To ensure a peaceful, positive and inclusive learning community which fosters the achievement of one’s full intellectual, physical and social potential.
The following are nine key features of Lord Aylmer identified by staff, parents and students as important aspects of our 3-year vision. When someone enters our school in June of 2022, we would expect to see, hear and feel the following:
A) Peaceful, Positive School
Lord Aylmer strives to maintain, promote and instill a peaceful, positive school environment which fosters growth of our students. An essential component of this environment is mutual respect. We promote respectful interactions and good manners among all members of our school community. We establish routines which allow behaviour expectations to be clearly understood by all. We strive to ensure every member of our school community feels valued and that their position in our community is important. Some of the ways we create a sense of belonging and feeling of community are through Spirit Days, branding of common school symbols (school colours, logo, mascot) special events and recognition assemblies. Visitors to the school will notice quiet halls during class time and students being greeted as they enter the buildings. Being respectful toward and taking pride in our physical environment, (cleaning, maintenance and esthetics), are also important in establishing a positive school community.
B) High Academic Standards
Lord Aylmer maintains high academic standards for all students. We promote thinking and reasoning skills, a growth
mindset, collaboration and high academic achievement, all within a bilingual environment. We maintain high quality instruction, which is continuously being developed through professional development opportunities for staff. We believe in optimizing time on task, friendly academic competition and lessons that use a Universal Design framework. These allow for learners to acquire and express their learning in a variety of ways. Student learning is showcased through rich opportunities, such as the Science Fair, International Fair, Debate Competitions and Vernissage, to name a few.
C) Strong Family and Community Partnerships
Lord Aylmer has very strong family and community partnerships. The Lord Aylmer Home and School is very active within the school community, planning engaging events that bring our school community together. The Lord Aylmer Home and School are vital to our school’s positive school culture. Our Governing Board works to oversee the many parts of the school’s operations, through collaboration with parents, staff and administration. The City of Gatineau, Connexions and CISSSO all provide complementary services that supportour students’ well-being.
D) Strong Citizenship Education / Values-based Learning
Lord Aylmer provides students with strong citizenship education and value-based learning. Staff work to model the values we promote and approach all professional and student learning with a growth mindset. Students and staff take initiative in presenting our core virtues at our monthly assemblies and are recognized with awards for practicing them in their daily lives. Through classroom meetings and social skills training, students explore and reflect upon the citizenship skills practiced in order to grow as people. Having a strong sense of
self and shared values both contribute to a sense of belonging and being part of a community.
E) Holistic Development
Lord Aylmer strives to provide learning and development opportunities for the whole child. Both inside and outside the classroom, various experiences are offered through our arts programs, noon hour activities, sporting events and academic competitions which allow students to explore and fully develop their talents and interests.
In addition, our inclusive school culture values diversity, with staff and students, appreciating our similarities and differences. These differences are not only respected but are leveraged to help us learn and grow. A UDL framework helps provide the structure for this approach. Students learn and express their learning in many ways, giving them ownership and accountability of the learning process. The UDL framework also helps develop a culture of caring within classrooms, through a focus on social and emotional community development.
F) Fostering of Bilingualism
Lord Aylmer offers students in both the French Immersion and English (French Second Language) program the opportunity to develop their skills in both official languages. Morning announcements are done in both English and French and monthly assemblies are also done in both languages in order to highlight the importance of bilingualism. Students are exposed to French-Canadian music, stories and traditions to help enhance their learning experiences and to provide context to their learning.
Lord Aylmer offers all students opportunities to participate in activities and events. Part of the Lord Aylmer philosophy is having an inclusive environment for all students and ensuring equal access to quality education regardless of race, religion, language, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, gender identification or ability. Explicit instruction on bias, prejudice and on appreciating differences in others is weaved into the curriculum in every class. The school also designs school activities, special events, and communications with diversity in mind and strives to continually improve its practices and approaches through consultation with its partners and through quality PD that is focused and sustained. Lord Aylmer promotes a sense of belonging and school spirit by encouraging staff members and students wear school apparel on spirit days.
