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West Carleton Secondary School serves a large geographical area stretching from Arnprior to the western part of Kanata and is an important resource for the surrounding community for use by local groups for athletic and other community programs. It is situated on 107 acres of field, wetland, and forest. This space is shared with the Bill Mason Centre, an outdoor education and environmental studies centre. Our school is a modern facility with an enrolment of 1106. We are proud to offer a full range of learning opportunities and pathways to meet the needs of all of our students. We pride ourselves on our sense of community, providing a supportive and family atmosphere that promotes student well-being and academic excellence balanced in a wide range of interdisciplinary and technological learning opportunities. Our results in EQAO measures (Grade 9 Mathematics and the Ontario Literacy Test) and OCDSB Board-Wide evaluations show high levels of student achievement.

Our Students

The community atmosphere at West allows students to feel comfortable and welcome within their environment, fostering a sense of family within our school. Of our graduating students, nearly 75 percent chose to pursue further studies at university or college, and the balance choose the world of work, apprenticeships, and travel. Students attending West Carleton come from a variety of community schools including Jack Donohue P.S., Huntley Centennial P.S., Stephen Leacock P.S., St. Michael's E.S., Stonecrest P.S., W.E. Johnston P.S., and other secondary schools in the area.

Our Staff

The West Carleton staff is composed of over 90 members including teachers, technicians, administrative and support staff and custodial staff who bring a wide range of experience and talent to enrich the learning environment of our students. The majority of our teaching staff members are specialists in their subject area. We have a dynamic blend of experienced teachers and beginning teachers, which creates a perfect mix of youthful enthusiasm and rich teaching experience. Our staff is very involved in providing an extensive program of clubs, teams, and other opportunities which forge positive connections between students and the school. We welcome additional staff from community to our school to support students in a wide variety of programs. Many of our staff live in the community we serve.

Our Community

Our school has fostered a close working relationship with support agencies within our community. We are currently working with the Western Ottawa Community Resource Centre, Rideauwood, the Early Intervention Program, Youth Services Bureau, Youth Net, the Youth Employment Resource Centre, Youth Connexxions, and the Regional Municipality Health Unit. The School Council meets in our school library monthly. If you would like more information about the School Council at West Carleton please see our website for contact information. Many of our senior students participate in co-operative education programs partnered with a diverse sector of employers.

Facilities and Resources

Our school is a very modern and well equipped facility housing:

  • a tech wing with transportation, construction, communications labs and an exploring technologies facility;
  • an arts wing containing a drama studio, a music studio, visual and computer arts classrooms;
  • a double and single gym, a weight room, a fitness centre, a large dance studio, and a climbing wall including high rope elements;
  • a library with an attached computer lab; four other fixed computer labs and three mobile computer labs, a kitchen classroom for food and nutrition instruction, modern science labs, and other specialized learning classrooms;
  • a video projector in every classroom (including portables) and 23 classrooms equipped with SmartBoard technology.

Mission Statement

Our school slogan is:

“We Are West! Learning, Responsibility, Respect”.

This slogan reflects our sense of community and our focus on key values that are essential to all students regardless of academic goals or destinations.

Programs and Services

Academic Programs

As a composite community school we prepare our students for post-secondary education and employment. We offer a complete academic program in English, Math, Science, Canadian & World Studies, Social Sciences and a Languages program including Spanish and both French Immersion and Extended French certificates. Additionally we offer an Arts program including Music, Dance, Drama, Visual Arts, Photography, and Computer Art; Transportation, Construction and Communication Technologies; a Technical Skills Internship Program featuring a house-building partnership with local builders that includes an opportunity to obtain a Specialist High Skills Major certification; an excellent Physical and Health Education Department with expertise in Outdoor Education; and interdisciplinary programs such as Police Services and Fire Protection and Yearbook. Our Student Success program provides students with specialized literacy, numeracy and academic assistance and also involves credit recovery to support student success. A Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) program is available for interested students.

Classroom Organization

Our school is organized to provide a complete academic program in all pathways leading to a full range of opportunities for post-secondary education, apprenticeships and the world of work. The semestered structure offers many opportunities for students in areas such as House Building and other specialized Technology courses, Cooperative Education, Fine Arts, and Outdoor Education programs. All areas of the school have wireless internet access. Computers are widely available for class and individual use and students are encouraged to bring their own technology to support learning in all subject areas. All math and science classrooms benefit from dedicated SmartBoard technology, and SmartBoards are also installed in our library, business, languages, and social science classrooms.

