April 2017

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Date: April 3, 2017

Memorandum to: Directors of Education
Secretary/Treasurers of School Authorities

From: Cathy Montreuil 
Chief Student Achievement Officer
Assistant Deputy Minister
Student Achievement Division

Denys Giguère
Assistant Deputy Minister (Interim)
French-Language, Aboriginal Learning and Research Division

Subject: April Update: Ontario’s Renewed Mathematics Strategy (RMS)

As we continue our efforts to support student learning and achievement in mathematics, we would like to update you on how the Renewed Mathematics Strategy (RMS) is progressing, and provide details on some key topics being raised in the field.

To begin, we are pleased to report that provincial mid-semester data for English-language secondary schools engaged in the RMS generally reflected positive movement as measured by changes in level of achievement. This was indicated most clearly in the movement of students assessed at Level 2 in the pre-instruction assessment to Level 3 and 4 at mid-semester as reported through the Achieving Excellence in Applied Courses (AEAC) tool. Principals, in their reflections, were generally optimistic and encouraged by the results to date and were hopeful that the results would continue to be positive at the conclusion of the second term.

We will remind you that the Transfer Payment Agreement you signed last fall is a three-year agreement. The funds described in it, and any additional funds provided this past February, will continue to be provided in 2017-18. This includes funding for RMS-related positions, thereby allowing the work and learnings from 2016-17 to continue as the strategy moves into its second year.

When the RMS was launched in April 2016, it was communicated that boards would have some flexibility in configuring their supports to fit the unique context of their schools and existing implementation resources and capacity. Now that the strategy is evolving in all boards across the province, we would like to capture some of these models of implementation in order to inform future planning and support. We will reach out to you shortly about this, and look forward to hearing your feedback.

You may also be interested to know that the ministry has now confirmed an external evaluator, Directions Evidence and Policy Research Group, to support the monitoring, evaluation and research plan of the RMS. As you know, the RMS is designed to be dynamic and adaptive, reflecting a “learning as we go” stance through modelling collaborative professionalism and responding to the needs of the sector. As such, the external evaluator will work to facilitate evaluative thinking for the design, implementation and outcomes of the strategy, track their implementation and results, and facilitate ongoing, real-time, data-based decision making in the developmental process. A report on year one of the strategy will be made available in early 2018.

In Summer 2017, district school boards will have the opportunity to apply for additional Education Program Other (EPO) funding to pilot summer learning programming (outside the school day) to increase the achievement and engagement of students exiting Grade 6 and entering Grade 7 who may require additional support with literacy and/or mathematics as indicated by provincial student achievement results for Grade 6 students in mathematics. Aligning with the goals of the RMS, through these pilots, educators will be able to further support students in mathematics outside of their day school program. More information is forthcoming.

Finally, in collaboration with our provincial mathematics and technological education subject associations, the Ministry of Education is inviting school-based teams to explore the integration of mathematics and technological education at the Grade 9 or 10 level. The goal is to increase achievement in mathematics and interest in mathematics learning by integrating content from a technological education and a grade 9 or 10 applied mathematics course that is team-taught, or taught in tandem by mathematics and technological education teachers. If teachers in your schools express interest in this opportunity we would appreciate your support of this innovative collaboration.

We hope you find these updates helpful. Thank you and we look forward to our continued work together to support student learning and achievement in mathematics.

Original signed by

Cathy Montreuil

Denys Giguère