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Grades 9-12

Pickering College’s Senior School program prepares students for university while also encouraging them to make a difference in the world as ethical, compassionate, and values-based decision-makers. Students are provided with numerous opportunities to link their learning and skills across disciplines and apply their knowledge in real-world settings. Pickering College offers a wide array of courses from the Ontario Curriculum, consistently regarded as one of the most rigorous and progressive in the world, which are enriched by STEM and AP course options as well. Using the latest technology, including tablets, PCs, and web-based learning tools, the academic curriculum focuses on excellence and innovation while ensuring students have a solid understanding of key concepts and skills in core subjects.

Students also have countless opportunities to participate in activities to develop leadership skills, a community service ethic, sport and athletic abilities, and their passion for the arts. At PC, we see these experiences as central to the development of the whole child, enhancing their creativity, confidence, and perseverance, as well as the development of their communication, collaboration, and critical thinking skills; all of which supports their academic and personal success.

Through carefully planned curriculum and enriching experiences, students in the Senior School work towards completing a Capstone Project, which includes an academic essay, an action project, and a panel pitch. Students who complete all elements at an exceptional level are awarded distinction.

Community Service

In the Senior School, students continue to use real-world, community-based issues to frame their classroom learning but also engage in authentic local and global projects at each grade level. The Global Leadership Program is specifically designed to further students’ sense of community and service leadership skills, as they participate in projects aimed at identifying, investigating, and advocating for issues of local or global significance. Senior School students are also expected to engage in a sustained, meaningful, and collaborative partnership with a local organization as part of the Global Leadership Program. Throughout their time in Senior School, students are provided with a wide range of service opportunities and support in determining these opportunities.

Senior School GLP At a Glance

Four students hold up cheque
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Grade 9

In Grade 9, the Global Leadership Program focuses on sustainability. Students work in groups to come up with an innovative solution to make Pickering College or the local community more sustainable, based on units in Grade 9 Science, Geography, English, French and options subjects as well as through the GLP off-timetable days.

Four student winners holding a cheque
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Grade 10

In Grade 10, students participate in several excursions and workshops to explore the concepts of culture and social justice. Students work in groups to research a social issue, take action on this issue, and present a philanthropic case for an organization associated with this issue. Core concepts are taught in Grade 10 History, English, Careers and Civics as well as in the GLP off-timetable days.

Student working in booklet
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Grade 11

Grade 11 students focus on the theme of innovation and begin working on their Capstone Action Project, writing their interdisciplinary Capstone essay. Students independently select a significant issue, complete university level interdisciplinary research, and promote an innovative solution to this issue through a 2000-word essay. This essay is completed through the English program and two other disciplines selected by the student, as well as the GLP off-timetable days.

Capstone winner holding a cheque
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Grade 12

Grade 12 students spend their year developing an independent action plan or test project based on the solution they researched in Grade 11. Every project is unique, and students are supported in shaping their solution through university level research workshops, debates, meetings with mentors and industry experts. At the end of the year, the program concludes with the Capstone pitch day where students present their scalable solutions to panels of teachers and professionals. The pitch is developed through the English program, and the action plan is completed through the GLP off-timetable days and the OSSD community service requirements.

The Capstone Project

The Capstone Project challenges students to develop an innovative solution to a global problem and take researched action on it. We want the students to go beyond theory. We want them to feel what it is like to take a model to implementation, to actually create a prototype, to engage an audience, to garner support and to connect to the world around them.

Capstone Project topics range through all disciplines and sectors, from economics to ecology, from social justice to global equity. We have had students coding live apps, consulting with the United Nations, drawing together advocacy campaigns with over 1000 participants, and creating resource-distribution programs that are ready for implementation.

Past Capstone Project Topics:

  • Mining invasive seaweed for chemical components for beauty products
  • Designing an app to provide refugees and newcomers with needed goods and services
  • Creating a volunteer program to support adults with special needs
  • Using absorbent concrete to prevent flooding in basin areas
  • Designing solar panels that can power school laptops
  • Re-purposing disposable inhaler components for medical clinics in rural areas abroad

Programs Unique to Senior School

Ontario Secondary School Diploma

In order to earn an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) a student must:

  • Earn 30 credits
    • Students entering Grade 9 for the 2024-25 school year (19 compulsory and 11 optional credits)
    • Students entering Grades 10-12 for the 2024-25 school year (18 compulsory and 12 optional credits)
  • Complete 40 hours of community involvement activities
  • Successfully complete the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) or (OLC40)

All students must successfully complete the Ministry of Education literacy requirement in order to earn a secondary school diploma. Either successfully passing the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) or the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course (OLC40) will accomplish this.

Compulsory Credits

  • 4 credits in English (one per grade and all acquired at Pickering College)

  • 3 credits in Mathematics (at least one in Grade 11 or 12 and all acquired at Pickering College)

  • 2 credits in Science

  • 1 credit in French as a second language

  • 1 credit in Canadian Geography

  • 1 credit in Canadian History

  • 1 credit in Grade 9 or 10-level Technological Education (starting in September 2024 for students entering Grade 9)

  • 1 credit in the Arts

  • 1 credit in Health and Physical Education

  • 0.5 credit in Civics

  • 0.5 credit in Career Studies

Group 1:

One additional credit in English, or French as a second language, or a Native language, or a classical or an international language, or social sciences and the humanities, or Canadian and world studies, or guidance and career education, or cooperative education.

Group 2:

One additional credit in health and physical education, or the arts, or business studies, or French as a second language, or cooperative education.

Group 3:

One additional credit in science (Grade 11 or 12), or technological education, or French as a second language, or computer studies.

Note: Only two Cooperative Education credits can count as compulsory credits.

Use this plan as a guide to your course selection (based on course offerings at Pickering College):

Academic Offerings

Pickering College offers a broad range of Ontario Ministry of Education programs for students wishing to pursue studies in the humanities, natural sciences, mathematics, computer science, business studies, visual, dramatic, and musical arts, and languages (including English as a second language). The Ontario Curriculum is consistently regarded as one of the most rigorous and progressive in the world, by such organizations as the OECD. Enriched STEM and AP course options are offered as well, for students wishing to further challenge themselves with advanced or university-level courses. Additional information about our programming is available in the Academic Course Calendar.

The Joshua Weinzweig Creative Writing Program

Thanks to the vision and generous support of Daniel Weinzweig, young creative writers at Pickering College have produced a history of successful work. Work from dozens of writers from the Senior School have received awards and praise in regional, provincial and national literary competitions. Our students have published their work in newspapers, magazines and anthologies and won short story, poetry, and essay-writing contests.

The nationally recognized Joshua Weinzweig Creative Writing Program provides young writers with support and wide-ranging opportunities to develop their craft. Their creative and analytical writing skills grow throughout the years through a progressive series of writing workshops that foster resource, program support and effective mentoring.

Recognition for their efforts and quality of work is another key aspect of our program.  Each year, student pieces are published in the Joshua Weinzweig Review of Writing.