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schools marshallmcluhan marshallmcluhan 34F5AEC1-4B31-4CF8-AEBD-0AC8392CD748 8551
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Looking for help? Unsure of certain systems or requirements? McLuhan guidance offers assistance to both parents and students who have questions regarding the academic system at the secondary school level.
In the course of their high school career, students are faced with developing plans and making decisions about their future beyond high school.  Making a choice about a career and a college, university or other educational programs has many implications—personal, familial, social, and financial.  Good decision-making is based on sound information and the opportunity to consult with an expert who can assist in understanding the information and discuss the possible effects of specific decisions.
Marshall McLuhan Catholic Secondary School provides this support through its Student Services Department. The department provides opportunities for students to acquire the skills, knowledge and attitudes necessary to:
†  know and appreciate themselves
†  relate effectively to others
†  develop appropriate education plans
†  explore career alternatives
Counsellors accomplish these aims through personal counseling, group instruction, performing administrative duties, and drawing upon a variety of resources as needed.
The Credit System

A credit is granted in recognition of the successful completion of a course that has been scheduled for a minimum of 110 hours. For the purpose of granting a credit, “scheduled time” is defined as the time during which students participate in planned learning activities (other than homework) designed to lead to the achievement of the curriculum expectations of a course. A credit is granted to a student by the principal of a secondary school on behalf of the Minister of Education.
Attention: The Ministry of Education has announced its intention to change the diploma requirements. Some of these proposed changes would be retroactive to September 2005. Please check with your school for up-to-date diploma requirements.
What Do You Need to Graduate?

18 Compulsory Credits: Students must earn the following compulsory credits to obtain the Ontario Secondary School Diploma:
  • 4 credits in English
  • 3 credits in Mathematics
  • 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 Secondary Language
  • 0.5 credits in Career Studies
  • 0.5 credits in Civics
Plus one credit from each of the following groups:
  • 1 additional credit in English, or Third Language, or Social Sciences and the Humanities, or Canadian and World Studies, or Guidance and Career Education, or Co-operative Education*
  • 1 additional credit in Health and Physical Education, or the Arts, or Business Studies, or Co-operative Education*
  • 1 additional credit in Science, or Technological Education or Co-operative Education*
  • In addition to the compulsory credits, students must complete:
  • 12 Optional Credits
  • 40 Hours of Community Involvement Activities
  • The Provincial Literacy Requirement
A maximum of 2 credits in co-operative education can count as compulsory credits*
Community Involvement

The community involvement requirement is in addition to the thirty credits required for a high school diploma. It is designed to encourage civic responsibility and promote community values. The programs will be flexible so that all students will be able to find ways to participate. Students will be responsible for fulfilling the community involvement component on their own.
40-Hour Community Involvement

The student is responsible for finding and completing 40 hours of volunteer work. The school will not be directly involved in finding volunteer placement for students or monitoring students while they are completing their volunteer work.
The student is responsible for completing their 40 hours and submitting their completed form prior to the end of classes of their graduating year to ensure that their transcript is updated prior to the end of the school year.
The parent is responsible for checking potential placements before the student begins volunteering.
The school is responsible for advising students of the requirements and procedures for completing the 40 hour community involvement requirement. Students will receive information and appropriate forms from their school guidance department.
Students entering a Toronto catholic secondary school from outside of the province or country must complete the full 40 hours regardless of their grade of entry.
For more information, including guidelines for eligible activities, visit the TCDSB website at
Ontario Secondary School Literacy Requirement

The Ontario secondary school literacy test (OSSLT) is administered in grade 10. The literacy test is based on the provincial language expectations associated with the grade 9 curriculum. If a student is not successful in the literacy test in the grade 10 year, he/she will have additional opportunities to fulfill the literacy requirement. There are ministry policies and guidelines which allow for accommodations for special needs students writing the high school literacy test. Students taking ESL only take the test when they have reached an appropriate level in their language ability.
Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT)