H) Environmental Responsibility
Lord Aylmer strives to be environmentally responsible. Outdoor learning and outdoor education trips support the curriculum. Students feel responsible and empowered to recycle, compost and clean the yard. Students understand the importance of being environmentally responsible and recognize the impact they can have if they do their part. Students work alongside members of staff to find ways to reduce the school’s environmental footprint.
I) Student Leadership
The Lord Aylmer School community values its students as leaders in the school and in the community. Students take part in various committees in which they are consulted and in which they help make school-based decisions. Student Leaders are trained to be ambassadors for special events, to welcome new students to the school, to model behaviour, and to act as mentors for younger peers. Senior campus students take part in opportunities to showcase their leadership skills with Junior Campus students through a variety of projects.
Through consultation of our parents (Home and School and Governing Board), students, teaching staff and daycare staff, our School Climate committee has identified 10 key characteristics we would like to instill in our students as well as all members of our community.
We encourage and celebrate the development of the following values through month-long education campaigns and monthly recognition assemblies:
At monthly assemblies, students learn from peers and teachers about the values they will be practicing each month. Students develop a greater awareness through information campaigns and classroom activities. At the end of the month, students are recognized during the assembly for having displayed the value in question. Regular classroom meetings and discussions help students gain an understanding of the importance of each value and how developing these values contributes to our school community and society as a whole.
Lord Aylmer’s Core Beliefs
At Lord Aylmer School, we believe every child has a right to quality instruction in a safe, positive environment. We believe in helping every student explore and develop, holistically, as a person. We believe every child is an individual and strive to help build on individual strengths and develop individual areas of growth. We believe that everyone has strengths in some areas and challenges in others but that these can be improved upon through practice, quality instruction and perseverance.
We believe in explicitly teaching character education and giving students opportunities to further develop this learning in real-life situations.
We believe in an inclusive school that embraces diversity and an environment that supports learning for all, self-esteem and a feeling of belonging.
We believe in developing a thirst for lifelong learning in our students and all members of staff. We believe in building strong community ties and highlighting the importance of each person’s role within that community. We believe that parents and members of our community are our allies and our partnerships add to enhance the educational experience of our students. We believe that our students contribute to school improvement and are partners in education.
We believe in measuring success based on standard benchmarks (pass rate, average score, reading level) as well as through measures of relative growth. Relative growth refers to students meeting established growth or improvement benchmarks regardless of the
level from which they start.
Some of the pedagogical approaches that help shape our identity are:
- Universal Design for Learning
- Elements and Strategies from Tribes Program
- Elements from Instructional Intelligence
- Fountas and Pinnell Approaches
- Guided Reading and Balanced Literacy
- Attachment Theory
- Self-regulation Theory
- Elements from the Olweus Program
- Collaborative Planning and Assessment
- Sharing and Learning of Evidence-based Instructional Practices
- Instructional Coaching (Dr. Jim Knight)
Our best, always!
Toujours de notre mieux!
Maxime nostrae semper!
School and its Community
Lord Aylmer School is an elementary school located in the Aylmer sector of Gatineau, Quebec on the banks of the beautiful Ottawa River. It offers Kindergarten to Cycle 3 in both English and in French Immersion streams. The percentage of French instruction in the French Immersion program is at 100% for Kindergarten, and Cycle 1 (grades 1 and 2) and 50% for Cycle 2 and 3 (grades 3 through 6).
Lord Aylmer is the largest elementary school in the Western Quebec School Board with a population of 645 students (June 2020). We are a neighbourhood school in which approximately 73% of the students are bussed. Lord Aylmer has the largest daycare enrollment in the school board with 245 students classified as “regular” (three or more days a week) and 40 “sporadic” students who attend fewer than3 days a week or from time to time. Daycare service is also provided during professional development days for parents who wish to register their students on these days.
The school consists of two buildings: The Junior Campus (built in 1961), houses Kindergarten, cycle 1 and one cycle 2.1 classes. The Senior Campus (built in 1953), has the remaining cycle 2 students and all cycle 3 students.
