For the first ten years of your life as a student, the school board (with your parents’ consent) makes most of the decisions about your education. They decide, based on where you live, which school you will attend. They decide, based on your age, which grade level of classes you will be in. They decide that teachers will teach in a way that tries to accommodate the needs of everyone, from those who struggle with learning to those who excel at learning. They decide that everyone’s path leads in the same direction: toward grade eight graduation and the beginning of high school.
Suddenly, all that is about to change.
Now, in January of your grade eight year, you and your parents are suddenly facing some big decisions.
Which secondary school should I attend? JMSS? CKSS? UCC? Other?
Which stream is best for me? Academic? Applied? Essential?
Which optional courses should I choose?
Which school and program will get me to where I want to be in four short years?
For a lot of you, this is the most important decision you have ever made.
At assemblies, we talk about the seven habits of highly successful people. Habit #2 is “begin with the end in mind”. That’s exactly what you need to be doing when you make these choices. You need to think about where you want to be by the end of high school. Do you want to go out and join the working world right away? Would you rather extend your education to qualify for a more skilled job? Do you want to apprentice in a skilled trade? Do you want to continue your education by attending either college or university? Where you want to end up will have a big effect on what you choose now.
You also have to be realistic. How hard are you willing to work? Ability alone may not take you where you want to go. If you aren’t willing to do homework on a daily basis, an academic program may not be the best choice for you. If school has always been a big challenge, you’ll need support from teachers and courses that fit you and your abilities.
Questions? Ask! Ask me. Ask your other teachers. Ask the guidance department at your future high school. We’re all here to help you and your parents make this big decision!