Adopt a School – Application Search

Sir Wilfrid Laurier School

Section A: School Information
Full Name of SchoolSir Wilfrid Laurier School
Address70 Albright Road
Hamilton, Ontario L8K5J3
School Board or other AffiliationHamilton-Wentworth District School Board
Grades served by your School
  • JK
  • SK
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
Number of students at your school in eligible Grade Levels650
Does your school have charitable status?No
The Indigo Love of Reading Foundation defines a high-needs school as a Canadian publicly funded elementary school that receives at least 80% of its funding from the provincial or federal government. Does this accurately represent your school funding situation?Yes
Principal Information

Principal Information

NameGreg Moore
Phone(905) 578-4422
Emailgmoore@hwdsb.on.ca
Secondary Contact Information

Secondary Contact Information

TitleTeacher Librarian
NameLiz Tselepakis
Phone(905) 578-4422
Emailetselepa@hwdsb.on.ca
Additional Information
1. Has your school previously participated in the Indigo Adopt A School ProgramNo
2. Has your school been awarded a Literacy Fund grant in the past?No
3. Is your school a French speaking school?No
4. Is your school French Immersion?No
5. Do you have an English-speaking staff member available for correspondence via phone?Yes
6. Is your school a First Nations School?No
7. The Indigo Love of Reading Foundation specifically directs resources to communities in need. Which of the following demographic groups does your school community identify as serving?
  • Low socio-economic
  • Newcomer
8. How did you find out about the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation?
  • indigoloveofreading.org
  • indigo.ca
Section B: Authorized Account RepresentativesThe Foundation now allocates grants through the Adopt A School program in the form of an Indigo Corporate account. Your school is permitted to have up to three (3) authorized account representatives who will have purchasing power on your account. The principal of your school must be one of the designated representatives. In the event that your application is successful, please indicate the other two representatives you would like to have on your account,.we suggest that your Teacher-librarian or library technician are includes as reps.
Contact 1

Contact 1

NameGreg Moore
TitlePrinicipal
Emailgmoore@hwdsb.on.ca
Contact 2

Contact 2

NameLiz Tselepakis
TitleTeacher Librarian
Emailetselepa@hwdsb.on.ca
Section C: Selecting your partner store

In the event that your school is selected as an Adopt A School partner, what store location (eg. Indigo, Chapters, Coles, Indigospirit store) in your community would you like to be partnered with to help fundraise for your school library?

Remote/rural schools: We recognize that some recipient schools will be located at a significant distance from a store. We suggest selecting a store that is closest to you geographically if possible.

Section D: Tell us your storyThis section is your opportunity to provide the Foundation and our Indigo partners with the story of your school, students, and community. We want to learn more about the challenges you face in accessing literacy resources, but also the commitment you’ve demonstrated in the face of these challenges. Please be specific as you discuss your local demographics as well as any special programs and/or government/board designations that may exist in your community.
1. Why have you chosen to apply for the Adopt-A-School Program this year?

Two factors stand out when considering why our school community will benefit from a Love of Reading Literacy Fund Grant.

Until recently, the Davis Creek / Quigley Road community in Hamilton was the location for two JK-8 schools: Elizabeth Bagshaw Public School which opened in 1971, and Sir Wilfrid Laurier Public School which opened in 1990. In June of 2021, however, Elizabeth Bagshaw Public School was closed as part of the HWDSB’s accommodation review process, and most of their school population was merged with the Sir Wilfrid Laurier population. As a result, the school population at Laurier dramatically increased, new classrooms were built, and new staff members were added. Although some resources from Elizabeth Bagshaw were moved to Laurier, many literacy resources (guided reading sets, picture books / read alouds, classroom library books, home reading books, professional resources) were significantly outdated and worn out as Bagshaw was an older school and had stopped purchasing literacy resources in anticipation of closing. This left the already limited Laurier literacy resources, both in the classrooms and in the library, to support a student and staff population that had almost doubled. Many of the new classrooms have no classroom libraries or home reading books, and those that do are left with very dated and worn books. Any books that are relatively new or interesting are in great demand by the student population and many students would rather read nothing at all than read those books that are left. According to Scholastic.com (11 Essentials for a Highly Effective Classroom Library (scholastic.com)), a classroom library should include a minimum of 750 books in good condition, or roughly 30 books per student, with 30% of the books in the classroom library having been published in the last 3-5 years (at a minimum). At SWL we have closer to 5-10 books per student in a classroom library and almost all of them are far older than 5 years. We desperately need to build up a solid collection of modern, diverse and interesting resources in our library and in every grade and classroom.

