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TCDSB Regional Congregated Advanced Placement Centre

Senator O'Connor College School 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.

The Gifted/AP program is flexible, and 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.

Recent AP Newsleters:

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 attend CHAMUN: Chaminade Model United Nations, North York Civic Centre. 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 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!

Senior Debate Team: 2019 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, visit or come to Room 143.

Contests and Competitions

Register with your subject teacher and keep checking in at Room 143 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. Watch for the Waterloo senior and junior computing contests.

Cardboard Boat Race

O'Connor gifted students were TCDSB Cardboard Boat Race Champions in 2018-2019, silver medalists at the Southern Ontario Cardboard Boat Race before going on to the provincial event in Waterloo!

Clubs of Special Interest


We have a vibrantand award-winning Robotics team, meeting every day after school in tournament season. Room 207.

Math League

Tuesdays, after school - See Ms Ma

Reach For The Top

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.

Tickets - $15.00

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!

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

Offered at 19 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 students 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.

Visit the Shad Valley program website for more information.

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.

Visit the UofT Engineering Outreach program website for more information.

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.

Visit the Perimeter Institute website for more information.

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.

Visit the Encounters with Canada website for more information.

What Our AP Graduates Say About The 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