The school day is comprised of 4 class periods of 75 minutes each. We operate on a day one/day two schedule with odd dates on the day one schedule and even dates on the day two schedule.

Special Education and ESL Programs

Our Learning Support Teachers work with students who require additional assistance and supports. They offer educational support within the classroom and in our resource center. A Learning Strategies course is also offered and we provide specialized support for students through our Student Success Teacher and Program. Enrichment opportunities are available for students who wish to take advantage of them. Our Student Success Team provides both short and long term support for credit rescue and credit recovery opportunities for our students as well as providing support for students taking e-learning and Independent Study courses.

Clubs and Activities

Students are encouraged to participate fully in school life. We offer a wide range of co-curricular activities including:

  • an active Intramural program providing students with a lunch hour activity-based program;
  • a full range interscholastic athletic program that includes over 20 teams for both boys and girls;
  • Student Council initiatives such as dances, coffee houses and spirit days;
  • fund raisers for charitable organizations;
  • student activities and clubs to support a wide range of interests such as an anime club, improv team, school newspaper; art club, creative writing club, leadership camps, social justice club, GSA, debate team, the CoExist Crew, ski and snowboard club, environmental club, book club, D&D club, Ultimate team, and concert and jazz bands;
  • musical, dramatic, and dance performances and a variety of other opportunities that enrich student experience.
  • knowing the connection between eating breakfast and success at school, we run a breakfast club daily before class.

Achievement and School Improvement Planning

Measures of Student Achievement and Success 

Our results on provincial testing are outstanding. For the past five years, West Carleton students have ranked very high in the region on EQAO provincial math testing and in the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test.

Students participate in the District-wide evaluation projects in English 4C and 4U, and Math 2D and 2P. Our students perform very well in these district-wide measures.

We maintain an Honour Roll that recognizes those students who have achieved an average of 80% or more in their studies and host an Honour Roll Breakfast for students who maintain high grades over the year.

In the school year 2012-2013, 83 of our graduating students (over one-third of the graduates) were Ontario Scholars.

Grade 12 students are recognized for their individual accomplishments at the yearly graduation ceremonies while Grade 9, 10 and 11 students are similarly rewarded for their success in an Awards ceremony each fall.

Special certificates of achievement are awarded in Technology, French Immersion, Extended French, Fine Arts and Business Education.

Through our House-building focus program we offer a Specialist High Skills Major Diploma certification in Construction Technology.

West Carleton students are frequent recipients of Certificates of Distinction awarded for the yearly Canadian Mathematics contests which are sponsored by the University of Waterloo.

Each semester we hold a “sundae party” where students, nominated by teachers, are recognized for their character and contribution to West Carleton. Our focus is on good character, hard work, cooperation, citizenship, and other attributes that may not otherwise be included in academic recognition ceremonies. These students exemplify our motto “We are West! Learning, Responsibility, Respect”.

DELF is a European language proficiency exam similar to the Canadian Government French exam. Secondary and post-secondary institutions will be able to recognize measurable achievement in language proficiency, professional organizations will be able to set standards of language proficiency, and employers will be able to identify the level of language proficiency needed for a job and assess the suitability of candidates’ language proficiency. Each exam has 5 categories of effective communication: understanding when listening, understanding when reading, spoken interaction, spoken production, and writing. This year, all grade 12 French students at West will be given a chance to write the DELF exam.

West Carleton students are also provided the opportunity to complete the Advanced Placement examination in French. Our students have traditionally demonstrated high levels of achievement in this program.

School Improvement Plans and Initiatives

Our results in the board wide exams in English and Math are excellent and reflect a focus on continuous improvement in our performance. Overall our results are consistent with the ability of our students to maintain standards of academic excellence in both English and Math.

As a result of discussion with staff, students, and parents we have undertaken a number of school improvement initiatives.

Under the leadership of Student Services, we are continuing to offer a range of strategies to improve the course selection process. We provide timely and detailed information to parents and students to assist them in both short and long term educational planning through class visits, parent nights, speakers, and individual counselling.

A key piece of our strategy to provide a smooth transition for our incoming grade 9 students is the Link Crew Program. This program pairs each grade 9 student with two senior student mentors. Academic and social activities are ongoing throughout the year. This program helps grade 9 students make a positive transition to high school and form valuable connections to West Carleton.

Through Community Service Programs student and staff volunteers have focused on good citizenship and community service through a number of fundraising ventures such as the Relay for Life, Brick by Brick, Pennies for Peace and others.

We celebrate academic excellent in a variety of ways, including holding an Honour Roll Breakfast to celebrate the academic achievement of our over 80% students as well as other award ceremonies.