For students who entered secondary school in the 2000-2001 school year or later, successful completion of the test is a diploma requirement*.
The test measures whether a student can successfully demonstrate reading and writing skills that apply in all subject areas in the provincial curriculum, up to the end of grade 9.
The test is designed and marked by the Education Quality & Accountability Office (EQAO).
The test s conducted once each year.
Students receive results-either “complete”, or “incomplete”. Students who receive an “incomplete” will be sent detailed feedback. Students may retake the test no limits have been established regarding the number of retakes allowed.
Accommodations, Deferral and Exemption information is outlines in the Ministry of Education’s programs/policy memorandum 127; Accommodations, Deferrals and Exemptions for the grade 10 literacy test.
Any accommodation recommended by the school will be accepted to EQAO, in accordance with programs/policy memorandum 127, and must be outlined in the individual students’ individual education plan. Accommodation recommendations will be communicated by letter to parents/guardians in advance of the test.
Deferrals will be considered in individual circumstances. The consideration for a deferral may be initiated by a parent or by the principal. The principal will make a decision in consultation with the student’s parents/guardians and appropriate school staff. A letter outlining the reasons for the deferral will be sent home with the student for parent/guardian signature in advance of the test. A student who is deferred must successfully complete the test in order to receive an OSSD.
A student will only be exempted from the test if he/she is not working towards an OSSD.
*A student who has been eligible twice to write the OSSLT, and who has failed at least once, is eligible to take the Grade 12 literacy test (OSSLC). If passed, this will count in lieu of the literacy test (OSSLT). In vary rare circumstances, a principal may decide, based on individual needs, to allow a student to take the OSSLC before he has had his second opportunity to write the OSSLT.
The Ontario Secondary School Certificate (OSSC)
The Ontario Secondary School Certificate will be granted on request to students who leave school before earning the Ontario Secondary School Diploma, provided that they have earned a minimum of 14 credits, as follows:
Compulsory credits (total of 7)
  • 2 credits in English
  • 1 credit in Canadian Geography/History
  • 1 credit in Mathematics
  • 1 credit in Science
  • 1 credit in Health and Physical Education
  • 1 credit in Arts or Technological Education
  • Optional credits (total of 7)
7 credits selected by the student from available courses.
Policy of Full Disclosure Grades 11, 12

The ministry of Education Policy of Full Disclosure applies to all students in a secondary school. This policy states that all courses attempted by students in grades 11 and 12 must be recorded by the Ontario Student Transcript. This means that any course completed, dropped or failed will appear on a student transcript along with the marks earned in the program. Students will have 5 school days from the date the midterm report card is issued to withdraw from a course so that it is not recorded on their Ontario Student Transcript.
Ontario Student Transcript (OST)

The OST is an official and consistent summary of a student’s achievement in Ontario secondary school credit courses. A current, accurate and complete cop of the OST will be included in the Ontario Student Record.
Substitutions for Compulsory Course

To meet individual student needs, the principal may replace up to three compulsory courses. The decision to make a substitution will be made only if the student’s educational interests are best served by such a substitution. Each substitution will be noted on the student’s Ontario Student Transcript.
Types of Courses

