The Ontario Ministry of Education has been working for the last few years on a “de-streaming” initiative for its curriculum. From what they’ve announced, their plan is to completely de-stream Grades 9 and 10 in Ontario. So, what does this mean for students and their families? We’ve gathered the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the de-streaming process for you!

1) What is de-streaming?

As of right now, many courses are divided into two streams: academic and applied. For example, there are currently two Grade 9 science courses in the Ontario curriculum that students can choose from. SNC1D, the academic stream, focuses on theoretical aspects of science and prepares students for university level courses in their Grade 11 and 12 years. SNC1P, the applied stream, focuses more on the real-world applications of science and prepares students for college level courses in their Grade 11 and 12 years. The Ontario Ministry of Education’s goal is to create a single course that can cover the foundations of science, whether theoretical or application based, and prevent students from having to choose a stream so early on in their high school career. The de-streaming of Grades 9 and 10 will hopefully alleviate the pressure of choosing a stream in Grade 9 and allow students more time to explore areas of interest before deciding on a post-secondary pathway.

2) Where are we in the de-streaming process?

We started to see de-streaming come into effect in the 2021-22 school year. The Grade 9 mathematics courses, MPM1D and MFM1P, that were previously offered were replaced by a new course: MTH1W. This course represented a brand-new curriculum and encompassed the needs of all students taking a Grade 9 math course.

As we approach the 2022-23 school year, the Ontario Ministry of Education has released a new curriculum for science. This new course, SNC1W, will replace the two science courses previously offered. The Ministry is also moving forward with an announcement that all Grade 9 courses will be de-streamed in 2022-23, regardless of a new curriculum being available or not. For subjects without a new curriculum, this means that only the academic stream courses will be offered to Grade 9 students in September.

3) Which courses will be affected for the 2022-23 school year?

English: ENG1P will no longer be offered. All students will be required to take ENG1D as their English credit in Grade 9. Science: SNC1D and SNC1P will no longer be offered. The Ministry of Education has released a new science course, SNC1W, that replaces both of these options as a Grade 9 science course. Mathematics: The de-streamed MTH1W will still be offered this year. The Grade 10 math courses, MPM2D and MFM2P, will each have their curriculum edited in the fall. This better prepares the courses to suit the needs of students who took MTH1W in the 2021-22 school year. Geography: CGC1P will no longer be offered. All students will be required to take CGC1D to obtain their compulsory geography credit. French: FSF1P will no longer be offered. Instead, students must choose between FSF1D and FSF1O (an open level course) for their compulsory French credit. Virtual High School currently offers the FSF1D course and will be offering the FSF1O course in early 2023.

4) What is the long-term plan for de-streaming?

From what we understand, the Ontario Ministry of Education hopes to release a new curriculum for all previously streamed subjects in Grades 9 and 10. A timeline has not been released yet.

5) How are we changing our courses to meet these new specifications?

At VHS, we are responding to these changes in two ways. First, as new curriculum documents are released, we are actively working to update and build in exciting new opportunities for students in the de-streamed courses. These courses focus on investigations and include many exploration activities. We are excited to introduce this new way of learning math and science to our students. Second, we are working on a number of our Grade 9 academic stream courses to ensure that all students who take the courses in the fall are supported. Since the academic stream courses have traditionally been more theoretical and focused on skills needed for university level courses later on, we are working on both the course content and our teaching strategies to achieve this goal. Steps include rewriting parts of courses to focus on the foundational aspects of the subjects, building in more support material, providing more choices in assessments, and ensuring our teachers and staff have the skills they need to support and encourage all students.