Information for Grade 8 Students

Secondary School Grade 8 Information Nights are happening NOW across Thames Valley! 

View a list of Secondary School Grade 8 Information Nights

Registering for Secondary School

Determining Your School

Every Grade 8 student has a home secondary school. This is the school that you should attend for secondary school based on your home address. You also have a school that you are eligible to attend if you are interested in participating in TVDSB’s Emphasis Technology programming (Learn more about Emphasis Technology), or plan to do French Immersion in high school (Learn more about French Immersion); please note that French Immersion is only available for students who qualify based on hours of French Instruction. Additional information on secondary French Immersion can be found on your designated French Immersion school's website.

Use our Find My Local School tool to determine your designated home school, as well as French Immersion and Tech Emphasis schools, if one of these programs is of interest to you.

Registration Process for Current TVDSB Students

Your elementary school has a staff member whose role is to work with you and your caregiver to complete a registration process for your home secondary school; this teacher is called the Guidance Lead Teacher. They will help you use TVDSB's Grade 8 My Blueprint Course Selection website to select courses from your secondary school’s offerings, and once your school and course choices have been confirmed and approved by a parent or guardian, your Guidance Lead Teacher will confirm your registration with the secondary school. Make sure you follow the deadlines your Guidance teacher shares with you for confirming your choices.

If you are selecting an Emphasis Technology secondary school or are pursuing specialized programming in French Immersion or at an out-of-area secondary school, you will have some additional steps to complete. Your Guidance Lead Teacher will assist you and your family in understanding what processes need to be followed.

Registration Process for Non TVDSB Students

We are always happy to welcome new students to Thames Valley! Parents or guardians of students who are currently attending Grade 8 in a school outside of the Thames Valley District School Board and who wish to register for a TVDSB high school should contact the school directly for information and registration materials. Contact information for staff ready to welcome new TVDSB Grade 9's is on the school website.

Process to Apply to an Out-of-Area Secondary School

We are incredibly proud of the experience that ALL of our TVDSB secondary schools provide students, and your home school is your best option for a school community ready to support you and help you succeed.

If you are considering applying to a secondary school other than your designated home school you must contact that secondary school to request a registration package.  Complete the registration package and get your Guidance Lead Teacher to help you complete course selections for your chosen school(s), in addition to your home school. Please note that it is the parents/guardians responsibility to submit the "Out of Area" information to the Secondary School by the deadline.

There are a couple of things you need to keep in mind if you are requesting to attend a secondary school other than your home school, or your designated French Immersion or Emphasis Technology school (referred to as an “out-of-area” school):

  1. Students interested in attending an out of area secondary school must apply to be permitted to attend. Out-of-area applications will only be considered once all in-area students have been registered and accommodated.
  2. Even if you do get admitted to an out of area school, you will NOT be provided with transportation to that secondary school. You and your family will have to make sure that you have your own way of getting to school if you are attending any school other than one of your designated secondary school.

Planning for Secondary School

What students believe about themselves and their opportunities, and what their peers and the adults in their lives believe about them, significantly influence the choices students make and the degree to which they achieve their goals.

As you start to think about choosing courses for your first year of secondary school, begin with your destination in mind. At school you can work with your Guidance Lead Teacher, your classroom teacher, and your family to explore the answers to the following questions:

  • What are your interests?
  • How do you learn?
  • What are your goals?

With those thoughts clearly in mind, take a look at the key questions and answers below that will assist you in planning your secondary school future and making the decisions that are right for you.


To graduate from high school and to obtain an OSSD (Ontario Secondary School Diploma), every student needs to complete the following:

1. You need to complete 30 credits

18 compulsory (required) credits:

4 credits in English

3 credits in Mathematics

2 credits in Science

1 credit in Canadian History

1 credit in Canadian Geography

1 credit in French as a Second Language

1 credit in the Arts (Music, Visual Art, Dance, Drama)

1 credit in Health and Physical Education

0.5 credit in Career Studies

0.5 credit in Civics

1 additional credit in one of the following: English, French, Native Language, classical or international language, Social Sciences or Humanities, Canadian and World Studies, Guidance and Career Education, or Cooperative Education

1 additional credit in one of the following: Health and Physical Education, The Arts, Business Studies, French, or Cooperative Education

1 additional credit in one of the following: Science (senior level), Technological Education, French, Computer Studies, or Cooperative Education

12 elective credits (courses you are able to choose):

Your 12 elective credits can be from a range of program offerings at your school. Be sure to look at what elective credits you might be interested in taking as you move through your secondary school career- there are lots of great options for you to customize your educational experience!

2. Completion of the Literacy Requirement
The Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) is a test taken in Grade 10 set by the Ministry of Education that looks at student levels of literacy. Students who do not successfully complete the test will have the opportunity to rewrite it the next year.
3. 40 Hours of Community Involvement

Students are asked to volunteer in their communities. These are activities that are self-directed and the student is not paid and does not replace a paid worker. Detailed information on the Community Involvement requirement is available through the high school Guidance Department. Students may begin accumulating hours toward this requirement in the summer before Grade 9, so as a Grade 8 student after graduating elementary school, you can begin. 

