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Toronto Catholic District School Board

Senator O’Connor College School:

TCDSB Regional Congregated Advanced Placement Centre


 Gifted Program


The Gifted program enables young people to expand and enrich their high school experience through a variety of learning opportunities.  The program is designed for students who have been identified as Gifted by the Toronto Catholic District School Board or students who achieve excellent marks in school and would like an extra challenge.  Students who participate in the Gifted program have a multitude of opportunities, both in the school and outside. 

Each Gifted student is supported on a personalized pathway towards higher education. At Senator O’Connor College School, we value the development of successful scholars, critical thinkers, creative problem solvers and proactive caring members of community. The degree of participation in the program is individualized to meet each student’s needs and interests; many of our Gifted students study at the Advanced Placement level but this is not a mandatory requirement. See below for more information on the myriad of enrichment activities available.

Advanced Placement

The Gifted/AP program provides students with the opportunity for academic enrichment. At Senator O’Connor, a select cohort of students studies at the AP (Enriched) level in Core Courses from Grade 9 through 12. Students enter this program through an application process undertaken in Grade 8. Students in AP courses study topics in greater depth, enhancing their intellectual development. A flexible program, it can be tailored to meet the specific needs of each individual; students have the opportunity to participate in specific AP subjects in their fields of interest. Students are exposed to university level content and expectations, allowing them to feel more comfortable and have more confidence once they reach the academically challenging setting of university. Writing AP College Board exams at the end of Grade 12 can lead to the acquisition of equivalent credits in participating universities in Canada, the United States and overseas.


Our OCS AP Alumni Registry offers a glimpse of our graduate network. You can see what Senator O'Connor College School AP Alumni  are accomplishing out in the world!




Senator O'Connor College School AP Family Movie-Trailer
AP Family Movie Trailer​
Senator O'Connor College School AP Family Movie- Long version

Recent AP Newsletters
Overview of Gifted/Enrichment Activities
Model United Nations

OCS students have been introduced to global affairs at various annual simulations including Harvard Model United Nations in Boston. Mirroring the actual workings of the United Nations, these conferences introduce students to the world of diplomacy and negotiation. Students draft resolutions, debate policy initiatives and resolve conflicts while coming up with innovative solutions to world problems.


We often go to Boston by air for one week to attend Harvard Model United Nations at the end of January. We visit Boston and the Harvard campus between hours of committee work with students from all over the world. More than 3000 students attend this event from more than 30 countries. We stay at the Boston Sheraton on Dalton St. The cost of the trip is approximately $1300. Our students have received more than $14,000 in financial aid from Harvard over the past  nine years and have won three prestigious awards.

Also locally we attend CHAMUN:  Chaminade Model United Nations, North York Civic Centre, Oct. 29-30, 2018. Cost: $35.00

Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test or PSAT is a three hour optional exam, written at O’Connor annually in October. This multiple choice style exam, testing Mathematics and Language skills, prepares Grades 9-11 students for future AP Exams and SATs. Students receive extensive remedial feedback and a percentile ranking against approximately a million American students of their age. Cost: $25.00
Students meet with Gifted Facilitator for in-house prep skills sessions each week during a four-week period preceding the exam.
OCS Debating Society
Novice Debate Team: 2017 Ontario Pro-Con Forum Champions!
Junior and Senior Debate Team: 2018 Ontario Pro-Con Championship Finalists!
Senator O’Connor has been a member of the Ontario Pro-Con Debating Forum for many years. An enthusiastic and dedicated group of students prepare for four tournaments each year. We are proud of the many awards won by OCS debaters. Win or lose, our debaters build outstanding skills as logicians and public speakers. Our meetings are held Tuesday and Thursdays after school, Room 143. Our teams have qualified for the provincial finals for three years running.
Duke of Edinburgh’s Award
The Duke of Edinburgh's Award is a self-directed development program for young Canadians age 14 to 25. There are three Award levels to achieve:  Bronze, Silver, and Gold.
Four areas of participation: Community Service, Skills, Physical Recreation and Adventurous Journey. 
You work on the award independently.  Registration can be done through the school in the autumn. Make an online application directly to the Ontario Duke of Edinburgh office. Make sure you mark that you are a member of the Senator O`Connor group in order to be eligible for invitation to participate in spring camping trips.
For more information: or come to Room 113
Contests and Competitions
Register with your subject teacher and keep checking in at Room 113 for news of competitions. Some examples: Math contests, Pascal, Fermat, Caley (February), Senior Science Essay writing contests (Spring), National Physics contest, Video and short fiction contests, Canadian Geography Challenge. Our entrants to the annual Science Fair come from AP Science classes. Register with AP/Gifted Facilitator, Mrs. Devitt Tremblay for the Waterloo senior and junior computing contests.
Cardboard Boat Race
November 27, 2018
O'Connor gifted students were Cardboard Boat Race champions in 2017-2018: medalists at the TCDSB Cardboard Boat Race and the Skills Canada Regional Finals before going on to the provincial event in Waterloo!
Clubs of Special Interest