Core literacy initiatives include our “West Reads” program. “West Reads” is a weekly reading period in which all students and staff read for pleasure.

We will continue to provide additional support to students prior to the EQAO literacy test.

We have a strong Student Success Program that involves intensive, personal and customized support for students experiencing academic difficulties.

Our staff development plans are collegially developed and focus on student improvement and student achievement, improved literacy and numeracy and are designed to support our excellent teachers in continuous improvement in teaching practice.

A focus on critical thinking strategies has been an emphasis throughout our staff professional development and staff are collaborating to ensure continuous growth and reflection in their instruction, assessment, and evaluation with respect to an increase in critical thinking tasks for students.

Minto Inc. and WCSS partnered in 2004 to develop and implement the area’s first Technical Skills Internship Program, where students earn credits and working skills by building a house. Our success here has resulted in its replication throughout the District and the program has now been incorporated into the Ontario Ministry of Education Specialist High Skills Major Diploma program. Our program has allowed us to support the academic and career-path plans for over 100 students from 5 area schools and establish a house building award for a graduating student. The Western Ottawa Community Resource Center helps us provide guidance and aid to students in our community through a partnership that encourages referrals, counselor and community access. We provide pastoral services via a partnership with community leaders; we provide access to health services through a partnership with the City of Ottawa Health Department and we support struggling students and families through a partnership with Rideauwood Addiction Services.

Leadership Recognition

“Leadership in the OCDSB is the demonstration of personal initiative to achieve a positive outcome.”

Students

Our students have multiple opportunities to demonstrate and refine excellent leadership skills. Our Link Crew program offers a chance for senior students to link with and mentor Grade 9 students and to run activities helping grade 9 students positively connect to the school during the first week of school and throughout the year. We also have a very active Student Council who plan and organize events for the school (Grade 9 Welcome BBQ, dances, spirit events, assemblies, and other activities), an Athletic Association who plan and implement whole school events (Pep Rallies, Outdoor Challenge, the Tournament of Champions, Athletic Banquet) and a Leadership group who organize and run our outstanding annual leadership camp. Students demonstrate leadership in extracurricular groups (e.g. Social Justice, our school newspaper, Environmental club, the CoExist Crew, etc.) and are recognized in the “Stars of West” board, Commencement and Junior Awards ceremonies, Honour Roll Breakfast, “Sundae Party”, articles in the Echo, announcements, assemblies, yearbook, Principal’s Awards, School Council minutes and student generated awards.

Staff

Our staff participates in School, Board and Provincial initiatives, PD opportunities, additional qualifying and University courses, updating skills, developing curriculum, etc. Our Student Success and Character Development teams provide outstanding support and leadership in the school. Leadership is recognized with opportunities for professional growth, teaching initiatives, mentoring, through our Heads’ Council, our “Stars of West” display, staff meetings, personal interactions, letters of thanks and our Principals’ report to School Council. Our staff collegially develops our school improvement plans and achievement goals and work together to further strengthen and improve our teaching practice in order to support student achievement.

Parents/Guardians/Volunteers

Our School Council is active in the District advocating for rural and secondary schools and assisting in major drama and musical productions, replacement of equipment, beautification of the school, fundraising, community service and student recognition activities. As invaluable partners in the education of their own children and promotion of WCSS, we thank our parents and volunteers through newsletters, our website, announcements, personal interactions, School Council reports and formal letters of thanks.

Community

In conjunction with the Bill Mason Outdoor Education Center, West Carleton Secondary School has been designated as the first Wetland Centre of Excellence in Eastern Ontario by Ducks Unlimited Canada. Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) works with students and educators to support Wetland Centres of Excellence in select secondary schools to get involved in creating their own long-term wetland conservation projects using a local wetland. This program helps encourage students to pursue related studies and careers in conservation through hands-on learning and leadership

Minto Inc. and WCSS partnered in 2004 to develop and implement the area’s first Technical Skills Internship Program, where students earn credits and working skills by building a house. Our success here has resulted in its replication throughout the District and the program has now been incorporated into the Ontario Ministry of Education Specialist High Skills Major Diploma program. Our program has allowed us to support the academic and career-path plans for over 100 students from 5 area schools and establish a house building award for a graduating student. The Western Ottawa Community Resource Center helps us provide guidance and aid to students in our community through a partnership that encourages referrals, counselor and community access. We provide pastoral services via a partnership with community leaders; we provide access to health services through a partnership with the City of Ottawa Health Department and we support struggling students and families through a partnership with Rideauwood Addiction Services

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