De-streaming for Secondary Students
Frequently Asked Questions

Streaming means separating students into various course types such as Academic, Applied and Locally Developed (Essential).

De-streaming is the end of the practice of placing students into a particular class based on their perceived ability.

In September 2022, Gr. 9 students will not be separated or streamed into Academic and Applied classes. This is part of a broad strategy to provide equitable opportunities and positive outcomes for all students.  “Success for each and a place for all”

  • De-streaming supports more equitable outcomes related to learning, well-being, graduation and post-secondary acceptance.
  • Research shows that students do as well or better in a de-streamed environment and benefit from learning in groups of students of varied abilities and interests.
  • Through effective instruction in a safe and inclusive learning environment, all students will be valued, empowered and engaged in learning.
  • Classroom teachers will use the principles of Universal Design for Learning and Differentiated Instruction/Assessment, to meet individual students’ learning strengths and needs.
  • Teachers will gain insight into who their students are, their strengths, experiences, interests, and ways of knowing. This insight allows teachers to plan activities that make the learning relevant and responsive.
  • Assessment plays a key role in a student’s ongoing success in a de-streamed course. Effective assessment is conducted throughout instruction and allows teachers to extend and enrich learning, based on individual student needs.

Unless they have been recommended for the Locally Developed (Essential) Program (see information on this program below) students entering Grade 9 will select:

  • De-streamed Math and Science
  • Academic English, French, and Geography
  • Religion
  • TWO Electives (arts, business, physical education, technology)

In both situations students will be de-streamed and not placed in courses based on their perceived intelligence or ability. Grade 9 Math and Science have new curricula. English, French and Geography do not have new curricula and instead will use the previously developed academic courses to serve the Grade 9 students.

To support equity and inclusion, Advanced Placement (AP) Preparation courses are no longer being offered in Grade 9, they will be offered again in Grade 10. The Grade 9 courses will equally challenge and prepare students for success in the Advanced Placement courses in Grades 11 and 12.

The WCDSB offers several free transition programs to support Grade 9 students that are available in Summer 2022; registration is required for these and will be available in Spring 2022:

  • Summer Boost and Summer Expedition – 3-week literacy and numeracy support
  • HEADStart school orientation, timetables, lockers, meet peers before school starts
  • Grade 9 Bridge to Success – Online Distance Learning summer school credit course

For more information visit summer programs at:

  • Classroom teachers will implement the instructional, environmental, and assessment accommodations that are recorded in the student’s Individual Education Plan.
  • The school team, including the classroom teacher, special education teacher, student success teacher and guidance counsellor will work collaboratively to ensure that students have access to the support required to be successful.


Note: Locally Developed Courses are also referred to as Essential Courses. 

  • Locally Developed (Essential) courses combine credit programs and skill building to support achievement in English, Math and Science. These courses are intended to meet needs that are not met by courses provided in the curriculum policy documents
  • Locally Developed (Essential) courses may review and reinforce the elementary curriculum expectations essential to the development of a stronger foundation in the knowledge and skills necessary for further study in the disciplines at the secondary level.
  • Programs at college and university as well as some apprenticeship programs may not accept courses in this pathway for admission.
  • Students who complete Locally Developed courses in Grades 9 and 10 are being prepared to go directly into Grade 11 Workplace courses, which lead to employment and/or apprenticeship opportunities after high school.

Students who are recommended to take the Locally Developed (Essential) Program:

  • Have an Individual Education Plan that indicates that they are working on a modified curriculum AND require the specialized programming provided in the Essential program.
  • Are not yet working on grade level expectations and requiring further direct, explicit instruction in core subject areas (Math, English and Science).
  • Not all students who have an Individual Education Plan with modifications will require programming at the Essential level. This programming decision shall be made in consultation with Parents, the Classroom Teacher, Special Education Teacher and Secondary Transition Team.