Departments

Drama

At St. Thomas Aquinas Secondary School Drama is offered at the Grade 10 level. Grade 10 Drama establishes the necessary foundations by beginning with the history of drama and works through the fundamentals of stage practice. In the senior level courses, students are given the opportunity to engage and further their performance techniques by performing for larger audiences, writing and producing scripts, learning more about theatre technology and refining the dramatic craft. A live theatre production is seen each term which adds to the drama experience and students can see what it is like to produce a major production. With pre-show chats, students can ask questions of actors about roles and craft. Introductory Dance offered in Grade 10 will develop artistic scope in the dance arts.

Music

We offer a comprehensive music program at St. Thomas Aquinas. Students can select Instrumental Music and/or Vocal Music in Grades 9, 10, 11 and 12. In addition we offer an Instrumental Jazz course in Grade 12. Guitar courses are offered at the grade 10, 11 and 12 levels.

Visual Arts

Visual Arts at St. Thomas Aquinas is offered at each grade level. The focus of the visual arts program is to combine creating and presenting with responding, reflecting and analyzing while learning conventions, techniques and processes involved in the visual arts.

Business activity affects the daily lives of all Canadians as they work, spend, save, invest, travel, and play. It influences jobs, incomes, and opportunities for personal enterprise. Business has a significant effect on the standard of living and quality of life of Canadians, and on the environment in which they live and which future generations will inherit. Eventually, all students will encounter the world of business, whether they work in urban or rural areas. They must be prepared to engage in business activity with confidence and competence. Young people need to understand how business functions, the role it plays in our society, the opportunities it generates, the skills it requires, and the impact it can have on their own lives and on society, today and in the future.

The business studies program will build a strong foundation for those who wish to move on to further study and training in specialized areas such as management, international business, marketing, accounting, information and communication technology, or entrepreneurship. It will also provide practical skills for those who wish to move directly into the workplace.

In terms of common curriculum in all Business Studies courses, we try to cover 5 critical areas:

  • Skills required in the modern workplace
  • Positive Communication in a business environment
  • Digital literacy
  • Financial literacy
  • Ethics—moral/legal considerations

Overall Goals of Business Studies Curriculum

  • Understanding of concepts (related to our courses)
  • To Develop:
    • business, economic, financial and digital literacy
    • research and communication skills
    • apply knowledge & skills to local, national, and global business levels (by taking a current events approach)
    • develop life-long learning skills in our changing world—help develop awareness of available avenues in career pursuits

The Canadian & World Studies Department offers courses and opportunities that seek to develop a greater awareness of the world and Canada’s role within it. Framed by the Catholic faith, our courses, trips and events aim to not only examine issues from a geographical, political, legal and historical perspective, but also from moral and ethical standpoints as well. Students are presented with engaging opportunities to develop their critical thinking skills in order to investigate events, both past and present, and to challenge their current understanding of the world in which we live.

Cooperative Education credits at St. Thomas Aquinas are a unique learning opportunity that takes our students out of the formal classroom learning environment and into the real world of work. The opportunity to experience the workplace in any subject area helps our St.Thomas Aquinas students explore the career options available in the Halton community and gather much needed valuable information to make informed decisions about career choices and all post-secondary destinations. Placements include all subjects and all levels and focuses on gaining real world work experience.

All students at St. Thomas Aquinas are required to take English during their four years of secondary school. Our program offers three levels of course instruction consisting of academic/university, applied/college and locally developed/essential:

  • The academic/university level courses are intended for students pursuing university after graduation (ENG 4U is a mandatory prerequisite for university applicants).
  • The applied/college level courses are intended for students interested in attending college, pursuing apprenticeship programs or entering the workplace after graduation from high school.
  • The locally developed/essential courses are available for students working below grade level in English and intending to pursue employment following completion of high school.

In addition to the core program, the English department also offers Media English and Writer’s Craft, two senior elective courses which can be taken in addition to regular English courses.

The health and physical education program promotes healthy active living, and enjoyment and regular, enthusiastic participation in physical activity. The courses will help students understand how their personal actions and decisions will affect their health, fitness, and well-being. All courses in this curriculum address relevant health issues and provide students with a wide variety of activities that promote fitness, the development of living skills, and personal competence.

The health and physical education courses in Grades 9 and 10 are made up of four strands: physical activity, active living, healthy living, and living skills. In each course, students will develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to enjoy a healthy lifestyle and to build a commitment to lifelong participation in physical activity. The focus on positive, responsible personal and social behaviour in physical activity settings encourages students to make safe and wise choices.

