HeadStart to Gr. 9

Grade 9 is an exciting, yet challenging milestone.  BE PREPARED for those first few weeks/months of Grade 9 at our Catholic Secondary Schools in September. 

Since 2010, St. Louis Adult Learning and Continuing Education Centres  and the Waterloo Catholic District School Board have worked together to create a phenomenal program called HeadStart to Grade 9. HeadStart addresses academic and social anxiety, provides Gr 8 students going into Grade 9 with the tools of academic readiness, study and organizational skills to achieve success and a chance to connect with peers (old and new) in meaningful ways during this transition

HeadStart is a voluntary, in-person, FREE and only available to soon-to-be Grade 9 students enrolled in our Catholic Secondary Schools this coming September.

During the 4 half days of HeadStart, students will engage in small group and large group activities throughout the school, so that students can gradually adjust to the “largeness” of high school.  As students prepare for this significant transition, HeadStart is offered just before the new school year begins.  The program is infused with literacy and numeracy activities and the all-important social adjustment factor, therefore providing students with those preliminary tools to be academically successful at the beginning of the school year.

What They Will  Learn?

How does HeadStart make a difference?
Learn about:
  • What the 2024 -2025 school year will look like for high school students?
  • How technology and in-person learning blends in a high school setting
  • Strategies to manage a semester system
  • Following a timetable, finding classes, and meeting new peers who will join you – ahead of time
  • Navigating other parts of the school and how to access ‘people’ resources
  • Belonging to a new school community before the first day of school
Don’t be nervous.  Bring out your Best!

For over 14 years. students and parents alike have repeatedly shared how this program “transforms” them. Confidence increases, attitude toward school is positive, bonds with new friends are meaningful, and achievement in course work is focused. These 4 half-days program are only a small piece of the whole transition to high school, however this concentrated effort by each Catholic Secondary School is making a difference!

Dates, Times and Locations

HeadStart is a summer program and not mandatory, however participants must register separately for this summer program and the location chosen must match the school they are enrolled in for this September.

Morning or Afternoon Sections 

Dates: August 19 – 22, 2024, Monday to Thursday  ( 4  half days )

Time: MORNING session 8:30am-11:30am

AFTERNOON session 12:00pm-3:00pm

Locations: all five Catholic Secondary Schools with the Waterloo Catholic District School Board.

  • St. Benedict CSS, 50 Saginaw Pkwy., Cambridge
  • St. David CSS, 4 High St., Waterloo
  • St. Mary’s High School, 1500 Block Line Rd., Kitchener
  • Resurrection CSS, 455 University Ave., Kitchener **due to significant facilities updates, this location may not be barrier-free during this summer program**
  • Monsignor Doyle CSS will NOT be available for HeadStart this year, due to significant renovations to facilities, .  St. Vincent de Paul, 30 Faial Rd, Cambridge will host HeadStart programming for students planning to attend Monsignor Doyle CSS in September.

*Program changes may occur due to unforeseen circumstances or programming needs.

Transition to Grade 9 in so MANY WAYS!

Every Waterloo Catholic high school has a team of students and staff that will help before school begins.
  • Read the Entering Secondary School Transition Guide
  • Attend a pre-recorded Grade 8 Information and Pathway Presentation evenings for Parents and Students
  • Ask questions about courses, different levels and different pathways when you meet the school guidance teachers
  • Students may be able to attend virtual class tours in their Family of Schools Secondary School in Spring – ask your day school if this is happening
  • Participate in virtual Transition Meetings arranged by your Elementary School.

HeadStart gives Grade 9 students a bit more support, more time to adjust to the transition, and gain more confidence to cope with the first few weeks of high school … and as a benefit, they will be able to focus more on course learning and achievement and making choices regarding involvement in other school activities.

If the dates of this program conflict with other summer plans, do not worry that your child will ‘miss out’.

All students who are able to attend HeadStart, as well as other student leaders and staff will pay it forward once school begins.