St. Bernadette Catholic School from the Durham Catholic District School Board has been recognized by the Education Quality and Accountability Office for creating an inclusive learning environment for special needs students.

The Dr. Bette M. Stephenson Recognition of Achievement Award was given to the school in Ajax, for their ongoing initiative, Student Well-Being and Achievement Team (SWAT). The SWAT team fosters a collaborative and comprehensive learning environment consists of 22 staff members. The initiative helps to build student-teacher relationships to improve students’ well-being. This is done through one-on-one meetings with different students for two minutes every ten days. “We were so thrilled and excited about this award,” said Susie Lee-Fernandes, principal of St. Bernadette Catholic School. “As educators, we have the power to make a difference in students’ lives regardless of their social or economic backgrounds. We created a safe environment that inspires both our students and staff to achieve their personal best in teaching and learning.” The award recognizes school communities across the province that have made effective use of EQAO data to support student achievement. This year, the focus of the program was on the growth of literacy skills of students with special needs. Overall, the school had the highest literacy score.Share this story today to congratulate the ongoing work of staff and students at St. Bernadette Catholic School.