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Exemplary Practice Award Winners 2018



TCDSB celebrates innovative exemplary practices with the annual awards recognizing staff and school communities for initiatives and projects that support the goals of our Multi-Year Strategic Plan. The 2018 awards are presented on April 17th.


Congratulations to the award winners:
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  • Innovative 21st C Instructional Classroom Practice
    • 21st C Classroom

      School:  St. Rita Catholic School, Toronto

      Ms. Francis Contiga’s grade 8 students at St. Rita Catholic School, have been immersed in an innovative 21st Century Classroom where they have improved and are continuing to work on their 21st Century skills.  Here are some of the many initiatives they have participated in thus far:
      • Google Apps For Education (GAFE) platform in the classroom to help students gain a better understanding of the technology that they can utilize in order to enhance their academic experience;
      • 3rd Teacher Learning Environment, a 21st C learning environment in the classroom to help students learn how to be independent, improve their self-regulation skills, as well as their research and work completion skills;
      • TLLP (Maker Buddies):  Introduce students to current technology/21st Century trends (Makey Makey device, Video Editing, Media Literacy)


      School:  Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School, Toronto

      Vice Principal Reshida Nezirevic  describes this project as a response to the calls for action embedded in the commission’s report for Truth and Reconciliation, Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School’s first, personal, act of reconcile-action has been to explore, and investigate issues of the many missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. It is important to concede the inherited benefits gained from those Nations who were here first as well as our own healing journey; without shame; we shine the light on our shared stories, even if we are uncomfortable with them.  We utilize our own experience of reconciliation, where we admit with compassion and love for ourselves, the truth of the past.  In our learning, we promise ourselves and our students that with this knowledge, we will never repeat this pattern of history not in this generation, or the seven generations to come.

      New Resume Portfolio Camp

      School:  Chaminade College School, North York

      The Chaminade New Resume Portfolio Camp project submitted by Anthony Perrotta provides grade 9 students with an intentional discourse to build and sustain a positive and responsible digital footprint through the creation of cross-curricular reflective digital learning portfolios.  The camp demonstrates this by leveraging social media as a new resume that promotes Effective Communications and Responsible Citizenship; recognizing the need for a mature, reflective, responsible and active digital footprint that highlights student learning and transferable digital communication skills for the 21st Century.

  • Innovative Catholic Leadership Practice
    • We Are/C’est Nous

      School:  Msgr. Fraser Isabella College Campus, Toronto

      Together With One Voice: Year of the School culminated the TCDSB’s three year Pastoral Plan. This system-wide art event provided each school community a blank tessellating tile to illustrate their uniqueness in Catholic education. Other themes explored were stewardship, environmentalism, and Canada150. An official installation at Nuit Blanche Toronto, the artworks were fastened into columns under a canopy of lights. The design of the space followed an Indigenous medicine wheel, aligned with the cardinal points. Upon completion of Nuit Blanche Toronto, the artworks were received at various TCDSB events, most notably “When Faith Meets Pedagogy,” and were on semi-permanent display in the CEC Boardroom. The tessellating tiles will be featured at the launch of the TCDSB’s new Pastoral Plan.

      Welcome to Canada!

      School:  St. Mary of the Angels Catholic School, Toronto

      The entire school worked hard to provide equity, inclusion and care for English Language Learners as they come to Canada and begin their new lives.  The staff is dedicated to the issues that affect student learning and well-being for Canadian and non-Canadian born students.  They have collaboratively created a culture of high expectations and support so that all of the students can learn, achieve and thrive while actively engaging in learning and practices that are rooted in the Gospel Values.

  • Innovative Community Partnership
    • Cross Generational Dance

      School:  St. Jude Catholic School, North York

      Moving Stories is a cross-generational community based arts program that engaged Grade 5 classes, Mr. Capobianco and Ms. D’Alimonte and Mr De Buono’s at St. Jude Catholic School with seniors from Weston Gardens Retirement Residence.  The program consisted of six two-hour workshops in November that offered an introduction to interpretive dance using cross-generational approach.  The program was led by dance artist Yvonne Ng.  The arts based program focused on developing a rich appreciation of the interrelationship between the different generations, daily life and the environment.  For the students, the process of interpreting and reflecting on the world around them with the seniors’ fostered a deeper understanding of the community they live in as well as ethical choice that people are faced with at different life stages.

      Library Reinvention

      School:  St. Demetrius Catholic School, Etobicoke

      The project was the renovation of the school’s library to align with the vision of 21st learning; that is, to develop a central learning hub where technology would be available for staff and students to enhance the educational opportunities for students and support student achievement. The exemplary practice developed and implemented by St. Demetrius focused on component #6 Home, School and Community Partnerships of the School Effectiveness Framework, specifically, indicator 6.3- the school and community build partnerships to enhance learning opportunities and well-being for students.
      Over a period of several months, designs were made for a total library renovation.  The Church and entire community got involved in the designing, fundraising, renovating and setting up the library with all the technologies.