*Please ensure that any Community Involvement activities taking place in Summer 2022 are in adherence to relevant Covid-19 public safety protocols.

What are Course Pathways and What Pathway Should I Select?

All compulsory courses are available in different formats, depending on the pathway choices you make. Review the pathway descriptions below and speak with your Grade 8 teacher, your Guidance Lead Teacher, and your family to determine what pathway option is best suited for you and will lead you to where you want to be!

When determining your pathway you should spend some time reflecting on the graphic and questions below:

All About Me

Every pathway leads to specific destinations in your last few years of secondary school, and to different opportunities for post-secondary education and work after secondary school. Take the time to carefully review the possible destinations and opportunities for each pathway and make sure they match your interests, ambitions and goals.

It is critical that students and their families consult extensively with teachers, Learning Support Teacher (LST), Guidance Lead Teacher and other school staff to choose a pathway. Ultimately, students should feel confident that they can be successful in all subject areas in their chosen pathway.

Pathways may be changed during or after a semester; however, pathway changes may involve re-taking a course in the some grade but at a different level. Speak to your secondary school guidance counsellor for details.

Please review the graphic below to better understand the pathway options that each type of course makes possible for you in your senior years of secondary school, and in your post-secondary plans:

High School Pathways

Grade 9 and 10 Course Types

As shown in the graphic above, there are 3 types of courses available in Grades 9. As of September 2022 Applied courses are no longer offered in Grade 9. The Ministry's decision to focus on Academic pathways and de-streaming supports TVDSB's goal of ensuring equitable outcomes and opportunities for all students. 

Academic streaming is the practice of grouping students based on perceptions about their ability or post-secondary potential, starting in elementary school. Streaming can limit a student's life opportunities. The Coalition for Alternatives to Academic Streaming (CASE) advocates for an end to streaming in Ontario's public schools. Learn more:


Academic Grade 9 & 10

Academic courses develop students’ knowledge and skill through the study of theory and abstract problems. These courses focus on the essential concepts of a subject and explore related concepts as well. They incorporate practical applications as appropriate (Ontario Curriculum, Grades 9 and 10)

Students who take Academic courses in Grades 9 and 10 are eligible to take courses in the College, University, College/University, and Workplace Preparation pathways in Grades 11 and 12.

Research shows that students in academic courses perform better on EQAO, are more likely to graduate on time, and are more likely to attend post-secondary (College/University) education.

Applied Grade 10 only

Applied courses focus on the essential concepts of a subject and develop students’ knowledge and skills through practical applications and concrete examples. (Ontario Curriculum, Grades 9 and 10).

Students who take Applied courses in Grade 10 are eligible to take courses in the College, College/University, and Workplace Preparation pathways in Grades 11 and 12.
Locally Developed

Locally Developed courses focus specifically on knowledge and skills to prepare students for success in Workplace Preparation Courses in Grades 11 and 12 (Ontario Curriculum, Grades 9 and 10).


Open courses (identified by an ‘O’ in the course code) are suitable for all students at a given grade level. They are designed to provide a broad range of concepts and applications and may relate to student interests or career goals (Ontario Curriculum, Grades 9 and 10).

Open courses are not designed to lead into specific University, College, or Workplace Preparation pathways in the senior grades.

School Supports in Secondary School

In addition to your classroom teachers, there are many adults in your school ready to assist you in achieving to your potential and making the most of your secondary school experience!  Be sure to seek out the following individuals in your school and access the amazing help they can provide if you need it.

Guidance Counsellors
Your Guidance Counsellor will be a tremendous support to you as you plan your pathway through secondary school and into possible post-secondary and career options. They will assist you in planning your course selections, building your timetable each year, completing your community involvement hours, and applying for various post-secondary education and employment opportunities. Your Guidance Counsellor is also there to assist you in managing any challenges and difficulties that may arise in school or in life as you go through the many new experiences awaiting you in the next few years. Make sure you get to know your Guidance Counsellor and reach out to them with any questions or needs that you have throughout your secondary school career!
Student Success Teachers
Your school’s Student Success Teacher provides one-on-one assistance to students who require some extra help with assignments and classwork. Your classroom teachers and Student Success Teacher work together to determine if and when students would benefit from extra support and arrange to provide what is required.
Learning Support Teachers
If you have an Individual Education Plan (IEP), your Learning Support Teacher will be another important support for you. They will work with your classroom teachers to ensure that accommodations outlined in your IEP are being provided. They will also work directly with you as needed to provide individual support with classwork and assignments.
School Social Workers
Every secondary school is assigned a Social Worker who may be accessed for mental health support and counselling services for students if appropriate. Referrals to Social Workers are done by your school administration when required. Please be sure to speak to your Guidance Counsellor or other caring adult at school if you feel you need help coping with mental and/or emotional health challenges.
Principal and Vice Principal

Your school’s administration is there to make sure that everyone enjoys a safe, positive learning environment. They are committed to the success and well-being of each student. You should always feel comfortable approaching your school’s administration with any concerns, questions, or suggestions for how to make your school community the absolute best it can be for everyone!



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