Secondly, many Laurier students are demonstrating significant learning gaps as a result of the ongoing pandemic of the last two years. While this situation is not unique to Laurier students, and indeed much has been made in the media about “Covid learning loss”, our students are particularly at risk due to many of the demographic factors outlined in question 3. The impact of pandemic related school closures is not felt equally across the province or even across Hamilton. Many of our students live in apartment buildings with inconsistent access to devices, wifi and quiet spaces for online learning. During the latest Covid-related closure of schools in January 2022, we deployed over 200 devices to students who did not have access to technology to support their remote learning. That represents almost one-third of our SWL K-8 students. Additionally, many students did not have adults available throughout school hours to help support their remote learning. As a result, we really need to ramp up our focus on literacy now that we have returned to in-person learning in order to begin to close the reading, and overall learning, gaps that we are seeing at Laurier.

2. What literacy initiatives already exist at your school?

Building a Responsive Literacy Program Through Marker Student Monitoring

The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board has classified Sir Wilfrid Laurier as a “High Priority” school based on previous high/moderate needs, low student achievement, data from the census, the Early Development Instrument and superintendent visits. In addition to this, it is evident that there are significant student learning gaps occurring as a result of the ongoing pandemic of the last 2 years. In the Fall of 2021, for example, we discovered that 66% of Grade 1 students and 56% of Grade 2 students were starting their school year significantly below expected literacy benchmarks. These are students who have had their critical window of building experimental and early literacy skills disrupted. As a result, many of them struggle with age-appropriate oral language, phonological awareness, alphabetic principle, phonics and decoding skills. We see these gaps through the results of Developmental Reading Assessments (DRA), informal running records, HWDSB’s Developing Literacy Behaviours Kindergarten Assessment and Expanding Literacy Behaviours Grade 1 Assessment. These assessment tools, as well as the ongoing gathering of observational data identifies that many of our Kindergarten-Grade 2 students struggle with self-regulation and school-readiness skills, as well as literacy skills, due to the inconsistency in school attendance. The gaps continue with our Grade 3-8 students who are missing foundational skills for decoding and comprehending grade level texts.

In response, our school has embarked on a K-8 Marker Student Monitoring program to clearly identify and support students who are “on the cusp”, but who may need some extra focus and attention to achieve at their full potential. Every classroom educator, from Kindergarten to Grade 8, is asked to identify two students whose literacy progress is currently below the provincial standard. We thoroughly analyze reading data from a variety of sources, such as those listed above, to determine the strengths, as well as the specific literacy needs, the students are demonstrating. In this way, we are able to build a detailed plan to identify and help build the skills the students need to be successful. In addition, we recognize that this process impacts more than just two students per class — our chosen marker students are representative of other students who share similar needs. Thus, by focusing on teaching the literacy skills and providing the resources the marker students need, we will also reach other students with similar profiles. The entire class benefits from this focused pedagogical approach, as we are teaching in response to the actual needs of the students in front of us, not just teaching a curriculum or a set of pre-planned lessons.

Success of our Marker Student Monitoring program is carefully tracked, as we provide release time regularly throughout the year to meet as a multi-disciplinary team that may include the Principal, Vice-Principal, Classroom Educators, Reading Specialist, Speech Language Pathologist, English as a Second Language Teachers, and Learning Resource Teachers. At these check-in points we examine what strategies had been put in place, what the data is currently telling us about whether progress has been made, what the next steps or goals might be and what data we will be looking for to determine continued growth.

It is the responsive nature of this marker student monitoring program that makes the “new books” portion of the Indigo Love of Reading Literacy Fund Grant so important. We desperately need updated books to support the identified literacy needs of all of our students. Decodable books will help our Kindergarten and Primary students who are demonstrating gaps in their Phonics skills. High Interest / Low Vocabulary books will help our Junior and Intermediate students who are decoding below grade level. Interesting and modern Guided Reading and Independent Reading texts on relevant topics will help support students at all grade levels who have spent much time reading digital texts but little time interacting with actual books in recent years. Books written by marginalized communities such as Black, Indigenous and/or People of Colour or LGBTQ+ authors help provide an important diversity of representation and perspectives that allow all students to see themselves reflected in the books in their classrooms. Books written in languages other than English, or dual-language books, help provide support for English Language Learners who are continuing to deepen their comprehension and higher-level thinking skills while also learning a second language. Wordless picture books provide opportunities for rich oral language and inferring skills to be developed. In addition to needing book resources, our Marker Student Monitoring program tells us that many of our students have become disengaged with reading. We hope to reignite that love of reading through exciting author events that reflect the demographics of our student population. When students have an opportunity to hear about new titles and authors from the authors themselves, especially authors from their own countries and cultures, they begin to see writing and reading as a topical and relevant experience, rather than a purely academic requirement.