In Quebec, socio-economic indicators have been determined based on home factors having the greatest impact on educational success and graduation rates. Two factors, the level of schooling attained by the mother as well as the employment status of parents/guardians in the home, combined are used to determine the socio-economic status (SES). The level of schooling of the mother is weighted twice as much as the employment factor. Using data from Statistics Canada’s census every four years, the Ministry of Education calculates the number of students in a school who have both above mentioned conditions in their homes. The numbers are then divided into decile ranks (ten strands), which makes up the SES Scale, with one being the most advantaged strand and 10 being the most disadvantaged strand. Lord Aylmer School is ranked at a 3 on the SES scale.
The school is within walking distance of the public library, cinema, marina, beach, several parks, arenas, outdoor rinks, soccer fields, anart gallery, the Aylmer Museum, bike paths, a bowling alley, three senior’s residences, several places of worship, and four shopping malls.
Lord Aylmer school is also located within close proximity (1 Km) of the fire department, has an assigned community police officer and a community Nurse from the Centre Intégré de Santé et de Services Sociaux de L’Outaouais (CISSSO). The school also has strong partnerships with service agencies: CISSSO, Pavillion du Parc, Centre Hospitalier Pierre Janet (CHPJ), Centre Jeunesse
de l’Outaouais (CJO), La Resource. Some non-profit agencies with which we partner are Les Partenaires regionaux d’Aylmer, Rotary Club and Connexions. We have strong partnerships with other schools in the WQSB, with schools from the neighbouring French School board (Portage de l’Outaouais), as well as with students from various institutions (Symmes-D’Arcy McGee, Heritage College, Western Quebec Career Center, Bishop’s University, Ottawa University) for coop and practicum placements.
Our Home and School organization is extremely active and involved in various fund-raising activities as well as event planning. Money raised is used to provide school yard equipment, educational trips/activities, guided reading books, library books, support for families in need, graduation presents, technology and other classroom resources.
Most of our students are from homes in which English is the first language.
Our school offers both a French Immersion program and an English program. 36% of our students are enrolled in the English program and 64% are enrolled in the French Immersion program.
As of June 2020:
At the Junior Campus we have 5 English classes and 9 French Immersion classes and at the Senior Campus we have 5 English classes, 10 French Immersion classes and one enclosed class for students following a life skills program.
At the Junior Campus we have:
- Kindergarten Students – 77
- Cycle 1.1 students – 88
- Cycle 1.2 students – 112
- Cycle 2.1 students – 26
At the Senior Campus we have:
- Cycle 2.1 students – 63
- Cycle 2.2 students – 93
- Cycle 3.1 students – 95
- Cycle 3.2 students – 99
- Aylmer Centre students -7
We also have 7 homeschooled students.
For the 2019/2020 school year, the Lord Aylmer staff consisted of 88 members. We have 39 teachers including 11 homeroom teachers in the English program, 18 homeroom teachers in the French Immersion program, 1 teacher in Aylmer Centre, 2 FSL (French and second language) teachers, 1.8 physical education teacher, 1 Art/Music teacher, 1 Art/Drama teacher and 4 resource teachers. We also have 17 attendants, 2 Special Education Technicians and 2 Social Work Technicians for students with designated special education needs (EHDAA). The daycare is comprised of 2 Daycare Technicians and 18 daycare educators. We have 21 noon hour supervisors, 1.5 secretaries, an administrative technician and 1 custodian. Our night custodians, one for each building, are provided through a contract with a company hired by the WQSB. Over the last ten years, Lord Aylmer has had 3 principals and 5 Vice-Principals.
Families and Communities
We have a very active Home and School and families are generally active at Lord Aylmer throughout the year. Our Welcome Back BBQ in early September is always very well attended and parents are active in school life, volunteering for field trips and in classrooms. Parents are also involved in various assemblies, fundraising, special events and learning showcases. The school community also pulls together to help families in need with breakfasts, snacks, lunches, fees for events, school fees, Christmas food baskets and Angel Tree Christmas Gifts. . The Home and School committee, Governing Board, and parent community work in conjunction with staff to play a major role in ensuring school success.
