Guidance teachers support students with their academic needs and learning skills. We offer counselling to help students reach their academic goals, including course selection to meet graduation requirements, pathway planning, accessing community service opportunities, researching career opportunities, and planning for post-secondary. We also act as an adult advocate for our students if they are struggling with a class or perhaps need support to advocate for themselves.

Guidance teachers also support students and families by connecting to supports within the school and the community as needed. Such supports might include our Student Success Team, Program Support (Special Education) Teachers, Youth Care Workers and School Social Workers, as well as helping students and families access supports in our community.

Grade 8 Students and Parents

Visit the Future Eagles page for lots of information about starting grade nine at St. Mary’s and visit the Key Info for Parents & Students page for information about registering at St. Mary’s.

Current Students: Course Selections for the upcoming School Year

In consultation with parents and teachers, students make their course selections for next year using the myBlueprint website. The website is open now for students to plan their course selections. Almost all students get scheduled into the courses they choose in myBlueprint. In many cases it becomes difficult or impossible to make changes after sections have been assigned, staff have been allocated and scheduling has been completed for the upcoming school year. Choose carefully now to avoid disappointment later!

Selections may be submitted starting in February each year. Parents/guardians approve submitted course selections via email. The deadline for courses to be submitted and approved is the last school day in February each year. Guidance counsellors will review and approve course selections in late February and early March.

It's never too soon to start planning your courses for next year!
Selections for 2023/2024 are due at the end of February

Visit myBlueprint to plan your courses for next year.

Use the information and links below to guide your choices!

Education and Career/Life Planning

Ask yourself:

  1. Am I on track to graduate?

  2. Do I have a direction (or directions) in mind for after I graduate?

  3. Will my course selections meet the requirements for #1 and #2?

Course Selection Presentations:

It’s never too early to start your research!

apprenticeship pathway
college pathway
community pathway
university pathway
workplace pathway

Planning to pursue a career in Skilled Trades &/or an Apprenticeship?

Things to consider if you plan to pursue an apprenticeship
apprenticeship in Ontario

Planning to Apply to an Ontario College?

  • is one-stop-shopping for every program offered at every college in Ontario
  • This is also where you’ll submit your application
  • Keep in mind colleges offer certificate, diploma and degree programs
  • Plan ahead to be sure pre-requisites for college programs are included in your high school plan
Things to consider if you plan to apply to college logo

Planning to apply to an Ontario university?

Things to consider if you plan to apply to university logo

St. Mary’s offers a huge array of specialized programs for enrichment, experiential learning, and opportunities to reach ahead into post-secondary education while still completing high school.

