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How to Select Your Grade 9 Courses

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How to Select Your Grade 9 Courses

Thank you to all those who attended last week’s Getting Ready for High School 2: How to Select Your Grade 9 Courses presentation on January 26, 2022. For those who could not attend, the recording of the presentation can be watched below.

In this recording families can learn more about:

  • Available high school pathways
  • Course descriptions (Xello)
  • Choosing courses and electives
  • Program options
  • Completing Community Involvement Hours

Watch the Virtual Information Session below or on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PStke0m1k_M.

Students who missed the first Getting Ready for High School Session can find more information in this post.

Session Q&As

Where are the school specific presentations?

A list of school specific presentation recordings can be found  at https://www.hwdsb.on.ca/secondary/plan-for-high-school/grade-7-8-information-nights-2/   

How do I find which secondary school my child will attend?

The HWDSB Find a School feature can be found at https://www.hwdsb.on.ca/find/.

My child attends French Immersion. Which secondary school do they attend?

The Find a School feature has an option to select French Immersion. Students will attend the catchment school related to French Immersion based on their home address. 

Where do I find out if a school is eligible for Out of Catchment?

HWDSB Out of Catchment information can be found at https://www.hwdsb.on.ca/find/#tabs-112  

Out-of-Catchment applications for Secondary are due at 4 p.m. on March 4, 2022. Late applications will not be accepted.

My child has an Individual Education Plan. What specific special education supports are available in secondary schools?

For students with an Individual Education Plan (IEP), the best place to start is a discussion with the current Elementary Learning Resource Teacher. If your child transfers from an HWDSB elementary school to a HWDSB secondary school, their IEP will automatically be transferred. Please be assured that continuity of care and resource support will continue at the secondary level.

Where can I find more information on de-streaming?

Those interested in learning more about de-streaming can watch the video below or on YouTube at https://youtu.be/EBqbhQgPBtY

I am interested in enrolling my child in the International Baccalaureate (IB) programme. What do I need to know about the transition to grade 9?

The IB progamme is a program with a grade 11 entry. All students will attend their home (catchment) secondary school for grade 9 and 10. 

Information on the IB programme can be found in the video below or on YouTube at https://youtu.be/_PR2LWPDx5g

My child is currently in a grade 8 remote learning classroom. How do they apply for secondary school?

All elementary remote learning classes are part of current elementary schools. Each school will ensure that the proper communication and transition occurs with the relevant HWDSB secondary schools. 

Where do I find out more about selecting courses for grade 9?

Secondary guidance counsellors will visit grade 8 classes in January to share information with students. Your child’s grade 8 homeroom teacher is a key contact in the transition process and can provide specific information. 

 On Wednesday January 26th 6p.m., there will be a board-wide presentation regarding course selections on MS Teams. 

How do I know what sports, clubs and other extra-curricular activities are available at my local school?

ach school will highlight these activities in their school-specific presentations, they can be found at A list of school specific dates can be found at https://www.hwdsb.on.ca/secondary/plan-for-high-school/grade-7-8-information-nights-2/

My child is transferring from HWCDSB. What do I need to do to prepare for their transition to HWDSB?

When transferring to HWDSB, you will need to complete a registration process. Information can be found at:  https://www.hwdsb.on.ca/find/#tabs-114

I am moving to a new area. What do I need to do? What school will my child attend?

The following link will help you Find and Register for School.

What is SHSM and OYAP?


Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) is a ministry-approved specialized program that allows students to focus their learning on a specific economic sector while meeting the requirements to graduate from secondary school. Through specialized programming, students are given the opportunity to ‘reach ahead’ and experience relevant training and learning specific to the sector. It also assists in their transition after graduation to apprenticeship training, college, university or the workplace. A SHSM is a four-semester, two-year program for any interested student in grades 11 or 12. For more information visit the Ministry of Education SHSM Website. 

Learn more at  www.hwdsb.on.ca/SHSM 

 Students should consult with their Guidance Counsellor to learn more information to plan for their grade 11 year. 


The Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) is a School to Work program that opens the door for students to explore and work in apprenticeship occupations starting in Grade 11 or Grade 12 through the Cooperative Education program. 

Students have an opportunity to become registered apprentices and work towards becoming certified journeypersons in a skilled trade while completing their secondary school diplomas. 

Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) | Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (hwdsb.on.ca) 

Students should consult with their Guidance Counsellor to learn more information to plan for their grade 11 year.

My child would like to apply to the ABP program at Glendale. Where do I find information?

