Guidance: Academic Planning

Program Head
Michael Ambeau

Nancy Arruda DaMarco ext. 5638 A - Dov
Joe Taranto ext. 5635 Dow - Her (+international students)
Mark Cameron ext. 5634 Hib - Luc
Lisa Collins ext. 5637 Luv-Moh
Colleen Borman ext 5636 Moi - Riv
Michael Ambeau ext. 5639 Roa - Z

Guidance staff are available to assist students with academic and post-secondary planning, and to provide personal support where needed. Guidance Counsellors develop relationships with students and strategize around possible steps to deal effectively with pertinent issues using the supports available within and outside the school setting. Some students self-refer but others may be referred to Guidance by administrators, youth care workers and teachers.

Prospective Students

Please 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

Guidance counsellors lead course selection presentations with grade 10 and 11 students in December, and with grade 9 and 12 students in January each year. Students and parents are encouraged to make use of the resources provided at these presentations, including Career Cruising,, and to research post-secondary plans before making course selections or scheduling a guidance appointment.

In consultation with parents and teachers, students make their course selections for next year using the Career Cruising website. The website is open now for students to plan their course selections. Almost all students get scheduled into the courses they choose in Career Cruising. 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, and course selection sign off forms printed, starting in late February each year. Completed, signed course selection sign off forms will be collected during class time during the first week of March.

Course Calendar

The St. Mary's Course Calendar is available online through Career Cruising or through this link.

What do you need to graduate?

There are three requirements to earn the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD):

  1. Earn at least 30 credits:
    • 18 compulsory
    • at least 12 electives (see below)
  2. Complete at least 40 hours of Community Service (Volunteer) activities
  3. Meet the Provincial Literacy Requirement by passing either the grade 10 Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test or the grade 12 Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course

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

  • 4 credits in English (1 credit at each grade level)
  • 3 credits in Mathematics (Grade 9, 10 & 11)
  • 2 credits in Science (Grade 9 & 10)
  • 1 credit in Canadian History (Grade 10)
  • 1 credit in Canadian Geography (Grade 9)
  • 1 credit in the Arts (Visual, Drama, Dance, Music)
  • 1 credit in Health and Physical Education
  • 1 credit in French as a Second Language (Grade 9)
  • 0.5 credit in Career Studies and
  • 0.5 credit in Civics

Plus one credit from each of the following groups:

  • Group 1 - One additional credit in: English, or French as a second language**, or a Native, classical or international language, or social sciences and the humanities, or Canadian and world studies, or guidance and career education, or cooperative education*
  • Group 2 - One additional credit in: health and physical education, or the arts, or business studies, or cooperative education* or French as a second language**
  • Group 3 - One additional credit in: science, or technological education, or cooperative education* or French as a second language**
  • * - A maximum of two of the three additional compulsory credit requirements in groups 1, 2, and 3 may be met using credits earned through cooperative education.
    ** - A maximum of two of the three additional compulsory credit requirements for groups 1, 2, and 3 may be met with credits in French as a second language, one of which may be earned for group 1 and the second for either group 2 or group 3.

In addition to the compulsory credits, students must complete:

  • 4 credits in Religion - Grade 9, 10 & 12 will count as Electives - Grade 11 counts as Group 1
  • 12 optional credits (3 of which may be Grade 9, 10 & 12 Religion)
Program Pathways

All students eventually enter the workplace. Having said this, there are many pathways that lead to that ultimate destination. Students may choose a secondary school program pathway that prepares them for direct entry to: apprenticeship programs, college of applied arts and technology programs, community living, university programs, or the workplace.

pathways diagram

See Also: WCDSB - Building Successful Students - Program Pathways - Managing the next Stage of your Life:

Community Service (Volunteer) Hours

In order to graduate from high school in Ontario every student must complete and document a minimum of 40 hours of volunteer service.