      Parish Family Day of Schools Day

      School:  St. John Vianney/St. Andrew/St. Dorothy/Msgr. John Corrigan/St. Angela

      During the TCDSB Year of the Parish, five TCDSB elementary schools gathered to create a one-day event for their Confirmandi.  The Administration of each school at the time, met with clergy from their respective parish, St. Andrew.  The goal of the Parish Family Day was to have Grade 7 students from each school to join on June 2nd, 2017 and participate in a prayer service, followed by rotating through a number of engaging stations, with a lunch provided as well.  Students led students from each school, St. John Vianney, St. Andrew, St. Dorothy, Msgr. John Corrigan and St. Angela from Father Henry Carr who facilitated each station.  Over 200 students participated in the various stations: 
      • Sending a Smile – writing letters to the elderly
      • Video Station – watching videos about the sacrament of confirmation
      • Rosary bracelet making
      • Peace Walk
      • Liturgical Movement
      • Guided Meditation
      • Faith Book Profile Writing
      This project was developed as a pilot with the hope of having it replicated in other schools, continuing to strengthen the bond between parishes and schools.  Let’s see this day in action.

  • Innovative Mental Health Initiative
    • The Tikbalang and Me

      School:  Brebeuf College Secondary School, North York

      Lead teachers John A MacDonald and Dan Found led a cross-curricular and inquiry-based, multi-media project led by the Brebeuf College Community.  Targeting an audience of Middle School Students, it took the form of a one act multimedia and interactive theatrical performance called The TIkbalang and Me.  This performance combines songs, spoken dialogue, acting and dance.  The production referenced Filipino mythology to encourage dialogue and provide coping strategies for transitioning to high school and dealing with social issues such as cyberbullying, teen anxiety and stress.

      After School Scripting Project

      School:  Bishop Marrocco/Thomas Merton Catholic Secondary School, Toronto

      Teachers Eric Demore and Monica Sousa aimed to foster a spirit of interdisciplinary collaboration and creating writing in students.  Students are encouraged to find their voice within the context of 21st Century thinking and the Catholic Graduate Expectations.  Special emphasis was placed on various social justice themes through the creative process.  Every year, students representing various grades and skill levels co-create and produce a play which is presented to members of the school and wider community.

  • Innovative Safe Schools Practice
    • Student Well-Being

      School:  Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School, Toronto

      Research shows there is a strong correlation between mental health and life-long success.  When students are preoccupied with social-emotional concerns they cannot be fully available for learning.
      Schools offer the perfect setting through which to enhance the skills, attitudes, knowledge and habits surrounding and in support of mental health and well-being of all students. This year the Safe Schools Ambassadors of Notre Dame initiated a social-emotional learning program entitled STUDENT WELL BEING.  The program is comprised of a series of presentations or DAME TALKS that are focused on helping students develop five competencies; self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision-making.

  • Innovative Special Needs Student Supports
    • Let’s Eat

      School:  St. Maurice Catholic School, Etobicoke

      The “Let’s Eat” program was a wonderful opportunity for students who are learning English at St. Maurice.  Through the experiences of cooking and healthy eating, the students at St. Maurice Catholic School were able to broaden their life skills and developed essential vocabulary as it relates to healthy eating.  The Rexdale Community Centre was integral to teaching the students the skills needed to prepare Healthy and nutritious meals.  Through a series of workshops, the chefs were able to engage the students in the delivery of recipes from a variety of cultures.  As part of these workshops, the students learned to wash, chop, season and cook food in an engaging manner.  The culminating activity was taking the students to a restaurant where they were able to order from a variety of healthy food choices bringing the concepts taught at school to fruition.

  • Innovative Student Leadership
    • Express Yourself

      School:  St. Marcellus Catholic School, Etobicoke

      Express Yourself is a student-led arts and technology showcase.  First implemented at St. Marcellus in 2014, it ties in well with mental health initiatives at the school.  Each year, Express Yourself follows a theme. In the first year the theme was believing in ourselves; the second year, it was perseverance; the third year, travelling back in time; last year, stopping mental health stigmas; and this year, celebrating our differences.  It really provides a safe, inclusive space for students to work together. The staff leads, are regularly inspired by the courage and maturity exemplified by the students involved. These students have truly become role models to other students throughout the school.