Analysis of Situation
Lord Aylmer School consists of two separate buildings. Traditionally, the Junior Campus houses the Kindergarten and Cycle 1 students while the Senior Campus has the students from Cycle 2 and 3 as well as a life skills program. Depending on the enrollment from year to year, cycles may be divided from other classes within the same cycle. For the past 4 years, some grade 3 classes have been at the Junior Campus while others are at the Senior Campus. This cycle divide adds a challenge for teachers to work within cycle teams and for classes to work together on projects and initiatives. The administrators must divide their time in order to have a strong presence in each building.
Being the largest elementary school within the WQSB the staff turnover from year to year can be significant. In addition, having both the French Immersion and English programs makes it more challenging to recruit highly qualified teachers to fill open positions,
especially those that may become available later in the school year. Recruiting qualifies French Teachers is especially different across the country at the moment. Over the past two years, there has been a high turnover of teachers, special education support staff and daycare staff owing mostly to retirements and maternity leaves. This creates a situation in which constant training is required for quality pedagogical assurance as well as for basic daily operations (e.g.. routines for attendance, supervision routines). While members of the administration team and other members of staff are happy to provide support to their new colleagues, this draws time, resources and energy from other priorities.
The school’s location on the Quebec-Ontario border increases the incidence of transient populations and multiple moves for some families between the two provinces. This occurs throughout the school year. The same occurs because of the school’s location within Gatineau, which leads to students transferring between our school and three others within a small geographic area.
The increasing numbers of students enrolling with significant needs in special education, psychiatric or socio-emotional areas pose a challenge for aligning appropriate programming and staffing to ensure needs are met. Especially challenging is the high incidence of cases of undiagnosed needs and the delays parents face in accessing outside services for their children.
The growing number of IEP’s within our French Immersion stream, means more Professional Development is needed for teachers to be prepared to differentiate in order to meet student needs.
French reading and writing have become an area of concern in recent years in both the French Immersion (Enrichi) and French Second Language (Base) programs.
The two libraries are not operating as optimally as they could. The junior campus is in the middle of renovations and restructuring and the senior campus requires support to run, possibly through volunteers.
Professional development for special education support staff members is difficult to organize since they mostly all work as daycare staff. Organizing a session with all members of the daycare staff or all attendants, therefore, would require daycare to be shut down during a PD day or for the session to occur after 6:00 pm on weeknights.
Lord Aylmer School has an established and deserved reputation for its high level of quality instruction as well as a staff team that is student-centered and highly dedicated. The school enjoys a dynamic parent community that supports educational endeavours, extensive fundraising and special events. There are several opportunities for enrichment at the school, including Debate Team, French Public Speaking, math competitions, talent shows, athletics and various extra-curricular and lunchtime activities (some free and some not). While there has been a high turnover of teachers, special education support staff and daycare staff in recent years, there are established formal supports in place as well as informal ones to support colleagues as they join the Lord Aylmer team. Lord Aylmer enjoys a culture of collaboration in which staff work together to develop curriculum, discuss support for students and plan extra curricular activities and special events. While there are formal structures in place (leadership, defined roles, scheduled time to meet), the staff have cultivated shared expectations of collaboration that stand on their own without these formal structures.
Lord Aylmer has several formal means to measure success; BAS, GB+, examinations, and overall success rates. In reading, we also measure success through relative growth.
*Due to Covid 19 there were no exams during the 2019/2020 school year. There were baseline assessments for BAS and GB+ (reading comprehension in English and French) in October 2019, it was not possible to conduct the planned post tests in May.
BAS results for students reading at or above the expected level per cycle:
- Cycle 1 – 71%
- Cycle 2 – 76%
- Cycle 3 – 82%
Success rates on common exams for students in cycle 3.2 and 2.2 who are at or above the expected level for English Language Arts, Math and French.
- ELA – 92%
- FSL – 24%
- FI – 98%
- Math – 71%
- FSL – 62%
- FI – 91%
- Math – 75%
- Math – 71%