Archived — Shirley Dalrymple

Year: 2010-2011 – Province: Ontario

Certificate of Excellence Recipient

Shirley Dalrymple

Thornhill Secondary School
167 Dudley Avenue
Thornhill, ON L3T 2E5

Principal: Isabel Schnapp
School Tel.: 905–889–5453
School Fax: 905–889–0360
School Email:
School Website: Thornhill Secondary School

Video Profile

Subjects and grades taught: Applied Math for grade 9, Data Management for grade 12, College Math for grade 12

YouTube meets the calculator in this teacher's classroom. Shirley Dalrymple has teaching math down to a science and her formula isn't that complicated. Mrs. Dalrymple's success lies in her ability to relate to her students through technology to help them write math into a story. After 20 years in the field, she is a source of information and inspiration for her colleagues, who regularly visit her classroom hoping to learn by example.

Teaching approach

A collective agreement hangs on the wall of her classroom. Developed and signed by students, it documents their pledge to take risks, ask questions and be respectful of others. It is also a testament to Mrs. Dalrymple's no-nonsense, but creative and compassionate teaching style, which she re-evaluates and adjusts to suit each student and each class.

Outstanding achievements

  • Mrs. Dalrymple's Counting Stories Project gets creative juices flowing. Students quickly turn abstract formulas into exciting story lines that include probability and counting concepts and principles. Taking the idea one step further, Mrs. Dalrymple entered the student stories in a Math Festival Website, where stories get evaluated by non-math celebrities like Alanis Morrisette.
  • Mrs. Dalrymple was on the team that began the development of online math resources called CLIPS ( Critical Learning Instructional Path Supports (CLIPS) provides teachers with tailored ideas and structured lessons based on research that keep students of all abilities interested and engaged as they develop conceptual understanding.
  • Mrs. Dalrymple is also extremely active in other teacher-development capacities and her impact has been felt at a national level, with her dedication to the Canadian Math Education Study Group—a network of math teachers that researches and discusses math education at all levels.
  • Since Mrs. Dalrymple became head of the math department, student scores in provincial math testing have increased from the 70% range to the 90% range.

Rave reviews

"I am convinced that Mrs. Dalrymple helped me to be a high achieving student surpassing any expectation that I had set for myself. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have known her."

Former student

"We have rarely encountered a teacher with the level of enthusiasm and dedication that Shirley possesses. In all her endeavors she has an unmatched passion and follows projects through with precision, all the while motivating her students to get involved."

Thornhill Secondary School Parent Council

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