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getting there from here...

Moving from

Grade 8 to Grade 9: A Guide for Parents

and Students 2011

elcome w2 Secondary School! Beginning high school is a very exciting time in your life. It is a time when your horizons are expanding, and you are beginning your transition into adulthood and the world of work. Secondary schools in the Avon Maitland District School Board offer a variety of programs designed to meet your needs and assist you in reaching your full potential. When you first enter your secondary school, it may appear much larger than your elementary school. You may feel worried about finding your way around and meeting the expectations of a challenging high school program. Be assured that your secondary school has much in common with your elementary school - caring and supportive teachers, a variety of co-instructional activities, and friendly students. Each secondary school offers students an orientation program to help make the transition a smooth one. This book provides you with important information to help you and your parents prepare for secondary school and plan your secondary school pathway.

The Avon Maitland District School Board provides students with a program designed to ensure all students experience success as they move into, through and beyond secondary school. The Success for Life program utilizes web-based and school-based resources to support students and their parents with identifying personal strengths, mapping out secondary school course selection, and exploring options in each pathway (Apprenticeship, College, Work, including Community Living and University) beyond high school. This transition guide is a valuable part of the Success for Life program.

More specifically, this program helps students and their parents learn about: • Skills and Interests • Future career options • Pathways • Opportunities for getting work experience

For more information visit:

Common Q’s from teens... before they get to secondary school

I’m used to a small elementary school. What will I do if I get lost in such a huge high school? Secondary schools organize a Grade 8 open house and a Grade 9 orientation. Try to attend these events with your parents/guardians so you can get more familiar with the school. It may take you a few days before you get used to the school and its layout. If you can’t find a room, ask a teacher or another student and they will be happy to help you.

I am worried about the number of people at the high school. How will I meet friends? In grade 9, everyone is new to the school and looking for a friend or group of friends. Introduce yourself to other students in your classes and to students who have lockers near yours. Join a team or club – you will meet many new people by participating in these activities.

What will I learn in my classes? Will it be more difficult than my grade 8 school work? How will I keep up? The material you learn in grade 9 builds on your learning from grade 8. If you don’t understand something, ask teachers or other students and they should be able to help. You could also ask a classmate. You may feel shy asking a question; however, it is important that you do as there are likely other students in the class who are wondering the same thing. If you experience difficulties and are wondering if you have the skills and knowledge to succeed in the course, talk to your teacher and your guidance counsellor.

Especially for Parents Get Involved!

The Benefits to Parental Involvement? • You get to know the teaching staff and administrative team • You become comfortable communicating with the teachers and administrators

Students are more successful in school when their parents take an active part in their education. Here are some suggestions: • Attend Parent / Teacher Interviews • Join the School Council • Attend special events at the school • Act as a parent supervisor at school events or school trips

• You get to know your child’s friends and classmates

Your Contacts at the School For academic concerns, contact the teacher of the subject for which you have concerns. For all non-academic concerns and help with course selection, contact a guidance counsellor. The guidance counsellor will assist with timetables and provide support for issues that arise. They can also assist in accessing additional community or board-based supports if required. For attendance concerns, speak to the vice-principal.

Cultivating Character We believe, model and practise

the following character attributes in all Avon Maitland DSB schools:

“ What to do about bullying

Character attributes are the basis of healthy relationships.

Bullying is not tolerated in AMDSB schools. If you believe your child is being bullied, contact the school immediately.

Regardless of the age of your child, you can help by encouraging your child to talk to you about bullying and giving your child the following advice:

• • • •

Walk away from the situation Do not respond – don’t talk back, don’t email back, don’t hit back Tell an adult whom you trust about the situation – a bus driver, teacher, coach, principal Find a friend to be with in places where you do not feel safe

For more information about bullying and what you can do to support your child, access the following: • the Huron-Perth Bully Prevention website at • a booklet, “Bullying, We Can All Help Stop It”, is available from the Ontario Ministry of Education to assist parents and students with issues of bullying. Contact AMDSB at 519-527-0111 or 1-800-592-5437 to request a free copy. These are also available on the Minstry of Education website. • Kids Help Phone by calling 1-800-668-6868, or visit

Want to register for an Avon Maitland School? If you are new to the community and want to register your child in an Avon Maitland school, contact your local secondary school to find out the dates for registration and to make an appointment with a guidance counsellor.

