Program Synopsis

Program Synopsis

Our program offers both credit and non-credit opportunities for students from outside Canada who wish to experience life in Ontario and take advantage of our first-class public education system. All courses offered are Ministry of Education approved and recognized around the world in major universities and colleges across many countries.

Credit courses require 5 (110 hours minimum) months of study. Semester 1 begins in September and semester 2 begins in February. Students take 4 subjects in each semester and over the course of 4 or sometimes 5 school years students must earn 30 credits, which include 18 compulsory credits and 12 electives to be eligible to receive an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD).

Avon Maitland offers specialized English Second Language (coded ESL) courses to those international students who require them. Our very successful program begins with our ESL Vital English pre test/course and is followed up by our ESL support teachers who will deliver a test to determine the level of English language training required.  An individualized program will then be developed to best serve the ESL student.

To assist our schools with programming for our international students, our International Student Program department will confer with each school with regard to each student’s timetable and advise staff to the academic and social needs of the new students. The International student department is also available to assist international students throughout the year with any questions or concerns they might have while enrolled in our schools.


Avon Maitland’s 8 high schools offer courses in the following areas of study:

  • English – both English literature and English Second Language courses are available
  • Mathematics
  • Canada and World Studies – including geography and history courses
  • French as a second language, French Immersion for qualifying students
  • Science – general studies in grade 10, and including biology, chemistry, physics and environmental science courses in grades 11 and 12
  • Physical and Health Education
  • Technical Studies – including manufacturing, woodworking, automotive mechanics, welding, cosmetology, culinary arts (foods), design courses
  • Arts – including visual arts, media arts, drama, vocal music, instrumental music
  • Social Sciences – including parenting, anthropology, food and nutrition, sociology
  • Computer Studies – including communications and programming, technical drafting
  • Co-operative Education – students in grades 11 and 12 can opt to work and take this specific course so that they earn credits while obtaining work experience

Levels offered (10th and 11th grade)

Grades 9 and 10 in the Ontario public system are set up as general studies courses. Students make some initial decisions about their planned post-secondary pathways, but courses are set up to allow flexibility in these plans. Courses in English, Math, French, Science and Canada and World Studies are offered at the General Level and at the Academic Level. Courses at the General Level lead to college, workplace and apprenticeship post-secondary pathways. Courses at the Academic Level lead to university and college. All other areas of study are offered at an open level and allow students to pursue whichever area of study they hope to pursue.

Grades 11 (and 12) are more specialized. Students study at the University (coded with a “U”) or the College (coded with a “C”) or the Mixed (includes university and college prerequisite and coded with an “M”) levels. The areas of study are still under the same department headings as listed above, but there is more specialization.


International students attend classes at their local school with all students from their community.

Teachers must attend teachers’ colleges affiliated with Universities and must have a Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) as a minimum in order to teach in our schools.

Our teachers are always learning about new teaching techniques and are kept abreast of the latest research in learning. There is a combination of traditional classroom instruction, computer and independent learning and cooperative learning.

Our Board’s strategic plan (AMDSB PLAN) emphasizes that we are “always learning” and that our mission is to engage, inspire and innovate. We strive to create positive, inclusive learning environments and maximize student outcomes by valuing our students, our staff, our families and our communities. We value the principles of character, equity and sustainability. 

How are Students Evaluated? (written test, teachers concepts….)

There are many methods of evaluation employed by our teachers. Assessment and evaluation are separate concepts in our Board and this allows our teachers to truly maximize each student’s potential. We often assess our students to ascertain where they are in their learning. If prior learning for a new concept has not been attained, it does not make sense to move to a new concept. Then, once concepts have been presented, students are given opportunities to demonstrate their learning. Sometimes this includes a formal pencil and paper test or it may be through presentations or conferencing with the teacher. We encourage the use of computer technology in student learning and there are opportunities for students to submit their assignments and tests on-line where they might also engage in an on-line chat with the teacher who gives the student specific and individual feedback on what has been submitted.


Students take four (4) courses each semester. Our school day commonly begins at 8:50 a.m. and ends at 3:00 p.m. With the exception of one secondary school in our area, Listowel District Secondary School, whose day begins at 8:00 and ends and 2:30 p.m.

Each secondary school has a minimum of 40 minutes set aside for the students’ lunch break.

Extra-curricular activities with team sports and clubs generally begin after school, though some schools do have these meetings during the lunch breaks.

Our Communities

The Avon Maitland District covers the counties of Huron and Perth in Southwestern Ontario. Our district covers over 6,000 square kilometres. Nestled in Canada‘s Great Lakes Basin in Southwestern Ontario, the Avon Maitland District borders Lake Huron in the west and the City of Stratford in the east, just 90 minutes southwest of Toronto. Our 8 High Schools and 31 Elementary Schools are spread across small towns and cities ensuring a safe learning and cultural environment and a true hometown Canada experience. We are just a short drive from major cities such as Toronto, London, Hamilton, Waterloo and Mississauga and surrounded by many world famous attractions like Niagara Falls, Canada‘s Wonderland, the CN Tower, and the beaches of Lake Huron in the west.

Avon Maitland has a total of 40 schools across our district, 31 elementary schools and 8 high schools. The high schools are located in 8 cities, towns and communities. There are high schools in the city of Stratford, the towns of Listowel, Wingham, St. Marys, Exeter, Goderich, Clinton, and Mitchel.

Many of our students will reside in rural areas outside each town or city in Avon Maitland. Those students are bused to and from school each day at no additional cost.

Important Links for Additional Information

This is a link to a page that contains the Program Magazine of courses offered at each of our 8 high schools:

Academic links and school calendars

Avon Maitland Strategic Plan

This is the link to the Board’s complete Strategic Plan and Mission

Strategic Plan

Avon Maitland Schools Canada Celebration of Students

Avon Maitland International Student Testimonials

Learning English in Avon Maitland – An Overview