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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 August 19, 2019 and ends August 30, 2019. Students are required to arrive before this date to be available to participate in the scheduled activities.  Activities begin at 9:00 am and conclude at 3:30 pm.

  • 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 August 19, please email to receive further instructions. 

  • All activities (except excursions) 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 will be provided for most days of the orientation program originating from the student's home school. We expect custodians/hosts to accompany students to/from their home school the first day or two while the student becomes familiar with their new surroundings.

  • Lunch will be provided during the Welcome Session, the Toronto excursion, and on the Mini-Olympic day. 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). 

Welcome Session (August 19 OR August 20)

Students will arrive at the offices of International Education Services (Dr. Bette Stephenson Centre for Learning). They will check in and pick-up their medical insurance package, a blank school registration form, consent/permission to attend excursions, and other documents requiring the parent/custodian's attention.

The student must bring the completed and signed consent/permission form to their teacher on the day following the Welcome Session in order to attend the excursions.

Math Assessment (August 19 OR August 20)

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.

Documentation Verification

The parent/custodian will be required to attend, in-person, on the designated day (see the schedule) 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

  • 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 the schedule for your school)

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 bus. Lunch will be provided during the Toronto excursion; however, a packed lunch will be required on the Kortright excursion day.


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.

Please note: August 8 - all schedules have been updated.

​School​ Bus Schedule​​
​Huron Heights SS| Dr. JM Denison SS | Sir William Mulock SS | North 1
​Langstaff SS  Central 1
Dr. GW Williams SS | King City SS | Tommy Douglas SS
(updated Aug 19)
Central 2
Thornlea SS (Grades 9 & 10)
Thornlea SS: Pick-up and drop-off is at the front of the school, facing Bayview Ave.
West 1
​Thornlea SS (Grades 11& 12) | Vaughan SS
Thornlea SS: Pick-up and drop-off is at the front of the school, facing Bayview Ave.
West 2
Thornhill SS (Grades 9 & 10) West 3
Thornhill SS (Grades 11 & 12) | Alexander Mackenzie HS West 4
​Maple HS | Stephen Lewis SS | Woodbridge College West 5
​Milliken Mills HS East 1
​Unionville HS (Grades 9, 11, 12)
Unionville HS: Pick-up and drop off is at the school entrance, off Apple Creek, facing Warden Ave.
East 2
​Unionville HS (Grade 10) | Bur Oak SS (Grades 11 & 12)
Unionville HS: Pick-up and drop-off is at the school entrance, off Apple Creek, facing Warden Ave.
East 3
​Bur Oak SS (Grades 9 & 10) East 4
​Middlefield CI East 5
​Stouffville DSS | Bill Hogarth SS | Markham DHS East 6


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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