Ontario secondary school courses are designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills they will need to lead satisfying and productive lives in the twenty-first century. Secondary education helps prepare students for further education, work and assists students in becoming independent, productive and responsible members of society.

Waterloo Region District School Board courses are offered in ways intended to ensure that education is relevant both to students’ needs and interests, and to the requirements of post-secondary institutions and employers.

Course Types

Different types of courses are offered for grades 9 and 10 students and grades 11 and 12 students.

Course Selection Process

Secondary students typically select eight courses per academic year. Assistance in selecting courses to meet individual interests, post-secondary destinations and course type preferences is available by reviewing the secondary school graduation requirements, common course calendar and/or school course selection sheet (available by contacting your school).

The Common Course Calendar lists all courses available in schools across the Waterloo Region District School Board. It provides descriptions of the courses, their course codes, and prerequisites.

Schools across the Waterloo Region District School Board may not offer all of the courses listed in the Common Course Calendar. There are some small variations in courses that may be offered from school to school. These differences are based on a school’s student interests/requests, facilities and staff expertise. For courses that are in demand, but not available at all schools, the Board may designate specialized programs. Students are permitted to transfer to a school outside of their school boundary to participate in these programs. For more information about Board Designated Specialized Programs, please visit Program Offerings.

Information and support in planning for your future and selecting courses to meet your goals is available from individual secondary school guidance departments.

Changing Courses

Details and procedures for changing courses is available by contacting your school guidance counsellor.

Ministry of Education – Secondary Curriculum

Ontario Ministry of Education grade 9-12 curriculum information is available on the Ministry website. Lists of the provincial curriculum policy documents for all courses that may be taught in Waterloo Region District Schools can be found here. These documents contain an introduction to the subject area, an overview, teaching approaches, curriculum expectations, strands, courses, considerations for program planning and achievement charts specific to the subject.

Curriculum documents define what students are taught. They also describe the knowledge and skills that students are expected to develop in each subject at each grade level. The Ministry of Education sets standards for the entire province by developing and publishing curriculum documents for use by all Ontario teachers.

Please note that Waterloo Region DSB schools offer most courses in the grade 9-12 curriculum documents. Please refer to the Board and school specific course calendars for detailed information.