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Variety of Programs

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Each learner will make strategic choices based on the direction they wish to take after graduation. Each of our students will be able to work towards their goal, at their local school. These strategic choices include the five major pathways: apprenticeship, college, community, university and work.

Student voice will be captured prior to the distribution of option sheets in order to get a sense of what students want offered in their schools. Students will have an informed voice based on their understanding of career pathways and future employment opportunities. Every HWDSB school will support and value each pathway.

Implementing our program strategy gives us an opportunity to update our schools with the technologies, tools and environments that students will need for learning, working and living in the 21st century.

The new North Secondary School, with its associate elementary schools, will employ and learn from a new digital approach to student learning. This is much more than a technology project; it is about using a new approach to teaching and learning to support student achievement and engagement.

This is an innovative concept that will require broad dialogue beyond the present program strategy consultation with our staff, students, parents and community partners to come to fruition.

We believe that this groundbreaking direction will engage students in learning through a meaningful exploration of their interests. Learning in the digital approach will foster curiosity, initiative and a culture of high achievement. We will study its introduction at the North Secondary School and its associated schools closely, as we anticipate district-wide adoption. (see Appendix B for more information)

The program strategy also envisions a tiered program offering, which addresses what all students need, what some students need and what a few students need. These tiers support the goal of meeting the needs of all learners, regardless of their program requirements.


Tier 1 programs and interventions support the improved achievement for all our students, across all of our secondary schools.

Each school will be a place that includes the following:

  • A wide range of course and experiential learning opportunities
  • Engaging programs and the ability to access what students need to graduate
  • A school climate where students feel safe, welcome and included within their school
  • A wide range of interventions to promote nurturing and diverse learning environments
  • Peer-to-peer support structures
  • eLearning opportunities to support students who respond best to this flexible learning environment.

Tier 2 programs and interventions are offered in some schools if there is enough student interest within a school. Student interest will be captured through the option sheet process.  These are programs such as Languages (i.e. Latin, Spanish) and Outbound that do not require specialized facilities or equipment and are offered to students living within the catchment of their home school.

Examples of programs that fall within the Tier 2 category are as follows:

Tier 2 Program/courses

Health and Wellness
Languages (Latin, Spanish, Mandarin etc)
Non Profit

Larger school populations ensure students  have choice from  a wide range of program offerings. The remaining 13 HWDSB secondary schools are projected to have enrolments close to 1,000 students; therefore, there is greater choice in programming for students.

Schools will also offer targeted interventions to meet the needs of students who require them. The interventions will include programs and/or supports to students who are struggling academically, socially and emotionally.

Tier 2 Interventions/Supports


Literacy intervention programs Empower High School, Wilson Reading Program
Numeracy intervention programs Jump Math (with other strategies)
In-school personalized timetables In-school alternative education, credit recovery, self-directed/self-paced
Specific Co-op and/or experiential learning opportunities Workplace placements, job shadowing
Socio-emotional/mental health programs Support from Student Services Team, Student Success staff or peer-to-peer support


Tier 3 programs and specialized interventions/supports  are intended for a few students at limited school sites. Programs and interventions/supports within Tier 3 are those that require specialized facilities, equipment or funding enhancements. These programs would be located in a few school sites located strategically across HWDSB. Transportation would be provided according to Board policy.

Current data indicates approximately 1.5 per cent of the total secondary population choose to leave their home school to attend a Tier 3 program. This data is supported by responses collected during the October 2012 Student Voice forums, which indicate students prefer choice and programming within their home schools. See Appendix C for Tier 3 enrolment numbers.

Programs and interventions in Tier 3 include the following:

