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Student Success at JMSS

Student Success
Student Success graphic

Student Success is a Ministry of Education endorsed program, supported by the Lambton Kent District School Board and promoted at John McGregor Secondary School. 

Student Success is a number of initiatives designed to improve student outcomes and increase credit accumulation. The ultimate goal is an increase in graduation rates and a decrease in the number of early school-leavers. The program is aimed specifically at students in Grade 9 and 10 as well as those that find themselves in their late teens having only a handful of credits toward graduation.

“A key theme has been the vital importance of giving all students hope for the future. Students will be encouraged to have hope if they believe that they can succeed. For this to be true for all students, our education system needs to provide greater opportunities for improved literacy and numeracy and new program pathways to the world beyond the secondary school.”

Students and their families are also guided in their exploration of the options available after secondary school, including college programs and the skilled trades, vocational training and post secondary vocational certification or training, as well as university and direct entry in to the world of work.

At John McGregor Secondary School, a dedicated staff and professional resources have drawn together to present our students with several means to achieve “16 by 16”, sixteen credits by sixteen years of age. Similarly, older students now have access to greater  opportunities to gain the credits they require toward achieving their Ontario Secondary School Diploma. All students are encouraged to seek out a Career Pathway or destination that suits their interests and aptitudes.

Literacy! Numeracy! Pathways! Community and Caring! The four pillars of Student Success at John McGregor Secondary School are outlined in this website link.


Tribes is a process that creates a school culture that maximizes student learning and human development. Tribes is supported at John McGregor by “Panther Pride” agreements, which state that all students demonstrate attentive listening, appreciation/no put downs, mutual respect and the right to pass/the right to participate. Inclusion activities help students feel a sense of belonging and being valued. As students learn the skills of working effectively in groups, cooperative learning strategies allow students to collaborate and problem solve and therefore take more responsibility for their learning.

Tribes Learning Strategies provide curriculum delivery to students using multiple intelligences. Students are given the opportunity to learn material the way they learn best. Students also participate in group processing activities which allow them to reflect on what they have learned thereby increasing the retention of knowledge.

Literacy/Numeracy Strategies – E.Q.A.O. Testing

Skills in writing, reading and communication are best learned over time and with adequate opportunity for practice and repetition. By having the Grade nine Mathematics and English programs operate over the course of the year, as opposed to being semester based, the students at J.M.S.S. gain the confidence required to improve the literacy and numeracy foundations required for senior level classes.

Similarly, students in grade 9 and 10 are part of a program that incorporates elements of the provincial testing into their regular curriculum. Lessons in every subject area use the Think Literacy documents provided by the Ministry of Education into everyday assignments. Student development in literacy and numeracy skills is ongoing and reinforced on a daily basis throughout the first two years of secondary school, providing a much needed foundation in these two areas of life long learning.

To further assist students that continue to struggle with these two fundamental building blocks in education there is an interview and invitation to attend scheduled after school programs offered in the area of English (literacy) and Mathematics (numeracy). Subject teachers contact those families involved in the hope that students will voluntarily participate in this program.

Credit Recovery

credit recovery Credit Recovery is an opportunity for students to recapture courses and credits that they have previously been unsuccessful with in the past. Students are scheduled into a Credit Recovery class under the direct supervision of an assigned teacher. The goal is to have students complete those aspects of the course they were previously unsuccessful with, meeting the minimum expectations for the course and gaining the credit in the process.

This is an excellent opportunity for students that have fallen behind to “get back on track”. A student interested in excelling as quickly as possible could meet the requirements for as many as seven (7) credits in a semestered regular day school timetable. 

Mature Prior Learning Assessment & Recognition Program (M. P. L. A. R.)

The Mature PLAR (MPLAR) process is an initiative designed to assess the credentials of students who made the decision to exit secondary school prematurely.  Returning these more mature students (17 to 19 years of age) with a limited number of credits to a high school setting poses a significant challenge for school administrators. Placing these students in grade nine and ten classrooms with younger, more impressionable students can sometimes be a concern.

