Beginning in September 2013, Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board will implement the mandatory Ministry of Education changes concerning students who wish to take more than 34 credits.
About 10 years ago, the Ministry of Education restructured secondary school from a 5-year program to a 4-year program. The Ministry’s intention is for the vast majority of students to earn their secondary school diploma in four years, whenever possible.
According to the Ministry of Education, the vast majority of students should be able to earn the 30 credits needed to graduate in four years.
- Ministry of Education Frequently Asked Questions: http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/students/faqs.html 
Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board acknowledges there are many legitimate reasons why students return for a fifth year to earn more than 34 credits during regular day school. During the transition to the September 2013 implementation of the 34 credit threshold requirements, individual situations will be assessed on a case-by-case basis at each school.
Students who are exempt from the 34-credit threshold
Students who are exempt from the 34-credit threshold include the following:
- students with Individual Education Plans (IEPs);
- students in English as a Second Language (ESL) and English Literacy Development (ELD) courses; or
- students in Actualisation linguistique en francais and Programme d’appui aux nouveaux arrivants courses.
According to the Ministry of Education, the 34-credit threshold does not apply to students who are not enrolled in day school (that is, students enrolled only in continuing education such as night school courses).
Credits that count toward the 34-credit threshold
According to the Ministry of Education, credits that will count toward the 34-credit threshold include:
- credits earned through day school, night school, summer school or private school;
- credits from other jurisdictions that are recognized for the Ontario Secondary School Diploma, dual credits and eligible music certificates; and
- credits earned by taking a course a second time by students who pass the course then take the same course again to upgrade their marks. In this situation, the credit will count once toward the student’s diploma and as two credits in terms of the 34-credit threshold.
How to prepare students for secondary school and beyond
The following documents are available to assist students and parents/guardians in planning for secondary school and beyond:
- Planning for Grade 9 . . . taking the next step, Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board
- Know your options . . . planning for Grades 11, 12 and beyond, Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board
The transition from elementary to secondary school is a time of change for students and parents/guardians. It is an exciting time and one that will have a lasting impression.
Grade 9 is the foundation year for secondary school. It is when students will experience the most change. It is also one of the most important times for students and parents/guardians to become familiar with secondary school processes, expectations and terminology.
The more you know about the transition process and what you will need to do, the easier and more enjoyable it will be. Understanding the different secondary school pathways and planning for them are a very important part of students being successful in secondary school.
Guidance and Student Success Teams play an essential role in supporting students, looking at pathway requirements and engaging in career planning.
If you have questions about the new 34-credit threshold or any part of your child’s education, contact the school principal, or ask to speak with someone on the Guidance or Student Success Teams.