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Toronto Catholic District School Board

Gifted Programme

Gifted and Enrichment Co-Ordinator:
Mr. Michael Da Costa  ‘92
Phone: 416 393 5508 ext. 80017
From Mr. DaCosta:
It’s a very rewarding experience to work with our Gifted students. Each year  we strive to improve the breadth and improve the quality of the Enrichment opportunities that we offer to Brebeuf students. None of these would be possible without the tremendous collaboration and support of all members of our community: administrators, teachers, support staff, guidance counsellors, librarians, and parents. Our Gifted students and those seeking enrichment continue to amaze with their enthusiasm, commitment, and participation. Their success stories bring honour to our school and of that I am proud.
Program Philosophy and Themes:
Our programme philosophy aims to help students to achieve their full potential through L.E.A.D.S.:
Leadership in the school and beyond;
Enrichment activities beyond the classroom;
Academic opportunities with like-minded peers;
Development of talents of the whole person, and;
Social Justice and service to others.
The programme themes are:  Self-Advocacy (Gr. 9), Communications (Gr. 10 & 11) and
Leadership & University Entrance and Scholarships (Gr. 12).
Program Elements :
Brebeuf’s Gifted programme has one of the larger concentrations of Gifted students in the TCDSB.
This year Brebeuf had 36 identified Gifted students. Academic students without an IEP who are interested in enrichment activities are often invited to participate. The number of Gifted students at Brebeuf allows us to offer more regular programme support and activities.
- Each Gifted student is monitored based on his needs as outlined in his I.E.P. and to encourage academic success and involvement. Students can book appointments with the co-ordinator for gifted students at any time for individual counselling.
- Grade meetings are held from time to time to announce important Enrichment activities and to develop skills for student success (i.e. exam study skills, scholarship portfolios, etc).
Brebeuf offers Enriched courses, which move as a faster pace and have more breadth than the Academic or University streams. In 2015-2016, we offered them in the following subjects:
- English (10, 11, 12);
- Mathematics (9, 10, 11);
- Science (9, 10);
- Calculus & Vectors (12);
- Advanced Functions (12).
- By Grade 12, these Enriched courses prepare students to write Advanced Placement Examinations. Students not in Enriched courses can still prepare independently and with teacher assistance (where available) for all AP examinations.
This year, students wrote AP examinations in: English Literature and Composition, English Language and Composition, Calculus AB, Biology, Chemistry, Statistics, Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, World History, and US History.  Students who are successful can earn university credits for their work done at Brebeuf.
- Twenty Brebeuf students participated in a variety of engaging workshops led by university professors and professionals, including: engineering, computer science, Jesuit spirituality, music, scholarships, and effective university essay writing.
- Twenty-five students meet weekly over the year for practice debates, tournament preparation, and skills presentations. Gifted students lead the Debating Society and mentored the younger students.
- Students participated in four Saturday Pro-Con Tournaments, two of which were hosted at Brebeuf.
- Topics for debate included:
·         Space Exploration Should Be Abandoned.
·         Canada's commemoration of the War of 1812 was justified.
·         Awards should only be given to the winners.
·         The Idle No More movement is justified.
·         Teachers should have to perform extracurricular activities.
·         High school dances should ban music containing lyrics that are overtly racist and misogynistic.
·         Physical Education should be mandatory in all four years of high school
- Many students earned community service hours for assisting as timekeepers and statisticians.
- Students were given the opportunity to enter many essay contests, with teacher feedback.
Fifteen students (the majority being Gifted) planned and facilitated the seventh annual Brebeuf Social Justice Symposium for Catholic high school students on the topic: “Youth and Gangs”. The event was held in December at St. Michael’s College at University of Toronto and over 250 students from across the TCDSB attended. Workshops were also run by various groups to encourage students to become active in putting their faith into action in their schools and local communities. These were conducted by Brebeuf and TCDSB students who volunteered in Africa; Canadian Jesuits International; the Society of St. Vincent de Paul; Habitat for Humanity; and Trek for Teens.
This student group meets weekly and is involved in social justice projects, such as:
-         Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace
Sponsoring a child in the Developing World through Chalice: Christian Child Care International
-         raising funds for the Brother Lawrence Maher Fund for Africa, a fund to support schools in Ghana in honour of our former Principal and a true embodiment of our school’s ethos of forming “men for others”.
- Gifted students are encouraged to put their thoughts and ideas into writing in Brebeuf’s own newspaper. For some this is their stepping stone into careers in professional journalism.
- Grade 12 students received tips, proofreading assistance, and letters of reference in applying for university programmes and scholarships.
- Grade 9 ,10, 11 and 12 Gifted students receive a mini-workshop on applying for scholarships and creating a scholarship portfolio.
- Students in Grade 9 were advised that their IEP’s will allow them to substitute Grade 10 Career Studies and Civics for other courses that they need in order to fulfil career and university goals. Students who substitute these courses receive mini-classes on valuable aspects of the Career Studies and Civics  curricula.
- Forty-five students attended the Catholic Student United Nationals Assembly (C.S.U.N.A.). Students represented countries in mock simulations of the U.N. and honed their skills in debating, research, writing, and public speaking. Students wrote resolution papers on world issues and argued their merits in committees and in front of the whole Assembly. Over 500 students from across the TCDSB participated in CSUNA.
- Fifte
en Brebeufians also volunteered as assistants at CSUNA and helped the ladies of SJMP run this phenomenal learning opportunity.
- Two issues of the IQ@B Newsletter highlighting Enrichment activities and opportunities were produced and delivered to all students.
- A website to promote the Gifted Programme is online –
- A bulletin board near the library also promoted events and activities to the student body
A new facebook group was established: “Brebeuf College School Gifted Programme”.
- Our Gifted students ran workshops for their elementary school Gifted peers in such areas as public speaking and social justice.
- Based on a similar programme in the Irish Presentation Brothers’ schools, this awards scheme recognizes students who perform twenty hours or more of volunteer service to their communities and reflect on it in light of their faith and the life of Bl. Edmund Rice. It is an excellent way for students to show they are “Men for Others”, the goal of a Brebeuf education.
Brebeuf Gifted students serve as judges for the science fair projects of their elementary school peers. This provides a valuable service to one of our local feeder schools and develops critical thinking, communication, and leadership skills in the students.
Thirty students were chosen as prefects. These students; model good behaviour and comportment; represent the student body as ushers and tour guides; perform other duties as asked. Next year, these students will be “upper year buddies” to the Grade 9 students to act as mentors, tutors, and sources of information.
Alumni were invited back to speak to the Gr. 12 students about their post-secondary experiences and offer advice and mentorship.
Gifted students with an interest in history have begun organizing and filing our school’s Archives in preparation for the school’s 50th Anniversary.
"Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire." - W.B. Yeats