Hundreds of students participated in a fun-packed, innovative program of activities at the Renfrew County Catholic District School Board (RCCDSB) this summer.
More than 200 students enrolled in RCCDSB’s summer program to boost literacy and numeracy. The students, from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 7, attended classes at St. John XXIII Catholic Elementary School in Arnprior, St. John Bosco in Barry’s Bay, St. Anthony’s in Chalk River, St. James in Eganville, Holy Name in Pembroke, St. Francis of Assisi in Petawawa and St. Joseph’s High School in Renfrew.
“I was thrilled to be part of such a dynamic and innovative summer school program this summer,” said Principal Amy Sicoli, who led the program with Principal Clint Young. “Because of the talents and experience of our amazing teachers, our program provided students with the opportunity to boost their literacy and numeracy confidence and skills.”
Sicoli noted that the program’s innovative math lessons sparked creativity in students and challenged their thinking and curiosity around math learning and problem solving. “The integration of 21st-century learning and a focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) was evident at all our sites,” Sicoli said. “Inquiry-based learning was also a pivotal part of our summer program, from our youngest Kindergarten children asking questions about the world around them to our intermediate students delving into self-directed e-learning,” she added.
The summer program also tested a game-based learning project for mathematics that was funded by the Council of Ontario Directors of Education (CODE). “We used our summer CODE funding to assist with creating, implementing and evaluating a mathematics diagnostic test that can be used in primary and junior math,” said Dave Noble, the Principal of SEF. Noble said the diagnostic was tested at Holy Name and St. Francis of Assisi schools by two teachers, Chantelle Spence and Rebecca Clarke, who had taken extra professional development in order to implement the diagnostic. The diagnostic was designed by the K-12 Curriculum Coordinator Lynn Denault and implemented by Lynn and Coordinator Tracy Joyce.
“Our goal is to have an RCCDSB math diagnostic that will help educators to find gaps in student learning in mathematics,” Noble said. “Once the gaps have been found, the goal will be to implement math-based games and activities to help close those gaps. We also hope to increase communication with our parents so that mathematics activities at home will become as common as reading to your child before bed.”
The CODE project also included promotion of healthy living for our students, Noble said. Participants were involved in a variety of healthy living activities such as yoga, a field trip to the Best Western Hotel’s fitness facility in Pembroke and field trips to the grocery store.
More than 100 high school students also participated in e-learning courses, which included Grade 12 Religion and Grade 10 Civics and Careers. The summer courses allowed more room in students’ regular school timetables so that they can reach ahead to take Grade 11 courses, or get an early start in preparing for their careers or post-secondary education.
Principal Young noted that the summer e-learning courses allowed students some flexibility, although they had to meet deadlines and complete each course within 18 days. “Kids are so tech savvy and the teachers are there if help is needed,” Young said. Also, the teachers could track students’ progress. “It was a very successful program,” he added. “Students did very well.”
Another program highlight was a sneak peek for RCCDSB’s Grade 4 students at the Board’s two high schools. Forty-nine students participated in the Jaguar Camp at Saint Joseph’s in Renfrew from July 4 to 7 while 30 students attended Crusader Camp at Bishop Smith High School in Pembroke from July 11 to 14. The students had two sessions each of sports, science, robotics/music and outdoor education.
Principal Young noted that two groups were very instrumental in the success of the summer school program. “They are the Board’s office staff, who handled the administrative responsibilities, and the Renfrew County Joint Transportation Committee, which arranged buses for the students. We have great partnerships and we really want to say a huge thank you!” Young added.
The summer learning experience also extended to more than 50 educators from across the RCCDSB who participated in a voluntary full-day math Professional Development session on August 29 in Pembroke. K–12 Curriculum Coordinators Lynn Denault and Tracy Joyce facilitated the learning for an enthusiastic Kindergarten–Grade 8 audience.
The day was an opportunity to provide new strategies and practical ideas that educators could add to their repertoires for the upcoming school year, explained Denault.
“I am always impressed by the dedication of staff to continue to implement the most current practices in their classrooms to support their students,” Denault added.
August 29, 2016
For further information, please contact:
Michele Arbour, Director of Education
Renfrew County Catholic District School Board
499 Pembroke Street West
Pembroke, ON K8A 5P1
Phone: 613-735-1031 or 1-800-267-019l