Brampton School Recognized for Supporting Students With Special Needs


A Brampton school is one of 12 English-language schools across the province that has gone above and beyond to help students grow this year!

The Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) recently awarded 12 English-language schools with the Dr. Bette M. Stephenson Recognition of Achievement “for creating strategies that helped to strengthen the literacy skills of students with special education needs.”

Sir William Gage Middle School in Brampton is one of the innovative institutions that has gained this prestigious recognition.

Getting students engaged in understanding and communicating their own needs and learning styles was crucial in Sir William Gage Middle School’s initiatives to drive students towards success, according to former principal at Sir William Gage and current principal at Erin Mills Middle School, Maria Kalantzakos.

It was a team approach, from staff, to the Leadership for Learning team, to parent council,” Kalantzakos told “We talked about what we all felt we could provide for the students. Everybody played a part.”

We worked hard with the grade six students, because the point of what we were doing was considering how our efforts would make a difference when they reached grade eight.”

Maintaining a “growth mindset” and opportunities for student advocacy was important for students, teachers, and parents alike.

From there, Kalantzakos says activities were developed to move past students’ test scores and towards approaching students in terms of their individual learning needs. 

This year, our students started talking about themselves as profiles of learning,” said Kalantzakos.

At Sir William Gage, a profile of learning is a profile card for special needs students, where these students can outline their needs. Cards are shared with those students’ teachers, and contain a summary of their needs in the classroom based on their Individualized Education Program (IEP). IEPs are designed for children who are eligible for special education.

Ultimately, we honed in on the students that had an identification, unpacking what that means, going beyond the label, and finding out what physical, structural, and environmental supports they need,” said Kalantzakos.

According to Kalantzakos, this year, the grade eight students at Sir William Gage Middle School often carried these profile cards on their own.

They can’t always communicate in the moment, but if they have the ‘cheat sheet’, they can read from that.”

EQAO’s Dr. Bette M. Stephenson Recognition of Achievement program was launched in 2009, and it highlights schools that use data effectively to support their students’ progress. This year’s recognized schools helped a growing number of students with special education needs meet the provincial literacy standard, according to EQAO.

This year’s school recipients of the Dr. Bette M. Stephenson Recognition of Achievement saw an increase in the percentage of students with special education needs meeting the standard on either the reading or writing component of provincial assessments from 2014 to 2017, and these schools clearly demonstrated that their analysis of EQAO data helped inform decisions about initiatives to support student learning better,” said EQAO in a recent statement.

Here is the full list of recipients:

  • D. Roy Kennedy Public School (Ottawa)
    Ottawa-Carleton District School Board 

  • South Carleton High School (Ottawa)
    Ottawa-Carleton District School Board

  • McKellar Park Central School (Thunder Bay)
    Lakehead District School Board 

  • Pius XII Catholic Elementary School (Sudbury)
    Sudbury Catholic District School Board 
  • St. Martin Elementary School (Thunder Bay)
    Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board 

  • Superior Collegiate and Vocational Institute (Thunder Bay)
    Lakehead District School Board 
  • Beverley Heights Middle School (Toronto)
    Toronto District School Board 

  • Danforth Collegiate and Technical Institute (Toronto)
    Toronto District School Board 

  • St. Bernadette Catholic School (Ajax) 
    Durham Catholic District School Board 

  • Sir William Gage Middle School (Brampton)
    Peel District School Board 
  • Holy Names Catholic High School (Windsor)
    Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board 

  • St. Dominic Savio Catholic School (Kitchener) 
    Waterloo Catholic District School Board 

Congratuations to the recipients!

Your Comments