The expectations in the Grade 11 and 12 health and physical education courses are organized into the following strands:

Grades 11 and 12, Healthy Active Living Education

  • Physical Activity
  • Active Living
  • Healthy Living
  • Living Skills

Grade 11, Health for Life

  • Determinants of Health
  • Community Health
  • Vitality

Grade 12, Exercise Science

  • The Biological Basis of Movement
  • Motor Development
  • Physical Activity and Sports in Society

Grade 12, Recreation and Fitness Leadership

  • Leadership
  • Facilitation of Recreation and Leisure
  • Physical Fitness and Well-Being

These courses emphasize regular participation in a variety of enjoyable physical activities that will enhance students’ fitness, health, and personal competence, and that will promote lifelong active living. Students will be encouraged to pursue physical activities outside the school program for fun, personal fitness, and health. In the living skills component of these courses, students will learn and apply decision-making, conflict resolution, and social skills. Issues investigated in the healthy living component include healthy growth and sexuality, mental health, personal safety, and injury prevention.

Religious education addresses how students view themselves and others in their social and religious contexts. In turn, this helps students understand and respond to the world around them. Religious education courses help students become self-motivated problem solvers equipped with the skills and knowledge that will enable them to face their changing world with confidence. This is accomplished through practical experience, discussion, debate, research, reflection, prayer and discernment, and the development of critical and creative thinking skills. Moreover, religious education courses are sensitive to the rhythms of the liturgical seasons as well as incorporating experiential opportunities for prayer and reflection. Indeed, such opportunities will help students progress from a simple acquisition of religious knowledge (the “what”), to a consideration of its meaning (the “so what”) to an appropriation of that meaning into their lives (the “now what”). This dynamic informs the structure of the strands across all grades and programs.

Courses in Religious Education, 9-12
Two types of courses are offered in the religious education program: university/college preparation, and open courses. At the senior level, students choose between course types on the basis of their interests, achievement, and postsecondary goals. The course types are defined as follows:

University/college preparation courses are designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills they need to meet the entrance requirements for specific programs offered at universities and colleges.

Open courses are designed to broaden students’ knowledge and skills in subjects that reflect their interests and prepare them for active and rewarding participation in society. They are not designed with the specific requirements of universities, colleges, or the workplace in mind.

Science is a core subject and science education is important for many reasons. Today’s world is changing quickly and the future will require skills that are developed through the science curriculum. Critical observation and analytical thinking skills are strong tools to meet the challenges of the future. Complimenting literacy and numeracy, science education allows the student to address the complexity of decisions made in areas of personal health, consumer choices, life style choices, community responsibility, and global resource sustainability.

The grade nine and grade ten science courses introduce scientific thinking and survey the disciplines of biology, chemistry, physics, and earth and space science. Senior courses are more detailed and specialize in deeper aspects of the disciplines of the junior grades.

The grade 11 and 12 chemistry courses allow students to learn empirically through numerous labs such as observing different chemical reactions to electroplating one metal onto another. The topics covered in grade 11 are: matter, chemical trends and bonding; chemical reactions; quantities in chemical reactions; solutions and solubility and gases. The topics covered in grade 12 are: organic chemistry; structure and properties; energy changes and rates of reaction; chemical equilibrium and electrochemistry.

The grade 11 and 12 biology courses provide students with the opportunity for in-depth study of the concepts and processes that occur in biological systems. In grade 11, the topics covered are: biodiversity; evolution; genetic processes; the structure and function of animals (including a dissection); and the anatomy, growth, and function of plants. In grade 12, the topics covered are: biochemistry, metabolic processes, molecular genetics, homeostasis and population dynamics. Emphasis will be placed on the achievement of detailed knowledge and the refinement of skills needed for further study in various branches of the life sciences and related fields.

The grade 11 and 12 physics courses allow students to learn through investigation, problem-solving and collaboration with other students. Mathematical modeling of physical processes requires students to use trigonometry, algebra and graphical methods to solve practical problems, and to develop investigation and measurement skills. The topics covered in grade 11 are: sound and other wave phenomena, electricity and magnetism (circuits, motors), kinematics (motion, vectors), forces (Newton’s Laws) and energy (potential, kinetic, thermal, nuclear). The topics covered in grade 12 are: dynamics (forces, circular motion), energy and momentum (including collisions), fields (gravitational, electric and magnetic), the wave nature of light (diffraction, interference, electromagnetic radiation, Maxwell’s equations, polarization), and modern physics (special relativity, mass-energy equivalence, particle physics and the standard model). Students considering a university preparation physics course should be motivated to understand physical phenomena, comfortable with conceptual thinking and able to apply mathematics skills (at the academic/university preparation level) to solve practical problems.

