School Profile

mcraessOur School

John McCrae Secondary School is a comprehensive community school dedicated to meeting the needs of all learners according to their individuality. We provide students with an established safe environment in a modern facility. Large spacious classrooms, modern computer labs, updated technology shops, art studios and open science laboratories provide students with an excellent environment in which to develop skills and interests. Additional facilities are provided by our community partnership with the adjacent Walter Baker Centre. Students at J.M. utilize the resources of the public library and have access to the sports facilities housed in this area. Academic classes benefit a great deal from these extended resources while physical education classes and teams are able to participate in activities not normally available in secondary schools (aquatics, hockey, squash, fitness facilities, to name a few). John McCrae is an all-encompassing caring school nurturing the educational, emotional and social growth of all its students. “We Care”!

Our Students

Our goal is to provide every student with a supportive, challenging academic and formative program in which to grow to their full potential. Students who graduate from John McCrae will have both the academic and moral character to contribute constructively to the world in which they will live. A JMSS graduate:

  • is a creative problem solver.

  • is a responsible, accountable citizen.

  • makes wise personal decisions.

  • makes effective use of personal management skills in a variety of settings.

  • is an able communicator.

  • displays the values and skill that promotes success.

Our Staff

The staff at John McCrae is committed to providing a quality education to every student according to their need. A highly educated perse group of individuals have modelled themselves into developmental program teams to provide academic excellence in all facets of the curriculum. Integration, persity and differentiation are the norm at J.M. and all students are treated with dignity and respect. Extra help and remediation are provided by all classroom teachers and when necessary by our Student Success Teacher Initiative so that no student is left behind. The “Math Homework Club” is of special interest to many of our students. This after school program provides support to students who require additional tutoring in this difficult subject area. The journey to success is the responsibility of all staff at J.M. and we accept the challenges that creates “Our School, Our Students, Our Responsibility”.

Our Community

The JMSS School Council meets on the third Monday of each month at 7:00 pm (see our school website for specific dates). Our School Council is an integral part of our education team. Their support is valued by the teachers and staff of John McCrae.

Our School Council annually produces a fashion show put on by our students. The funds raised are available to support students who may be in financial difficulty. View the “Strut” page at

Mission Statement

Bulldog Pride is a way of life at John McCrae

P       Prepared and Punctual

R       Respect for Yourself and Others

I         Involved in Learning

D       Drop the Distractions

E       Effort Every Day

Programs and Services

Academic Programs

John McCrae offers a full range of courses including French Immersion, Advanced Placement Opportunities, Cooperative Education, Outdoor Education, Business Studies, Spanish, Integrated Technology, and Communications Technology programs. There is an extensive integration of technology into all curriculum areas with broadband communication and computer access for all classes. Our computer-related courses include: Integrated Multimedia, Web Page Design, Flash Animation, and Computers and Information Science. There is also a wide array of Arts offerings including Drama, Instrumental Music, Guitar, Visual Arts, Photography, Media Studies, Film Studies, and Creative Writing. Our Interdisciplinary Studies courses include Outdoor Education and Yearbook which integrate a multiplicity of curricular areas that are approved by the Ministry of Education. Special programs include Advanced Placement, French Immersion, High Performance Athletes, Co-op, Outdoor Education, Peer Teaching.

Classroom Organization

JMSS is a 9 – 12 English composite school. Classes are offered through seven different department groupings:

  • Mathematics

  • Science

  • Language Studies

  • Social Sciences and Business Studies

  • Physical and Health Education

  • Technology

  • Fine Arts

  • Student Services

Special Education and ESL Programs

Special Education support for students with learning exceptionalities is offered in a variety of ways to meet the needs of the individual student.

Students who work with a special education teacher may do so through a withdrawal or monitoring model. Our Educational Assistants work mainly with individual students in their integrated classes.

The Student Success program combined with our progress report enables students who are experiencing difficulties to be identified and receive the support they require.