Grades 9 and 10
In grades 9 and 10, four types of courses are offered: academic, applied, locally developed compulsory, and open courses. These courses set high expectations for all students. Academic and Applied courses differ in the balance between essential concepts and additional material, and in the balance between theory and application.
Academic Courses:
  • Focus on the essential concepts of the discipline and also explore related concepts
  • Develops students’ knowledge and skills by emphasizing theatrical, abstract applications of the essential concepts in incorporating practical applications
Applied Courses:
  • Focus on the essential concepts of the discipline
  • Develop students’ knowledge and skills by emphasizing practical, concrete applications of the concepts and incorporating theoretical applications
  • Focus on practical applications and concrete examples
Locally Developed Compulsory Credit 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
  • Prepare students for future studies in Grade 11 and 12 Workplace preparation courses
  • Meet compulsory credit requirements in English, Mathematics and Science
Open Courses:
  • Are offered in all subjects other than those offered as Academic, Applied or Locally Developed Compulsory
  • Comprise a set of expectations that is suitable for all students at a grade level
  • Prepare students’ education generally
Grades 11 and 12
In grades 11 and 12, courses offered to prepare students for post-secondary destinations include:
University Preparation Courses:
  • Were developed in close collaboration with universities
  • Are designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills needed to meet entrance requirements for university programs
  • Emphasize theoretical aspects of the course content, but also include concrete applications.
University/College Preparation Courses:
  • Were developed in close collaboration with both universities and colleges
  • Include content that is relevant for both university and college programs
  • Are designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills they need to meet the entrance requirements for specific university and college programs
  • Emphasize both theoretical aspects and related concrete applications of the course content
College Preparation Courses:
  • Were developed in close collaboration with colleges
  • Are designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills needed to meet entrance requirements for college programs and some apprenticeship programs
  • Emphasize concrete applications of the theoretical material covered in the course and also emphasize the development of critical thinking and problem-solving skills
Workplace Preparation Courses:
  • Were developed in close collaboration with representatives from a variety of workplaces
  • Are designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills needed for direct entry into the workplace or for admission to apprenticeship programs and other training programs offered in the community
  • Allow students to prepare for a variety of jobs, training programs and careers
  • Include co-operative education and work experience placements within the community, emphasize the development of generic employment skills , as well as independent research and learning skills
  • Promote and stress the importance of lifelong learning
Open Courses in Grades 11 and 12

Are appropriate fro all students, regardless of their post-secondary destination
Are designed to provide students with a broad educational base
Prepare students for active and rewarding participation in society
Transfer Courses

Transfer courses are designed to prepare students to meet the expectations of a different type of course in the next grade. At this time, transfer courses are offered through the Continuing Education Department.
Course Changes
From Grade 9 to 10
Students who are successful in any academic or applied grade 9 course may select either the academic or applied course in the same subject in grade 10. Students planning to switch from one course type in grade 9 to another in grade 10 in the same subject are strongly encourages to complete additional course work, called Crossover Materials, in order to demonstrate the achievement of the learning expectations. The student may access courses online at
From Grade 10 to 11, or 11 to 12
A student wishing to change course types between grades 10 and 11 and/or grades 11 and 12 must either:
  • Take a transfer course that will bridge the gap between course types
  • Complete the designated course prerequisite
  • Demonstrate achievement of new curriculum expectations
  • Transfer courses are available through summer school, night school and the board’s online school.
Guidance and Career Education
The goals of the guidance and career education program are the students:
Understand the concepts related to life-long learning, interpersonal relationships (including responsible citizenship), and career planning;
Develop learning skills, social skills, a sense of social responsibility, and the ability to formulate and pursue educational and career goals;
Apply this learning to their lives and work in the school and the community
The goals have been organized into three areas of knowledge and skills: student development, interpersonal development and career development. In each area, the knowledge and skills required will change as students proceed through elementary and secondary school. Although sometimes distinct, these areas of learning and their interconnectedness should be reflected in each school’s Guidance and Career Education Program.
Teaching and learning in the Guidance and Career Education Program involves a variety of instructional settings and roles, as well as the involvement of community partners. Students acquire knowledge and skills not only though the provincial curriculum but also from the development of annual education plans, personal portfolios, and events such as job shadow days, industry tours, work experience opportunities, and co-operative education. Students learn from the active involvement and direction from teachers and guidance counsellors. The program’s structured teaching and learning approach systematically builds each year on the previous year’s learning.
In secondary schools, the program is coordinated by the guidance department and is supported by classroom teachers and other specialized staff such as special education teachers, child and youth workers, and co-operative education teachers.
Experiential Learning
Co-operative Education
Co-operative Education is an integral component of the board mandate to provide full service education to all students attending Catholic secondary school.
Co-operative Education provides students with the opportunity to integrate academic study with practical experience relevant to today’s work place. The co-operative education program allows students to: expand their opportunities to develop successful future career plans; develop attitudes, work habits, job skills, and work place contacts; create a smoother transition from secondary school to future destinations including apprenticeship, college, private learning institutes, university and the workplace. Co-operative Education is an integral component of all school to work programs and student success programs such as Fast Forward and Alternative Education.
Particulars of the Program
A Co-operative Education Program is based on a related course (of courses) from the Ontario curriculum policy document or on a ministry approved locally developed course in which the student is enrolled or has completed successfully. Students may earn one to four credits within one semester depending on the program they have selected.
The program includes three major components: classroom learning (includes among other topics, preparation for the work place, safety, career development, and reflective learning), placement learning (refine, extend, apply and practice learning that is taking, or has taken, place in a related school course), integrates of new classroom and placement learning.
Central Placements
Students enrolled in Co-operative Education are eligible to apply and be interviewed for participation in the specialized OYAP programs as well as centrally coordinated placements with hospitals, emergency medical services, police services and the Toronto fire services.
Special Education