Tier 3 Programs


Arts & Culture: Digital Media* Students have the opportunity to pursue creative practices using interactive and new technologies. This is an open and flexible program that encourages students to develop as creative digital and media designers. Students explore how art and technology reshape the future. Courses include animation, digital photography, advertising, digital video production, multimedia development etc.
ArtSmart A program delivered in partnership with Theatre Ancaster. It is a one-semester co-op program offered to senior students across the system.
Aviation/Aerospace* This SHSM allows students to explore the numerous pathways available within the aviation and aerospace industries.
Construction – Building Careers from the Ground Up* This program provides students with the opportunity to experience the many skills and trades available in the home building industry. Students earn credits in senior construction technology through in class and co-operative education model on a building site in the city.
Cosmetology* Students gain hands-on experience in hairstyling techniques and aesthetics that meet industry standards, using industry standard materials and equipment.
English as a Second Language/ English Literacy Development (ESL/ELD) The purpose of high school ESL/ELD credit courses is to provide students with language learning opportunities to assist them to develop the level of proficiency in English required for success at school, the community, post-secondary education and the workplace.
French Immersion A continuation of the elementary French Immersion program, leading to a Certificat d’Immersion.
Horticulture* Students participate in Landscape Ontario horticultural technician training and gain a strong foundation for a wide variety of careers in the horticulture and landscaping sector such as planting and pruning training within a greenhouse setting.
Hospitality/Tourism*(Food Services) Students learn about food preparation, hospitality services and tourism. Through experiential learning, students will connect with hospitality employers and explore careers in the industry.
Information/Communication Tech* Information and Communications Technology enables students to build a foundation of sector-specific knowledge and skills in the areas of communication systems, computer systems, software and digital media.
International Baccalaureate (IB) The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme is a pre-university course of study, offered during the last two years of secondary school.
Manufacturing* Manufacturing provides students with a strong foundation for a wide variety of careers in the manufacturing sector, from those focussing on the service, repair, and modification of machines and systems to those related to the organization and manufacturing services and mass-transit systems.
Ontario Public Service Program This program provides an opportunity to earn secondary school credits while completing a specialized paid co-operative education placement in the Ontario Public Service (OPS) in government entry- level positions or with a non-profit organization.
Performing Arts Program The Glendale Performing Arts program is an auditioned program where students will enter in Grade 9 and continue through their secondary school years until they graduate in Grade 12.
Strings Students will participate in the study of music through performance, creation and analysis of music from the Baroque period to the 21st century. Preferred preparation: Minimum two years previous study on an orchestral string instrument or recommendation of instructor.
Transportation Technology* The transportation program provides students with a strong foundation for a wide variety of careers in the transportation sector, from service, repair and modification of vehicles and vehicle systems to those related to the organization and management of transportation services and mass-transit systems.

*These programs lead to a Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) designation for students who are heading for an apprenticeship, training, college, university or the workplace. SHSM programs allow Grades 11 and 12 students to focus on a career path that matches their skills and interests while meeting the requirements of the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD). Students receive the SHSM seal on their diploma when they complete a specific bundle of eight to 10 courses in their selected field, earn valuable industry certifications including first aid and CPR, and gain important skills on the job with employers through co-operative education.

Tier 3 interventions and/or supports include:

  • specialized support programs which require a low student-to-staff ratio in order to provide focused, direct and personalized assistance to students;
  • non-credit special education programs for students who require intensive, continuous, and individualized support to such an extent that they require a low student-to-staff ratio in order to reach their potential;
  • individualized credit-granting programs for students who are unable to attend a traditional school setting for a period of time;

These interventions and/or supports include the following:

Tier 3 Interventions and/or Supports


ALPHA(Accelerated Literacy Program Hamilton Area)
  • Accelerated program for students aged 14 -18 who have recently arrived in Ontario schools with limited prior schooling
  • Intended to provide programming support so that students make significant gains in English language development literacy and numeracy skills as well as academic skills and knowledge
  • The goal is for the students to be successfully integrated into the mainstream program
NYA:WEH(Native Youth Advancement with Education Hamilton)
  • Provides a culturally based support for Aboriginal youth. The program combines two streams of education, Western and Traditional, which are integral to the success of Aboriginal youth.
  • Specific support for First Nation, Metis and Inuit students in the following areas:
    • Academic Assistance
    • Culturally Sensitive Resource
    • Social and Personal Consultation
    • Access to Tutors
    • Student Advocacy
Graduated Support Program
  • Specific support for students including integration in the school and community, appropriate to the student’s strengths
  • Although they may not be earning credits, students in this program have the ability to achieve a level of independence in the community upon graduation
Extensive Support Program
  • Intensive, continuous, and individualized support
  • Collaboration with parents and community partners in order to provide appropriate programming and transition to community supports
Personalized Learning Support Program
  • An individualized educational alternative program for students who cannot learn in a regular school setting. Students remain connected to their home school.
Updated on Friday, November 01, 2013.
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