St. Clair Catholic working to improve, reading, writing and math

“Don’t get caught up in a number,” said Director of Education Scott Johnson.

He said this after hearing 200 students at the Catholic school board are getting extra help to catch up on their reading a math skills.

Officials laid out their plan to help students who fell behind during the pandemic during the Jan. 31 meeting.

The goal is to improve the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) testing numbers for testing Grade 3, 6, 9 and 10 students.

The plan provides in-school help for 200 students in 23 schools.

“You have to greet them where they are and help them along,” said Johnson.

Literacy and numeracy is a focus of the St. Clair Catholic School Board since the Ontario government introduced its Plan to Catch Up.

Additional funding was received from the provincial government, which St. Clair Catholic used to buy different math programs. The Symphony Math program allows for students to have a 15 minute lesson, three times a week.

But there is limited space for tutoring because of staffing and budget restraints, says Johnson.

Only the student who is identified as needing more help are given this opportunity. There is a mixture of face-to-face and virtual tutoring available. To accommodate many students who are bussed to and from school, tutoring sessions are offered virtually after school.

Tutors are post-secondary school students who are paid for their services.

Trustees heard it has been found a few students have made it to Grade 9 without knowing how to read and they questioned how that could happen. Johnson said it could be for a variety of reasons from suffering from trauma, having vision problems, or hundreds of other reasons why.

- The I

Blake Ellis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Independent