Our Team - Dr Doug WIllms Classroom

Dr. Doug Willms was awarded Professor Emeritus distinction at this morning’s UNB Graduation.

Our founder, Dr. Doug Willms was  awarded Professor Emeritus distinction at this morning’s UNB Graduation. The University of New Brunswick has awarded Professors Emeriti distinctions to four of its retired professors who have served the university with great distinction. Doug is one of four professors to received this prestigious award. Click here for more information:


Congratulations Doug, we are all so proud of you!

Our Team - Dr Doug WIllms Classroom
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ACCESS WEBINAR: Capture the demographic data of your student population

Access our webinar to find out more about how OurSCHOOL is being used to capture equity data to comply with Demographic Data Project and Anti-Racism Data Standards.

At The Learning Bar we have surveyed over 1.2 M students throughout Ontario and have learned a great many things in doing so. We are sharing some of that knowledge to help you make an informed decision around how to capture your demographic data. Our aim is to ensure that districts have the right data to get real insight into the climate of inclusivity, diversity, and equity within their schools. So before you look elsewhere for a survey platform or consider creating an independent survey, ask yourself these key questions.

Will your solution include powerful, integrated data analysis that will provide you with the information you need to make evidence-based decisions?
Will it be based on leading education and child development research to ensure your results capture key factors that impact child outcomes?
Will it be fully supported by an experienced team of researchers, implementation staff, and literacy experts to assist with any survey set-up or theme-based questions you may have?
Will it be robust enough to allow you to run provincial and school norm comparisons that can be used to contextualize results and determine what is going well and what can be improved.
Will it be compliant to the legislative requirements of Ontario’s Anti-Racism Act; PPM 144: Bullying Prevention and Intervention; and Anti-Racism Data Standards. If not, who can you ask?!
Will it be based on an easy and flexible platform that integrates with your preferred source of data.

Creating independent survey solutions has provided many school divisions with specific data for their needs, but for provincial reporting requirements, this may not be sufficient. Access the webinar now to find out how the OurSCHOOL survey now meets all the legislative requirements outlined by the Government of Ontario.

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The OurSCHOOL survey now meets the legislative requirements of Ontario’s Anti-Racism Act; PPM 144: Bullying Prevention and Intervention; and Anti-Racism Data Standards.

Canada’s largest school climate survey now meets the legislative requirements outlined by the Government of Ontario. To help school divisions achieve their equity and inclusivity goals, The Learning Bar has added 13 new demographics to the OurSCHOOL secondary student survey.


۰ Grade
۰ Sex
۰ Sex Inclusive
۰ Gender Identity
۰ Language Spoken at Home
۰ Grade Repetition
۰ Immigrant Status
۰ Indigenous Status
۰ Disability
۰ Change School
۰ Race
۰ Religion


۰ Socio-Economic Factors
۰ Age
۰ Sexual Orientation
۰ Gender Expression

۰ Ethnic Origin
۰ Canadian Identity
۰ LGBTQ2S+ Ally


۰ Language First Spoken
۰ Indigenous Identity
۰ Canadian Status
۰ Disability
۰ Sexual Orientation

One survey… multiple solutions

Out of the box, the OurSCHOOL student survey reveals insights into the climate of inclusivity, diversity, and equity within your division. Students’ differing experiences of engagement, sense of belonging, bullying, safety, and well-being tell a rich and compelling story.

Click here to find out more about the suite of powerful reporting on School Climate Measures, Demographic Factors, and Demographic Drilldowns.

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Becoming a reader in 75 days

Learn how to strengthen your childs’ reading skills in 75 days!

We are proud to announce a new course for parents and caregivers of children aged 4 to 6 who want to learn the core strategies for supporting their child in becoming a reader. 

This course ‘Becoming a reader in 75 days’ equips caregivers with the knowledge and sequence of foundational reading skills and provides fun and engaging activities for teaching children at home.

Click here to find out more.

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Understand the impact of COVID-19 within your school community

Stronger together

Are you prepared to support the well-being and learning of staff and students as they return back to the classroom?  As schools reopen, getting a pulse of students’, caregivers’ and educators’ experiences during this time will be essential to re-engage the school community and drive student learning. We know that you are facing a pivotal point in education and we want to ensure that you have the information necessary to start the school year prepared. 

In June we reached out to parents, students, and educators to get a complete picture of what they were experiencing and received valuable feedback. Using this information and the limited research available we have created the new OurSCHOOL ‘Transition Back to School’ module.

Click here to find out more.

Be informed.

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Early Years Evaluation - Direct Assessment - Child with caregiver

Educator Insights videos: Sharing knowledge and expertise

We have recently completed a series of interviews with our wonderful customers to explore their experiences of using The Learning Bar solutions. We are proud to share these Educator Insights videos with you.