Bring the following information to your meeting: Student’s Birth Certificate or Canadian Citizenship document Contact the Avon Maitland DSB office at 519-527-0111 OR 1-800-592-5437 for more information or clarification on proof of citizenship. The student’s address including 911 civic address (fire number), lot, concession, township, county, postal code, and telephone number. Doctor’s Contact Information including name, address and telephone number. Custody information – if applicable. Parents’ place of employment including daytime telephone number. Emergency contact person including name and telephone number.

School Directory Central Huron Secondary School

St. Marys District Collegiate and Vocational Institute

165 Princess Street East, Clinton N0M 1L0 519-482-3471

338 Elizabeth Street, Box 970, St. Marys N4X 1B6 519-284-1731

F.E. Madill Secondary School

South Huron District High School

231 Madill Drive, Wingham N0G 2W0 519-357-1800

92 Gidley Street East, Box 820, Exeter N0M 1S6 519-235-0880

Goderich District Collegiate Institute

Stratford Central Secondary School

260 South Street, Goderich N7A 3M5 519-524-7353

60 Andrew Street, Stratford N5A 1A3 519-271-4500

Listowel District Secondary School

Stratford Northwestern Secondary School

155 Maitland Avenue South, Listowel N4W 2M4 519-291-1880

428 Forman Avenue, Stratford N5A 6R7 519-271-9740

Mitchell District High School

Avon Maitland Distance Education Centre

95 Frances Street East, Mitchell N0K 1N0 519-348-8495

62 Chalk Street North, Seaforth N0K 1W0 519-527-0111

what’s It Take? For an OSSD, it’s as easy as... (Ontario Secondary School Diploma)


30 credits in total


40 hours of community involvement




completion of the literacy requirement

compulsories: » 4 credits in English (one credit per grade) * » 3 credits in mathematics (at least one credit in Grade 11 or 12) » 2 credits in science » 1 credit in Canadian history » 1 credit in Canadian geography » 1 credit in the arts » 1 credit in health and physical education » 1 credit in French as a second language » 0.5 credit in career studies » 0.5 credit in civics Plus one credit from each of the following groups:

» Group 1

1 additional credit in English, or French as a second language, ** or a Native language, or a classical or an international language, or social sciences and the humanities, or Canadian and world studies, or guidance and career education, or cooperative education***

» Group 2

1 additional credit in health and physical education, or the arts, or business studies, or French as a second language, ** or cooperative education***

» Group 3 1 additional credit in science (Grade 11-12), or technological education, or French as a second language, ** or computer studies, or cooperative education*** *A maximum of 3 credits in English as a second language (ESL) or English literacy development (ELD) may be counted towards the 4 compulsory credits in English, but the fourth must be a credit earned for a Grade 12 compulsory English course. **A maximum of 2 credits in cooperaƟve educaƟon can count as compulsory credits. ***The 12 opƟonal credits may include up to 4 credits earned through approved dual credit courses.

A credit is the way the Ministry of Education recognizes the successful completion of a course. One credit is earned based on 110 hours of instruction. A credit can only be granted by the principal of a secondary school.

Community Involvement Hours must be completed, unpaid, outside normal school hours beginning in September of your grade 9 year. Grade 9 students will receive the 40 Hour Community Involvement Record.

For an OSSC (Ontario Secondary School Certificate)


compulsory credits » » » » » »

+ 7

optional credits

2 credits in English 1 credit in mathematics 1 credit in science 1 credit in Canadian history or geography 1 credit in the arts 1 credit in health and physical education

For an OSSCA

(Ontario Secondary School Certificate of Accomplishment) This certificate recognizes achievement of students who plan to pursue certain vocational programs or other kinds of community integration.

Substitutions: Principals may replace up to three compulsory credit courses with courses from the list of compulsory categories that meet the requirement. Substitutions are granted on an individual basis.

The literacy test is based on Ontario curriculum expectations for reading and writing in all subjects up to the end of Grade 9. Students, who are unsuccessful, will be able to write the test again, or to take the equivalent OSSLC. Students write the test in Grade 10.

The Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course (OSSLC) is available to students who are unsuccessful in passing the literacy test. OSSLC can count as the Grade 12 Compulsory English credit.

It is important

that young people find work that is rewarding, dignifying, and allows them to become

valuable contributors to our communities. This search may lead directly to work, to an apprenticeship, to college or to university. Which pathway will

you choose?

A pathway is designed to lead a student to a particular destination. This does not mean the student will always end up at that destination. Students should be free to make new choices as they develop new interests, skills and abilities. Thoughtful course selection with a realistic examination of interests and abilities is an important aspect of a successful pathway. Sometimes, parents and students are influenced by how society views success in secondary school. Often, success is perceived to be completion of college or university. It is important to realize that these goals may not match the strengths and needs of all students. Many will find rewarding opportunities in direct entry to the world of work or apprenticeship. We need only to look at our own communities to see entrepreneurs and skilled trades people who have expanded their knowledge


What is a Program Pathway?

