Secondary School Programs

The secondary schools of the Upper Grand District School Board offer a full range of academic and
extracurricular programs, with numerous program related activities and support systems. These include:

  • Full academic programming during the school year, with two semesters (from September to January and February to June)
  • A 30-minute online English Language assessment for our international students. The assessment helps us to develop a personal educational plan for the student, a plan that could include taking English as a Second Language (ESL) classes
  • Midterm and final report cards each semester
  • Use of gym, lab equipment and all course textbooks
  • Access to a wide variety of sports, arts and cultural clubs, activities and events
  • School bus transportation, if it is needed

General Information about Course Selection

Graduation Requirements and the Ontario School System

  • All students, including international students, must meet the same graduation requirements
  • The Ontario high school program is based on a credit system. Most students take 8 credit courses per year – 4 each semester
  • Students must earn a total of 30 credits to obtain a high school diploma
  • Student must take 18 compulsory credit courses and 12 optional credit courses
  • Students must complete 40 hours of community involvement activities
  • Students must pass the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test, which is taken in grade 10

Ontario Student Transcript

The Ontario Student Transcript (OST) is a provincially standardized document that is the student’s official record of credits earned. Copies are available to students on request. For current students, the first copy is free and additional copies may be requested for a small charge. The OST is kept in the student’s Ontario Student Record (OSR) folder.

Compulsory, Prerequisite and Optional Courses

A compulsory course is a course that must be successfully completed in order to obtain an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD).

A prerequisite course is a course that must be successfully completed before another course at the next level can be taken.

Optional courses includes arts, technology, humanities and social science courses, and students choose based on their own interests.

A full credit is granted for the successful completion of each 110-hour compulsory, prerequisite and optional course taken.

Course Selection

After students pay their tuition and receive their online assessment score, they will be asked to select courses for the upcoming school year.

If a student needs to take specific classes to ensure the student meets the academic requirements of their own school when they return home, please advise our International Student Program office of these prerequisites.

Students who plan to stay in our school system to achieve their Ontario Secondary School Diploma will want to choose courses they will need to successfully complete in order to graduate.

Grade 10 courses prepare students for Grades 11 and 12, and for what they want to do when high school is done. Think of Grade 11 and 12 courses as pathways to post-secondary destinations.

Many senior (Grade 12) courses require students to have successfully completed a prerequisite course in Grade 10 or 11. Students will want to be sure they are choosing the prerequisites that will allow entry into senior courses. Students are encouraged to give serious consideration to course selection, as it may be hard to change courses at a later date.

Changing Courses during the Semester

Once a student has selected their courses, changes can be made only with permission from the ISP School Lead, the host parent or custodian and the International Student Program Administrator.  Students should be aware that even with permission, it might be difficult to get into another course at a later date, as the course could be full.

Course Load

In order to offer every opportunity for students to get the best start possible towards achieving their OSSD, schools require Grade 9 and 10 students to take a full program of 8 credits. Grade 11 students are expected to continue with a full course load of 8 credits. Grade 12 students might be granted a spare – a period of class time without an assigned class. Spares will not be granted to students who are under 16 years of age or who have earned less than 16 credits.

Enhancement Fees

Some courses may have enhancements, such as field trips and optional materials, for which there may be additional fees. For details, please refer to the course descriptions teachers provide on the first day of school.

Course Codes

Each high school course is identified by a five-character code, which includes an abbreviation of the course name, a number designation for the grade level and a letter designation for the type of course. For example, ENG2D is the code for Grade 10 English, which is an academic course:
The first three characters refer to the subject and specific area. In the example above, ENG is for English. (MPM or MFM is for Mathematics.)

The fourth character refers to the grade level:
1 = Grade 9, 2 = Grade 10, 3 = Grade 11, 4 = Grade 12.

The fifth character refers to the type of course:
D = Academic, P = Applied, U =University, O = Open, C = College, M =University/College, W = Workplace.

A sixth character might be added for school use, often a “1” to indicate the course value of 1 credit. Or it might be used to indicate special programming, for example, the sixth character in the codes for French Immersion courses is an “F.”

For Grade 10 English, the code is ENG2D1 or ENG2P1, and the code for Grade 10 French Immersion is FIF2DF.

Grades 9 and 10

Grade 9 and 10 courses are organized into three types: Academic, Applied and Open. All courses prepare students for study in the senior grades.

Academic Courses (D)

Academic courses emphasize theoretical and abstract applications. They require greater depth, abstract thinking and problem solving. Academic courses incorporate practical applications when appropriate. They emphasize essential concepts of a subject and explore related material.

Applied Courses (P)

Applied courses emphasize practical, concrete applications of essential concepts. They incorporate theory when appropriate and put greater emphasis on practical, hands-on applications of the essential concepts.

Open Courses (O)

Open courses have the same expectation and are appropriate for all students, and they are designed to give students a broad educational base, preparing them for their studies in Grades 11 and 12.

Grades 11 and 12

Grade 11 and 12 courses are organized into five types: University Preparation, University/College Preparation, College Preparation, Workplace Preparation and Open. Students should make their choices on the basis of their interest level, achievement and career goals. Prerequisites are specified for many of the courses offered in Grades 11 and 12.

University Preparation Courses (U)

University preparation courses are designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills they need to meet the entrance requirements for university programs.

University/College Preparation (M)

University/College preparation courses are designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills they need to meet the entrance requirements for specific college or university programs.

College Preparation Courses (C)

College preparation courses are designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills they need to meet the requirements for entrance to most college programs or for admission to apprenticeship or other training programs.

Workplace Preparation Courses (E)

Workplace preparation courses are designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills they need to meet the expectations of employers. They are suitable for students who plan to enter the workplace directly after graduation, or who need to meet requirements for admission to certain apprenticeship or other training programs.

Open Courses (O)

Open courses are designed to broaden the student’s knowledge and skills in subjects that reflect his or her own interests and to prepare them for active and rewarding participation in society. They are not designed with the specific requirements of universities, colleges, or the workplace in mind.


English 4
Mathematics 3 (1 credit in grade 11 or 12)
Science 2
Arts 1
Health and Physical Education 1
Canadian History 1
Canadian Geography 1
French as a Second Language 1
Civics 0.5
Career Studies 0.5
Additional English/3RD language or Social Science 1
Additional Health and Physical Education, Arts, or Business 1
Additional Science or Technological Education 1
Literacy Test Required
Community Involvement 40 hours
Elective Courses 12