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Ontario schools honoured for academic performance and improvement at annual Weston Awards

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Release Date: March 24, 2010

TORONTO, ON-Seventy-nine schools from across Ontario were recognized for ongoing academic improvement and achievement at the annual Garfield Weston Awards for Excellence in Education in Toronto Tuesday.

Awards were presented in three categories, each reflecting different aspects of academic success. Improvement in Academics recognizes elementary schools that have experienced the fastest, most consistent improvement in their academic performance over the past five years. Determination in Academic Achievement recognizes the top-performing elementary schools where the average parental income at the school is among the bottom 25 per cent of the province. Overall Academic Achievement recognizes the schools with the top provincewide rankings for academic performance.

An all-time high of more than 600 educators from 74 different schools attended the reception and awards dinner. They are among the 4,662 educators representing 820 schools from across the country that have been honoured at the Weston Awards since 2005.

"The teachers, administrators, and support staff from these schools have an unparalleled dedication to teaching which is reflected in their students' triumphs," said Lisa-Diane Fortier, Fraser Institute director of education programs.

"Every single year, these educators are finding new ways for their students to succeed in reading, writing, and math, and it's important that they receive the accolades they so richly deserve." 

The awards are based on an analysis of the Ministry of Education's student results data for each school included in the Fraser Institute's annual Report Card on Ontario's Elementary Schools . Out of 2,742 elementary schools included in the report card, only the top 30 performers in each category were invited to participate in the awards.

Toronto schools dominated the awards, placing first in all three categories.

Cornell Junior Public School of Toronto won the award for Determination in Academic Achievement along with a $3,000 prize after being named a runner-up in this category last year and earning Weston Awards honours every year since 2006. Runners-up were Agincourt Junior Public School of Toronto, which was named a School of Distinction in this category last year, and Blessed Margherita of Città di Castello Catholic School of Toronto, which earned School of Distinction recognition in this category in 2007 and 2008. Each received a $1,000 prize.

J. R. Wilcox Community School of Toronto won the award for Improvement in Academics along with a $3,000 prize. Runners-up Ridgewood Public School of Coboconk, a community in the city of Kawartha Lakes, and Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha Catholic Elementary School of Hamilton each received a $1,000 prize.

Kennedy Public School of Toronto, which has been recognized at the Weston Awards every year since 2005, won the award for Overall Academic Achievement along with a $3,000 prize. The school won in this category in 2005 and has been a finalist every year since. This year's runners-up were Seneca Hill Public School of Toronto-the winner in this category every year since 2006 and second runner-up in 2005-and Denlow Public School of Toronto, which has been a runner-up in this category since 2006. Each runner-up received a $1,000 prize.

All of the remaining school teams received School of Distinction recognition.

One common misconception about the Weston Awards is that only the most privileged schools are honoured for their performance on the province's standardized tests.

"The Weston Awards honour educators who prove that academic excellence is achievable for all schools. In the case of Improvement in Academics , we celebrate where these schools were five years ago in terms of academics and how far they've come since then. With Determination in Academic Achievement , we honour schools located in environments where many would say consistent student success is not possible, yet that's exactly what they're achieving," Fortier said.

"These awards are about encouraging excellent educators to keep doing what they're doing to provide students a better education. Their commitment to excellence cannot be overstated."

Complete list of all Weston Award-winning schools.