Secondary school marks the beginning of the end of a student’s formal education. Students enter high school as adolescents and graduate as young adults, ready for their next leg of the journey, whether it is an apprenticeship, college, university or the world of work.

All students in Niagara are welcome to attend a Niagara Catholic secondary school. Non-Catholic students who register at one of our schools are expected to fully participate in the faith life of their school.

The requirement of 2 credits out of the 30 must be completed as eLearning Courses. Student may Opt Out of this option please contact your secondary school for this information.

Niagara Catholic graduates are:

  • Discerning believers formed in a Catholic faith community
  • Effective communicators
  • Reflective, creative and holistic thinkers
  • Self-directed, responsible, life-long learners
  • Collaborative contributors who find meaning, dignity and vocation in work, respecting the rights of all
  • Caring family members
  • Responsible citizens

Staff in our Catholic secondary schools inspire students to strive for their personal best in school and to be fearless as they explore new gifts and talents through a variety of activities such as the arts, athletics, technology and social justice. There is a strong commitment to community and church involvement which fosters a supportive extension of family for young adults in their development.

Students participate in retreats in Grades 9 and 12, and in the annual Pilgrimage each October.

From Grade 9 to Graduation

Students in high school choose their courses geared toward their post-graduate plans: University, university/college, college, workplace and open. Students planning to attend university are required to take university-level courses. Student Services staff assist students in course selection to ensure they are fully prepared after four years to apply to their program of choice.

Students who complete 30 credits, including 18 compulsory credits and 12 optional credits, will receive their Ontario Secondary School Diploma.

Ontario Secondary School Diploma Requirements

Niagara Catholic has one of the highest graduation rates in Ontario. Our four-year graduation rate of (rate) for students is second in Ontario among English-language school boards, and (where) in Ontario among all 72 English and French school boards.

The Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) will be awarded to students who successfully complete 30 credits including 18 compulsory credits and 12 optional credits. Such credits will be based on the discipline specific expectations and assessment policies as set out in the provincial curriculum policy documents.

This includes:

  • 4 credits in Religion
  • 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 Second Language
  • 0.5 credit in Career Studies
  • 0.5 credit in Civics

In addition to the compulsory credits, students must also successfully complete:

    • 40 Hours of Christian Community Service

Update for students graduating in the 2020-21 school year
For the 2020-21 school year, the ministry is revising the 40-hour community involvement graduation requirement so that students will not be adversely impacted by the ongoing challenges related to COVID-19.

For students graduating in the 2020-21 school year, the community involvement graduation requirement will be reduced to a minimum of 20 hours of community involvement activities. This recognizes that graduating students have had barriers to earning their community involvement hours last school year and there may be continued barriers this school year.

Students may wish to consider virtual volunteering, such as connecting with seniors, organizing virtual fundraising events and facilitating discussions with newcomer youth.

Outdoor volunteer opportunities could include, for example, picking up litter. Volunteer opportunities, such as connecting young people to be technology mentors to seniors, can be found through agencies such as Spark Ontario.

    • The Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test

Update on Standardized Testing for the 2020-21 School Year

The literacy graduation requirement, that students successfully complete the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) or pass the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course (OSSLC), will be waived for all students graduating during the 2020-21 school year.

The ministry is continuing to explore a field test of the online OSSLT in Spring 2021, which could allow the opportunity for non-graduating students to write the test and have successful attempts counted on their transcript. More information on this will be shared as it becomes available.


Learning Opportunities

Niagara Catholic recognizes students have different interests, and provides a number of learning opportunities for students including:

Dual Credit Programs that allow students who are still in secondary school to take college or apprenticeship courses that count towards both an Ontario Secondary School Diploma and a postsecondary certificate, diploma, or degree, or an apprenticeship certification.

Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) Programs, that allow students to acquire technical knowledge and skills in specific economic sectors while meeting the requirements of the

Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD). Students who complete the requirements for the OSSD and for an SHSM will receive an OSSD embossed with a red “Specialist High Skills Major” seal. Credits earned towards an SHSM are indicated on the Provincial Report Card, and completion of an SHSM program is recorded on the Ontario Student Transcript. In addition, students receive an SHSM Record outlining their achievement.

Credit Recovery Programs are designed to help regular day school students meet the expectations of a course they have completed but for which they have received a failing grade. Credits must be recovered within two years from the time the student fails the course. Students may work on recovering more than one credit at a time through the credit recovery process, and there is no limit on the number of credits a student may recover.

Credit recovery may be delivered as part of the regular day school program and/ or at summer school. Instruction must be delivered by a qualified teacher. Credit recovery programs may accommodate continuous intake and may be delivered through e-learning.

The Ontario Secondary School Certificate (OSSC) will be granted, on request, to students who are leaving secondary school upon reaching the age of 18 without having met the requirements for the Ontario Secondary School Diploma.

To be granted an OSSC, a student must have earned a minimum of 14 credits, distributed as follows.

7 required compulsory credits:

  • 2 credits in English
  • 1 credit in Mathematics
  • 1 credit in Science
  • 1 credit in Canadian History or Canadian Geography
  • 1 credit in Health and Physical Education
  • 1 credit in the Arts, Computer Studies, or Technological Education

7 credits selected by the student from available courses:

  • 7 required optional credits
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