Find out how educators are using the Confident Learners Literacy Program to make meaningful gains in student literacy and graduation rates and how the Early Years Evaluation and OurSCHOOL are being used to better meet the needs of children, families and educators.


Literacy Development

Find out what other educators are doing to improve graduation rates and how they are using data to make meaningful gains in literacy development.


Early Years Development

Hear educators discuss how they are using their EYE data to inform classroom instruction and put appropriate interventions in place as children prepare for kindergarten.


School Improvement and Planning

Watch video testimonials from educators discussing how they are achieving positive and practical change in their schools to create an environment where all students can thrive.

Contact us if you would like to find out more.

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Early Years Evaluation - Teacher Assessment - Girl leafing through book

Teaching children to read. Common questions answered!

Webinar:  March 11,  3:45 MDT

Join us as we address common instructional questions related to teaching reading and strategies to support students at different stages of reading development. Common questions to be discussed include:

• What are the differences between phonological awareness, phonemic awareness, and phonics and why are they important?

• How do children learn to automatically recognize words and read fluently?

• How do we teach children to comprehend texts they read?

A question and answer session will follow.

Participants are encouraged to click on this link and submit their questions in advance of the webinar.

About the Presenter Dr. St. Croix

Dr. Norma St. Croix is an educational consultant and researcher in the areas of assessment and data literacy, professional learning, literacy and numeracy. She has over 20 years of successful teaching experience and 12 years in educational leadership roles in rural and urban schools. For the past 6 years, she’s been working with The Learning Bar, focusing on developing educators’ skills assessing and teaching early literacy skills with the Confident Learners program.

The Learning Bar is passionate about reducing global vulnerability and giving all children the opportunity to thrive. To do this, we provide tools in three primary areas: The early identification of learning needs, the transition from learning-to-read to reading-to-learn, and evidence-based school improvement.

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Are you going to the Reading for the Love of It conference in Toronto on 20-21 February?

We’ll be there! Contact Christine Hole to connect now.





How do children learn to read?

Webinar: March 4, 3:45: 5:00 EST – Common questions answered!

We’ll be following up the conference with a webinar led by literacy expert, Dr. Norma St Croix, addressing common instructional questions educators have about reading.

For example, have you ever wondered…..


  • if all phonics programs include phonemic awareness instruction?
  • if sight words should be taught by memorization?
  • what orthographic mapping is and how it enables students to recognize words?
  • if you should use levelled readers, decodable texts, or authentic texts to teach reading fluency?






Find out the answers to these questions and more. If you are a literacy lead or an educator responsible for teaching reading, this will be a great opportunity to engage directly with one of our experts. Have a question of your own? Let us know and we will attempt to address it in this or future webinars.



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Blog - Educational Prosperity - Looking Beyond Equality to Equity

Educational Prosperity: Looking Beyond Equality to Equity.

By J. Douglas Willms, President of The Learning Bar Inc.

The educational prosperity framework that I introduced in a recent blog provides an essential structure for understanding the holistic and cumulative ways that children develop, learn and thrive. The benefits of the framework are hardly theoretical: they provide an important and practical guide for ways that monitoring data can—and should—be used to create smarter and more effective policies to help young people thrive.

It’s time to rethink our policy model until now, for no other reason than the less-than-impressive stagnation of global reading scores over the last 15 years. The educational prosperity framework advocates for reliance on monitoring data, as well as a frequent—and early—collection of indicators. These can be used to target policies at the local and national level that bring us closer towards the global education goal (SDG 4). We need to move away from a cause-and-effect model that tries to attribute outcomes to a specific intervention and instead recognize that multiple, nonlinear events lead to change. As education practitioners from around the world meet next week in Hamburg for the Global Alliance to Monitor Learning (GAML), it is critical to focus on the link between the smart use of data and policies that provide an opportunity for all.

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OurSCHOOL Parent Survey - Educators reviewing results for school planning

Attending the QESBA / AAESQ Spring Conference May 24 – 25?

Visit us at booth 29!

We’ll be at this annual event alongside administrators from the English school boards across Quebec. We met some of you at our April OurSCHOOL Survey workshop at the Lester B. Pearson board offices and are keen to reconnect with you, as well as touch base with those who weren’t able to make it. We had some great conversations about how to dig into and share survey results with the aim of prompting informed discussions around data analysis and incorporating the resulting ideas into your success plans.

Bring your data along and come and discuss using OurSCHOOL to improve outcomes at your school. If you’d like to set up a specific time to meet during the event, please email me directly. We look forward to seeing you there.

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