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HWDSB Sees Improvement in Student Reading and High Priority Schools

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HWDSB Sees Improvement in Student Reading and High Priority Schools

Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) Trustees heard improvements in key areas of reading and High Priority Schools through the Student Learning and Achievement report, presented at the Program Committee meeting on Tuesday, October 23. 


Staff presented that the percentage of grade one students earning a B on their June 2018 report card increased by five per cent from June 2017. 

“We know that early reading is the foundation of success in all subject areas,” said Manny Figueiredo, Director of Education. “This is why we deployed 48 Reading Specialists to work directly with students and staff in Kindergarten and Grade 1 classrooms. After one year of this strategy, we are starting to see some successes that we can continue to build on. However, we still have a lot of work to do to close the achievement gap, especially in junior mathematics.” 

For the 2018-19 school year, HWDSB will continue to focus on reading by providing educators with professional learning in the areas of comprehensive literacy instruction, assessment, and interventions. HWDSB will also implement a dedicated daily focus on reading, and refine the measures used to watch the progress students make towards becoming effective readers by the end of Grade 1. 

“By focusing our efforts on improving the teaching practice of reading, providing daily opportunities to learn how to read and write, and developing tools to track progress, we can plan for instruction or interventions for the class, groups of students or even individual students,” continued Figueiredo.  


2017-18 was the first year of the HWDSB High Priority School Strategy. In the spring of 2017, 20 HWDSB elementary schools were identified as High Priority using the following factors: Prior designation as a high or moderate needs school; Low student achievement (grade 1 reading, primary/junior EQAO); Early Development Instrument (EDI) scores; Census data; Superintendent of Student Achievement data collected through school visits in 2016-17.  

HWDSB made significant strides in improving student achievement in both reading and math through its High Priority Schools Strategy.  

The percentage of grade one students in High Priority Schools earning a B in reading on the June 2018 Report Card increased by eight per cent from June 2017. Improvement was also shown in Grade 3 reading through EQAO testing. The number of students reading at provincial standard rose four percent across HWDSB, while High Priority Schools saw an increase of seven per cent.   

High Priority Schools as a group, increased their percentage of students reaching provincial standard EQAO Grade 3 Math by four per cent and maintained their achievement in Grade 6 math.   

“We have dedicated significant resources to our High Priority Schools that has allowed us to focus on school leadership, resources, learning more about school conditions, and engaging community partners. This investment has led to better results in our High Priority Schools, which we are eager to see continue,” said Figueiredo. 

For the 2018-19 school year, HWDSB will continue focusing on school leadership to enhance the early reading strategy, while ensuring one dedicated Reading Specialist to each High Priority School.  

“The investment we are making in our High Priority Schools has directly led to a higher percentage of Grade 1 students reading at a B level in these specific school,” continued Figueiredo. “We are excited to continue this work and continue to close the gap with the province in reading for all our students.” 

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Media Contact:
Shawn McKillop, APR 
Manager, Communications and Community Engagement
T: 905.527.5092 x2941
C: 905.515.6227



Updated on Friday, September 24, 2021.
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