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Orientation IES

The YRDSB orientation period is designed to give new secondary international students the best possible start to their learning career in York Region. It includes information about their new community, the Ontario school system, and the high school they will be attending.

During a combination of seminars, guest speakers, school visits, and day-long field trips, teachers will focus on strategies to help new students settle into their new community and to achieve success at school.
Students meet other international students and make new friendships even before classes begin. They will visit their home school, meet their ESL teacher and Guidance teachers.
The Board's mandatory assessment of new international students’ English language and mathematics skills will be scheduled during this time period. This assessment will enable school Principals and Guidance teachers to prepare the most appropriate course of studies for each individual student.

About the Orientation Program

  • The next orientation period begins January 20, 2020 and ends January 30, 2020. Students are required to arrive before this date to be available to participate in the scheduled activities. 

  • It is necessary for each student to submit an Arrival Confirmation form as soon as flight arrangements are confirmed.

    If your flight is scheduled to arrive after January 20, please email to receive further instructions. 

  • Most will take place at the offices of International Education Services, Dr. Bette Stephenson Centre for Learning (DBSCFL), 36 Regatta Ave., Richmond Hill, ON L4E 4R1.

  • School buses - originating from home school locations - will be provided on certain days during the orientation period. Please refer to the appropriate schedule below. We strongly encourage custodians to accompany students to/from their home school, to board the orientation school bus, while they become familiar with their new surroundings.
    If school buses are cancelled due to extreme weather, activities for the day are also cancelled and students must remain home, and follow the schedule of the next day. Please visit to view bus cancellation notices and this page for additional instructions.

  • Lunch will be provided during the Welcome Session, and on the day designated for Math Assessment, and during excursion days. On other days students are encouraged to bring a packed lunch (microwaves are available) or money to purchase lunch at nearby restaurants. High school students are not supervised during lunch and breaks.

  • Home, self-study days are designed to allow students to explore their community and improve their English proficiency by accessing the PAL Program and completing the modules available.


Dr. Bette Stephenson Centre for Learning (DBSCFL)
36 Regatta Ave., Richmond Hill, ON L4E 4R1
Telephone: 905 884 2046, ext. 237

View the location of Dr. Bette Stephenson Centre for Learning.


Students must arrive at their home school 10 minutes before the noted pick-up time on the schedule in order to board the bus. School buses are for students only.

Buses will depart from the student's home school location and return to the home school location at the end of each day. Buses will be marked and will load and unload in the school bus loading area or as marked in the list of schedules (below). 

Extreme Cold and Inclement Weather

During the winter months, there are times when severe weather forces buses to be cancelled (excessive snow, or extreme cold). Decisions to cancel school buses will be posted on home page of the YRDSB web site, as well on this page. If buses are cancelled, all activities will be cancelled and an email with instructions will be sent to all parents/guardians, and custodians.

Welcome Session (January 20)

Students will arrive at the offices of International Education Services (Dr. Bette Stephenson Centre for Learning). They will check in and pick-up the following documents:

​Document ​Details ​Action Required
​Medical Insurance Policy information and medical insurance card ​Insurance card must be kept by the student
Secondary School Registration Form Completed and signed by the custodian ​Returned on the Documentation Verification day
​School Experience & School Registration Schedule ​Date/time when student is required to attend their home school ​Attend as instructed
Permission/Consent to attend​ field trip Signed by custodian/ parent ​Bring to the school bus and give to the teacher assigned on the day of the excursion







School Experience (January 21/22)

If indicated on the schedule, students are asked to arrive at their school at the time indicated on the schedule and participate in school activities. No school buses are provided on these days.

Math Assessment (January 24)

All students will participate in a math assessment appropriate to their grade level. The test will last approximately 2 hours. Students are required to bring: pencils, eraser and scientific calculator. A study guide, outlining each grade's expectations, is available.

English Assessment (check the schedule for exact dates)

Students will participate in an oral and written test. The test will last approximately 2 to 2.5 hours. Students are encouraged to bring a laptop, or other device to get them through the wait time. Buses will depart at the end of the day and long wait times are expected.

Documentation Verification (check schedule, same day as English Assessment)

The parent/custodian will be required to attend, in-person, beginning at 12:30 pm (Cafeteria) on the designated day to verify the student's documents and to return the completed school registration form. The following documents must be presented:

  • Completed and signed school registration form. A blank will be distributed on the first day of orientation.
  • Passport
  • Study Permit
  • Entry Visa 
  • Education Services Agreement (multi-page included with the acceptance package) must be signed by parents, custodian and student. 

School Registration (check schedule)

  • No school buses are provided on this day. The student, accompanied by their parent/custodian, will visit their school to be officially registered for school.  A detailed schedule will be distributed during orientation.

    Students may not attend school registration without first attending Documentation Verification and completing the required Math and English Assessments.

  • Students MUST bring their most recent transcripts/report cards to  their home school on school registration day.

  • Students MUST bring $100 to purchase school locks, physical education clothing, year book, etc.

Woodbridge College students (only): Uniforms are mandatory and will be available for purchase during the first week of school. Until the school uniform can be purchased, students must wear dress pants and a shirt to school. Wearing jeans is not permitted.

Excursion Days (check schedule)

School buses will pick-up and drop-off students at their home school. Please check the schedule carefully for pick-up and drop-off times. Students must arrive 10 minutes before the pick-up time to ensure they do not miss their school bus.

The consent/permission to attend a field trip form must be returned on the day of the excursion and handed to the teacher. Any child not having a signed a consent/permission form will NOT be allowed to board the school bus to participate in the field trip. 

Home Self-Study - (check the schedule)

These days are designed to allow students to explore their community and self-study to improve their English proficiency by access the PAL Program.


Locate the school to which the student has been accepted, and download the appropriate schedule. This information may be updated. Please revisit this page before and during orientation to ensure you have the most recent version.

​School​ Bus Schedule​​
Dr. JM Denison SS | Dr. GW Williams SS | King City SS | Sir William Mulock SS (updated Jan 21) North 1
​Alexander Mackenzie HS | Langstaff SS | Vaughan SS Central 1
Maple HS | Stephen Lewis SS | Tommy Douglas SS
(updated Jan 14)
West 1
Thornhill SS | Thornlea SS (updated Jan 8)
Thornlea SS: Pick-up and drop-off is at the front of the school, facing Bayview Ave.
West 2
​Unionville HS
Unionville HS: Pick-up and drop off is at the school entrance, off Apple Creek, facing Warden Ave.
East 1
Markham DHS | Middlefield CI | Milliken Mills HS | Stouffville DSS
 (updated Jan 8)
East 2
Bill Hogarth SS | Bur Oak SS | Richmond Green SS (updted Jan 14) East 3


Each student who attends secondary school is required to participate in a number of assessments before registering for school:
  1. Pre-arrival Learning (PAL) - this online English test must be taken after receiving the acceptance package sent by the Admissions Office.
  2. English assessment (Listening, Speaking, Writing, Reading) - this face-to-face assessment is conducted during orientation.

    To help you prepare for the English assessment we encourage all students to access their PAL account and complete the English tutorials which are available. These tutorials increase vocabulary and better prepare students for their arrival.
  3. Math test - this is a written math test, administered by grade, during orientation.

    A math study guide​ 
    is available which sets out the expectations for each grade which you may download.
Questions are welcome and can be sent by email to:

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