Your interests, skills, goals, needs and preferred learning styles

Appropriate course selection and meaningful curriculum

Knowledge, skills and experiences appropriate for your desired postsecondary destination

It’s Time to Plan! Follow these steps to make decisions about your program pathway. Parents, you can guide your child through the following steps to help them make the best decision and to take responsibility for the outcomes. Talk positively to your child about their interests, skills and abilities, and how they may relate to the workplace.

Start... with the

end in mind:

Research about YOU Informed decisions Reflect... time for a

• Talk to parents, family members and friends about different kinds of work. • Look at the Career and Educational Pathway Planner chart on the centrefold to find possible jobs that may interest you. • Be sure to examine a variety of possibilities. • Use this chart to discover the type(s) of post-secondary education, if any, that your choices require. • Use this chart to identify the secondary school courses appropriate to realize your goals. • What is your learning style? Use the Get Connected: E-Resources page in this booklet to determine how you learn best (by seeing, hearing and/or doing). • Look at your report card marks, EQAO scores and other test/evaluation results. • Gather information from your teachers, past and present. In which type of course do they think you will be most successful? • Decide what type of course matches your learning style best. • Remember, one course type is not better than the other. They just lead to different destinations based on different learning styles.

• Check the chart to see that the job that interests you is in line with your learning style. • Make any necessary changes to your plan so far.

reality check

Build A pathway

• Talk to a guidance counsellor in your secondary school now that you have decided your probable destination (work,college, apprenticeship, university).

to success

Visit for more information on building your pathway.







Career Pathway Description



Arts, Communication and Recreation Business, Finance, Health, Natural and Sales and Service Applied Sciences

Information Technology

Social Sciences, Government and Human Services

Trade, Transport and Industrial Technologies

Career and Educational Pathway Planner


Grade 10 Suggested Electives

Grade 9 Suggested Electives








Introduction to Computer Studies

w w w. s u c c e s s fo r l i fe .c a

Introduction to Computer Studies

Year 2

Years 3, 4, (5)

Post - Secondary

• • •

Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) Ontario Secondary School Certificate (OSSC) Ontario Secondary School Certificate of Accomplishment (OSSCA)

Depending on which pathway you choose in secondary school, you will be working your way towards:

Flexibility is possible in most subjects to allow students to make pathway changes. More information is available from the Student Services Department in your secondary school.

Year 1

Planning Your Pathway

Course Types Explained You will need to select specific types of courses in grade 9. The information below will give you an idea of what course type is best for you. If you are uncertain, ask your teacher for assistance, or contact your secondary school Student Services Department. Type of Course


Course Codes (examples)

Course Codes Explained...

How to Read a Timetable

What is a Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM)?

There are five main components to any SHSM: 1. Bundled Credits – consists of 8 to 10 grade 11 and 12 credits and must include two COOP credits 2.Certifications – recognized by sector 3.Reach Ahead Experiences – learning experiences connected to student’s post secondary destination 4. Experiential Learning and Career exploration – activities connected to the sector 5. Essential Skills and Work Habits – develop and track essential skills and work habits related to the sector through the Ontario Skills Passport.

SHSM currently being offered in the Avon Maitland District School Board • Arts & Culture at SHDHS & SCSS • Construction at LDSS & FEMSS • Energy at SMDCVI • Environment at GDCI • Health & Wellness at SNWSS & FEMSS • Hospitality & Tourism at SNWSS & MDHS • Information & Communications Technology at CHSS & SCSS • Manufacturing at SNWSS and LDSS • Transportation at SNWSS and SHDHS


What is an OYAP student? An OYAP student is a student who is earning COOP credits for work experience in an apprenticeship occupation. The student may or may not be registered as an apprentice while still in high school. Who can participate in OYAP? Students must: • be at least 16 years of age • complete sixteen credits towards the OSSD prior to starting the program • be enrolled as full-time students during the program • complete all compulsory credits required for the OSSD

DUAL CREDITS School College Work Initiative (SCWI) Dual credits are specialized programs that students can take through a college and earn high school credits and college credits at the same time. Currently the AMDSB offers dual credits through the following colleges: 1. Conestoga College -Stratford Campus 2. Fanshawe College– London Campus and REACH in Clinton 3. Lambton College – Sarnia Campus


A SHSM is a ministry approved specialized program that allows students to focus their learning on a specific economic sector while meeting the requirements of the OSSD. It also assists their transition after graduation to apprenticeship, college, university or the workplace.



