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The Simcoe County District School Board (SCDSB) secondary school system is based on a two semester model:

Semester One                        September to January
Semester Two                        February to June

Students can earn a maximum of four credits per semester. A credit is granted in recognition of the successful completion of a course that has been scheduled for a minimum of 110 hours.

Ontario Certified Teachers

All credit courses are taught by Ontario Certified Teachers. Secondary school progress reports are provided in October and March, midterm reports in November and April and final reports in February and July.

Ontario Secondary School Diploma

International Students wishing to graduate from a Simcoe County District School Board High School must complete the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) requirements:

Requirements for the OSSD

Students must earn the following 18 compulsory credits in order to obtain the Ontario Secondary School Diploma:

  • 4 credits in English (1 credit per grade);
  • 3 credits in mathematics (at least 1 credit in Grade 11 or 12);
  • 2 credits in science;
  • 1 credit in Canadian history;
  • 1 credit in Canadian geography;
  • 1 credit in the arts;
  • 1 credit in health and physical education;
  • 1 credit in French as a second language;
  • O.5 credits in civics;
  • One additional credit in English, or French as a second language, or a Native language, or a classical or an international language, or social sciences and the humanities, or Canadian and world studies, or guidance and career education, or cooperative education; (Group 1)
  • One additional credit in health and physical education, or the arts, or business studies or French as a second language, or cooperative education; (Group 2)
  • One additional credit in science (Grade 11 or 12) or technological education (Grade 9-12) or French as a second language, or computer studies, or cooperative education. (Group 3)


  • A maximum of 3 credits in English as a second language (ESL) or English literacy development (ELD) may be counted towards the 4 compulsory credits in English, but the fourth must be a credit earned for a Grade 12 compulsory English course (e.g., ESLAO, ESLBO, ESLCO, and any one of ENG4E, ENG4C or ENG4U).
  • In groups 1, 2, and 3, a maximum of 2 credits in French as a second language can count as compulsory credits, one from group 1 and one from either group 2 or group 3.
  • A maximum of 2 credits in cooperative education can count as compulsory credits.

In addition to the 18 compulsory credits, students must earn 12 optional credits selected from the courses listed in the course calendar.

The 12 optional credits may include up to 4 credits earned through approved dual credit courses.

Students must complete 40 hours of community involvement. This requirement is to encourage students to develop awareness and understanding of civic responsibility and the role they can play in their communities. For more information on community involvement hours, please go to Your guidance counselor will also be able to offer you advice on how to fulfill your community involvement hours.

All students must successfully complete the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Requirement in order to earn a secondary school diploma. The Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test is administered in Grade 10. The requirement may be earned by successful completion of the Literacy test, or if the first attempt at the test is unsuccessful, students may pursue the completion of the requirement through a literacy course. Please speak with your guidance counselor or contact the International Student Program Office for more information.

Program options

A Specialist High Skills Major is a bundle of credits, experiences and certifications that focuses on one sector of the economy. Its purpose is to introduce students to and prepare them for careers in those sectors at the Workplace, College, Apprenticeship or University level.  For more information, please go to

Dual credits give secondary students the opportunity to sample college and gain credit in both secondary school and college. Students take a college credit from a college faculty member and must meet the requirements to pass. If successful, they are given an optional credit at secondary school and are issued a college transcript. The course will be recognized at college if they choose to attend a program for which the course is a requirement. The course counts towards their secondary school diploma. Dual credits give students the opportunity to sample post-secondary education, work in college labs, experience a new environment and build their confidence. Click here for detailed information on the dual credits that are currently being offered in Simcoe County.

The Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program is available to all full-time students who are at least 16 years old and have 16 high school credits. Students must be taking cooperative education and may be registered as an apprentice to their employer with the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. All of the hours they work in co-op and any part-time work may then be credited towards their apprenticeship. Students are also placed on the trade school waiting list at the time of their registration.

Experiential learning opportunities provide real-life work experiences for students in the community. Students can:

  • Experience hands-on learning
  • Test-drive some cool career options
  • Develop the essential skills required in the workplace
  • Gain valuable work experience
  • Build a resume for post secondary programs and future employment.

There are four main types of experiential learning programs in our schools.

Cooperative Education

All students, regardless of their postsecondary destination, have the opportunity to take co-op. Cooperative Education is a planned learning experience, for which credits are earned, that integrates classroom theory and learning experiences at a workplace. Two co-op credits can count towards a student’s compulsory requirements in Groups 1, 2 and/or 3.

Job Shadowing 
Job shadowing involves the pairing of a student with a worker in a specific occupation at a place of employment for one-on-one observation by the student. It may be integrated into any credit course or be a component of a student’s school-work transition program.

Job Twinning
Job twinning involves the pairing of a student with a Cooperative Education student for one-on-one observation at his or her placement. Job Twinning may be integrated into any credit course and may also be a component of a student’s school-work transition program.

Work Experience 
Work experience is a planned learning opportunity, within any credit course, that provides students with relatively short-term work experiences, usually of one or two weeks’ duration and not exceeding four weeks. Credits cannot be granted for Work Experience alone.

SCDSB Student Success Programs

All high schools in the SCDSB offer Student Success programs which include, but are not limited to: specialist high skills majors (SHSM), dual credits, cooperative education and career planning, as well as transition programs for students as they enter and graduate from secondary school.