HeadStart to Gr. 9 – Registration closes June 16, 2023

Get a HeadStart to Grade 9 is a voluntary, value-added summer support program offered FREE for Grade 8 students entering Grade 9. This program is only available to students enrolled in our Catholic Secondary Schools each September.

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

Get a HEADStart to Grade 9 is a four-day (half day) in person preparatory program, filled with small group and large group activities throughout the school, so 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, providing students with those preliminary tools to be academically successful at the beginning of the school year.

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 that 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.

FOUR Awesome Days ! (MORNING or ONLY AFTERNOON Available)

Get a HEADStart to Grade 9 is a four-day (half day) program and will be filled with small group and some safe large group activities throughout the school, so 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.

Commitment to attend HeadStart ensures optimal learning, the greatest benefit and the least disruption within the limited hours the program is running. If students cannot attend at all for whatever reason, please let us know in advance if you can. All students who are able to attend HeadStart will be encouraged to pay it forward and show their peers who were unable to attend HeadStart, a few tips they learned once school begins.

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 rather than “sweating the small stuff”. 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.

How does HeadStart make a difference?

Learn about:

  • What the 2023 -2024 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!

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. This brief program is only ONE piece of the whole transition to high school, however this concentrated effort by each Catholic Secondary School is making a difference!

 “Thank you to the team who runs HeadStart. My son came out of it with a lot of confidence and excitement for starting his journey at St. David’s.  He even said he’s going to be one of the leaders some day when he’s in Grade 12. Thanks so much for making the beginning of Grade 9 less scary (for me especially!)”

– parent of St. David CSS HeadStart student

Morning or Afternoon Sections 

Reminder: 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 planning to attend in September.

Dates: August 21 – 24, 2023, Monday to Thursday  ( 4  half days )
Time: AFTERNOON session 12:00pm-3:00pm (Morning session 8:30am-11:30am is FULL at all locations)

Locations: Each Catholic Secondary School
Grade: Grade 8 student going into Grade 9 at any WCDSB Catholic Secondary School

Deadline to Register: June 16, 2023

Get a HEADStart to Grade 9 is offered at all five Catholic Secondary Schools with the Waterloo Catholic District School Board.

  • Monsignor Doyle CSS, 165 Meyers Rd., Cambridge
  • Resurrection CSS, 455 University Ave., Kitchener
  • St. Benedict CSS, 50 Saginaw Pkwy., Cambridge
  • St. David CSS, 4 High St., Waterloo
  • St. Mary’s High School, 1500 Block Line Rd., Kitchener  **due to summer maintenance, this location may be subject to change**

ONLINE Registration CLOSES June 16, 2023

Registering for the HeadStart Program is separate from registering for high school.  You must already be registered with a Catholic Secondary School to register for HeadStart.

IMPORTANT: Parent Permission is required for students to participate in this program. Only Parents should register their Grade 8 child for HeadStart. Students should NOT be registering themselves.

This program is voluntary and therefore is not part of the registration process for entering Grade 9 at our WCDSB Catholic Secondary Schools (CSS). Only students registered at a CSS will be accepted into the HeadStart program.  If your child decides to enrol in a different high school or in another system, please notify BOTH the school AND stlouis@wcdsb.ca

If your child has a Plan of Care for critical medical, you will be asked to provide that as a condition of acceptance.

If your child is on an IEP and you believe sharing this information will support your child’s learning during this 4-half day program, you will have an opportunity to share this information confidentially, as part of this program registration process.

Please contact stlouis@wcdsb.ca if you have questions.

Monsignor Doyle CSS
St. Benedict CSS
St. Mary’s High School
Resurrection CSS
St. David CSS