Harrison Trimble High School (2023)

  1. PLC Story
  2. PLC Practices
  3. Achievement Data
  4. Awards
  5. Resources


Since opening in 1961, Harrison Trimble High School teachers have always prioritized student learning, a culture of collaboration, and a focus on results. It is something that we continue to be known for, despite the challenges faced by our unique situation of being Moncton’s only inner-city school with a population that represents a wide variety of socio-economic disparities. However, maintaining consistency and momentum has proven a sometimes insurmountable task.

The concept of Professional Learning Communities was first introduced to our district in 2009. For nine years prior, our administration team had a high turnover rate, which persisted for some time. It would not be an exaggeration to say that we have had a different administration team for 20 consecutive years. New administrators would come and go, and with them, different philosophical and pedagogical beliefs about education were introduced and abandoned. Our focus changed yearly, and gaining any degree of traction was almost impossible. As a result, maintaining a consistent school-wide focus on student learning was often derailed because of inconsistencies that existed between grade levels, content areas, and teachers. Because of this, our Professional Learning Communities floundered. Further, a provincial wellness survey indicated that our students were becoming less and less engaged as learners.

In 2020 our present administration team was formed, and significant and positive changes were made. Our present day School Improvement Plan was also created.  This provincially mandated document ensures a focus on continuous improvement, a school wide focus on specific initiatives, staff engagement, and ongoing monitoring of progress towards identified goals. One of our School Improvement Goals was to help our students become self-determined and capable learners who have the agency to act in their own lives. This was realized through standards-based learning and assessment; strong, cohesive, and collaborative PLCs; and the creation of  a continuum of goals related to our School Improvement Plan that pave the way forward to future growth. While some tenacious and curious teachers had already been implementing a standards-based approach in small departmental cohorts, this was far from a school-wide approach. As our principal, Gary Wilson, likes to say, “There were many beautiful gardens, but they were separated by fences.” This has now changed, and the fences have been removed.

Since then, our school administration, leadership team, and teachers have worked in collaboration to develop competency-based learning targets, and in partnership with students, achievement standards that are assessed, evaluated, and reported using the school-wide achievement scale. Our professional learning is designed to strategically support this goal, and so too, is the time spent working within our grade and content areas teams. Not only have we engaged experts like Tom Schimmer to support us on this journey, but we have also benefited from the expertise of our many talented teachers who willingly share their ideas on backwards design, exemplar collection and creation, rated reliability, and more. District-led experts and a supportive senior staff from our district office have also paved the way to our present-day success. Teachers and students have presented to pre-service teachers at one of our local universities on standards-based learning and assessment. We learn from each other and do so during our regularly scheduled PLC meeting times, informally in the hallways, more formally on professional learning day, and during our annual Trojan Learning Week held in August before school reopens in the fall. Embedded within is a switch towards a growth mindset, a realization that our professional autonomy is valued, a focus on a common goal, and dedicated time to reflect on where we were, where we are headed, and how exactly we will get there.

1. Monitoring student learning on a timely basis.

In our province, the prescribed curriculum is provincially mandated, and teachers are expected to deliver the curriculum as written. However, in response to the reduced learning time presented by COVID-19 school closures, the New Brunswick Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (EECD) released prioritized curriculum for select high school courses and created a guideline document outlining how teachers might write their own prioritized curriculum. This guideline supported our school’s work in moving towards standards-based learning and assessment, and Harrison Trimble teachers began to closely examine course curricula and re-envision the outcomes as Big and Supporting Ideas.

Big Ideas are overarching statements about what students are expected to learn within a course, whereas Supporting Ideas are statements that identify specific concepts and related skills underpinned by the understanding and knowledge attained by students as required. In creating Big and Supporting Ideas for each course, we ensured that the Big and Supporting Ideas had endurance, leverage, and helped to develop student readiness. It was important that our students be able to retain the knowledge and the skills over time as opposed to merely learning it for an assessment. Equally important to us was that the proficiency represented by the standard supported the student in other curricular areas and academic disciplines and that they were essential in the next unit, course, or grade.

By using the same Big and Supporting Ideas for each course and the same method to assess and evaluate student work, students have become much more assessment capable. They routinely use self-assessments to identify both strengths and areas for growth in their work and to plan for the “next steps” needed to ensure continual growth. Teachers use common formative assessments, provide feedback that is timely, specific, actionable, and achievable, and monitor student growth. By setting the same standards in every classroom, students have become more engaged learners. We have seen increases in our attendance rates, a significant increase in our success rates, and students enrolled in more courses at the enriched level. Students have also begun to seek opportunities for a more personalized approach to learning.

