Our Core Value of Sterling Learning states that we value innovative academic practices and boy-focused programming that inspire individual growth, curiosity and passion for learning.
Below are examples of Sterling Learning that have been initiated since September 2012 as part of our ongoing effort to build and sustain the highest degree of excellence within our academic program and practices.
As a school focussed on boys’ foundational learning, excellent literacy and numeracy skills must form the crux of our academic program. To this end, we have investigated top programs around the globe, attended international conferences, visited internationally renowned elementary schools for boys and adopted programs and practices proven to yield exceptional learning outcomes.
We value boy-focused approaches and have recently introduced new co-curricular opportunities that are highly engaging and enriching for our boys, with positive results. We continue to explore new and inspiring opportunities that interest boys while honing key skills.
In the Primary Division, the Fountas and Pinnell Guided Reading program and the Levelled Literacy Intervention (LLI) Program, have been introduced with excellent success. Reading teachers work with small groups of boys who are reading at a similar ability to help them master their understanding of increasingly complex words and grammatical structures. Each boy receives direct instruction from his reading teacher as he reads and processes text at increasingly challenging levels of difficulty. This method is now considered a gold-standard in literacy instruction and preliminary results indicate that it has greatly enhanced our reading outcomes for our Primary boys. This program has since been expanded within the Primary and Junior Divisions.
Research has proven that when subjects are taught in connection with one other, a student’s understanding and retention are enhanced. An integrated approach to English and Social Sciences has resulted in deeper learning for boys in Grades 6 and 7. While not directly related to literacy development, we have also integrated Social Sciences and Science in Grade 8 in order to deliver a combined Earth Sciences program that applies authentic connections to boys’ learning experiences.
The Grade 7-8 Math program incorporates a team teaching model, delivering the core program along with the addition of regular labs in critical thinking and problem solving. This approach deepens understanding, expands critical thinking and application skills and helps boys to retain more complex math concepts while promoting higher order thinking skills. Having multiple teachers in the classroom has allowed for remediation and extension, supporting individual learning needs during these critical years of mathematical skill development.
These are some of our current initiatives related to innovative academic programming, but we will not stop here. We continue to examine best practices in boys’ elementary education and will build upon our existing strengths in our efforts to achieve excellence.
Boys and teachers are making excellent use of the new Safran-Ferguson Studio in the JMS, with high and low energy movement-based learning activities. We are now enjoying new and expanded club offerings, especially for the Primary and Junior Divisions, in drama, hip hop, karate, morning radio and yoga. Teachers have also adopted this space to provide more movement-based activities in their regular classes, in music and visual arts, for example.
Through the Grade 6 Extension Program, boys now participate in debating, public speaking, information technology projects and woodworking in our new Phelan Work Space. As well, the expanded Lego Robotics offering and the new Go-Kart club are both huge hits. There is no doubt that SHS boys are responding very well to hands-on and movement-based learning in the JMS and throughout the school.
As educators and role models, the strong relationships that our teachers forge with SHS boys inspire individual growth, curiosity and passion for learning. In our small school environment, focused entirely on the formative years from JK – 8, our teachers get to know each boy as he grows and develops. They discover what engages and motivates each boy in order to have a successful and rewarding learning experience.
Inspiring teachers make all the difference in the educational experience of our boys. Our faculty members are passionate about providing innovative, proven and boy-focussed programming. Professional development enables them to build and sustain the knowledge and expertise they need to deliver this programming. As a result, we continue to place a strong emphasis on teacher development so as to inspire individual growth, curiosity and passion for learning among our boys.