Program and course selection

Parents/guardians have an important role to play in helping students research and select program and course options. Decisions made in high school lead to the achievement of future life goals. Students can create course plans using myBlueprint
Talk with your teen about what they’re interested in. There are many opportunities to explore options while in high school. Transitions also exist between post-secondary destinations. For example, a college diploma can provide advance standing for a university degree program. Your child may not know what their post-secondary goals are at this point—that’s okay. 

Pathways and learning for all

Future planning

School staff work together with students and parents/guardians to help them create an individual pathway plan (IPP). Encouraging your teen to try a range of programs and courses, and valuing all post-secondary pathways (apprenticeship, college, university, and workplace), will help keep options open for your teen. Students will be more driven and motivated if they’re encouraged to pursue a pathway and discipline that aligns with their own interests.


There are five post-secondary pathways that students may choose: apprenticeship, college, community, university and work. The SCDSB offers programs and resources to support students in achieving their goals, no matter what pathway they choose.  

It is important to keep in mind that pathways are individual, flexible and dynamic. Pathways may be straight and direct, or they may also take some turns or bends along the way. There is always more than one way to reach the final destination, and every student’s pathway is unique to that student. 

  • Apprenticeship
  • College
  • Community
  • University
  • Work
Programs and resources to support student pathways

Our schools offer a range of programs and courses that cater to individual needs and interests. Find out what’s available at your school in the course calendar.

Advanced placement

Grade 11 and 12 students at SCDSB high schools have the option to take Advanced Placement (AP) courses. The courses are designed to cover the Ontario curriculum, while providing accelerated and advanced level programming to prepare students to write American College Board examinations. Students can earn a university credit while still in high school, gain admission to university or both, depending on the university.

Learn more about AP opportunities.

Cooperative education (co-op)

Cooperative education (co-op) is a course that allows Grade 11 and 12 students to earn high school credits while completing a work placement in the community.  Co-op credits provide students with an opportunity to build on their skills, gain practical work experience and prepare for their future.  Together, the employer, student and teacher work together to provide students with challenging growth and learning opportunities.

Learn more about co-op.

Credit recovery

Credit recovery is designed to help high school students meet the expectations of a course they have completed but for which they have received a failing grade. Students have the opportunity to earn a credit without having to repeat the entire course. Students are referred to the credit recovery program through the school’s student success team. 

Dual credits

Dual credits give secondary students the opportunity to sample post-secondary education, work in college labs, experience a new environment and build their confidence, while gaining credit in both secondary school and college. Students take a college credit from a college faculty member and must meet the requirements to pass. If successful, they are given an optional credit at secondary school and are issued a college transcript. 

Learn more about dual credits.

French as a second language (FSL)

The SCDSB currently supports three FSL programs: Core French, Extended French and French Immersion. Participation in FSL programs reflects the diversity of the student population, including students with special education needs and English language learners.

Learn more about FSL in the SCDSB.

Guidance departments

The secondary school guidance department serves the school community in a variety of ways:

  • provides information on post-secondary (apprenticeship, college, university, and workplace) and career pathways
  • helps individual students envision a plan for post-secondary and target short– and long-term goals
  • helps students identify programs that support their learning styles, interests and needs
  • coaches in career/life planning, including college and university scholarship application process
  • provides personal support and referrals to community resources
  • supports students in academic planning and course selection
  • supports students in establishing effective study habits and exam preparation
  • supports students with life skills like decision-making, problem solving, conflict resolution, stress and time management and relationship awareness

You or your student can make an appointment to visit the guidance office at any time during the school year. Drop-in appointments may be available.

Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP)

OYAP is available to all full-time students who are at least 16 years old and have 16 high school credits. Students must be taking cooperative education and may be registered as an apprentice to their employer with the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development. All of the hours they work in co-op and any part-time work may then be credited towards their apprenticeship.

Learn more about OYAP.

Simcoe Shores Secondary School

The SCDSB has an alternative secondary school, with locations throughout Simcoe County. The program is designed for students who have difficulty coping with a large school setting, and who may benefit from the small class sizes, one-on-one assistance, flexibility and close relationships with the teachers. 

Find more information about Simcoe Shores Secondary School.

Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM)

SHSM programs are sector-specific programs that start in Grade 11. Programs are made up of a bundle of eight to ten courses to suit students pursuing apprenticeship, college, university or workplace destinations. In a SHSM, students:

  • Participate in field trip opportunities connected with a specific sector
  • Earn valuable industry-related certifications and training related to the selected sector
  • Develop important on-the-job skills and work habits through cooperative education placements

For more information about SHSM programs available at SCDSB schools, visit

Student success teams

Student success teams work together to ensure smooth transitions for students between grades, from elementary to secondary school, and after graduation. As students progress, they are encouraged to become the architects of their own learning.

Elementary and secondary student success teachers ensure that all students have the opportunity to succeed, despite any potential obstacles that can otherwise affect learning.  These teachers work with students in one-on-one, small group and classroom settings to provide the supports necessary for successful transitions in school and life. Student success teachers work in collaboration with classroom teachers, guidance, special education teachers, administration and community partners to create a wide circle of support for students who need extra attention or who struggle to remain engaged and motivated.

Technological education and skilled trades

The SCDSB has invested in its technological education programs to ensure students have access to industry-standard equipment and current, relevant course content. Please note that not all courses are offered in every school. Refer to your school’s course calendar to see the available courses.

Click here to view the accessible version of this interactive content

Course calendar and course selection process 

Course selection begins in January every year. There are certain courses students are required to take (compulsory), and others that they can choose (optional).

View the course calendar for your secondary school.

Additional ways to earn credits


eLearning allows students to take courses online. eLearning courses offer the flexibility of choice and timing, as students manage their learning independently. Find more information about eLearning.


Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) is a formal evaluation and credit granting process whereby students may obtain credits for prior learning. This includes knowledge and skills that students have acquired in both formal and informal ways, outside of secondary school. Students should speak with a guidance counsellor for further information and to start the PLAR referral process. 

Summer school, night school and travel credits

Students can complete credits outside of regular school hours. Summer school provides options for students who want to reach ahead or earn credits while travelling. Night school is great for students who need more flexibility in their schedule. Find out more about summer and night school at