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Transitions to Secondary
Transitions to Secondary
As you leave elementary school and begin secondary school, this information will help you prepare for the new experiences to come.

Which Secondary School Should I Attend? 

Where you go to school is based on your home address (found by using the School Locator) and school boundaries (attendance areas).

If you are currently attending a French Immersion or Gifted program, then your Career Cruising Course Planner has been set up at the secondary school offering the French Immersion or Gifted program serving your attendance area. If you do not wish to continue in either of these programs, please speak with your Grade 8 teacher advising you on your course selections.

If you are not in one of these programs, then your Career Cruising Course Planner has been set up at the secondary school serving your attendance area. If you wish to attend a different secondary school, you must apply for a transfer and it must be approved by the school board.

What is Secondary School Like? 

Courses and timetables 

In semestered schools, most students have four courses each day and a lunch period. Over the school year, you will take eight credit courses, four each semester. You will have multiple teachers, usually a different teacher for every course.
Classes are generally 75 minutes long and there is no scheduled recess. You will receive a timetable that includes your courses and lunch period. At most schools, the timetables are available in the last week of August just before school begins.

Getting around 

You will have a locker to store your personal belongings and you may carry your backpack if you wish from class to class. All schools have a map of the school to help you find your way around until you get familiar with your new school.
Secondary schools have a cafeteria that is open in the morning before classes begin and during the lunch periods.


Know your school’s expectations. Each school has a code of conduct that addresses things like dress code, cell phone use, hats, etc. Your teachers will share this with you early in the school year.
We are committed to maintaining a positive school climate where students have the opportunity to learn in a safe and respectful environment.  No harmful behavior at school or out of school will be tolerated.

What might happen during the school day?  

Starting the day 

A good day at school starts with a good night’s sleep and a healthy breakfast.  
Know your public transit route and times.  Don’t rely on others to get you to school on time.  It’s your responsibility. If you have bussing provided, go to School Bus City.
Being on time means you are at your desk and ready to learn when the bell rings. Plan your day so that you can access your locker and manage your backpack load without being late for each of your classes.

Tracking assignments 

You are responsible for keeping track of your assignments, test dates and extra-curricular commitments.  Choose a method to use every day to manage your time, such as an agenda book or electronic calendar.  Ask your teacher, family member or the school Success Teacher for some ideas.


Lunchtime is a good time to connect with your friends or classmates in the cafeteria or make use of the library. You may bring your own lunch or you can buy your lunch in the school cafeteria. If you leave school for lunch, make sure you return to class on time.

School resources 

Get to know your library/resource centre; accessing information efficiently and effectively is an important skill. Find out if your school offers extra-help or peer tutoring.  It’s a great opportunity to talk about your learning or ask questions.

How do I make friends and get involved?

In addition to seeing familiar faces from your elementary school, you will have opportunities to meet new people in each of your classes.
There are many opportunities for you to get the most out of school. Classroom experiences, extra-curricular activities, and your school community are part of your growth. When you get involved at school, you will have the opportunity to build friendships and be more successful. 

In class 

Take responsibility for your learning. Maximize your learning in class by participating, collaborating and asking questions.

Getting involved 

Listening to or access school announcements so that you are aware of the many events and opportunities to get involved and make new friends: 
  • Like sports? You can try out for a variety of teams.  Some schools offer intramural sports for recreation and clubs such as fitness clubs where you can be active in a non-competitive environment.
  • There are a variety of non-sport clubs and organizations.
  • Your student council and athletic council will organize school functions such as dances, fundraisers and fun theme days for school spirit. 
Volunteering is a great way to learn more about your community and to develop your life skills.  Keep track of your Community Involvement hours for graduation and to build your resume.

Making friends 

Making new friends is easier than you think. Consider getting to know the people in your class, near your locker and on your teams or clubs:
  •  Break the ice
  • Say “hello!”
  • Find someone with a common interest
  • Invite them to join you for lunch
  • Share exciting news
  • Offer your help or ask for theirs
  • Invite them to work with you on a project
There are many caring adults, mentors and student leaders in your school who want to see you succeed. Connect with someone.

What if I need help? 

There are many people who are available to support you throughout your time in secondary school.
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