Annually, Unionville College (UC) competes in a variety of music, arts, and science festivals, where our students have achieved great successes. Time and again, our students have illustrated the numerous benefits of our advanced curriculum through their achievements. Our choir and instrumental musicians have been consistent award-winners. Over the past few years, our students have made the school and parents proud, with multiple Gold and Platinum victories at the Music Alive York Region Festival and MusicFest Canada at the national level.
Our sports teams have achieved great heights and have often been recognized for their excellence. Our athletes have won multiple trophies in competition through the Small Schools Athletic Federation (SSAF), which provides boys and girls with opportunities to participate in a variety of activities at a higher level of skill than generally found in an intramural programme.
In one of our school’s strongest subjects, mathematics, our grade 4-8’s have consistently excelled at the Canadian National Mathematics League, with many top ranking grade-wide finishes as well as first place standings at individual levels.
Students have also returned as award-winners from the National Science Fair. Some have partnered with experts in different fields, including University of Toronto professors.
Each year UC invests in independent testing to ensure our programmes are best-in-class and that our students achieve top marks when compared to other schools. The Canadian Achievement Tests (CAT-4) evaluate how well students perform in comparison to other students across the district, region, and country. UC consistently ranks in the top 5% in all of Canada.
Learning mathematics results in more than mastery of skills. It equips students with a concise and powerful means of communication. Through the instructional process of mathematics at UC, students develop a deeper understanding, hone problem-solving skills and apply concepts to real world situations. Part of this learning process is preparing to compete against other students as they solve complex mathematical problems. Not only must they apply what they have learned, they must do so in a methodical and timely way using creative thinking skills to arrive at conclusions. UC students are well prepared for such challenges as they are the product of a sequential, advanced curriculum which both encourages and nurtures critical and creative thinking. Each year, UC students in grades 6 through 8 compete in a national mathematics challenge. There are over 300 participating schools, nation-wide, and the contest requires students to use higher order thinking skills to excel. Not only must they solve problems, they must make complex connections between mathematical concepts and problems from other subject areas. These competitions also assist faculty as they refine their instructional programmes. The published results are a useful, national benchmark for UC. In the 2013 mathematics competition, UC ranked in the top 5% of Canadian schools in every participating grade level.
For many years, UC has taken an ambitious, unending journey to enrich the learning experiences of children. Mathematics has been one distinct focus area. The establishment of academic withdrawal programmes for bright and gifted youngsters has helped to polish latent abilities. The after-school enrichment sessions, open to all students, have added a valued and unique dimension to the core programmes. In every instance, the driving force has been the desire to enhance the existing quality of instruction and learning opportunities. The UC Financial Literacy #101 programme is an example of our effort to enrich the mathematics programme by adding real world applications that are timely and important. UC’s blueprint for tomorrow has as its premise; continuous improvement. This objective is part of the UC culture. It continues to promote student achievement, faculty excellence and quality programming.
For the past 9 years, the students at UC have surpassed the achievement expectations across every grade, set for children of the same age across Canada. This remarkable degree of academic success is due, in part, to the sincere efforts of our faculty and the supportive parents of our students. Because UC offers an advanced academic programme, it is important that we utilize external measures of success to better understand how our efforts translate into improved student learning and achievement. Families seem to appreciate this information as it provides them with an accurate overview of their child’s academic progress through our advanced curriculum.
The Canadian Achievement Test (CAT-4) 2013 is used by many top tier schools in the greater Toronto region as an academic assessment measure to determine student progress relative to national standards. Many schools have used CAT-4 as an admission screening instrument. UC has joined schools such as Country Day, St. Andrews, Havergal, Royal St. George, Holy Trinity and others who have administered this assessment instrument. We are pleased with the accomplishments of our students. Each year, we analyze the test data to determine instructional areas that can be reinforced or enhanced. Our programme review and implementation process is ongoing. It is important that we prepare our students as effectively as possible and provide superior learning opportunities. The Grade 1-8 CAT-4 assessment is an important affirmation that our programmes and their delivery are “Making the Grade”.