How We Meet the Diverse Needs of Our Students
Madonna is a highly diverse school community which strives to provide a common bond for its diverse population in several ways.
The most evident bond in the school community comes from a shared sense of Catholic values provided through the environment of a Catholic school. Students are provided with a rich curriculum of religious studies supported by a co-curricular program consisting of school and class liturgies, retreats, community outreach, linkage with our local parish (St. Philip Neri),peer helping, peer mediation, and daily prayer. The code of behaviour, which is consistent with the Toronto Catholic District School Board's Progressive Discipline policy, provides a safe and welcoming learning environment and demands that all staff and students treat one another with respect. The care with which all students are treated is evident in our close monitoring of school attendance with its attendant follow-up procedures of personal counseling and collaboration with parents, staff, and outside support staff. Continuous parental contact ensures that school and home work as partners in the educational process of each student.
Curriculum initiatives are ongoing at Madonna. Madonna's grade 9 and 10 courses are expressed in terms of learning outcomes and integration is occurring in various ways: a team-teaching approach; collaboration between art, music, and drama teachers; opportunities between science and math teachers for connections to be made; integrating technology into the learning experience in all subject areas; and a three-phase orientation program for all grade 9 students.
One of the school goals relates to integrating technology more fully into the learning process at Madonna. Staff has worked hard to identify technology goals in all courses. Madonna students regularly participate in science fairs, match contests, and projects such as those sponsored by Connaught in its annual Student Biotechnology Exhibition. In-house staff development has produced a high degree of staff computer literacy. Madonna has four computer labs and all students are given the fundamentals of basic computer applications in grade 9.
Madonna provides an English as a second language program to meet the individual needs of students new to Canada, with an orientation session each June to familiarize new ESL students to the school.
Madonna also has a fully integrated special education program, where qualified special education teachers and teaching assistants work together with classroom teachers to provide supports and accommodations according to student needs. Enrichment is provided for gifted students through differentiated learning opportunities and/or enrichment activities such as lectures, seminars, advanced placement programs, university mentorship, and (inter)national exchange programs to name but a few.
Finally, all students at Madonna are strongly encouraged to become involved in the clubs and sports teams that operate each year. It is evident to all who enter Madonna CSS that this is a thriving community where academic excellence and co-curricular participation are key components of school life.
Specialist High Skills Major - Healthcare
Madonna Catholic Secondary School is only one of the few schools in the Toronto Catholic District School Board which is currently offering a Specialist High Skills Major Program in the area of Health and Wellness. The school was granted this designation from the Ministry of Education in recognition of the excellent academic opportunities available to students. Students acquire skills and experiences which will assist them in their various postsecondary pathways: university, college, apprenticeship training or the workplace. A Specialist High Skills Major is a program that combines Ministry defined required credits, sector recognized certifications, and career relevant training in order to expose students to careers in the growing health care field.
Our students have the opportunity to take their courses in an authentic clinical environment using current medical equipment. We are also fortunate to have a practicing Doctor of Chiropractic medicine on staff. The students are also exposed to a variety of professionals in the health care field through classroom presentations, reach-ahead opportunities, and certification training. Madonna has been fortunate to have forged community partnerships with a number of health care providers such as St. Michael’s Hospital, Mount Sinai Hospital, Hospital for Sick Children, and George Brown College.
Our goal as a comunity has always been to encourage our young women to be compassionate and caring members of society. To that end, the Health Care Pathway has been the perfect fit for our students. We feel confident that our students will be equipped with the skills and knowledge they will need to excel in their post-secondary destinations.