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  • Shanzey Ali

Planning Your High School Future

Updated: Feb 25, 2019

The start of the second semester at Bishop Reding Secondary School always brings about great feeling - the satisfaction of having completed another semester, as well as the wonder of what waits ahead.


At BR, course selection for the following year begins right in the first month of the second semester. This past week, students of all grades had the opportunity to attend presentations, talk to teachers and senior students, and learn about the different courses offered at the school in preparation for the course selection process. For those who might still be confused about what the process looks like, or just want to make sure they submit their courses correctly, we have compiled all the information you need to know for this year’s course submissions into this article.


Course Selection - What You Need to Know


The process for selecting your courses is quite simple. It is all completed online on myblueprint.ca, where students are able to plan their entire high school academic experience:

Ensure that you are able to log into myBlueprint. For students new to myBlueprint, Bishop Reding’s activation key, bishoppfrss, can be used to create new accounts. If you are unable to log in, or cannot remember your login information, email or call myBlueprint’s help centre.

Click on the “High school Planner” button to access your course planning screen for all of highschool. You should be able to click on “Add Course” to select courses for your grade level.


After submitting your courses on the same page, print the following:

  • The Course Selection Sign Off sheet. This is printed from the myBlueprint website and needs to be filled out completely.

  • The Parent Consent Form. This is printed from the myBlueprint website. This must also be completed and signed in all required areas.

  • The receipt of payment for the $65.00 Activity Fee using School Cash Online (http://hcdsb.schoolcashonline.com). Print your receipt from School Cash Online after payment. Attach the receipt to all of the other printed material (as mentioned above), or write the receipt number in the space provided at the bottom of the Parent Consent Form.

Remember, course selection (both the online submissions and the printouts) are due by the 28th of February! The printouts can be handed in to your first period teacher and the online submissions on myBlueprint close at midnight on the 27th. Submitting your courses late might result in the loss of certain courses, since priority for placing students into courses will be given to those who submit on time.


If you want to be able to see a complete list of all the courses offered at Bishop Reding, visit the Course Catalogue or see myBlueprint’s available courses for details.

Remember, different courses in grades 9 and 10 are offered at either the Academic, Applied, Essential, and/or Open level, while different courses in grades 11 and 12 are offered at the University, College, Mixed, and/or Open level. It is important to choose courses that provide the accurate amount of challenge for you, to ensure that you are always learning at the best of your abilities.


Different course levels also matter because of post-secondary choices - universities usually only accept University or Mixed level courses, while colleges accept Mixed, College, or University levels. It varies from program to program, and thus, it is important to research potential post-secondary choices when choosing future courses in order to ensure that no doors are closed to you. You can use myBlueprint, www.electronicinfo.ca (for universities), and www.ontariocolleges.ca (for colleges) to research post-secondary pathways. Even though the courses that most of these programs require are from grade 12, it is important to plan ahead because most grade 12 courses have prerequisites that must be completed in order to take those courses.


Also look at your diploma requirements when filling in your high school planner to make sure you are meeting all requirements for graduation. This information is available on the high school planner page on myBlueprint, where your planned, required, and completed courses are organized in a way that let you know what you still need to get your diploma.


For students considering taking a course in the summer, ensure you still add the course to your planner and the the course you wish to replace it with as your alternative. Summer school forms will be available later on in the semester (sometime around March or April), which is when you would be able to replace the course that is to be taken in the summer with the course you want to take in school next year. This is done to ensure that students still get the course they asked for, just in case the course doesn’t run in the summer.


There is also an e-Learning opportunity available to students. While there are certain summer school courses that run online, some in-school courses are also available online. This means that one out of eight of your courses can be completed online during the school year. While information about exactly which courses can be completed online is not available on myBlueprint yet, you simply need to select the “e-Learning” course in your high school planner. Then, you should make an appointment with your guidance counsellor to sort out the course details.


Students going into grade 12 can also have spares in their timetable. However, this must be discussed and confirmed with your guidance counsellor first, and only one spare is allowed per year. While students going to grade 11 might wish to take spares as well, it is highly recommended that you take some sort of course and fill up your timetable. You can take a grade 12 course in grade 11 (provided you have all the prerequisites), in order to ensure you get a spare in grade 12.


There are also a variety of courses offered at Bishop Reding that you may not know about. Please look at myBlueprint and the course catalog to research courses.


Some of these include:

  • a Social Justice course in place of grade 12 Religion

  • different types of music classes, and not just the traditional instrumental course (e.g. vocal and guitar)

  • a Sports and Entertainment Marketing course in grade 12

  • history courses in grade 11 and 12, such as American History and World History

  • a World Politics course in grade 12

  • a Current Aboriginal Issues in Canada course for grade 11

  • a Science Fiction Literature course in place of traditional grade 12 English

  • a Spanish course for all grades


Pathways


After all this talk about Pathways and post-secondary choices, it is important to clearly understand the different options available to you for life after high school.


Pathways is a model designed for students to comprehend the different “pathways” they can take after highschool. It involved a student’s understanding of who they are, who they want to become, what opportunities are available to them, and what their plan is for achieving their goals. In short, the four pathways include university, college, workplace, and apprenticeship.


University, college, and workplace are very self-explaining to people. However, most don’t know about apprenticeship, or specifically, the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP). In OYAP, students are able to earn credits towards their diploma while earning completing qualifications for a typical apprenticeship program. An OYAP is usually affiliated with a college, so the student is an apprentice in a specific field while earning college credits as well. It costs very little compared to university and college, and the students earns money during their on-job training aspect as well. Furthermore, a student’s experience with an employer during their OYAP journey is often enough for the student to be hired by the same employer as soon as the OYAP is completed. The student also gets a Red Seal on their diploma, which adds to their resume (and is accepted all across Canada). For more information, visit the myBlueprint, the Bishop Reding website, or www.oyap.com.


As mentioned before, different pathways require different courses from grade 12, so it is important to plan ahead and consider pathways when choosing high school courses.


Special Opportunities


There are also various academic enrichment opportunities available to students in high school. These include the well-known AP and Extended French programs, but there are also SHSM, Co-op, and a Business Certificate option available.


SHSM stands for Specialist High Skills Major, and it allows a student to specialize in a specific field during high school. What this means is that the student is able to become part of a program that allows them access to enrichment opportunities (such as CPR certifications and coding workshops), special field trips, and learning opportunities, which are all specific to the type of SHSM they chose. Each SHSM has a set of required courses that must be taken by the student in order to “specialize” in the chosen field. Different SHSM opportunities at BR include the Business SHSM, Information Technology SHSM, Media and Design SHSM, Transportation SHSM, and Construction SHSM. Many other SHSM options are available at different schools, and students are allowed to attend cross-boundary schools for participating in SHSM.


Cooperative Education, or Co-op, allows students to earn two credits while gaining valuable hands-on experience in the workplace. Students also attend classes that allow them to fine-tune their resumes and soft-skills for the workplace. Co-op can be completed on its own or as part of a SHSM or OYAP (as both require Co-ops).


The Business Certificate is offered to students who complete five business courses in their entire high school career. It is a great addition to anyone’s resume and looks great for post-secondary applications.


For more information, visit myBlueprint or the Enrichment Opportunities tab on the Bishop Reding website.


Choosing Wisely


While it may seem tough to choose courses that may alter your future, it is important to understand that high school is a place to explore all the different options available to you. If you are not sure about potential post-secondary choices, talk to peers, teachers, and guidance counsellors, and also take courses that seem interesting to learn about what’s out there!


For any questions or general inquiries, feel free to leave a comment below and the Royal Register Team will be happy to assist.

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