The Mature PLAR process can help change the dynamics of this situation for these students and John McGregor Secondary School.  MPLAR provides an opportunity  for ‘mature’ students (by definition, they will be at least 18 years of age in the current calendar year and out of the regular day school system for one full year) to participate in a series of four tests that will provide them with 16 equivalent education credits – 14 compulsory, if successful. 

Successful completion of this assessment process would make them eligible to access senior level credits, including workplace and co-op/OYAP credits.  Students would also be entitled to receive the Ontario Secondary School Certificate (OSSC) which provides some (limited) opportunities in the marketplace. 

The LKDSB and John McGregor Secondary School have committed to providing these students with a pathway that leads to the completion of their OSSD, either by welcoming them back to a traditional day school or through enrollment in other alternative program options.

Ontario Skills Passport

Ontario SkillsThe Ontario Skills Passport is a Ministry of Education initiative that is aimed at preparing our students for the transition from school to work. It informs students about the 9 Essential Skills and Work Habits that all occupations require. It provides skill profiles for over 200 entry level occupations, and allows a student to develop a standard or customized Work Plan. 

The program helps students understand that the Work Habits and 9 Essential Skills identified by employers, based on a national consensus, reflect the actual skills a worker must possess to competently perform in any occupation.

The Nine Essential Skills 

  • Reading text

  • Document use

  • Numeracy

  • Writing

  • Oral communication

  • Working with others

  • Continuous learning

  • Thinking skills

  • Computer use

Opportunities are provided for students to self-assess their occupational interest, current skill levels and areas that require further development.

The completed Work Plan can then be added to their portfolio and used during a future job search as evidence to the prospective employer of the skills they possess.

Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program

The Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) is an apprenticeship partnership between the Lambton Kent District School Board, the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Skills and Development and local business and industry. This two year program provides in-school training at John McGregor Secondary School and actual hands on training in the workplace, similar to a Cooperative Education program.

 A successful student will be granted credits towards an Ontario Secondary School Diploma, hours towards an apprenticeship and be paid an hourly salary while in the workforce. This is a “hands-on” method of gaining both a trade and a high school diploma at the same time. 

To qualify for this program, students must have accumulated at least 14 -1 6 credits, including Grade 9 and 10 Mathematics and English, as well as be at least 16 years of age. The trade apprenticeships are numerous and varied. More details about OYAP and how to get involved are available through Student Services at John McGregor Secondary School or the Lambton Kent District School Board.

Experiential Learning – Work Experience

Students as early as Grade 9 and 10 can gain credit(s) toward their secondary school education while participating in the work place. Short term work placements organized through J. M. S. S.  provide students with an opportunity to explore the world of work, testing their interest in the labour force and assisting them with personal decisions about education and the adult responsibilities associated with life in the work force.

Integration between Program Levels 

John McGregor Secondary School offers a full range of course selection in virtually every level of difficulty provided through the Ontario Ministry of Education. Student Services counselors can tailor an individual student’s timetable. This  allows  them to explore their interests and stretch their academic strengths. A student in one stream of study with an aptitude for a given subject area can reach ahead to a more challenging level of difficulty. For example, a student generally in the Essential or Applied level of study could enroll in a course at the Academic level to test their aptitude or expand their skills. 

Cross Panel Consultation Teams

The profiles of individual students entering secondary school are examined by teams of teachers representing the teachers of the elementary panel with the teachers, counselors and administrators at John McGregor Secondary School.  These “rap around” meetings allow Grade 7 and 8 teachers to present student results, strengths and interests to their secondary school counterparts in an effort to reinforce support for incoming students as they enter Grade 9. This consultation process allows for specific academic assistance for students as they enter the high school setting and enhances their success levels in subjects they have found difficult in the past.

Teacher Mentor Program

Teacher MentoringIn addition to the class room level assistance extended through everyday involvement, students experiencing difficulty are often given a teacher mentor to assist them in their academics. Teachers will often volunteer to become a contact person, a counselor, a mentor for a student that needs individualized attention or academic assistance. In this way, a student is encouraged to complete assignments, organize their time and manage their subject work load.