We expect to continue the Marker Student Monitoring program each year, but we anticipate seeing improved results as students begin to interact with updated and culturally relevant texts in the library and in their classrooms over the next 1-3 years. The author events and experiences portion of the program could potentially begin in September of 2022.

Building Community Through Literacy

At Laurier, we are always looking for ways to spark a love of reading not just within our students, but within our whole community. EQAO student surveys indicate that our students are not always excited about reading. For example, in 2018-2019, only 29% of Grade 3 students and 22% of our Grade 6 students said they like to read “most of the time”. Almost 10% of our Grade 3 students said they “never” like to read. (Source: https://www.eqao.com/report/?id=4787) This data is supported by our own school-wide reading survey in which only 29% of students indicated they “always” like to read at home, and only 59% of students like to read at school. Additionally, our Developmental Reading Assessments tell us that many students do not have books or someone to read with at home. As a result, we work throughout the year to build a love of reading with events such as:

Kindergarten “Snuggle Up and Read” day: Families of our Kindergarten students are invited into the school to hear a read aloud, have a chance to enjoy a snack and a story with their child, and to participate in some literacy activities. Unfortunately this program is currently on hold due to the pandemic, but we hope to begin it again as soon as possible, hopefully with additional funds to send home books and materials that will build foundational literacy skills for our youngest readers.

Home Reading programs: Students have the opportunity to take home independent reading books at or slightly above their current reading level in order to build the enjoyment of reading at home. Students tell us that they read to or with a parent, a grandparent or often a younger or older sibling. Our Grade 1 and 2 students also have the opportunity to enjoy reading digital texts through an online reading portal, an opportunity that we hope to extend to additional grades.

Forest of Reading program: The Ontario Library Association’s “Forest of Reading” books are prominently featured in our school library, and our Teacher-Librarian works hard to build excitement about these titles. Nominated books are read to primary students during their library time, and are reinforced with activities in the classroom. Junior and Intermediate students can sign the nominated books out of the library and also read them as eBooks or eAudiobooks at home or school using the SORA app. Introductory lessons about the Forest of Reading program and the individual titles are shared with staff so the program can be supported within the classrooms as well as the library. Excitement for the program builds as there is an opportunity for staff and students to vote for their favourite books, and virtual author visit opportunities are made available to staff and students. The Forest of Reading titles are always in demand in the library, and we would love to be able to purchase additional copies of these titles as well as previously nominated titles / authors.

Family Literacy Week: At Sir Wilfrid Laurier, we try to make Family Literacy Week something the whole school and community can participate in. Fun events include:

morning announcements featuring trivia about Canadian literature

sending home activities based on the 5 components of reading that will help encourage families to engage in literacy activities while exploring the outdoors in the community

a school-wide “#Bookface Challenge” in which staff and students have an opportunity to submit a picture where their face or body are lined up alongside a matching book cover

a Kahoot literature quiz for junior and intermediate students

a cozy reading time in which students can wear PJs or comfy clothes and enjoy a story together

Funds could support this program with literacy related prizes for our contests and more books / activities to send home to help build the excitement of Family Literacy Week in the community as well as in the school itself.

Storytime Trails: A new opportunity that we are excited to add to our “Building Community Through Literacy” program this year is the purchase of Storytime Trails texts. As physical distancing and outdoor learning continue to be preventative measures in schools, these large and brightly coloured books by Canadian authors allow classes, families and community members to share a story together while respecting Covid protocols. Featuring culturally relevant and responsive texts that present diverse perspectives and backgrounds, the large texts (24x30 inch signs) can be posted outside the school along a path or fence to encourage both movement and literacy. The book walks also include QR codes that can be scanned for specially made “extras” such as author and illustrator videos and follow up or discussion activities. The Storytime Trails program is one we hope to continue by purchasing additional texts each year so we can continue to engage students and families in our community, and build increased enjoyment of reading, throughout the year.

