Grade 8 to 9 Transition

Welcome to secondary school! This move to Grade 9 begins an exciting new chapter for you. Enjoy it, appreciate the experience, and seize the opportunities in front of you!

For questions about getting ready for Grade 9, please reach out to your Grade 8 Teacher or your high school's Guidance Counsellors or Student Success Teacher. 

You can learn more about all of the GECDSB's secondary schools on their websites.

If your student is not currently enrolled at one of our local elementary schools, and you are looking to register them with a GECDSB secondary school, contact the high school associated with your home location to register for the coming school year.

Please visit our registration page to identify which school your child can attend.

If your student is not currently enrolled at one of our local elementary schools, and you are looking to sign them up for secondary school, contact the high school associated with your home location to register for the coming school year. Please visit Registering With the GECDSB to identify which school your child can attend.

 Terms and Definitions

Semestered and Non-Semestered  

At a semestered school, the school year is divided into 2 semesters. A student takes 4 courses in semester one, then another 4 courses in semester two. At a non-semestered school, students take the same 8 courses throughout the year.


A timetable is a schedule of a student's courses and lunch break, and outlines the time, room number, and teacher for each course.  

Prerequisite Course  

This refers to a specific course that must be successfully completed before taking another course. 

Course Code  

This 5-character code indicates the subject, grade level, and stream or destination of a secondary school course 

Compulsory Course  

This is a specific course students must take, and it fulfils part of the diploma requirements. 

Destination Courses  

Compulsory Grade 11 and 12 courses are based on destination. They can be taken for workplace (E), university (U), university/college (M), or college (C) destinations. 


A credit is granted upon successful completion of a 110-hour course with a minimum grade of 50%.  

Optional Course  

Students will select 12 optional courses during their time in high school that are of specific interest to them, which will count toward their 30-credit diploma requirement. 

Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT)  

The literacy test is written in Grade 10. Students who are unsuccessful on the OSSLT may complete the provincial literacy requirement by successfully completing the Ontario Literacy Course (OLC 4O). A student must pass the provincial literacy requirement to earn an OSSD. 

EQAO Grade 9 Assessment of Mathematics  

The math assessment is written in Grade 9. Successful completion of the math test is not a requirement to earn an OSSD.  

Community Involvement Hours  

Students must complete 40 community involvement hours, at any time in high school, as part of their Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) requirements. 

Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD)  

Students will earn an OSSD by earning a minimum of 30 credits, including 18 compulsory and 12 optional credits, as well as fulfilling the literacy and community involvement requirements.      

Ontario Secondary School Certificate (OSSC)  

Students may be granted an OSSC by earning a minimum of 14 credits, including 7 compulsory credits.    

 Figuring Out a Course Code

Every course in secondary school has a unique COURSE CODE. All courses have the first five characters as mandated by the Ministry of Education. 



  • ADA1O --> These three letters identify the subject 
    • Subject Codes: 
      • A = Arts 
      • B = Business Studies
      • C = Canadian & World Studies 
      • D = Cooperative Education
      • E = English 
      • F = French 
      • G = Guidance & Career Education
      • H = Humanities & Social Sciences 
      • I = Computer Studies 
      • L = International Languages 
      • M = Mathematics 
      • N = First Nations, Metis, and Inuit Studies
      • P = Physical Education 
      • S = Sciences 
      • T = Technological Studies 
  • ADA1O --> This number identifies the grade: 
    • 1 = grade 9 
    • 2 = grade 10 
    • 3 = grade 11 
    • 4 = grade 12 
  • ADA1O --> This letter identifies the stream/destination 
    • Grade 9-10 
      • D = Academic 
      • P = Applied 
      • L = Locally Developed 
      • O = Open 
      • W = De-streamed 
    • Grade 11-12 
      • E = Workplace 
      • U = University 
      • C = College 
      • M = University/College 
      • O = Open 
There are many pathways to success and all students can be successful. At the Greater Essex County District School Board (GECDSB), our students can choose from a variety of pathways to suit their interests, strengths, and goals.   

Learn how you can start building your pathway today with our Individual Pathways Plan (IPP) in myBlueprint.  

What is a pathway?  

A pathway is a range of courses and programs that help you meet your needs and prepare for your initial post-secondary destination, including:  

  • Apprenticeship  
  • College  
  • Community living  
  • University  
  • Workplace  

Create your pathway using myBlueprint  

To create your IPP, log into myBlueprint using your GECDSB account to get started. This is the same e-mail and password you use to log onto school computers.  

If you have any questions about creating your pathway, contact your Guidance Counsellor or Student Success Teacher.    