Many post-secondary programs and educational pathways require science course prerequisites. Science education offers an entry into this world of wonder where students develop awe and open their eyes, minds, and imaginations to tomorrow.

Students in social sciences and humanities develop a critical lens through which they can build their awareness of and make decisions with respect to critical issues in our increasingly complex, multifaceted, and diverse society. Study of this discipline helps to build understanding about individuals, families, and diverse groups – what people think, how they live, and how we all interact with one another and the world  round us. Knowledge and understanding developed through the study of social sciences and humanities can help inform discussion on critical social, cultural, economic, technological, environmental, and wellness issues, and can provide a strong foundation for vibrant, healthy, and engaged citizenship.
Study in social sciences and humanities requires systematic inquiry: through sustained practice, students develop their planning, processing, problem-solving, and decision making capabilities, often while exploring issues of deep personal relevance. The essential questions with which students engage in these courses are often thought provoking and open ended, and have no single  correct answer. The questions stimulate inquiry, debate, and further questions, and can be re-examined over time. Systematic inquiry in social sciences and humanities can help students analyse  problems and determine appropriate actions that they can take as individuals, or that can be taken by families, diverse groups, and even societies in response to complex local or global challenges.

The Special Education Department recognizes that education must address the unique strengths and needs of all students. It is, therefore, understood that all students have the right to quality education and to develop to their fullest potential. Our Special Education Programs are totally integrated into all aspects of the school environment. The resource teachers work collaboratively with staff member in a variety of ways:

  • Assisting with program modifications and accommodations;
  • Providing in-class support;
  • Developing individual educational plans;
  • Supporting the inclusion of exceptional pupils within the classroom.

It is the role of the Special Education support services to empower and encourage the school’s community to meet the individual needs of all students.

Youth Counsellor

As part of the Special Education Department, we have the service of a Youth Counsellor. This support staff member at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School encourages the healthy development of our students confidential individual counselling or group work. Our goal is to provide assistance with social and emotional issues through the support and guidance that we offer. We believe this will foster the student’s personal development to ensure academic success.

For more information contact our Special Education office or come in for a visit.

Technological innovation influences all areas of life, from the daily lives of individuals to the work of business and government, to interactions on a global scale. It helps meet basic human needs and provides tools for improving people’s lives and exploring new frontiers. The policy outlined in this document is designed to ensure that technological education in Ontario enables students to meet the challenges and opportunities of the twenty-first century.

The power, reach, and rapid evolution of technology demand a curriculum that will enable students to become technologically literate – that is, able to understand, work with, and benefit from a range of technologies. Students need to acquire the technological skills and knowledge that will allow them to participate fully in a competitive global economy and to become responsible citizens in an environmentally vulnerable world. To succeed in today’s society, students need to be effective problem solvers and critical thinkers, able to understand, question, and respond to the implications of technological innovation. Students who pursue careers in technology will also need these high-level skills to develop solutions to technological challenges or to provide the services required in their chosen fields.

Technological education focuses on developing students’ ability to work creatively and competently with technologies that are central to their lives. As they proceed through their elementary and secondary school education, students attain a level of technological literacy that will enhance their ability to succeed in their postsecondary studies or in the workplace. For students who do not choose to pursue careers in technology, technological education can provide knowledge and skills that will enhance their daily lives, whether by enabling them to work on home renovations or car repairs or by allowing them to pursue technological hobbies.

Technological education promotes the integration of learning across subject disciplines. For example, when students design a product, they explore the social or human need that the product addresses (social science), the scientific principles involved in its design and construction (science), its dimensions and shape (mathematics), and the aesthetic qualities of its design (the arts). When they assess the impact that new technologies have had – or may have – on society, students are exploring historical or current events. When they consider how various technologies affect health and physical well-being, they are looking into aspects of health and physical education. Students apply business principles to the study of the production and marketing of products. They apply literacy skills to communicate design ideas, produce reports summarizing technological projects, and write instructions for the use of the products they create. Technological education also helps students develop research skills and fosters creativity, critical thinking, and problem solving. In addition, in its emphasis on innovation to meet human needs, it encourages global citizenship and promotes social, economic, and environmental awareness.

Subject matter from any course in technological education can be combined with subject matter from one or more courses in other disciplines to create an interdisciplinary course. The policies and procedures regarding the development of interdisciplinary courses are outlined in the interdisciplinary studies curriculum policy document.

The secondary school technological education curriculum is designed to build on the foundation of knowledge and skills provided by the elementary science and technology curriculum, particularly in its Understanding Structures and Mechanisms strand. In this continuum, there is a similar emphasis on foundational knowledge and skills (fundamentals), technological problem-solving skills and processes, and the relationship between technology, the environment, and society.

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