Monitoring student learning is critical for fostering self-determined and capable learners with agency to act in their own lives. To do this, Harrison Trimble teachers have employed a multi-pronged approach that allows them to more readily meet the needs of each of their students and also allows students to monitor their own progress. This has been made possible because of our strong PLCs.

• Teachers plan with the end in mind. Each teacher works with their content area and grade-level colleagues to plan using backwards design. They consider the learning activities and how to teach the content, develop assessments around these activities, draw connections to the learning goals, and reflect on whether their students learned, how they know this, and how they will improve the lesson design to ensure student learning.

• Teachers have designated the Depth of Knowledge (DOK) level required for each Supporting Idea. This has helped to clarify how deeply students must know, understand, and be aware of their learning progress. By doing so, teachers have successfully aligned their assessment practices and success criteria.

• Teachers use common formative assessments to ensure a consistent focus for learning and to provide timely and actionable feedback to students.

• Teachers routinely involve students in the self-assessment process. Engaging students in this process and providing them with the necessary skills to become assessment capable learners fosters a sense of ownership over their achievements. It also helps students plan out the next steps for improvement, become accustomed to articulating what they know, what they need to know, and how to get there in their learning, and increases motivation, giving students the necessary tools to monitor their own progress.


2. Creating systems of intervention to provide students with additional time and support for learning.


Systems have been created and refined to support all learners within our school; at the center of this lies our well-established Response to Intervention. Classroom teachers provide regular feedback to students and engage parents/guardians through email or online platforms such as Brightspace to communicate information related to a student’s academic success. Because teachers routinely monitor student progress, they can provide swift interventions when needed. There are several additional options available beyond Tier One that are responsive to students’ needs. Lunchtime academic support and Saturday school provide venues for students to focus on their studies while receiving directed support from staff members. Students are referred to both supports but may also self-refer. Supporting students to become assessment capable and grow as independent learners remains a focus.

Students who frequently use these academic supports may be referred to one of our three mini teams based on their need profile. A mini team consists of an administrator, a school counselor, and an educational support teacher in resource. Together, they analyze specific data related to individual students and plan for further intervention. This may include placement in our “Trojan Learning Centre” or a referral to Integrated Support Services (ISD). This service allows us to quickly tap into the support provided by external organizations such as Social Development and Youth Care workers.

 For students who would benefit from extensions, opportunities have always been created for them. One of our three School Improvement Goals focuses on encouraging students to take advantage of personalized learning opportunities. We strive to offer many varied opportunities, including Cooperative Education classes, Essential Skills Apprenticeship Programs, Personal Interest courses, Advanced Placement courses, and independent studies. We have also increased the number of specialty and work-ready courses offered. Because 25% of our students are newcomers from over 46 different countries, we also offer an abundance of English as an Additional Language courses to meet their needs as learners. Partnering with community organizations has also increased our ability to offer even more personalized learning opportunities for our students.


3. Building teacher capacity to work as members of high performing collaborative teams that focus efforts on improved learning for all students.

We recognized early on that our focus on student learning and the use of a standards-based approach could only be achieved by building teacher capacity and autonomy. Our content and grade-level teams meet formally twice monthly, although informal meetings happen several times a week for most collaborative teams. During these meetings, teachers plan for student learning using backward design. This includes planning assessments, both formative and summative, that allow students to show their understanding of each Supporting Idea and that also allow for multiple means of representation.  Teachers also create and collect exemplars, co-grade regularly, and review student achievement data. Like students, teachers often have varying levels of expertise and understanding of topics including standards-based learning and assessment, depth of knowledge, backward design, and so on. Building teacher capacity in these areas has played an integral part in our success. Our school’s administrators also meet with all teachers at the beginning of each semester to discuss School Improvement goals, instruction, and assessment.

In addition to regularly scheduled content and grade-level meetings and highly focused professional learning that takes place throughout the year, teachers are encouraged to attend Trojan Learning Week in the summer. This is a time for extended professional learning that supports our School Improvement Plan and is designed and presented by teachers on staff. At Trimble, teacher collaboration extends far beyond our content and grade-level teams. Although optional, Trojan Learning Week is widely attended by veteran teachers, new to the profession teachers, and teachers new to our school with over 144 teachers attending over the three-day period this year alone. Topics covered during this year’s session included Depth of Knowledge, Big and Supporting Ideas, and Backwards Design. Collaborative time is also an embedded and integral component of Trojan Learning Week.

