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Pathways Guides for Grades 7 to 12

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planning my way coverJust like a winding road, your education can have its share of twists and turns. No matter what path you are on, it is important to remember that you are never alone on your journey.

Secondary school is a place to find opportunities for success, access support and take ownership of your pathway. You can explore your interests and plan your future while discovering new courses that lead to rewarding post-secondary opportunities.

Planning, Exploring and On My Way are here to guide you along your pathway to learning and personal success. Use these resources to learn about exciting programs, useful supports, and key tips that will assist you in secondary school and beyond. Teachers and school staff, along with your family members and friends, are also here to help!

Your education serves as the foundation for a lifelong journey of learning and success. As you progress, your pathway can shift and evolve! You should embrace the journey and remain open to new possibilities.

The best pathway is YOUR pathway. At HWDSB, you lead the way on your road to success.

Greetings from Indigenous Education


Mino Bimaadiziwin, Good Life (Anishnaabemowin – Ojibway Language, Martina Osawamick, Odawa, Beaver Clan, Wikwemikong Unceded Territory).

Wa’tkwanonhwerá:ton – I to all of you am sending greetings, love and respect, in a balanced way from my consciousness to yours, with deepest heartfelt emotion, expressed audibly. (Kanyen’keha – Mohawk Language, Tehahenteh, Mohawk, Six Nations, Turtle Clan).

The Indigenous Education Kahwà:tsire Zaagi’idiwin Family welcomes you into our educational village. We will protect you by using peace, friendship, respect and love as pillars of our palisade. We encourage you and your family to seek out ways to participate and contribute to meaningful learning opportunities that inspire healing and wellness.

All Pathways Lead to Success

Education and career/life planning helps students develop the knowledge and skills needed to make informed choices for their education, career and life outside school. Learn more in our Pathways Guides for Grades 7 to 12:

HWDSB schools provide opportunities and supports for all students to plan individual pathways and successfully move to their initial post-secondary destination. The 5 pathways are: Apprenticeship, College, Community, University and Workplace. Click here to learn more about post-secondary pathways.

Education and Career/Life Planning

Wondering how to chart your path? You will use Xello to select courses, track OSSD requirements and plan for your future. Xello is accessed through the HUB. This digital tool offers a variety of benefits, including the ability to:

education and career life planning

  • Gain a deeper understanding of your strengths and areas for development
  • Map out your educational plan and explore potential pathways
  • Establish education, career and personal goals
  • Track and record your extracurricular activities and achievement

You will also complete your Individual Pathways Plan using Xello! The planner helps you identify their strengths and interests, explore experiential opportunities and self-reflect on possible career and life opportunities. Click here to learn more about education and career/life planning.

Each secondary school has a dedicated student success team that provides extra attention and support for individual students who need it. The teams are for students facing barriers to success, who need extra attention to help them graduate or who are looking for new challenges.

Graduation Requirementscourse planner

To earn an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD), students entering Grade 9 in the 2024-25 school year must earn 19 compulsory credits and 11 optional credits, pass the literacy requirement, earn at least 2 online learning credits and complete a minimum of 40 hours of community involvement activities. Click here to find a full breakdown of credits the Ministry of Education website.

You need to complete 40 hours of community involvement activities to receive an OSSD. You can begin completing the requirement in the summer going into Grade 9. Community involvement opportunities can be accessed from your guidance counsellor and submitted to student services as soon as completed.

Ontario Secondary School Certificate
If you leave secondary school at the age of 18 without meeting the requirements for the OSSD, students can receive an Ontario Secondary School Certificate (OSSC) upon request. To get an OSSC, you need to earn a minimum of 14 credits.

Certificate of Accomplishment
You can receive a Certificate of Accomplishment if you have not fulfilled the requirements for an OSSC or OSSD. This certificate recognizes the achievement for students who plan to find employment or enter alternative education programs after leaving school.

Plan and Explore Your Way

Check out the following links to learn more about the programs, supports and resources available at HWDSB secondary schools.

Programs Supports  Resources
Programs in Secondary School

Experiential Learning

Specialized Programs

Intervention and Support Programs

Supports in Secondary School

Tips for Secondary School

Plan for Secondary School

Resources in Secondary School

Pathways Guide for Grades 7 to 12

Post-Secondary Pathways 

Secondary Learning Resources


Updated on Wednesday, December 20, 2023.
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