Grade 8 to 9 Transition

The transition from elementary to secondary school is a very exciting time for students. To ensure a smooth and enjoyable transition, a variety of events, activities and opportunities are provided throughout the Grade 8 year leading up to Grade 9.

Student Reflection and Planning

Between September and December of Grade 8, students should begin reflecting on their personal interests, strengths and learning styles. The beginning of Grade 8 is also an important time to set goals for a successful school year.


Grade 8 Parent Information Nights are offered at each HWCDSB Catholic secondary school. The focus of these sessions is on the transition from elementary to secondary school within a Catholic learning environment centered on Gospel teachings. Secondary staff and administration provide parents and students with important information on programs and pathway choices.

Information night dates will be posted on calendar at the bottom of the board website.


Secondary school guidance counsellors make visits to Grade 8 classes between December and January to provide information about the course selection process. School information, course pathways and course option sheets are presented to better inform students of their future choices.

Course selection should be based on the student’s interests, strengths and needs. In order for this to happen, students should speak with their teachers, parents/guardians and secondary school guidance counsellors when selecting courses.

Students will make their course selections in January/February using the myPath app. Instructions on how to create and access an account are available here. Please note that students can only create a myPath account once they have formally indicated their interest to attend a specific HWCDSB secondary school (communicated to the elementary school during the fall).


Elementary feeder school visits to the associated secondary school typically occur in late January or early February. This school-day trip provides an opportunity for students to visit secondary classrooms, sample courses and learn about the various programs and opportunities available from teachers and administration.


Passport to Grade 9 is an optional two-day program which orients new grade 9 students to their secondary school while focusing on improving literacy and numeracy skills through rich learning tasks. Registration will occur in spring through the board website.

Program features include:

  • The distinctiveness of Catholic schools and integration of the Ontario Catholic School
  • Graduate Expectations;
  • The development of learning skills and work habits;
  • Educational pathways and career planning; Health and wellness;
  • The values of teamwork and collaboration.


Each HWCDSB secondary school hosts a Grade 9 Orientation Day in late August or early September. This is an opportunity for students to increase their familiarity with the school campus, meet the school staff and connect with student leaders. A typical orientation day involves ice breaker activities, tours of the school, classroom location activities, lessons on how to open lockers, etc.


Secondary students are required to complete 40 hours of Christian Service Volunteer hours in order to be eligible to graduate with an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) as outlined by the Ontario Ministry of Education Policy/Program Memorandum No. 124a.

Once students have completed Grade 8, they may begin to accumulate the required 40 hours of Christian Service Volunteering. The summer leading into Grade 9 is a great time to reach ahead and engage in community service to make a difference in the community.

For more details, visit the HWCDSB Christian Service Volunteer Program website.