  • Innovative Student Leadership Initiative
    • The Robo Giants

      School:  St. Andre Catholic School, North York

      Submitted by former Vice Principal Barbara Capano, the St. André Robo Giants TEAM in inclusive of Junior and Intermediate students, providing opportunities to explore various elements in the area of robotics and S.T.E.A.M. These opportunities allow students to develop and refine the skills required to fulfil programming concepts related to the world of robotics. This group of dedicated students continuously build capacity by collaborating and creatively engaging in problem-solving scenarios that are essential in building robots that can complete obstacles and perform movements and operations reflecting a set series of instructions and programming. The TEAM’s goals allow students to learn, explore, and visualize abstract math and science concepts and promote learning of technology following discussions and investigations of real-world applications. This dynamic TEAM of Robo Giants leaders engage in student-led instruction and leadership techniques with other respective schools providing student-led mentorship.

      Extracurricular Leadership

      School:  Msgr. Fraser Isabella College Campus, Toronto

      Under the direction of Teachers Donna Sistilli and Rita Sarra-Macchiusi, this program provides students with extracurricular leadership opportunities.  Students meet after school to bring to life projects that are conceptualized and developed in the classroom.  The team develops projects that celebrate Catholic virtues, promote social activism, highlight TCDSB values, establish community partnerships and raise awareness.
      Students collaborated to create a logo for the TCDSB Safe Schools Department, a banner for the CNE fairgrounds, interactive bulletin boards and artworks that explore social issues.  The core principle of the program is responsibility.  Students learn that responsible leaders effect positive change, know the value of teamwork, listen, support, inspire and face their fears.

      Bridge Building

      School:  Our Lady of Grace Catholic School, Scarborough

      At the heart of our Catholic schools is the mission to do God’s work.  Steeped in the Catholic Graduate Expectations and our firm belief in meaningful, holistic education, this project began as an attempt to make connections within the school and in the community and has evolved into what they now refer to as Bridge Building.  Under the umbrella of a leadership group for intermediate students, meetings were held during lunch hours.  Gospel values, social issues, TED talks and leadership exercises all made up the sessions.  Seasonal fundraising projects were created and the funds were turned towards various outreach projects such as feeding the homeless and preparing care packages. 

  • Innovative Student Leadership Practice
    • Girl Talk

      School:  Blessed Cardinal Newman Catholic Secondary School, Scarborough

      Under the guidance of Rachel Chen-Netto and Sandra John, Girl Talk is a unique club at Blessed Cardinal Newman where girls from all different backgrounds build self-esteem while learning and educating others about the role women play worldwide, as well as the challenges they encounter.  The group meets weekly from September to June to discuss everything from women’s rights to female health, while addressing issues the girls face each day.  Skills for the future such as exercise and fitness, meditation, cooking, and resume writing are also part of the focus.

  • Innovative Teacher Inquiry & Networking Practice
    • Culturally Responsive Pedagogy & Critical Literacy

      School:  St. Jane Frances Catholic School

      This project is a multifaceted Literacy program, focusing on culturally responsive pedagogy and critical literacy through a student-driven approach. Within a Literacy framework, teachers select multi-modal texts that are engaging, culturally responsive, relevant and meaningful to students. The goal of this project is to engage all students to be critical thinkers, while facilitating a program whereby they are able to see themselves reflected in the Curriculum and the world around them. There is a focus on honouring students’ personal histories, cultural backgrounds and diversity, while also exploring topics related to social justice and equity in order to increase student engagement and promote empathy. Through examining culturally responsive texts, and engaging in rich and meaningful discussions that promote critical literacy, students begin to see themselves as catalysts for change on a local and global level. As a result, they begin to view the world around them through a wider lens, and from multiple perspectives.

      First Nations

      School:  St. Andrew Catholic School, Etobicoke

      Under the supervision of Patrizia De Marco and Joana Potkidis, the focus of this student inquiry was on Indigenous studies and perspectives and the relationship to social justice and equality; it represented our “Call to Action” towards reconciliation.  The project was a partnership among teachers and students in the ELL Program and all Intermediate teachers at the school. The students questioned the historical impact on the Indigenous experience; they reflected and made connections to their own experiences of preserving identity.  Students explored and made connections to Indigenous perspectives.

      Teacher Inquiry

      School:  Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic School, Toronto

      This group of committed TCDSB Kindergarten educators (DECEs and OCTs) regularly meet outside the instructional day to practice pedagogical documentation. Using the I see, I wonder, I think protocol, they "read" documentation of student work in order to uncover understandings of children. Within the community of educators, they focus on conversations not only about children's learning but about their role in relationship with the individual children and the materials. As a result of these monthly evening gatherings, the educators are deepening their understanding of the role of the environment, materials, and relationships in learning through play.  The members of this committed group are developing professional connections across the board building a community of professional learners who support and challenge each other.