While Centennial Secondary School does have an urban base, the majority of the school’s 1090 students are bused in from rural areas. This school operates the visual and performing arts program for the region.
In 2004–2005, 88% of students in the Grade 9 academic mathematics program and 59% of students in the Grade 9 applied mathematics program met or surpassed the provincial standard.
Our math department functions as a high-energy, collegial and collaborative unit that is extremely committed to professional development. Every department meeting begins with an exercise in problem-solving to identify best practices, and teachers continually challenge themselves to enhance their instructional methods. Neither I nor the vice-principal can pass by a math class without being invited in by a teacher to observe student activities.
Highlighting mathematics in action is one of the key ways Centennial Secondary School successfully facilitates student comprehension and enthusiasm. Teachers put special emphasis on connecting mathematical concepts to real-life situations and are working hard to integrate the use of technology and manipulatives to improve conceptual understanding and problem solving. All initiatives flow out of a dedicated focus on sound instructional practice, which involves ongoing reflective practice and support. For example, immediately following the EQAO assessments, teachers review responses and debrief to determine strengths and weaknesses and revise lesson plans accordingly. As well, importance is placed on cross-department dialogue, as all subject teachers are deemed instrumental in advancing literacy and numeracy skills.