At the present time there is no ESL Program at John McCrae

Clubs and Activities

Interscholastic sports teams represent the school in football, hockey, basketball, field hockey, volleyball, soccer, golf, lacrosse, baseball, rugby, cross-country running, swimming, track and field, and water polo. The school’s reputation for championship excellence is grounded in the success over several seasons of our ice hockey, field hockey and girls’ soccer, volleyball teams and track and field.

Other student extracurricular activities include Link Crew, students' council, athletic council, the multicultural group, drama club, music ensembles, the concert band, badminton club, Live It Up and many others. Student leaders from these groups are involved in a student/principal consultation process giving students direct input to how the school operates.

Safe Schools Initiatives

Students at JMSS can expect to come to a school that provides a safe learning environment free from discrimination and harassment. Working closely with the Walter Baker staff and our neighbouring elementary schools, John McCrae staff coordinate programs and emergency response procedures to ensure a safe school learning environment.

Special attention this year will be paid to empowering students to deal with issues of bullying. This ongoing community difficulty is of interest to all parents and students. By cooperatively approaching these difficulties we can make our school and our community a better place for everyone. See our webpage: for more details.

Facilities and Resources

The facility at John McCrae is unique to the area and to the province as a whole. We are part of an educational campus that includes being connected to the Walter Baker Center and the Ruth E. Dickinson Public Library. This partnership allows for extended possibilities for students to use educational and recreational resources beyond the traditional high school.

JMSS places great emphasis on the use of technology in teaching, learning and assessment. Our recent addition of Smart Board Technology in Math and Science has enabled us to enhance our education tools for student success. Our recent development of an interactive website (OCRI award winner for High School Innovation in Technology – 2010) continues to be developed to provide superior educational resources for all students.

Achievement and SIP

Measures of Student Achievement and Success

Student achievement and success are measured by numerous criteria at JMSS. Students at JMSS write the EQAO Grade 10 Literacy test, the EQAO Grade 9 Mathematics test, the board-wide Grade 12 College and University level English examinations and the board wide Grade 11 University and University/College Mathematics examinations.

Performance based assessment is an integral part of our evaluation scheme. Below is some of our student achievement for the 2012/2013 school year.

  • 40 students from all grades were Silver Award winners with averages over 90%

  • 255 students in all grades achieved Honour Roll status with averages over 80%

  • 186 students were successful graduates of JMSS.

  • 68 of our graduates were Ontario Scholars.

  • EQAO Grade 9 Mathematics our school was ranked #1 in Ottawa.

Our graduates are regularly accepted in a variety of prestigious programs in Universities and Colleges across Canada. The annual Arts Show is recognized in the community as a showcase of excellence. In recent years the musical groups and the guitar ensemble have received recognition from music educators for their unique arrangements and entertaining performances.

JMSS’s annual student leadership camp is planned and run by students and staff. The Link Crew Program provides student support to our grade 9 students during their transitional year.

Advanced Placement courses provide students with the opportunity to pursue university level studies while in secondary school.

The High Performance Athlete program provides additional educational supports for the education of young people who are aspiring to provincial and national teams.

School Improvement Plans and Initiatives

Our Link Crew Program which enables our grade twelve students provide our new grade nine students with a senior mentor as they make the transition to secondary school.

The continuing development of a dynamic web-page program, which will provide current information to our community and enable teacher access to a personal wiki space and calendar to improve communications with students and parents.

The continuing growth of Advanced Placement credits enabling senior students to achieve university credits while still in secondary school. Our major focus this year will be to work with our grade nine and ten students focusing on their ability to read a selection, to think what it means to them, and then to write descriptively about the topic (communicate). The integration of these three key components of critical thinking will strengthen their ability to learn in all subject areas. This initiative will be a cross-curricular approach developing literacy in all areas of study.

