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Elementary Focus Programs

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Focus Programs Application Process 2023-2024HWDSB elementary schools offer a wide range of learning opportunities to prepare students for success in high school and beyond. The Elementary Focus Programs listed below will be accepting applications for the 2023-24 school year starting February 2, 2023. Applications will close on February 23. Students currently learning in these programs do not need to reapply.

Click on the program names below for more information about these opportunities. You will also find details about the central, online application process under the descriptions.

Families interested in learning more about the Elementary Focus Programs are invited to join a Teams Live event on February 1. This event will consist of a short presentation followed by a moderated Q&A session. The event will be captioned in Arabic, Hindi, Korean, Mandarin (simplified), Persian, and Urdu.

Focus Program Application Process – Virtual Information Night
Wednesday, February 1, 2023 at 6 p.m.
MS Teams link to join the session: hwdsb.info/focus-info-night
PDF flyer: Focus Programs Application Process 2023-2024

Questions? Email at info@hwdsb.on.ca with the subject line “Focus Program Applications”.

See below for more information about focus programs available to elementary students. For a full list of elementary programs, click here.

Hockey Academy

  • Offered at Tapleytown
  • Applications open for students in Grade 7 in the 2023-24 school year

The HWDSB Hockey Academy provides an opportunity for students to participate in a Grade 7-8 Hockey 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. Students in the program grow through specific training on and off the ice.

Mandarin Language Transition Program/中英文过渡项目

  • Offered at Cootes Paradise
  • Applications open for students in Kindergarten or Grade 1 in the 2023-24 school year

The Mandarin Language Transition Program is open to students in Junior Kindergarten to Grade 5 whose first language is Mandarin. The Program is intended to support students in developing English language skills. In the program, students use Mandarin as a resource in acquiring English and developing their skills in listening, speaking, reading, and writing in English as they learn the Ontario Curriculum. Students are consistently exposed to real-world language opportunities as language learning strategies, and goal setting/reflection.

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 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.

哈密尔顿中英文过渡项目接收从幼儿园小班到小学五年级以汉语为母语的学生。本项目并不是中英文双语项目,而是用中文做为辅助语言来学习英语技能。这个项目可以提供给学生用母语交流的机会,进而促进学生们英语学习的听、说、 读、写的四项技能,顺利达到安大略省教学大纲的考核目标。学生们通过浸润于真实的语言环境,来帮助他们提高语言学习的整体策略和目标设定。

对于项目低年级阶段的教育来说,教学目标是加强学生基本的英语听和说技能。项目的各科教学目标均是按照安大略省教学目标来执行。除了语文教学外,其他科目都是用英语教学。课堂为学生们提供一个用母语来促进英语学习的语言环境。随着年级的升高,孩子们逐步发展他们的英语语言能力,从而能够在六年级的时候顺利过渡到全英文的课堂。

SAGE - Scholastics, Arts and Global Education

  • Offered at Strathcona
  • Applications open for students in Kindergarten or Grade 1 in the 2023-24 school year

SAGE is built around family participation and community building. Teachers and families work in cooperation to deliver the Ontario curriculum in an interactive, student-centred manner that emphasizes well-being, inquiry, global education, the arts, experiential learning and STEAM. Students can continue this program at SAGE Quest at the middle-school level.

SAGE Quest

  • Offered at Kanétskare
  • Applications open for students in Grade 6 in the 2023-24 school year

SAGE Quest is specialized learning experience that is composed of a student-driven class of Gr 6, 7, & 8 students from across the system. 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. Students explore how to impact: their school; local, national; and global communities. Students are motivated and committed to learning about social justice in the world around them; collaborating with peers; building safe and inclusive communities; achieving their academic potential; and being kind and active community members to everyone in their school community.

R.A. Riddell Sport Academy

  • Offered at R.A. Riddell
  • The Academy consists of two programs: High Potential and Basketball
  • High Potential applications open for students in Grade 7 in the 2023-24 school year
  • Basketball applications open for students in Grade 6 in the 2023-24 school year

The R.A. Riddell Sport Academy is a Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board Specialized Learning Program. The Academy consists of two programs: High Potential and Basketball. 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.

Applicants will be placed into programs by:

  • Review of all applications  
  • Random selection process creating a list for each school
  • Siblings placed if space is available prior to random selection
  • Current HWDSB students are offered places first, followed by out-of-board students
  • Schools will manage any waitlists by schools 

One system application point where families will be asked to:

  • Provide basic personal information and their child’s OEN
  • Select the program
  • Indicate if there is a sibling already in the program 
  • Answer two open response questions
    • Why are you interested in having your child in the program?
    • How can the school best support your child?
  • Site-specific questions
  • Acknowledge that families provide transportation
  • Provide information related to the program
Updated on Wednesday, January 25, 2023.
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