What is myBlueprint?  

myBlueprint is an education planner to prepare students for their schooling in grades 7-12, select courses, and find more information on post-secondary pathways. They can use this tool to complete their Individual Pathways Plan, discover their learning styles and interests, and explore opportunities in apprenticeships, programs, and occupations.  

Individual Pathways Plan (IPP)  

An Individual Pathways Plan (IPP) will help you make choices about your education, career, and life options. It also helps you find opportunities and learn how to set and achieve goals.   

Your IPP will include:  

  • A personalized high school plan that helps you track your progress toward your diploma or certificate(and the ability to create multiple plans)  
  • Different surveys including interests, personality, motivations and learning styles inventories which match you to high school courses, post-secondary programs and careers  
  • Highlights of apprenticeship, college, community living, university, and workplace programs  
  • Detailed job descriptions (location, salary, required skills, future outlook, related work)  
  • A résumé builder and an employment guide to help you apply for actual positions and prepare you for successful in maintaining the job   

40 Hours Community Involvement 

To support your pathway, learn about our required 40 hours community involvement program where you will experience new opportunities and learning outside of school.

To provide fair opportunities and positive outcomes for students, the GECDSB has begun to eliminate the streaming of students into separate Applied and Academic secondary school programs. Grade 9 math was the first course to be de-streamed. It will be followed by the Grade 9 Science course. De-streaming will continue in all compulsory Grade 9 courses that were originally streamed.


The GECDSB has made this decision as a response to local and provincial advocacy and considerations, as well as direction from the Ministry of Education.  


The Benefits of De-streaming Education

This de-streaming now allows for the individualized journey each student takes as they move forward with their secondary education and their post-secondary plans. Students now have the opportunity to make more informed decisions and change their path later in their secondary education, to allow for new plans and course changes. 


If you have any questions about our de-streaming process, send us an email to [email protected] or contact your Guidance Counsellor.  

 Skills for Success
How Parents Can Help Students 

Below are three important skills necessary for student success. For each skill, recommendations are outlined, followed by warning signs which may lead to difficulty, and finally, recommended strategies for improvement. 



  • Students attend school each day. 
  • Students arrive to class on time. 

Warning Signs

  • Your child is missing school. 
  • Your child's report card shows more absences than you expected. 


  • Discuss your child's attendance record with the school administration and plan to ensure regular attendance. 
  • If your child is absent, ensure work is brought home, completed, and submitted. 
  • Join the school's Parent Council/Committee and stay involved in the school community. 

Homework and Submission of Assignments


  • Students commit daily effort to their classes every day. 
  • Grade 9-10 Students may spend additional time on assignments outside of class time 
  • Students complete and submit all assignments for evaluation. 

Warning Signs

  • Your child is not doing homework. If you do not see your child doing homework regularly or your child says "I don't have any homework" on a regular basis. 


  • Call the school or teacher and get more information about the situation. 
  • Contact the school's Student Success teacher for additional support. 
  • Encourage your child to read and study class notes or textbooks for the recommended time each day. 
  • Attend Parent-Teacher Information nights to get updates on student progress. 

Organization and Time Management


  • Students take accurate notes and keep binders well organized. 
  • Students are accessing their Edsby accounts to plan for assignments and collect any necessary materials. 
  • Students manage their study time so that they are preparing well in advance of tests and exams. 

Warning Signs

  • Your child does not use or access their Edsby account. 
  • Your child's notebooks are disorganized or appear incomplete. 


  • Talk with your child to set-up a time management and organizational plan. 
  • Monitor the use of their notebooks. 
  • Sign-up for and regularly check Edsby for new information. 

Mental Health and Well-Being


  • Students are physically active. 
  • Students are getting 8-10 hours of sleep every night. 
  • Students have developed and are maintaining healthy eating habits. 
  • Students ask for help when needed, especially in times of stress. 

Warning Signs

  • You child does not want to attend school or classes. 
  • Your child is having difficulty making friends. 
  • Your child's grades begin to drop. 
  • Your child is expressing a lot of negative thoughts or feelings about themselves or situations. 


  • Talk with your child about mental health and show your child that you're interested in them. 
  • Contact the school's guidance department for additional resources and supports for your child. 
  • Visit the GECDSB website to find online supports and more supports in your community. 
 What do you need to graduate?

Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD)  

18 Compulsory Credits 

  • 4 credits in English* (one credit per grade) 
  • 3 credits in Mathematics (at least one credit in 11 or 12) 
  • 2 credits in Science 
  • 1 credit in Canadian History (grade 10) 
  • 1 credit in Canadian Geography (grade 9) 
  • 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: 

  • 1 additional credit in English, 

Or French as a Second Language, 

Or a Native language, 

Or a First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Studies, 

Or a Classical or International Language, 

Or Social Sciences and the Humanities, 

Or Canadian and World Studies, 

Or Guidance and Career Education, 

Or Cooperative education** 

  • 1 additional credit in Health and Physical Education, 

Or the Arts, 

Or Business Studies, 

Or French as a Second Language, 

Or Cooperative Education** 

  • 1 additional credit in Science (grade 11 or 12), 

Or Technological Education, 

Or French as a Second Language, 

Or Computer Studies, 

Or Cooperative Education**  


In addition to the compulsory credits, students must complete: 

  • 12 optional credits 
  • The provincial literacy requirement 
  • 40 hours of community involvement activities 

*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 from a Grade 12 compulsory English course. 

** A maximum of 2 credits in Cooperative Education can count as compulsory credits. 


Ontario Secondary School Certificate (OSSC) 

Students may be granted, on request, an Ontario Secondary School Certificate. 

7 Compulsory 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, Computer Studies, or Technology 
  • 1 credit in Health and Physical Education 

Plus 7 optional credits 

 Getting Involved
Your high school experience is not limited to academics! Playing sports or joining a club is a great way to get involved in your school, meet new friends, and to help with your overall school success. The variety of sports, clubs and organizations will vary from school to school, but below are some examples of what may be available at your new school. 

Sports Teams: 

  • Baseball 
  • Basketball 
  • Cross Country 
  • E-sports
  • Football 
  • Golf 
  • Hockey 
  • Soccer 
  • Softball 
  • Swimming 
  • Track and Field 
  • Ultimate Frisbee
  • Volleyball 

Types of Clubs and Organizations: 

  • Band 
  • Chess 
  • Dance 
  • Drama 
  • Environmental 
  • Student Parliament 
  • Yearbook 
  • Yoga/Meditation

Please contact your school guidance department to see what sports, teams, groups, or clubs are available at your school.

 Looking Ahead
Once you start high school, you will discover many opportunities and programs along the way. Ontario high schools have a variety of job skills programs to help meet the needs, interests, and strengths of all students, engaging them in learning and preparing them for graduation, life beyond high school, and the jobs of the future. Take a look at what's ahead! 

Community Involvement Hours 

All students must complete 40 hours of community involvement as part of their OSSD requirement. Most students enjoy doing more than the required amount. 

Community Kitchen: 

The Community Kitchen is a specialized co-operative education program in the hospitality industry intended to provide career preparation for students interested in various sectors of the hospitality and tourism industry. 

Students work in a commercial kitchen with Red Seal chefs to make daily meals as well as rescue and distribute foods to local food banks through partnerships among Meals on Wheels and Plentiful Harvest, and the Unemployed Help Centre. 

Cooperative Education 

Cooperative education is a learning partnership that provides students with valuable work experience while earning high school credits. The program involves both a classroom component and a work placement component. Co-op is a great way to try out a career and gain experience in a field that interests you. Cooperative education programs are available in all secondary schools. 

Dual Credit Program 

Dual credit programs allow eligible students in high school to take college or apprenticeship courses that count towards: 

  • their Ontario Secondary School Diploma 
  • a postsecondary certificate, diploma, degree or a Certificate of Apprenticeship 

High school students taking dual credit courses benefit from the supervision and support of their college instructor and the GECDSB dual credit teacher. Students also have access to a variety of college supports and services. The Ministry of Education approves all dual credit programs. 


E-learning courses in a variety of subjects are available in grades 11 and 12 if you need courses that are not available in your home school. It is important to consider your learning style when choosing e-learning. 


e-STEAM (Entrepreneurship in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts) is a specialized program designed to prepare students for an ever-changing and highly competitive world, by providing an enhanced learning experience that builds global competencies and provides experiential exploration of the medical sciences, engineering and computer science fields. It is an open boundary program offered at Tecumseh Vista Academy, for students throughout the GECDSB entering high school. Students are required to complete an application to be considered for the program.  

International Baccalaureate Diploma Program 

The GECDSB has 2 schools, Leamington District Secondary School (LDSS) & Riverside Secondary School (RSS), authorized to offer the International Baccalaureate (I.B.) Diploma Program for Grade 11 and 12 students. An I.B. Diploma is recognized and valued by universities worldwide. In I.B., students reflect on the nature of knowledge, complete independent research, and undertake a project that often involves community service. 

My Achievement Pathway to Success Program

My Achievement Pathway to Success (MAPS) Program prepares students with complex learning styles for the world of work and volunteerism. The program includes various non-credit “knowledge-courses” that serve as personalized transition opportunities to ensure student success in future credit courses. Students are supported by a team of special education specialists in classrooms with a reduced number of students.

Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program 

OYAP helps prepare students for apprenticeship by combining high school courses with co-op placements to help students gain the knowledge, skills, and work experience necessary to begin an apprenticeship. Students are registered as apprentices and can begin to complete some of the necessary competencies and hours for their chosen trade. You may apply to an OYAP program after successfully completing Grade 10. 

Enhanced OYAP is also available in the follow programs: Precision Metal Trades, Auto Service, Cook, and Hairstyling.

Specialist High Skills Major 

Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) programs are designed to give students a "leg-up" in pursuing post-secondary opportunities. SHSM programs allow you to focus on a particular future career through a "bundle" of eight to ten Grade 11 & 12 courses, work experience, and sector certifications. SHSM programs are available in a variety of employment sectors in select secondary schools. 

Take Our Kids to Work 

Grade 9 students have the opportunity to explore a "day in the work-life" of their parents/guardians. 

Walkerville Centre for the Creative Arts 

Walkerville Centre for the Creative Arts (WCCA) is a secondary school enriched arts program for the most passionate, dedicated, and promising student artists in Windsor Essex County. WCCA provides access and opportunities in nine distinct art disciplines through extremely experienced and gifted educators. WCCA is a regional, pre-professional arts training center that offers secondary students’ intensive instruction in Media Arts, Dance (jazz, modern, and ballet), Music (instrumental, strings, guitar, piano, and concert band), Drama (musical theatre, directing, improvisation, acting, and production), Visual Arts (painting, drawing, print-making and sculpting), and Vocal Music (classical, jazz, and pop) all while maintaining simultaneous academic excellence.   The students collaborate and work through the creative process in order to discover solutions, solve problems, and create new answers and results. 

Student Voice
In our school board, we value the opinions and experiences of all students. Each student can speak to their own opportunities and time spent on their secondary education journey. See what some of our current students have to say about their high school experience!

“If you’re thinking that high school is one of the most intimidating places on earth, where you’ll get detention for being one second late to class, I can reassure you it’s nothing like that! From teachers to seniors to classmates, everyone is not as scary as you think they are. Don’t be scared to ask teachers for help, or a due date extension when you are having a bad week. Make sure to join clubs you’re interested in and don’t hesitate to ask senior students about a class they took that you’re currently taking. Finally, since you’ll have different people in all your classes, go talk to your classmates and make new friends in every class. With these three tips in mind, I can guarantee that you’ll love high school!” Anna W, Grade 12 

“Being nervous about leaving 8th grade and entering high school is normal for everyone. I felt it, and you will too, but there’s nothing to fear. In my experience, I accepted that everyone was trying to meet new people in new surroundings, which made it less intimidating and easier to get out of my comfort zone and socialize. I tried out for sports that I enjoyed and met like-minded people who became my teammates and friends. In terms of courses and material, if I was confused about specific topics or work, I made sure to ask questions so I wouldn’t fall behind. Eventually, I got better at time management and was able to keep up with the workload!” Mariam H, Grade 11 

“Transitioning from grade 8 to 9 can be a pretty nerve-wracking experience. Trust me, it is for everyone! I personally loved grade 9 orientation, although I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. I got to meet a whole bunch of friends and future classmates. There was music and cool events that helped me loosen up when I was nervous. Don’t be scared to reach out to staff and teachers; I promise they don’t bite!” Diana G, Grade 12 

 Tips and Information
Be enthusiastic about your move to high school 

To make a successful transition to high school: 

  • Get involved by joining clubs and teams. You will build new friendships and be happy that you did. 
  • Get to know your teachers and build positive relationships with them. Find out when they offer extra help or ask them for help if you need it. 
  • Get a class buddy and exchange phone numbers so that he/she can pick up notes or homework for you if you are absent. 

School Fees 

Each school will charge a student activity fee, which covers many students’ activities planned throughout the school year. Some courses may include a fee to cover supplies. 

Locks and Lockers 

You will be assigned a locker that is identified by a number. Keep your lock combination secret to protect your belongings. 

High School Resources Available to You 

  • Athletic and Club Activities 

Schools provide a variety of school athletic teams and clubs to join. 

  • Black, African & Caribbean Tutors

The Black, African & Caribbean (BAC) Tutors provide academic support to grade 7-12 students in a wide array of subject areas. Students that join are entitled to 20 hours of tutoring support. 

  • English as a Second Language Program

The E.S.L. Program provides English Language Learners with support in the development of English skills and literacy. E.S.L. support is not available at all high schools. 

