Danforth Schools Coming Up Short – Part Two
In part one of our series, we examined the assessment of Danforth secondary schools. We saw how efforts to accommodate student needs made by Eastern Commerce were overlooked by the Ontario Secondary Student’s Report Card—resulting in a poor score, and therefore an unjust public perception of the school. The Report does Danforth Collegiate a similar disservice.
Putting it in Perspective
Scores of 2.6 (academic) and 1.3 (applied) along with a 68 per cent pass rate on the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test have contributed to an overall mark of 3.6 out of 10 for Danforth Collegiate, a score that is not truly reflective of the educational experience offered there.
Forty-six per cent of the students at Danforth Collegiate have an identified special need or learning disability. Indeed, the school is known for its deaf and hard of hearing program as well as its program for the developmentally disabled, which has resulted in increased enrollment of special education students. This puts Danforth Collegiate’s 68 per cent pass rate into perspective and makes their current pass rate (74 per cent) seem like a more than respectable score.
“A 74 per cent may not measure up against a school that has a hundred per cent with out doing any extra work to get [there],” says Danforth’s principal David Moore, “[But] I can tell you that we are doing a lot to support our students—literacy boosts, workshops, targeted curriculum and instructional practices, [all] to provide assistance to students.”
A Different Path
In addition to its programs for students with special education needs, Danforth Collegiate also provides alternative programming for those who desire an education that transcends the traditional academic curriculum. Courses like electricity, construction, automotive, hospitality and tourism, and culinary arts are available to students who are interested in a more vocational education. The MaST program —a specialized program in math, science, and technology— is offered for students who aspire to a career in engineering. Principle Moore sees variety in programming as critical to the future success of his students.
“We have programs which satisfy all the pathways that kids could potentially follow,” he says, “That includes kids who simply want to go into the workplace, want to pursue apprenticeships, go to college, [or] go on to university.”
By catering to students’ needs, Danforth Collegiate is ensuring that they are interested and engaged in their classes, making it more likely that they will attend and produce respectable grades. Yet this school’s Report Card score is not reflective of all its achievements and, as a result, Danforth Collegiate does not receive the praise it deserves, leaving us again wondering just how much weight these scores should be given.
Tune in next week for the final chapter in Danforth Schools Coming Up Short, in which Christina Pugliese will present the Report’s view on Monarch Park Collegiate.
Wow, it sounds like an good school with options for all kinds of students. In that department many other schools definitely fall short. The school system is only designed for one particular type of student which is a small percentage of the actual student community. My brother is a special needs highschool student (on the autism spectrum) and what I understand is that the school system has no real place for him and his successes educationally are different than those measured by report cards. Knowing that Eastern Commerce has such a high population of special needs students makes this percentage measuring and scoring virtually useless since the system is only really designed for the “average” student, whatever that really means. Again, you bring up important points!