Dr. Mary Jean Gallagher, Education Consultant and Speaker.  Topic: Education and Literacy: At Home and Around the World.
Marcela Diaz had a unique way of delivering the 4-way test: She asked everyone to close their eyes when reciting, to see if everyone knew them by heart. The result? Some flubs, but on the whole, it looks like most everyone has them down pat!
We were honoured to have Dr. Mary Jean Gallagher as our guest speaker at the last meeting. Her talk focused on 3 areas: Education in Ontario, Canada and Internationally. As the former Chief Student Achievement Officer and Assistant Deputy Minister of Student Achievement for Ontario, she has incredible insight into education in Ontario and Canada, and as an active Rotarian, member and former president of Rotary Club of Roseland since 1991, she has used her skills to help bring education and literacy to areas in need internationally. “Education is a golden ticket – it’s a ticket to not only be able to read, but a way to access the world around us.”
The audience was happy to hear her positivity with regards to our education system: “Our schools are really good!” Under Dr. Gallagher’s leadership, student achievement, literacy, numeracy and high school graduation rates rose in Ontario and the achievement gaps for students experiencing challenges to learning narrowed. She referenced PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) scores which tests 15-year-old students from all over the world in reading, mathematics and science. As of 2015, Canada was second in Literacy (just behind Singapore), tenth in math and 5th in science – out of 72 countries! She also referenced Ontario grade 8 scores relative to the rest of Canada; as of 2015, Ontario scored #1 in literacy, #2 in math (behind Quebec) and #2 in science (behind Alberta). These results are definitely something to be proud of.
During Walter’s introduction, he stated that Mary Jean had helped establish a new university in Brazil's upper west region in 2010. She also led a VTT team in Jirapa, Upper West region of Ghana, Africa, where she saw first-hand the need for help. Resources are required, including not only textbooks, but classrooms as well. She showed a picture of kindergarteners learning outside, because there are only enough classrooms for grades 1 through 3. She told Dr. Godfrey, who was in the audience, that “we will build those extra rooms!”

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