Tawnie Sequin

Dual Credits lead to Apprenticeship

Tawnie is from Thunder Bay, Ontario and moved to GDCI in grade 11. This year she had the opportunity to participate in the dual credit program at Lambton College taking Hairstyling- Styling and Cutting Techniques. This program has been instrumental in helping her to make her career decision to be a hairstylist. Tawnie hopes to move to a big city once she completes her apprenticeship. Her long term goal is to own her own salon.

Student Success Every secondary school has a Student Success Team which works to ensure that every student has a successful secondary school experience. Members of the SS Team include the Principal (or vice-Principal), Guidance, Student Success and Special Education Teachers. Student Success Teams develop credit rescue, credit recovery and transitional plans with students. They make sure that programs and activities are in place to help every student be successful.

Student Services Guidance Counsellors are teachers with special training who provide assistance with choosing courses, postsecondary planning and personal issues. Parents and students are encouraged to seek the support of the Student Services Department.

Special Education A wide variety of programs and services are available for students with special education needs. These programs and services focus on specific needs of students and create opportunities to develop their individual potential. They are developed in partnership with parents and guardians in an atmosphere of cooperation and respect. Parents and students, please contact your secondary school’s Special Education Department for more information about specific school programs.

skills 4 success... Attendance Recommendations • Attend school each day • Arrive for class on time If you • Miss school • Have more absences noted on report card than expected Then • Discuss attendance record with school administration • Develop a plan to ensure regular attendance • Ensure school work for absences is brought home, completed and submitted

Homework & Assignment Submission Recommendations • Amount of time spent on assigned homework depends on student’s needs, subject, school schedule, proximity to tests, exams and assigned homework due dates • Complete and submit all assignments for assessment If you • Do not complete assigned homework regularly • Do not submit assignments for assessment Then • Be sure you understand the homework or assignment • Seek additional help from your teacher • visit for homework help

Organization & Time Management Recommendations • Take accurate notes and keep binder well organized • Use an agenda to plan assignments, projects, and tests • Manage study time and begin to prepare well in advance If you • Do not use your school planner issued to you • Have disorganized or incomplete notes Then • Use the planner provided for you • Seek help to set up a time management and organizational plan • Monitor use of your planner and notebook Parents, you can help your child experience success by encouraging the development of these skills.

Get Connected: E-Resources

Exploring Training & Careers

Exploring All Pathways E x p l o r i n g Yo u r Success for Life Learning Style

Career Cruising: Explore Careers

• • •

comprehensive website from the Avon Maitland District School Board addresses all destinations: apprenticeship, college, university, and work links to many other informative and interactive sites including

Career Parent Magazine •

Ontario Prospects: Ontario’s Guide to Career Planning

provides tools to help young people develop skills and knowledge about themselves, career alternatives, career and life planning, personal management and service to their community

Career Cruising: Career Matchmaker

• •

Mazemaster: Self Assessment •

T h e O n e - S t o p - S h o p f o r Yo u t h Employment…Training & Opportunities

comprehensive and interactive career guidance resource includes interests and skills inventories; in-depth profiles of hundreds of different occupations; detailed information on colleges, universities, and apprenticeships; multimedia interviews with people in many occupations contact the school for information about the username and password

Apprenticeships iQuizzes Career Gateway Career Matters • •

website from TV Ontario and the Independent Learning Centre contains over 500 job descriptions and many videos of real people in the workforce

National Occupation Classification Human Resources and Social Development Canada

Glossary OSR – Ontario Student Record This is the official school record for a student. The OSR contains achievement results, credits earned, diploma requirements completed, and other information important to the education of the student.

OST – Ontario Student Transcript This document is an official summary of a student’s achievement in Ontario secondary school courses. A current, accurate and complete copy of the OST is included within the Ontario Student Record.

Prerequisite A prerequisite course is a course that you must successfully complete before taking the next course.

OYAP – Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program OYAP is a special cooperative education program which enables senior students to register as Ontario apprentices and gain secondary school credits while enrolled in Avon Maitland secondary schools. Students must be 16 years of age and be enrolled full-time in grades 11 or 12.

Curtis White: Apprenticeship (F.E. Madill) Two Trades Are Better Than One A Brussels boy born and bred, Curtis likes hunting, being outdoors and going to the gym. He also likes welding, a lot. Welding is something he has done on his own time for a long time now. He likes the challenge of welding, and of making something new. This interest should serve him well in his choice of career, or in one of his choices of career.