  • Graduation Coaches

The Graduation Coach works from a holistic approach and framework to provide intensive and culturally responsive support and advocacy to marginalized students and their families. The Graduation Coach performs their role with the goal of developing strategies to empower students and see students through high school graduation, while developing intentional transition strategies to support their desired post-secondary programs/pathways. The goal is to see an increase in graduation rates, attendance, and advancement of marginalized students in their chosen pathways.

  • Child and Youth Workers

The Child and Youth Workers (CYW) in each school support students and staff by developing plans to help with skills building and school success.

  • Create Your Future Advisors

The Create Your Future Advisors (CYFA) serve as members of the Student Success Team. They help racialized and marginalized students' progress through school and overcome challenges they face in the education system through mentoring, coaching, problem-solving, and skills development. They have a specific emphasis on equity and respect for our diverse identities and strengths. 

  • First Nations, Métis, & Inuit Student Support Workers

The First Nations, Métis & Inuit (FNMI) Student Support Workers

  • Guidance Counselling & Student Services 

Student Services provide supports with academic, career, and personal development of all students. 

  • Library Services 

Library Services provide students with print, computer, and electronic resources as support for academic work. 

  • Learning Support Services 

Learning Support Teachers (LST) in each school can help with the academic planning for students with special needs. Classroom teachers work with learning support teachers to provide accommodations and support for students. 

  • Mental Health and Addictions Nurse

The Mental Health and Addictions Nurse provides specialized, professional support to students with mental health or addictions concerns.

  • Psychological Services

The Psychological Services personnel have training in psychology as it applies to education settings. The staff consists of registered psychologists, registered psychological associates, and psychoeducational consultants.

  • School Social Workers

School Social Workers assist children, families, and school personnel in enhancing students’ well-being to maximize their educational opportunities and learning potential.

  • Student Success

Student Success Teachers (SST) in each school advocates for students, tracks their academic progress, initiates programs changes, and supports student social and emotional health. They aim to improve the learning experience for students and helps with the transition from elementary school into high school.

We value where you are headed!

As students progress toward their post-secondary destination, their pathways allow for a number of different outcomes. See below for what awaits after secondary school!


Apprenticeship is a hands-on training program if you want to work in a skilled trade and enjoy learning by doing. Apprenticeship training allows you to learn the skills while working with qualified trades people. Some training takes place in the classroom, but the majority of the training occurs in the actual workplace. Many of these trades pay well because of the skills required of the worker. If you are taking apprenticeship training, you are called an apprentice.  


College is post-secondary education that you can attend after graduating from high school. You generally study for two to three years and concentrate on learning about a subject area that is of interest to you. When you graduate from college you will have a diploma or certificate which will prepare you for a career in your area of study. To attend college, you need to apply and then be accepted. Colleges use admission requirements and grades to select students. Many colleges and universities have partnership programs that allow you to transfer between schools and receive credit for completed course work. 


University is post-secondary education that you can attend after graduating from high school. You generally study for four years and concentrate on learning about a subject area that is of interest to you. When you graduate from university, you will have a Bachelor's degree which will help prepare you for a career in your area of study. You may choose to continue your university studies to earn a graduate degree in a particular area such as law or medicine, a Master's degree, or a PhD (Doctorate). You may also choose to attend college to pursue a more specialized education. 


You may choose to go to work directly after high school. You will receive on-the-job training and may decide to remain in the workforce. You may also choose to return to school at a later date for further education and training. High schools offer programs to prepare you for the world of work. Specific courses provide you with the opportunity to learn the essential skills necessary for the workplace.  

Sample of a Semestered Timetable
PeriodCourse InformationNotes
Period 1


Rm: 127 


M. L. Senghor 
Period 2


Rm: 211 

Geog. Of Canada 

Ms. J. Baret 
Room number
Period 3

MPM1D-02    Rm: 308 


Ms. K. Johnson 
Teacher's name
Period 4

AVI1O-01        Rm: 131 

Visual Art 

Mr. N. Morisseau 
Course code
Sample of a Non-semestered Timetable
PeriodCourse InformationNotes
Period 1


Rm: 127 


M. L. Senghor 

Period length will vary

Period 2


Rm: 211 

Geog. Of Canada 

Ms. J. Baret 
Section number
Period 3


Rm: 122 


Ms. J. Han 
Period 4


Rm: 213 


Ms. K. Johnson  

Period 5


Rm: 101 

Visual Art 

Mr. N. Morisseau 
Period 6


Rm: 256 


Ms. J. Goodall 
Period 7


Rm: GYM 

Heal Act Liv 

Ms. S. Williams 
Period 8


Rm: 221 

Info. Tech 

Mr. J. Dorsey