Fraser Report: Monarch Park Collegiate
the fastest improving school in the Toronto area
Michael Addison hops on a red Louis Garneau stationary bike and begins pedalling while poring over exponential functions in his textbook.
The 25 students in the Grade 11 university-level math class don't even bat an eye as the teen raises his hand to answer a question, still pedalling. For them, it's class as usual - exercise bikes in the classrooms are education tools at Monarch Park Collegiate.
"Students come to class with a lot of energy and it's hard to focus sometimes," explained math teacher Vidak Curic. "If they're on the bike for five or 10 minutes, it burns off the energy and allows for more focus. Math is a language and you really have to focus on it."
The dozen bikes are found in different classrooms including science and English classes. They're available for anyone to use, but it's mainly the kids in Grade 9 and 10 tend to use them.
"Instead of sitting around and hitting a pen and annoying other students, you just hop on the bike and it doesn't make any noise and lose some of the extra energy you have," said Jermaine Scott, 15, who used the bikes in his Grade 9 math class last year. "Physical activity is something I really enjoy and mixed with something I might not enjoy as much (math), it makes me more interested."
Monarch Park, located at Coxwell Ave. and Hanson St., is listed in this year's Fraser Institute Secondary School Report Card as one of the fastest improving schools in the Toronto area with a score of 6.7 out of 10. In 2007, the school was at 1.1 and over the past five years has been making annual gains.
Curic tries to apply technology wherever he can in his math classes. He teaches using a SMART Board and runs a blog where students can check in on homework assignments and tutorials.
"All my examples, all my theories are on a blog site and students have a chance to print out that lesson and come to class prepared," he said. "Parents love it. They can keep track of where we are throughout the semester. If a student misses a class, they can print it out and keep a record."
Monarch Park also runs a textbook clinic, which helps students better understand how to use the books.
"A lot of them find (textbooks) frustrating," said Ana-Marija Skiljevic, a tutor at the clinic. "It's not that they don't know science or understand it; it's that they don't know how to read the textbook in an efficient manner."
Much love and thanks goes out to all the MPC staff and students who came out and participated in this very worthwhile endeavour. Thank you for all your energy, enthusiasm and undying support. MPC's halls is indeed filled with such amazingly wonderful and caring people. This was a blast to put together. Let's do it again next year :)
Click here to read CBC News (April 1): Toronto tops list of highest and fastest-improving schools.
Click here to read City News Toronto (April 1): Several GTA schools 'most improved' in Fraser Institute Ontario high-school ranking.