General Amherst’s Grade 9 math scores achieves top rank locally


Grade 9 math VBy Ron Giofu


EQAO testing at General Amherst High School agrees with the students, particularly in mathematics.

Results from last year’s Grade 9 EQAO testing shows General Amherst is the top high school in the area at the academic level.

“Of our academic students, 97 per cent scored at or above the provincial standard,” said principal Hazel Keefner. “I was ecstatic (with the results) and so were the other teachers.”

The 97 per cent success rate compares favourably to both provincial and local results with the provincial average being 84 per cent and the Greater Essex County District School Board results showing an 82 per cent average on the tests.

The results, released last week, were from the testing that occurred in the 2012-13 school year.

Students at the applied level also did well in comparison to the averages as General Amherst students scored 63 per cent, as opposed to the 44 per cent provincial average and the 54 per cent board average.

Keefner said the results can be attributed to a collaborative effort General Amherst has with its feeder schools. Teachers in the junior grades work with Grade 8 teachers at local elementary schools to ease the transition from elementary school to secondary school, Keefner added, with teachers at both levels knowing where the students are coming from and what kind of support they will need going forward.

General Amherst junior math teachers participated in a middle years collaborative program with elementary teachers last year – known as MYCI – where the high school teachers engage in professional development with their elementary counterparts and also tried to meet defined targets.

Teachers found it tough to leave their students, she noted, but their professional development produced results.

“It’s not easy for teachers to leave their students,” said Keefner. “I think the time out of the classroom paid dividends when they came back with what they learned and applied it to the classroom.”

Keefner said the board is “very good at making sure the transition from elementary to secondary school is smooth.”

In addition to the work the teachers put in, Keefner added students are made well aware there is online math help as well. She said the five math teachers as well as the other staff are caring and cognizant of the needs of the students.

“I’ve never had a situation where a student or teacher said they couldn’t get help in math,” said Keefner.

General Amherst is “a unique school,” said Keefner, pointing out that some families have had generations go through the doors. That leads to an environment where families want the school to succeed.

“It’s a community school so we care about each other,” she said. “It’s a big part of our community. We care about the community and they seem to care about us. It’s a good way to have a school.”

The good environment extends to the students as well, she added.

“They are nice kids. They are so respectful,” said Keefner. “To me, it’s a pleasure when kids don’t mind coming to school. It’s an awesome place to be a principal. I think we are all very lucky.”

Roughly 150 students took last year’s Grade 9 EQAO mathematics test.

General Amherst also showed improvement in their literacy scores. Grade 9 testing showed General Amherst scored an 86 per cent, up five per cent from the year before. The board average is 80 per cent.

Comments are closed.