The following link will help you learn more about this program:  Audition-based Program of the Arts | Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (hwdsb.on.ca) 

There is a Virtual Information Night – Thursday, November 18, 2020, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. (event link) where you can learn more information.

My child would like to apply to the Westmount program. Where do I find information?

The following link will explain Westmount’s self-directed, self-paced program: 

Self-directed, Self-paced | Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (hwdsb.on.ca) 

Westmount students must provide their own transportation to and from school. Westmount does not have a catchment area; all students in HWDSB can access the school if interested in this model. Like all schools, we can only accommodate the number of students for whom we have the space and resources to meet their needs. 

If you are interested in becoming a student at Westmount, there will be a virtual information night on Nov. 25th at 7:00 p.m. https://hwdsb.info/westmount-infonight Interested registrants can visit the school website for the link to access the virtual information meeting or contact the school directly at (905) 385-5395.

My child would like to apply to the IB programme. How can I ensure they can benefit from the program if it is not available at their secondary school?

Students interested in the International Baccalaureate (IB) program begin grade 9 at their catchment secondary school and would apply to the IB program for their grade 11 year. Interested students should talk to their Guidance counsellor to learn more information about Information Nights when they are in grade 10. More information about this program can be found on the HWDSB website. List of Programs | Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (hwdsb.on.ca) 

IB programs are located at Ancaster High School and Westdale Secondary School. There is a defined catchment area depending on a student’s home school which determines which IB program they are eligible to attend.

My child missed a lot of school during the pandemic. How do I know they are ready for high school?

We understand that there might be gaps in student learning due to the pandemic however all HWDSB educators will be working together with your child to ensure achievement and well-being.  As well, students are invited to attend free summer programming offered by HWDSB.  Please consult the Summer Program Flyer that is available in the spring.  Contact your elementary or secondary school in the spring to determine specialized, non-credit programs to help prepare for high school.   Our website also posts at Summer | Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (hwdsb.on.ca).

My child's coach is encouraging them to attend an out of catchment school so that they can be on the school team. How do I facilitate this for my child?

For information about out of catchment procedures, please refer to: https://www.hwdsb.on.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/FINAL-Out-of-Catchment-Procedure-1.pdf 

For information about eligibility to play sports following a school transfer, please refer to:  https://www.hwdsb.on.ca/athletics/secondary-school/student-transfers/.

What does my child need to graduate?

There are many different pathways for a student graduate (OSSD, OSSC and Certificate of Accomplishment).  

For information regarding graduation requirements for an OSSD, please refer to:    


For information regarding graduation requirements for an OSSC or Certificate of Accomplishment, please refer to: 


More information will be shared at your secondary school’s January presentation.

I have heard a lot about the new math course. What does it mean for my child?

The Ministry of Education now offers the new de-streamed math course, MTH1W.  This course enables students to consolidate, and continue to develop, an understanding of mathematical concepts related to number sense and operations, algebra, measurement, geometry, data, probability, and financial literacy. Students will use mathematical processes, mathematical modelling, and coding to make sense of the mathematics they are learning and to apply their understanding to culturally responsive and relevant real-world situations. 

This allows all academic pathways to be available to your child in grade 10. 

Will my secondary school continue to provide breakfast programming for my student?

Every school offers unique opportunities to meet the interests of their students. Please attend your secondary school information session in January to learn about programs, supports, athletics and extracurricular activities that are offered.

When can I start counting my child's volunteer hours? How do. I keep a record of this?

Effective July 1, 2022, students may begin volunteer hours to count towards their OSSD.  Students may contact their secondary school for more details.  Further information will be shared with all grade 8 students in the spring of 2022.

My child is in French Immersion. What French supports are available to guide us as we move to secondary school?

Transforming FSL is a great resource available for all families as their children continue French learning. Learn more at https://transformingfsl.ca/.

Who do I contact if I have questions about course selection?

Students first point of contact is their grade 8 homeroom teacher.  Throughout the year, students will be supported in their elementary school as they select their courses.  Learning Resource Teachers are also available to answer questions.  In some schools, the Elementary Student Success teacher is another source of information as well as the Secondary Student Success teacher.  

Will transportation be provided to my high school?

For information on transportation please contact Hamilton Wentworth Student Transporation Services 


Here you will be able to find answers to some commonly asked transportation questions.

What programs does HWDSB offer?

You can learn more about the different high school options in this section, Programs | Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (hwdsb.on.ca) such as: 

This presentation is being recorded. You will find it posted on the board website in the near future.

Updated on Monday, February 07, 2022.
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