities, and choices, and it is unreasonable to measure student success solely in terms of this outcome. Students who obtain their diploma/certificate and find employment must equally be considered a success. The emphasis must be on what each student is capable of doing well.”
To ensure student success, strategies and programs have been implemented to address the needs of students in Grades 7 to 12 to support them as they make their way through secondary school to their post-secondary destination of choice.
The Student Success Initiative is built on four pillars:
Community, Culture and Caring (embedded in all pillars)
These pillars recognize the importance of ensuring that students develop essential skills in reading, writing and math and have an opportunity to participate in experiential learning opportunities so they can make the connection between the classroom and the world of work.
The goal of the Student Success Initiative is to inspire success for all in all pathways:
• independent living
Senior Advisor, Corporate Communications and Strategic Planning,
Rainbow District School Board, 705.674.3171, ext. 217.