  • Advanced Placement (AP) courses in grade 12, and AP Prep courses in grades 9-11, provide enriched learning opportunities, more in-depth learning, thought-provoking discussion, and interaction with other motivated learners.  AP provides a pathway for students to earn university accreditation while in their senior year at St. Mary’s.  Look for AP and Pre-AP courses in English, math, French, and science when you make your selections in myBlueprint.
  • Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) is a Ministry approved program that encourages students to focus their education on a specific employment sector.  Each SHSM includes selection of grade 11 and 12 courses related to the SHSM, an experiential education (c0-op) component, and industry-recognized training and certification – available to SHSM students for free!  Use as a guide when making your course selections in myBlueprint and refer to the SHSM Planner tool on the myBlueprint high school plan page.
  • The University Cooperative Education Program (UCEP) is offered in partnership with St. Jerome’s University, the University of Waterloo, and Wilfrid Laurier University.  The program provides students who have achieved high academic success to experience university life before leaving secondary school.  In this program, students can earn a university credit, one or two Grade 12 secondary school credits (taught by secondary school teachers at the university), and two Co-op credits.  Choose UCEP12 plus two UCEP-related courses when you make your course selections in myBlueprint.
  • The College Cooperative Education Program (CCEP), offered in partnership with Conestoga College, offers students the opportunity to attend the Doon Campus of Conestoga College, tuition free, to earn up to four credits – two experiential learning (co-op) credits and two dual credits – in programs such as Basic Design, Canadian Criminal Justice System, Early Childhood Education, Personal Support Worker, Psychology, Recreation & Leisure, and Sociology.  Choose CCEP12 when you make your course selections in myBlueprint.
  • The Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) provides students with the opportunity to start training in a skilled trade while completing the requirements for the Ontario Secondary School Diploma.  Choose gr. 11 co-op (DCO3OC), gr. 12 co-op (COOP12) or summer co-op (SUCO11, SUCO12) if you’re interested in OYAP.
  • Concentrated OYAP provides students a pathway to complete the Level One Apprenticeship Curriculum as part of a package of courses in their senior year of high school.  Students must have completed the pre-requisite technology course in grade 11, and a related co-op experience in grade 11 is recommended.  Concentrated OYAP opportunities include: Automotive Service Technician, Baker, Cabinetmaker, Cook/Chef, General Machinist, Hairstylist, Industrial Mechanic Millwright, Tool & Die Maker, and Welder.  Speak with your technology teacher and guidance counsellor if you think Concentrated OYAP might be for you.
  • Accelerated OYAP programs are offered in partnership with Conestoga College and three local trade Unions: The Plumbing and Pipefitters Union UZ527; Carpenters Union Local 785; Labourers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA) Local 837; and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 804.  These highly competitive programs with limited spots available allow students to jump start their apprenticeship while in high school and complete two tuition-free college courses in the chosen program.  Look for these course codes when you make your course selections in myBlueprint: OYAU12 (Automotive Service Technician), OYTC12 (Truck and Coach Technician), OYBM12 (Brick and Stone Mason), OYPM12 (Precision Machining), OYPB12 (Plumbing), OYPL12 (Plumbing and Steam Fitting), OYGC12 (General Carpentry), OYCW12 (Construction Craft Worker and Concrete Finisher), and OYEL12 (Electrician).
  • The College Apprenticeship Preparation Program (CAPP) gives students the opportunity to attend Conestoga College tuition free for a full semester in their senior year to earn up to four credits – two experiential learning (co-op) credits and two dual credits – in programs such as Automotive Service Technician, Carpentry, Culinary, Truck and Coach Technician and Welding.  Choose CAPP12 when you make your course selections in myBlueprint.
  • Exploring the Construction Trades, in partnership with the Waterloo Campus of Conestoga College, offers students the opportunity to earn up to three dual credits, tuition free, plus one or two co-op credits.  Hands-on courses allow students to develop skills in Carpentry, Plumbing, Welding and Interior Finishing.  Choose EXPC12 when you make your course selections in myBlueprint.

Visit the WCDSB Experiential Learning website to learn more about these and other specialized programs.

Almost all students get scheduled into the courses they select and submit in myBlueprint. In many cases it becomes difficult or impossible to make changes later, after sections have been assigned, staff have been allocated and scheduling has been completed for the upcoming school year. Choose carefully now to avoid disappointment later!

Use the link on St. Mary’s webpage, or on your “My Applications” page ( to log into myBlueprint.  (You can’t just go to – must use a WCDSB link!)

The deadline to 1) choose your courses, 2) submit, and 3) get approval from your parent or guardian is the last school day in February.

Guidance counsellors are ready to help, but do your research and start building your course plan before you book a guidance appointment.

The video below gives an overview of how to select and submit your courses, and process for parents/guardians to approve course selections.

Where can grade eight students get more information about starting grade nine at St. Mary’s?

  • Visit the Future Eagles page for videos, links, information and FAQs

How many courses do I need to choose?

  • Students going into grade 9, 10, and 11 must choose eight courses
  • Students going into grade 12 may choose one or two spares, but only if they have earned more than 22 credits by the end of grade 11

How can I take a course via eLearning?

  • eLearning courses are available for you to choose and add to your plan in myBlueprint
  • These are primarily grade 11 and 12 courses, since students require maturity, independent work habits, initiative and good organization and time management skills in order to be successful in an eLearning environment
  • eLearning courses have no synchronous (“live”) classes; students work at their own pace and communicate with their teacher and classmates only through email or the discussion tool in D2L
  • Students in eLearning classes are not assigned to a classroom and have no direct supervision or daily support in the school during that class period.  Guidance and student success are able to troubleshoot technical issues or help connect you with your teacher if you need extra support.

