Academic Pathways

Entering high school is a very empowering experience. In fact, it’s likely the first real opportunity you have to take control of your education and your future.

In grades 9 and 10, there are four types of credit bearing courses offered (click each course type to learn more):

  1. Academic 
  2. Applied 
  3. Locally Developed 
  4. Open 

Academic Courses: 

  • Grade 9 & 10

    Academic Courses

  • Grade 11 & 12

    University Courses

    University/College Courses

    College Courses


Students taking the Academic / University stream have the option to attend University, College, Sign an Apprenticeship,or Join the workforce.

If you enjoy:

  • working independently
  • understanding the "why's"
  • learning from a variety of sources
  • thinking creatively and like to problem solve
  • developing ideas from research

Then academic courses may be for you!

Academic courses focus on the fundamental principles of the discipline, and explore related concepts, develop students’ knowledge and skills by emphasizing theoretical and abstract applications of the essential concepts as well as incorporating practical applications.

Students taking Academic level courses are likely planning to progress to College or University after completing high school.

Applied Courses: 

  • Grade 9 & 10

    Applied Courses

  • Grade 11 & 12

    College Courses

    University/College Courses


Students Taking the Applied/College Stream have the option to attend College, Sign an Apprenticeship, or Join the workforce.

Applied courses may be appropriate if you:

  • learn by doing
  • enjoy discussion
  • see connections to real life
  • develop new ideas from reading
  • share ideas and apply them to their own lives

Applied courses focus on the foundation concepts of the discipline, develop students’ knowledge and skills by emphasizing practical, concrete application of the concepts and focus on practical applications, and examples.

Students taking Applied level courses have the option to attend college, sign an apprenticeship or join the workforce.

Locally Developed: 

  • Grade 9 & 10

    Locally Developed Courses

  • Grade 11 & 12

    Workplace Workplace Level Courses

    Open Level Courses


Students taking the Locally Developed Stream have the option to Sign an Apprenticeship or Join the workforce.

Locally developed courses focus on essential skills, use relevant and practical activities that provide opportunities for students to develop their literacy, numeracy, problem-solving, decision-making, and communication skills.

Grade 9 students in locally developed courses might:

  • enjoy practical applications of learned skills
  • enjoy a variety of activities
  • benefit from additional reinforcement of concepts

Students enrolled in Locally Developed courses may choose to pursue an apprenticeship or enter the workforce after completing high school.

Open Courses: 

Open courses allow students to learn concepts and skills designed to prepare them for further study in the subject area. Expectations are designed to be appropriate for all students. Elective courses such as Physical Education and Art are offered as open courses.  Students can succeed with a variety of learning skills.

The pathway you choose will depend on the goals and ambitions you have set for yourself. For instance, if you are planning on continuing your education at the College or University level, you will want to choose academic level courses.

Have questions about which courses are right for you? Ask your teacher for assistance in choosing your courses or contact your high school Student Services Department and they will be happy to work with  you to design a plan that meets all your academic needs.


What’s the difference between the different pathways? 

Colleges focus more on career training and trades. This means they offer practical or hands-on training. Generally, a certificate program is 1 year or less, and a diploma program is 2 or 3 years. Colleges of applied arts and technology have full-time and part-time diploma and certificate programs. Many also offer Bachelor degrees in applied areas of study. They also have pre-trades and apprenticeship training, language training and skills upgrading.

Universities focus on academic and professional programs. Universities are institutions that can grant degrees. All universities have undergraduate (bachelor's) degrees, and many have graduate (Master's and doctoral) programs. Undergraduate degrees usually take 3-4 years to complete.

The School to Community Program offers Alternative Non-Credit courses which focus on necessary life skills and cater to the individual needs of each student. Expectations in these courses are developed by the school to help the student reach their individual potential with a variety of community and personal goals.  All courses prepare students for the transition from school to community.  Courses offered begin with the letter “K” and are noncredit bearing.



Can I change course types? 

Yes, you can change course types between Grade 9 and 10. You may have to complete some preparatory work to fill in some gaps to prepare you for success at the new level though.

Do all the courses I choose have to be the same type? 

No. We encourage you to take the types of courses that best suit your interests, goals, learning styles and needs.

What subjects will I take in Grade 9? 

All Grade 9 students generally take English, French, Geography, Math, Science, and Health and Physical Education.

Students may also choose two elective courses from:

  • Information Technology or Exploring Technologies
  • Visual Arts, Music or Drama

Is there someone I can talk to for help with course selection? 

Your classroom teacher and high school personnel would be happy to talk to you about your options.