Further, an invitation has been extended to teachers to collaborate in highly focused teams throughout the year to actively  support all aspects of our School Improvement Plan. These groups delve into areas such as feedback, self-assessment, and goal setting by conducting research on best practices, gathering feedback from fellow teachers on their current practice, and by reaching out to students regarding their needs as learners. Information is collected, analyzed, synthesized, and shared with staff.  By engaging in this process, not only do we  increase teacher capacity, but also empower teachers to have a voice and a sense of ownership  as a team regarding how we achieve our School Improvement Plan goals.


Award / Recognition


Trojan Trek begins*


Girls Rugby Provincial Champions


Sidney Crosby graduates from HTHS.


Cheerleading Provincial Champions

Olympic Torch Bearers


Cheerleading Provincial Champions

Winner Touchdown Atlantic **

Trevor Nason, teacher, is awarded the Discovery Channel Iron Science Award.

2012, 2017, & 2019

First place in the Greater Moncton Music Festival High School Choir Category


Girls Soccer Provincial Champions


A small group of Harrison Trimble Teachers present at the provincial Principals’ Conference, Fredericton, NB.


First place in the Greater Moncton Santa Claus Parade high school category. Two-time winner of Best Float Overall.


Boys Hockey Provincial Champions


A small group of Harrison Trimble Teachers present at the International Deeper Learning Conference, Moncton, NB.


Peter Zhu, student, is a provincial finalist for the Youth Entrepreneurship Provincial Finalist for the Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge (YEC) Issued by Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge.


Art Moore, teacher, publishes Shatter the Glass, Shards of Flame.


Colleen Simmonds, teacher, contributes to Inside the Classroom.


Peter Zhu, student, provincial champion – Canadian Parents for French Oratory Competition


First place in the Greater Moncton Music Festival High School Band Category


Peter Zhu, student

  • Recipient of a gold medal and New Brunswick Representative at the Canada-Wide Science Fair Gold Medal and New Brunswick Representative at the Canada-Wide Science Fair Issued by Youth Science Canada.


  • Euclid Mathematics Contest Distinction winner issued by University of Waterloo - Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing.


  • Ranked highest of all students competing at Harrison Trimble High School. Awarded for being in the top 25% of all participants worldwide.


  • Nominated Team Canada Representative for the MILSET Expo-Sciences International Selected to represent Canada at the 2019 MILSET Expo-Sciences International event in Abu Dhabi, UAE.



Camden Douthwright and Natalie Maillard, students, publish pandemic themed anthology featuring literary work created by teens from across the globe titled Project Unimaginable.


2020 - 2022

Fill the Bus Campaign *** winner for the Greater Moncton area high schools. Raises over $36000 in donations in 2022.

2020 - Present

Only high school in New Brunswick using standards-based instruction and assessment school-wide.



Doug Stewart, teacher, travels to Adelaide, Australia to represent Anglophone East School District, New Brunswick, and Canada at the 2022 World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education.   Mr. Stewart presented a one-hour experiential workshop entitled “Follow the Sun - The Power of the Sharing Circle” and virtual presentation entitled “Bannock and Bridge Building.”


Janet Sanford, a retired teacher, publishes the book, Memories on the Bounty.



77% pass rate for all AP courses offered. 100 % pass rate in AP English


Wrestling provincial champions


Hosted Horizons Conference (student led leadership conference).


Cyber Titan team wins gold at local competition, earns a spot to compete at the national level. Ranked second nationally of 144 teams.


* Trojan Trek- For many years, students at Harrison Trimble High School have been following the Trek motto "Kids Helping Kids". The fundraiser was started in 1981 when a student required treatment that was not available in North America and had to go to Germany. Since then, the student council has organized countless events to raise money to support The Moncton Hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. The students' achievements are recognized during the annual "trek" from the school to the hospital. However, due to the pandemic last fall, the trek was cancelled. Currently, HTHS students are working hard to continue raising funds, which have exceeded $300,000 since the Trek's inception.


** Touchdown Atlantic - a collection of Canadian Football League games played in neutral locations across the Maritime Provinces of Canada. As part of the lead-up to the CFL game, the local high schools participate in a spirit competition during their respective school’s football games.


*** Fill the Bus Campaign- a community initiative in the Greater Moncton Area to collect food donations and funds for the local food bank. It is worth noting that about 32% of the individuals who benefit from the NB Food Banks are children. School food programs rely heavily on donations, grants, and partnerships to operate. The Food Depot Alimentaire provides fresh food to our schools on a weekly or bi-weekly basis without any charge.