Curtis credits his tech department teachers, especially Mr. Greidanus and Mr. McIntosh, with encouraging him in his path, and helping him learn the skills he needs to succeed. He also is grateful that his father was looking out for him, recommending careers in trades that were most likely to expand and have plenty of opportunities available in the future.


Welding is not the only destination in Curtis’ plans for the future. Yes, he wants to do an apprenticeship, preferably with a local welder, but he doesn’t want to stop there. He also wants to do a second apprenticeship, as an electrician. After all, if one trade is good, two must be even better, right? Being an electrician, in his opinion, offers the same kinds of challenges as being a welder. In either career, there are new projects all the time, new places to work, new things to learn. Once he has completed both apprenticeships, he will be in the perfect position to open his own shop, offering more than just one service, and maybe taking on other employees.



School is important in Curtis’ opinion, as long as you choose wisely as you proceed. He says, “Start thinking early about what you want to do, then take the courses that will help you along the way, including co-op.” That seems like a very sensible plan.

Sara Leslie: College (St Marys DCVI)


High School Has Made a Big Impact on Future Goals Growing up in St. Marys and attending Arthur Meighen Public School, Sara had the opportunity to attend DCVI and is very happy with her decision. DCVI was such a welcoming school with a lot of friendly staff and CONTROL E students. The friends she has made throughout the years and the fun things she did will always be AK remembered. High school has definitely had a big impact on her future goals in life. DCVI has offered great learning experiences, both academically and clubs. Sara was involved in the school implementation of peer mentoring, a group named PWWP - Peers Working With Peers and also got to be a student leader for Challenge Day. She also played on the badminton team. Having two older sisters who went to college, Sara feels ready to accept the challenge of college herself. Even though she is not sure where she will be headed, she knows that she wants to pursue either dental hygiene or recreation and leisure studies. Classes that helped Sara choose her career path include: biology, foods and fitness. Sara was always really into those classes. Her family is really supportive in her career choice. Sara says that her family has always been there for her in the past and will always be there in the future - near or far!

Spencer Jones – University (GDCI) Spencer is a fifth year Goderich District Collegiate Institute student who plans on applying for a Health Science Degree. He is interested in many medical related fields and may eventually go on to become a radiologist. During his time at GDCI he has participated in a variety of extra-curricular activities including volleyball, basketball, peer tutoring, Reach for the Top, and Students’ Council. In the community, Spencer volunteers for the Big Brothers association and has achieved his Grade 9 piano and Grade 2 theory. In his spare time, he works at Rona Building Supplies.


Co-op Placement Helps Make Career Decision E AK


Spencer has known for some time that he has wanted to work in the medical field. He has been positively influenced to pursue studies in this field by his parents and science teachers. Spencer also participated in a co-op placement at the local hospital in his final year of high school. This experience helped assure him that working in the health care field was the right path for him. Spencer’s advice for new students would be to work hard and join extra-curricular activities.

Madison Wilson: Workplace (Stratford Central SS) Every Teacher Has Had an Impact Madison will be graduating this year and has plans to enter the workforce and to travel. She already has been offered a full-time job at her current place of employment in the food industry. She plans to take the Smart Serve certification through the school as requested by her employer. Madison plans to travel across Canada and then to possibly move to Halifax and open up her own shop there.


Madison said that her time at Central helped her to realize that post-secondary education is not for her. She says “I am very good at doing my work and in being punctual which is an essential skill for having a job”.



There are many fond memories that she has about her time spent at Central. One aspect that she particularly liked was that she could choose classes that suited her personality and interests. She says that high school helped her to learn what she wouldn’t like to do in the future and some things that she now enjoys as hobbies. Madison says that every teacher that has taught her has had an impact on her life and found that all of them helped her to gain confidence in her school career. Madison does not have any set goals other than to live her life to the fullest and to gain many experiences along the way. She feels she can best do this by living and working in the real world rather than being in a post-secondary classroom. Her dreams include creating a vintage movie theatre or opening a music store. Her parents are supportive with her decision because they realize that she is the best person to know what is best for her and what will make her happy. Madison’s philosophy of life is “Don’t take life too seriously, you’ll never get out alive”–Bugs Bunny.

Avon Maitland District School Board 62 Chalk Street N North orth Seaforth, ON N0K K 11W0 W0 1-800-592-5437 377

2011 Transition Guide for Grade 8 Parents and Students  
2011 Transition Guide for Grade 8 Parents and Students  

This booklet is designed to assist parents and students in the transition from Grade 8 into secondary school.