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List of Programs

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Explore our programs!

Elementary schools in HWDSB offer a wide range of learning opportunities to prepare you for success in high school and beyond.

We talk about pathways for students approaching high school as a way to prepare them for their chosen post-secondary destination. Plans and destinations may change as you develop as a person, but planning your path, your way will help you be successful. Learn more in our 7-2-10 Transition Guide.

Explore our elementary school specialized programs below.


HWDSB is committed to arts education having a central position in the educational experience of elementary and secondary school students. We aim to ensure opportunities are created for every student to participate in quality arts programming, regardless of geographic area, income level or special need. Our aim is to develop an appreciation of all of the arts in every student.

Learn more on our Arts page.

Sport Academy and Basketball Academy

Offered at R.A. Riddell

The R.A. Riddell Sport Academy is a Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board Specialized Learning Program. The program consists of 2 streams: High Potential and Basketball focus. This innovative learning program was created in 2006 to engage HWDSB student athletes by meeting their unique academic and athletic needs. Student athletes from all over the district are welcome to apply to the R.A. Riddell Sport or Basketball Academy. The program set forth by the HWDSB which supports the visions of all students achieving their full potential, and of all students graduating.

R.A. Riddell Application Timelines

Parent Information Night February 8, 2022, 6:30 PM
Application Due February 28, 2022
Packages Reviewed March 7-10, 2022
Email Notification of Results March 11, 2022
Sport Academy Welcome Evening May 17, 2022, 6:30 PM

English as a Second Language

The Elementary ESL Program teaches children in grades 1 to 8 how to communicate in English effectively. A strong command of the English language will help make your child successful in Canadian society.

Learn more on our Elementary ESL program

French Immersion

HWDSB offers an Early French Immersion program beginning in Grade 1. It is designed to provide English-speaking children with opportunities to become skilled speaking in French as well as English. Classroom instruction in Grade 1 is given in French. An immersion program means that French is not only the medium in which subjects are taught, but it is also the means of communication between pupils and teacher in the classroom and, as much as possible, beyond the classroom. Research and experience show that early immersion leads to higher fluency in French while maintaining levels of competency in English and math.

Learn more about French Immersion and find elementary locations.

Grade 9 Student Transitional Education Program, STEP

Community and Continuing Education, in partnership with HWDSB’s Secondary Schools, is pleased to offer Grade 8 students the Grade 9 Student Transitional Education Program (STEP) each August at the HWDSB secondary school they are about to attend.The free program includes literacy and math instruction, the teaching of valuable learning strategies and is an opportunity for students to meet new friends and become familiar with their new school.

Learn more on our STEP website.

Hockey Academy

Offered at Tapleytown

The HWDSB Hockey Canada Skills Academy provides an opportunity for students to participate in the Grade 7-8 Hockey Canada Skills Curriculum, which will improve and develop overall fitness and hockey skills during the school day.  The program values student academic achievement within its structured, organized, active learning environment. Male and female students in the program grow through specific training on and off the ice.

International Languages

The Junior Kindergarten to Grade 8 International Language program offered through Community and Continuing Education gives children an opportunity to learn and/or maintain a language other than French or English and to develop an appreciation and sensitivity to the cultural diversity within Canada.

International Languages (Elementary) classes provide academic instruction in languages other than English and French.

Learn more on our International Languages website.

Mandarin Transition Language

Located at Cootes Paradise Elementary School.

The Mandarin Transition Program is open to students in Junior Kindergarten to Grade 5 whose first language is Mandarin.

The Mandarin transition program is not intended to be a Mandarin Immersion Program, rather it is intended to support students in developing English language skills. This program allows students the opportunity to use their first language in speaking with their peers. The program teaches students to listen, speak, read, and write in English as students demonstrate their achievement of Ontario Curriculum expectations.  Students are consistently exposed to real-world language opportunities as language learning strategies, goal setting/reflection and an appreciation of culture in Canada and in other regions of the world are promoted.

In the early years of the program the goal is to develop basic communication skills in English. Our teachers offer many opportunities for oral interaction and spontaneous discussion. The classroom is marked with a variety of visuals such as posters and pictures, and a language rich environment where students build connections between their first language to English.  As students’ progress throughout the program, their English proficiency develops so that they are able to successfully transition to enter mainstream English programming in Grade 6 .

Registration Process

All families in HWDSB are welcome to apply to the Mandarin Transition Program if your child is speaks Mandarin as their first language.

All applicants will be required to fill out a registration package. If you do not live in the Cootes Paradise catchment, you will be required to sign an Out-of-Catchment form.

This form will forfeit your right to transportation to and from school. Transportation to and from school is the guardian’s responsibility.

Please use the following link to determine your catchment area. https://www.hwdsb.on.ca/find/

Please send your completed form(s) to cootesparadise@hwdsb.on.ca and the school will connect with you with next steps.  To complete your registration, the school will need to verify the following documents:

  • Proof of child’s age; passport, birth certificate
  • Proof of child’s address; hydro bill, lease
  • Proof of Status in Canada; passport, birth certificate, work permit etc.
  • Proof of Custody; if necessary

Mohawk Language Program

Mohawk language programming enhances our students’ cultural awareness and improves their communication skills. When students develop the ability to communicate in Mohawk, they are likely to experience increased proficiency in their first language. Learning Mohawk will reinforce, not interfere with, the learning of English, French, or other languages.

The Mohawk Language Program is not designed to make students fully bilingual; rather, the program offers students the opportunity to develop a functional command of Mohawk, which can be expanded through further study or through contact with other speakers of the language.

The program will provide students with learning opportunities that will enable them to:

  • Listen to and understand ideas and Mohawk language under study
  • Express their experiences, thoughts, and feelings orally with clarity and confidence
  • Read Mohawk with growing proficiency
  • Write in Mohawk with growing proficiency
  • Acquire and develop learning skills pertinent to language study
  • Improve their use of language through study, practice, and communication
  • Become familiar with the traditions, customs, social structures, history, geography, and arts of the pertinent Mohawk language family, as well as those of other Indigenous communities in Canada and North America
  • Develop an appreciation of the value of Mohawk language and identity
  • Link their classroom experiences with life in their community

Reach Ahead

Reach Ahead programs offered through Community and Continuing Education are for students starting Grade 8. Programs run one night per week during the school year.

Learn more on the CCE Reach Ahead website.

SAGE - Scholastics, Arts and Global Education

SAGE is built around family participation and community building. Teachers and families work in cooperation, using innovative teaching methods to deliver the Ontario curriculum in an interactive, child-centred manner that emphasizes global education, arts and recreation. Students can continue this program at SAGE Quest at the middle-school level.

Offered at Strathcona

SAGE Quest

Sage Quest is an innovative specialized learning program.  The goal of Sage Quest is to foster a culture of inquiry amidst a community of care, with a particular focus on critical thinking and the global issues facing our world today. Our successful students are motivated and committed to learning about justice in the world around them; collaborating with peers; achieving their academic potential, and; being kind community members to everyone in their school community.

Offered at Ryerson

Strings Program

The HWDSB Strings Instruction Program is offered through Community and Continuing Education. The Strings Program provides an opportunity for HWDSB students in grades 4 to 8 to learn to play violin or cello. This program is a fee for service program and fees are payable at the time of registration.

Learn more on our Elementary Strings website.

Updated on Thursday, March 10, 2022.
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