ROBOTICS! We have a vibrant Robotics team, meeting every day after school in tournament season. Room 207.
Math League - Tuesdays, after school - See Mr. Tynan
Many students in the Gifted program enjoy Chess Club which meets once a week in the library. Our students attend several tournaments during the year. We have had a host of medal winners in over many years. Members of our chess team are nationally and provincially ranked.  
Students also train for Reach for The Top during the winter. Our Junior Team and Senior Teams won the city championships in 2014 and have qualified for finals several years since.
Other AP/Gifted Events and Activities
Annual AP/Gifted  Night on the Town
 Gifted/AP students have the opportunity to attend two Canadian Opera Company productions annually at the Four Seasons Centre. Past operas have included La Traviata, Aida, Rigoletto, La Boheme, Don Quichotte, Madama Butterfly and Barber of Seville.
La Boheme, Monday April 15, 2019
Tickets - $15.00
AP/Gifted Christmas Para-liturgy
 Tuesday, December 17, 2017 – 8:20 a.m
Our annual Advent event hosted by AP and Gifted students in the O’Connor chapel. Music and readings chosen by students.
AP Spelling Bee, December, date TBA
Everybody can join! In November, we circulate a list of words to prepare for the event. Watch your email!

Lunch-time Gifted Grade Meetings
 Location: Career Centre until further notice
 Grade 9 and 10’s Second Tuesday of each month
 Grade 11 and 12’s Second Wednesday of each month
 The Internationl History Bee and Bowl, Canadian Division
Competition Spring 2018 –

The International History Bee and Bowl help reinforce what students are learning in the classroom, especially in IB and AP courses. The Bee and Bowl approach history from a broad perspective, encompassing the history of arts and letters, sciences, philosophy and religion, sports and entertainment.
O'Connor Bee competitors, Spencer Ki and Matthew Gene qualified for the national finals. 
Various Enrichment Trips are offered on an ad hoc basis throughout the school year:
We hear lecturers at the university and the Fields Institute;  we visit art galleries, attend free movies at the Bloor Cinema, will explore the Aga Khan Museum or the ROM or the Science Centre, depending on what is happening in those venues.
We plan adventures according to interests of the students!
Study Buddies and Peer Tutors
Our students are encouraged to share their skills and knowledge in our community by serving in various tutoring and mentoring programs.
Contact:  Ms. Petrucelli
Special Programs:
Your Gifted Facilitator can help connect you with these programs, help write applications - and hopefully help find available bursaries.
Shad Valley
At 10 universities across Canada
Shad Valley is a four week summer enrichment program; students spend a month living in residence at a host university. OCS students have spent summers at University of British Columbia, Memorial University, Laval and Dalhousie, enjoying workshops and lectures that focus on the sciences, engineering, technology and entrepreneurship. The program offers team-building in an academically stimulating environment. This program accepts 500 students each year who demonstrate very high academic achievement, leadership experience, community service and extra-curricular involvement.  O’Connor students have received substantial subsidies to support their attendance at Shad.
Places you will find O’Connor’s Shad Alumni now -  Engineering Science, University of Toronto, Health Sciences at McMaster, Mechatronics Engineering at University of Waterloo, Life Sciences at McGill, Schulich School of Business, York University.

DEEP – Pre-University Programs
University of Toronto Engineering – Saturday, March Break and Summer Academy programs available. March Break is titled DEEP MATH at MARCH BREAK   (All Grades) Bursaries available.
GO ENG Girl 2018 – Ryerson,  October 24, Open House, 9am-1pm FREE event for Grade 9-10 girls interested in careers in Engineering – register online!

Perimeter Institute – The International Summer School for Young Physicists. Two week residential program worth about $5000.00 but they only charge $500.00!  Applications due in March – suggested ages 16-18
Encounters with Canada - Ages 14-17/ approx. $700.00, in Ottawa, five days, a different theme each week.  Students come from across the country to learn about a wide variety of topics including history, journalism, medicine and health. You will need an access code from me to register. There are some bursaries.
Waterloo Unlimited - Excellent enrichment programs for high school students
$570 to $750 depending on grade and workshop chosen, “limited” bursaries
What Our AP Graduates Say About Benefits of AP
The first half of the year was review in my Math and Economics classes, thanks to my AP training. I kept my average above 80%. Rotman Commerce
McGill granted me first year credits in Physics, Biology and Chemistry and that has allowed me to take some interesting electives. I help people in my residence with their first year work. McGill Life Sciences
I earned 100% in first year Calculus. My AP Calculus course was very helpful! Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario
Waterloo Engineering brought me into contact with high achieving students from all over the world. I held my own thanks to my OCS training. I earned 92% in first year Algebra. Mechanical Engineering, University of Waterloo
The professor for our first Biology module was very vague in her lectures so all of our extensive knowledge in bio came from our OCS AP class. Also the extra labs and field trips we did at O’Connor exposed us to different technology and tools that we are using in our labs now. Everyone was so impressed by my micropipeting skills! UTSC  Life Sciences
Thanks to AP, I am staying above the class average. Engineering Science is very tough but I feel well prepared! UofT Engineering Science
My transition has been quite good and I have the top marks in a couple of my classes. Ryerson Business
"I just got an email notification about the state of my Transfer Credits......and Glendon will be granting me......TWELVE WHOLE CREDITS. NEARLY A FULL SEMESTER WORTH! (A full course load is 15 credits each semester, just for reference.)  So, to any who ask, YES THE AP EXAMS ARE SO TOTALLY WORTHWHILE." - French/ Concurrent Education – Glendon College, York University