The school’s vision statement “Learn and Lead” describes our belief in the purpose of education at JMSS:

  • To provide a safe and orderly learning environment where students are challenged to learn continually;

  • To maintain rigorous standards that allow graduates maximum opportunity to achieve their post-secondary potential;

  • To help each student become a responsible citizen in our global society;

  • To provide an educational program which promotes creativity, critical thinking and logic;

  • To help each student develop an awareness, appreciation and understanding of the persity of cultures;

  • To offer opportunities for leadership, recreation, service and personal development through a wide range of activities.

We believe that each student is unique and can learn. Additional information may be obtained on our website.

Leadership Recognition


This year on November 11th our students will dedicate a cenotaph to Canada’s war veterans. This monument is located in front of the school and reminds all of us of the debt we owe those who have fought for our country and world peace. At John McCrae “Lest We Forget” becomes “We Remember”. This is a mission our students and staff live every day.

John McCrae students demonstrate their leadership talents every day in the life of the school. This begins in the classroom where they develop skills in problem solving, in time management and communications.

Many of our students, having gained the confidence in class, expand their leadership role in the school by becoming involved in non-athletic organizations such as Student Council, Link Crew, the Earthcare initiative, the Multi-Cultural Club, Guitar, Free the Children Club and others too numerous to mention (see website). These students organize events in the school or participate in fundraising activities. In recent years students have spearheaded successful drives to raise money for causes such as Breast Cancer Research Operation Veterans, or have run Food Drives for the benefit of the Barrhaven Emergency Food Cupboard. Last year our Relay for Life group raised $42,700 for cancer research. We plan to improve on that this year.

Other students join an interscholastic team and provide leadership on the field, court or ice. Our championship teams, in such sports as Volleyball, Hockey, Basketball, and Baseball, were all successful due to the skill, commitment and dedication of the team members.

Each year our Student Council along with school staff helps to organize the JMSS Student Leadership Camp. This off-campus event is attended by up to 80 students from all grades who are introduced to a variety of leadership skills while participating in team-building exercises.


The teaching staff at John McCrae brings a perse background to our Barrhaven school. We have teachers that were born and raised in 9 of the 10 provinces with 7 or more coming from other countries. Their educational studies have taken them to almost every major university in Canada. In addition, several have business/work experience in various fields and trades that they acquired before entering teaching. Others have pursued athletic careers with at least one competing on our Canadian National Team in her sport.

The McCrae teaching staff is committed to lifelong learning. They are recognized across the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board as leaders in developing assessment and evaluation tools that reflect current recommended practices.

They all join in the vision of the school to make technology an integral part of both teaching and learning.

These skills and attributes have been recognized beyond our local Board. Two teachers are serving on the provincial executives of their subject-based teacher organizations while others have been invited to conduct workshops to other teachers around the province.

Three of our teachers developed our dynamic Google Apps website –, (OCRI Award for High School Innovation 2010) which has now become a Board wide standard for communications.


Parents who attend our monthly School Council meetings provide timely and useful feedback to the John McCrae administration as the school makes refinements to school operations, adjusts policies and procedures, and improves communication with parents. Many of our community members volunteer within the school either in the main office or library. These people help us to create a community partnership environment.


John McCrae Secondary School is fortunate to have many community partners in Barrhaven and the broader Ottawa area. Our active Co-operative Education Program has reached out to organizations and businesses in the retail trades, food services, medical, educational, and technological fields plus in the automotive and other skilled trades. We always welcome and appreciate our local businesses who continue to provide prizes for fundraising events.

Working with our community partners:

  • John McCrae Secondary School

  • Longfields Davidson Heights High School

  • St. Joseph’s High School

  • Ottawa Police Service

  • Ottawa Public Health

  • South Nepean Community Health Centre

  • Nepean, Rideau & Osgoode Community Resource Centre

  • Youth Services Bureau

  • Rideauwood Addiction

We are identifying the needs of youth in the Barrhaven Community for mental health supports. The goal of this inclusive team is to provide resources within our community for youth and their families that are easily accessible.

John McCrae has always had a special interest in the arts. Recently our school working with community groups created the “Red Poppy” gallery. Our gallery provides a venue for our students and our community to display their creative genius. See for more about our gallery.

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