3. How has literacy at your school been impacted by COVID-19 and how would receiving this grant make a difference?

Many of our Sir Wilfrid Laurier students are demonstrating significant learning gaps as a result of the ongoing pandemic of the last two years. While this situation is not unique to Laurier students, and indeed much has been made in the media about “Covid learning loss”, our students are particularly at risk due to many of the demographic factors outlined in question 3. The impact of pandemic related school closures is not felt equally across the province or even across Hamilton. Many of our students live in apartment buildings with inconsistent access to devices, wifi and quiet spaces for online learning. During the latest Covid-related closure of schools in January 2022, we deployed over 200 devices to students who did not have access to technology to support their remote learning. That represents almost one-third of our SWL K-8 students. Additionally, many students did not have adults available throughout school hours to help support their remote learning. As a result, we really need to ramp up our focus on literacy now that we have returned to in-person learning in order to begin to close the reading, and overall learning, gaps that we are seeing at Laurier.

4. How would you rate reading engagement in your student population?3
Section E: Past Adopt A School participants
Section F: Library Status and future state
1. Does your school have a school library?Yes
2. What percentage of classrooms at your school have classroom libraries?76-100%
3. What was the dollar amount spent on books per student last year?$ 5.00 CAD
4. Approximately what is the average age (in years) of library books in your school?10
5. With additional funding in place through the Adopt A School program, what literacy pillars are you looking to grow in your school library/classroom collections?
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I)
  • Reconciliation and/or Indigenous Knowledge
  • Environmental Literacy
Please indicate your response to the following statement: "Our students have equitable access to diverse and representational books and educational resources.”Disagree
Please indicate your response to the following statement: “Our students have equitable access to Indigenous-based reading content.”Strongly Disagree
Please indicate your response to the following statement: “Our students have equitable access to books that interest them and support a love of reading.”Disagree
6a. Please include 1-2 short-term goals that you have for your library learning commons and/or classroom libraries

- Bring in authors with culturally diverse backgrounds and experiences
- Provide professional learning for educators to support them in building their understanding and implementation of culturally relevant and responsive pedagogy, - Rich Read Aloud texts for all grade levels that represent and will spark discussion of a variety of backgrounds, voices and experiences
- Guided reading sets that are culturally relevant, responsive and interesting to today’s students, and that support learning in Science, Social Studies, Health, The -Arts and other subjects
- High Interest / Low Vocabulary readers that keep students interested while supporting the wide range of reading abilities within junior and intermediate grades
- Classroom Library and Home Reading books that are current, high interest, and diverse
- School library books that will allow students to self-select books that match their interests, their backgrounds and the topics about which they are curious
- Texts for Modelled, Shared, Guided and Independent reading that represent a rich variety of genres including non-fiction books (including diverse biographies and autobiographies, and books on topics that are relevant to our students’ interests and learning needs), fiction books (including realistic fiction, historical fiction, fantasy and science fiction), and graphic texts (including comic books, graphic novels and manga)
- Dual language books to support our high ELL population

6b. Please include 1-2 long-term goals that you have for your library learning commons and/or classroom libraries

- Create a committee with the goal of developing and promoting culturally relevant and responsive pedagogy
- Seek out community initiatives to engage the many diverse families in our school community
- Furniture: new shelves and baskets to accommodate all the new books, seating and table arrangements to accommodate the variety learning needs (stand up tables, wobble boards and seats), large cushions and bolsters)

7a. Does your school have priorities surrounding diversity/anti-racism?Yes
Section G: Amplifying Awareness and Connecting with your Community
Section G Description
  • One of the main goals of the Adopt A School program is for our Indigo stores and high-needs schools to connect with their surrounding community to generate awareness about the Canadian literacy crisis and about the challenges schools and educators face.
  • A large part of what contributes to fundraising success during the run of the Adopt A School campaign rests on building firm partnerships between schools and their supporting Indigo retail partners in executing a unified vision.

This section of the application will give you a chance to express your ideas and capacity for effectively partnering with a neighboring (or remote) store to communicate your story, as well as promote awareness-raising activities within your own school and parent community.

Partnering with an Indigo store: How would you partner with a neighborhood or remotely-located store to bring your school’s story to life?

We work collaborative to develop a partnership that promotes the love of reading and brings our school story to life.
- Fundraising, school production of books marks for customers
- promoting on social media (Instagram)
- working with the store to develop creative initiatives to send out messaging

Generating awareness within your own School and parent community: How would you raise awareness for the Adopt A School program with your members of your School and/or parent community?

Social Media (Instagram), School website, letters home, school generated voice message sent to all families, reach out to our Home and School (parent council) to advertise and send out messaging.
Community partners - we are attached to a recreation center, therefore we can advertise on their community boards.
In school promotion through students generated posters, school announcement, notes in agendas, and class announcements.
Literacy night for families and students.
Reading Challenges - read-a-thong, school wide reading challenge

Date CreatedMay 2, 2022