What if I failed a course?

  • If you’re unsuccessful in a compulsory course (e.g. English, math, science), you’ll need to re-take the course.  You don’t necessarily need to repeat it at the same level.
  • If you’re unsuccessful in an elective course, you could choose to re-take the course, or could choose a different elective.  You still need to make up for the missed credit so that you get to the 30 credits required for graduation.
  • Students can re-take a course at summer school in July, or they can use one of their elective spaces to re-take a course the following school year.
  • If you come close to passing and your teacher determines you only need to redo part of the course, you may be recommended for credit recovery.  Your teacher will set this up with a student success monitor teacher, who will contact you to develop a plan.

I know I need a certain course in order to reach my career goal, but in the past my marks in that subject haven’t been great.  What should I do?

one person climbs to the top of a ladder with small steps, while another person is frustrated at the bottom of a ladder with steps that are too big
  • It doesn’t make sense to “hurry up and fail”!  Taking things a step at a time will allow you to reach your goals faster than trying to do too much too fast.
  • Take courses at the level you’re ready for now.  Then plan to build on that success later.
    • For example: If you require MCR3U (gr. 11 university level functions) to reach your goal, but your grades in gr. 9 & 10 academic math have been consistently level 2, consider taking MCF3M (gr. 11 college/university level functions) now, then take MCR3U later after you’ve built a solid understanding.  More math will only help you when it comes time to take the grade 12 math(s) that really matter for your post-secondary goal!
  • You may need to be prepared to revise your goals if they aren’t realistic for you.  Everyone has skills and abilities in different areas.  Be sure to build on your strengths to avoid frustration now and in the future.

What are the levels in grades 9 and 10, and how do I decide?

  • Grade 9 & 10 courses are offered at academic, applied, essential and open levels
    • Academic courses include practical applications but focus more on theory, move at a faster pace, and require more independent work habits.  If you consistently earn level 3 or 4 marks in a subject this year, and you have good learning skills, then you should be well-prepared to be successful in an academic class next year.  AP-prep courses are also available.  These are academic courses that also include enrichment opportunities to extend your learning beyond the academic curriculum.  Academic courses in grades 9 and 10 prepare you for university, college/university, college &/or workplace level courses in grades 11 and 12.
    • Applied courses cover similar content as academic courses, but have a greater focus on practical applications and real life examples.  Typically more time is given during class to get started on homework or assignments.  Applied courses in grades 9 and 10 prepare you for college/university, college &/or workplace level courses in grades 11 and 12.
    • Essential (“locally developed”) courses provide additional support and smaller classes.  The pace of the course is largely determined by the student’s needs and abilities and is tied to the student’s Individual Education Plan.  Essential courses are for credit and do lead to earning the Ontario Secondary School Diploma.  Essential courses in grades 9 and 10 prepare you for workplace level courses in grades 11 and 12.

What are Advanced Placement (AP) and AP-Prep courses?

  • Advanced Placement (AP) is an internationally recognized program that allows students to enrich the Ontario Curriculum with the goal of achieving university accreditation while enrolled at St. Mary’s High School.
  • Who should consider AP-prep and AP courses?
    • highly able learners looking to be challenged
    • students with a passion for learning
    • self-motivated learners with strong communication and analytical skills
    • Grades are only one of the many factors that help determine a student’s suitability for AP.
  • Visit the Advanced Placement (AP) page for much, much more information

I’m graduating, but can I plan a 5th year at St. Mary’s?

  • If you have applied to college or university, you cannot also submit course selections for St. Mary’s.  If plan “A” doesn’t work out and you then wish to plan a 5th year, contact your guidance counsellor in June – after the deadline to accept post-secondary offers has passed.
  • If you have not applied for post-secondary, select your courses for an additional year in myBlueprint and submit by the end of February.
  • You must choose a minimum of three courses.  If you only plan to return for one semester, be sure to add “S1ONLY” to your course selections