Every year, thousands of students across the Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) make the transition from Grade 8 to Grade 9, entering the next stage of their learning journey. Here’s what you need to know.

Step One: Do I need to register for Grade 9?

Students currently enrolled in a WRDSB school for Grade 8, skip to step three. They do not need to register for Grade 9. They will receive course option information from their elementary school guidance teachers, starting in February.

Students new to the WRDSB need to register for Grade 9 at their designated home secondary school unless they will be attending a magnet. Students applying to a magnet from out of board will register with that school upon successful acceptance to the magnet program.

Step Two: Registering for Grade 9

Need to register for secondary school in the WRDSB? You’ll need to make sure you have the required documentation before you begin this process.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Proof of Address
    • Utility bill, proof of Ontario Property Assessment Notice, or lease/purchase agreement.
  • Proof of Birth (original documents)
    • Birth Certificate, Canadian Passport, birth registration, citizenship card or statement of live birth.
    • Please note: we are not able to accept digital or paper copies of birth documents
  • Proof of Custody where applicable
    • Custody orders, court-ordered Guardianship
  • Student Immunization Information
  • Immigration documents where required
  • School documents – recent report card or school leaving certificate (elementary and secondary only)

I have the required documentation

Submitting the form

Please print off the completed form above and mail this to your designated home secondary school. If you have not attended school in the WRDSB before, you may register online. More information on registering for school in the WRDSB.

Step Three: Finding Your School

All sixteen Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) secondary schools welcome students to a rich and diverse secondary school education. Students can anticipate an exciting variety of programs, course options, activities and services designed to meet their learning needs.

To check which secondary school serves your specific geographic area, please refer to the school locator tool. Please note: students are permitted to transfer to a school outside their designated home secondary school to participate in a System Designated Specialized (Magnet) Program.

About Our Secondary Schools

Each school has information on their websites about what makes them unique. Learn more about your school:

Fast Facts for New Grade 9 Students and Families

Course Selection

Students should try to plan ahead for the courses they would like to take in their secondary school years. Each year, students should review their plan and if necessary, modify their course selection to make sure they meet graduation requirements and prerequisites for their post-secondary destinations. Teachers and guidance counsellors can advise and help students with their planning for course selection. Information is also available from your Grade 8 school.

For more information on Course Selection, please contact your secondary school.


As of September 2022, Grade 9 students will no longer be required to choose between applied or academic level courses. This change is the result of strong evidence across Waterloo Region and Ontario that supports not having Grade 8 students choose between applied and academic courses. The goal is to provide more equitable outcomes for all students.

For more information about de-streaming:

Magnet Programs

System Designated Specialized (Magnet) Programs are a series of interconnected courses that make up a program that leads directly to or supports a student’s transition to a specific post-secondary destination. Students are permitted to transfer to a school outside their school boundary to participate in a System Designated Specialized Program.

French Immersion and Extended French are available to those students who have completed the Elementary Immersion program and who wish to continue with more intensive French instruction. Please speak with the student’s elementary guidance teacher to find out which Extended French program your child would attend.

Please note that parents of students attending extended and immersion programs from areas outside of their designated home school boundary are responsible for their own transportation.

At the magnet ESL/ELD secondary schools, courses are offered with English language and literacy support, and students will have a choice of appropriate and engaging programs. Students who speak English may still require support in the areas of reading and writing for academic purposes. Students may also be eligible to receive accommodations for the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test. A student’s best guarantee of success in secondary school is to choose the appropriate program and course type for success.
Fast Forward is a unique school‐to‐work program offered at designated secondary schools. Through the Fast Forward program students have an opportunity to earn recognized certificates and learn the skills to build rewarding careers. Fast Forward is designed to support students who require at least two essential type courses. Students will have the opportunity to work toward their Ontario Secondary School Diploma and develop knowledge, skills and attitudes to move successfully from the classroom to the workplace.

These programs are system designated specialized magnet programs that are offered at some of our secondary schools. For more information talk to your elementary school’s guidance teacher.

Please note that parents of students attending International Baccalaureate, Instrumental Strings or Integrated Arts Programs from areas outside of their designated home school boundary are responsible for their own transportation.

Each secondary school offers students opportunities for enhanced learning. To find out what each school will be offering, refer to their website or contact them directly.

Graduation Requirements

Graduation from secondary school is based on an accumulation of credits. Many courses offered in secondary education are credit courses. A credit is a means of recognition for the successful completion of a course and is granted to a student by the principal of a secondary school on behalf of the Minister of Education.

More information on Graduation Requirements.

Community Involvement Hours

Every student who enters secondary school must complete a minimum of 40 hours of community involvement activities as one of the requirements for an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD). Students may complete the requirement starting on the first of July after they leave Grade 8 and ending before graduation.

More information on Community Involvement Requirements.

Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT)

The purpose of the secondary school literacy requirement is to ensure all students can demonstrate the required skills in literacy as determined by the Ministry of Education. All students are required to meet the secondary school literacy requirement in order to obtain an OSSD. The requirement is meant to address reading and writing curriculum up to and including Grade 9. Students will generally write the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) in their Grade 10 year.

More information on Secondary School Literacy Graduation Requirement.

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