Transitioning to High School/Head Start

exterior of high school

The transition from elementary school to high school is a time of celebration - new challenges and opportunities await for our students. We recognize that students enter Grade 9 with different strengths, interests and goals.

For this reason, students can select a variety of different course levels and programs that provide learning opportunities both in and out of the classroom. These programs will best meet an individual's needs and help students make choices to achieve a destination pathway that complements an individual's talents.

Our yearbook class shares why you will enjoy being a student at St. Mary Catholic Secondary School:

Family of schools

Our school community is made up of students from the following Associate Elementary Schools:

Registration for Grade 8 students currently attending these schools is processed by St. Mary Guidance Counsellors in the elementary school classroom.


Grade 8 to Grade 9 Transitional Supports

All students benefit from transitional supports when moving from elementary to secondary school. To assist with the transition, we created a Grade 8 to 9 Transitions Guide - Moving On to answer any questions you have about high school.

Additional Resources


How to Register for Grade 9 (for students not currently attending Father Fenelon, St. Elizabeth Seton, St. Isaac Jogues, St. Joseph-Uxbridge, St. Monica, or St. Wilfrid)

We welcome students of all faiths at our Durham Catholic secondary schools. 

ALL PROSPECTIVE St. Mary students with a Pickering/Uxbridge home address MUST complete a Pre-Admission Package (excluding students from our Associate Elementary Schools who live within the St. Mary boundary). Print off the package using the attached link, complete and submit to Guidance with ALL required documentation. No appointment is necessary to submit the documents. Please note this package is required prior to scheduling course selection. The registration process is ongoing throughout the year, but for September 2019 enrollment, please submit applications by February 15th, 2019 to allow for spring registration meetings with Guidance Counsellors.  

ANY PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS who are NEW to our Board MUST complete the DCDSB Online Student Application IN ADDITION to the Pre-Admission package. Please submit the Pre-Admission Package as soon as possible once you have submitted the online application. Extended French and French Immersion students should select "ENGLISH" option in the online system; the appropriate French program will be adjusted by Guidance Counsellors during the course selection and registration appointments.

Any student who DOES NOT live at a Pickering/Uxbridge address must contact the Guidance Office for further instruction.

Once the application has been approved by Administration, Guidance will contact you to schedule the course selection appointment.  

Please call Guidance Secretary (x56020) for further details. 


Head Start program

DCDSB/St. Mary offers a summer transition program for students entering Grade 9 called Head Start. This program is offered at St. Mary in late August and gives students an overview of math and literacy, while providing study tips and strategies to achieve success in high school. Students also receive an orientation and tour of the school and start to make new friends.

Who: All Grade 8 students going into Grade 9 at DCDSB Catholic High Schools
Dates: Monday to Thursday, August 19 - 22, 2019
Times: 8:30 am - 1:30 pm
Location: St. Mary Catholic Secondary School
Transportation: Parents/Guardians are responsible for all transportation.

For information on how to register, visit DCDSB Continuing and Adult Education site or speak to your child's Grade 8 Teacher or school Principal.


Reach Ahead program

If you are a Grade 8 student in the Durham Catholic DSB and starting St. Mary in September, Grade 9 credits are available this summer as part of our Reach Ahead Program. 

Courses available:

Who: All Grade 8 students currently attending DCDSB elementary schools going into Grade 9 at DCDSB Catholic Secondary Schools
Dates: July 3 to 26, 2019
Times: 8:30 am - 2:40 pm
Locations: Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School (1375 Harwood Ave., North, Ajax) and Father Leo J. Austin CSS (1020 Dryden Blvd., Whitby)
Transportation: Parents/Guardians are responsible for all transportation.

For information on how to register, visit DCDSB Continuing and Adult Education site, download a registration form, or speak to your child's Grade 8 Teacher or school Principal



Durham Student Transportation Services automatically will capture student information during the St. Mary registration process and route information will be available late August. Parent/Guardians are required to call the 24 hour automated phone line 1-866-908-6578 or 905-666-6979 to obtain the student's bus #, bus time and stop location. Parents will need the student's OEN (found on a report card) in order to activate the system. 

To inquire about home address eligibility at any time, you can contact DSTS and speak to your Pickering coordinator (this includes St. Joseph C.S. in Uxbridge) at 1-800-240-6943. Please note that home address only can be used for transportation purposes. For more information see

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