Students Identified as Exceptional
Programs and services for students with special needs are available in Catholic secondary schools. A resource program model is available in each secondary school for students who are working on attaining credits towards a secondary school diploma or certificate of education.
Students with very high needs and who are working on alternative curriculum (K courses) are programmed for through an extension of the programs for multiple Exceptionalities and developmental disabilities, similar to those offered in the elementary panel.
All programming expectations are outlined in the student’s Individual Education Plan. Beginning in grade 9, students may select from a variety of courses that include Academic, Applied, Locally Developed, Advanced Placement and K courses (alternate curriculum). Teachers assist students in meeting the expectations outlined in the Individual Education Plan. Support is provided through a range of placements depending on the identified needs of the student.
Gifted Program
The Gifted Program is offered to students who have been identified as “Exceptional- Gifted” by an IPRC. The program is made available to gifted students on a voluntary basis. Students have the option to participate and have their programs modified to accommodate special needs, interests and abilities.
The Gifted facilitator will collaborate with the subject teachers and the student to develop an Individual Education Plan which may alter any program in areas such as: content (subject mater), process skills (critical thinking, creative thinking, problem solving, logic, and research skills), product and evaluation.
Credit Recovery
Credit-Recovery programs help students earn the credits they have previously failed to achieve, as they develop the learning skills needed for academic success. These programs:
  • Focus on improving learning skills
  • May target particular curriculum expectations that students have failed to achieve
  • May include behavioural or other supports
  • May involve the recovery of more than one credit
  • Can involve both independent and group learning
  • May be combined with remedial programs, and may accommodate continuous intake.
Summer School
Credit Summer School operates during the month of July and into early August each summer. Active TCDSB day school students must register through the guidance office at their home school. Day school students from other boards must visit their guidance office to obtain permission to attend summer school. Summer school is designed for students who have failed a course during day school and wish to repeat the course in an attempt to improve their marks. As well, students can take a new credit over their summer. Locations and availability of courses are indicated in the summer school brochure, which becomes available during the last week of April.
This information is also posted on the TCDSB Board website at
Night School (for day school students)
Night School programs are available for secondary school credits. Active TCDSB day school students must register through the guidance office at their home school.
Day school students from other boards must visit their guidance office to obtain permission to attend night school. Students are expected to take courses in the regular day school program and only select night school for courses not available at their home school. Adults may also register for these courses. Information is available on the Board website at
Web-Based Learning eClass
Presently, there are 11 approved Ministry of Education online courses offered in conjunction with summer and night school programs. Registration procedures follow those outlined for summer and night school.
For more information on registration and courses, visit
Transfer Courses
Transfer courses are designed to prepare students to meet the expectations of a different type of course in the next grade. They provide partial credits that quality as optional credits towards the diploma requirements since they require students to demonstrate achievement of new curriculum expectations.
Transfer courses are available through the Continuing Education Department. Please refer to the Summer School and Night School links for availability;