Attention: News editors, education reporters
Toronto, April 29, 2009—The Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO), administrator of Ontario’s student assessments, today announced the launch of the Dr. Bette M. Stephenson Recognition of Achievement program, which celebrates school communities whose collective efforts have resulted in notable student achievement as demonstrated by EQAO provincial assessment results.
The inaugural presentation will be held today in Toronto, in anticipation of Education Week (May 4–8). EQAO will pay tribute to Dr. Stephenson and honour the first two recipients of the recognition bearing her name: Sacred Heart High School in Walkerton and Kapuskasing’s école élémentaire publique Le Coeur du Nord.
The event will also feature a message from the Honourable Dalton McGuinty, Premier of Ontario, a video tribute featuring past and current colleagues, and remarks from the Honourable Kathleen Wynne, Minister of Education; Dave Cooke, former Minister of Education; Brian Desbiens, Board Chair, EQAO; and Marguerite Jackson, Chief Executive Officer, EQAO.
“Dr. Bette Stephenson’s career represents a lifelong commitment to education and public service. As a member of the EQAO board, which she joined at its inception, she was instrumental in bringing the agency to its focus on improved learning outcomes for students,” said Brian Desbiens, EQAO’s Chair.
“Solid and reliable information on student achievement is crucial to helping educators improve student learning. I’m really proud of the culture of assessment that EQAO has, since its inception, been able to establish in Ontario. I’m also really, really pleased that so many schools have used assessment information and have demonstrated positive student results. I am delighted such schools will be recognized. They should be celebrated throughout the province,” added Dr. Stephenson.
“The schools recognized at tonight’s event, and others over time, are a testament to the many schools across the province that have made effective use of both EQAO data and evidence from other sources to enhance and support student achievement,” said Marguerite Jackson, EQAO Chair.
The event will be webcast live on April 29, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. (EDT) and can be viewed at www.eqao.com.
The Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) acts as a catalyst for increasing the success of Ontario students by measuring their achievement in reading, writing and mathematics against a common curriculum benchmark. As an independent provincial agency, EQAO plays a pivotal role by conducting province-wide tests at key points in every student’s primary, junior and secondary education and reporting the results. The objective and reliable facts obtained add to the current knowledge about student learning and are an important tool for improvement at the individual, school and provincial levels.
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To honour Dr. Bette Stephenson’s lifelong commitment to education and public service, the EQAO board of directors has created a new school recognition program named the Dr. Bette M. Stephenson Recognition of Achievement. On April 29, EQAO will launch this program and honour the first two recipient school communities: Sacred Heart High School in Walkerton and École élémentaire publique Le Cœur du Nord in Kapuskasing. EQAO will pay tribute to Dr. Stephenson alongside the Honourable Kathleen Wynne, Minister of Education, and other leaders from Ontario’s public education system. A congratulatory video message from the Honourable Dalton McGuinty, Premier of Ontario, will be played during the presentation. Throughout the school year and in years to come, EQAO will continue to recognize additional schools. The two schools recognized this evening are a testament to the work of the many schools across the province that make effective use of EQAO data and evidence from other sources to enhance and support student achievement.About Dr. Stephenson:
Dr. Bette M. Stephenson, of Richmond Hill, has held a number of posts in the Ontario Cabinet, including that of minister of both Education and Colleges and Universities from 1978 to 1985. She is currently chair of the Learning Opportunities Task Force, chair of the Ontario Innovation Trust, co-chair of the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research and director emeritus of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research.
Her history of breaking new ground includes her roles as first female member, then chair, of the Ontario Medical Association (OMA) board of directors. She was president of both the OMA and the Canadian Medical Association and served on the board of directors of the World Medical Association.
Dr. Stephenson was the first Canadian recipient of the Citation for Outstanding Public Service presented by the Council for Exceptional Children. She was named Officer of the Order of Canada in 1992 and was appointed to the Order of Ontario in 1997. Dr. Stephenson served on the EQAO Advisory Board from February 1995 to August 1996. She was appointed to the EQAO board of directors in September 1996 and continued until 2008, when she became director emeritus.