A great community requires great amenities in order to thrive and provide for its residents. That is why we love to hear stories like that of St. Matthew Catholic Elementary School in our Summerlea community. Built in 2010 St. Matthew School in Binbrook, just on the outskirts of Hamilton, is one of the first elementary schools in the province to employ a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) designation. The building’s design portrays the excellence and innovation that has come to be expected of its staff and students.
Innovations in Green Building
In order to achieve LEED certification, a building must obtain a certain level of ‘points’ in various categories. These points can be achieved by building with green materials, having green features or providing technology and landscaping that encourages green behavior after construction is complete.
For St. Matthew School, the LEED certification was achieved by initiatives such as providing bicycle racks and pathways to encourage walkers and riders as well as shading heat-generating paved areas with tree canopies. As we move into the building, there are expertly placed windows encouraging natural light and ventilation, with sunscreens to reduce heat in the summer. High windows along the central gymnasium provide light to both the facility and the corridors throughout.
Other LEED features include light censors that turn off when there is no movement and automatically adjust to the amount of natural light available. Solar panels heat water and generate electricity and low consumption plumbing features will reduce the amount of water waste. Other building features offer educational value, such as an outdoor classroom beside the secondary storey green roof and monitoring systems both in classrooms and in the corridors, where students can monitor or observe their energy consumption.
Excellence in Teaching
In addition to the healthy learning environment provided, St. Matthew has established a reputation for teaching excellence. Every year, The Learning Partnership picks 40 individuals in the country to commemorate their commitment to innovation, entrepreneurial spirit and creativity in finding solutions and opportunities. In 2015, St. Matthew’s principal, Ms. Flora Nordoff was named one of Canada’s Outstanding Principals. In addition to joining the ranks of this prestigious distinction, Ms. Nordoff also benefited from a five day leadership training program at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management.
Having built a successful school culture of inclusion at her previous school, Ms. Nordoff was tasked with recreating a similar culture at St. Matthew. Nominated by her peers and staff, it could not be clearer that Ms. Nordoff has had a profound impact on achieving just that. Candidates are chosen using a number of criteria, including innovative leadership, partnership with staff, parents and community and examples of successful change. The praise and support for her nomination from her staff, peers and the larger community made it immediately evident that Ms. Nordoff exemplified this criterion.
Superintendent of Education, Gus Hubbard, nominated Ms. Nordoff for the award, stating her effective use of student data to inform teaching and learning resulted in a 30 percent increase in Grade 6 EQAO reading assessment scores. Mr. Adrian DeTullio, Principal of St. John the Baptist Catholic Elementary School said in a letter supporting the nomination, “Good principals not only have a positive influence on their own schools, but impact other principals as well as other school communities”. Hamilton Police Service School Resource Officer Perry Mason spoke to Ms. Nordoff’s obvious devotion to her students, her commitment to collaboration with Hamilton Police and the City of Hamilton in Restorative Justice practices.
We’d like to congratulate Ms. Nordoff and St. Matthew School in Binbrook for its wonderful achievements over the years and for the work they will continue to perform in bettering for their students and community.