Advanced knowledge and expertise has become in our era the defining tool of social mobility, wealth accretion, and contribution to the continued development of the human civilization. A secondary school education is instrumental in the process of accumulating this advanced knowledge. Our mission is to make world-class secondary school education available to as many students as possible around the world, no matter the circumstances they find themselves in. We are here to remove barriers and enable students to achieve success in their academic and future professional careers.
Our goal is to enable every student’s success by providing effective, accessible, and recognized learning experiences.
The paramount objective of any educational program is for students to learn. Our goal is to be maximally effective at imparting the relevant knowledge, skills, and capabilities that a student needs in order to be a contributing citizen and enter into institutions of higher learning at the post-secondary level. We are committed to help every student achieve a successful outcome from their secondary school experience.
Because we believe that everyone deserves a quality education regardless of their circumstances, our goal is to be maximally accessible to students in a variety of difficult circumstances. Whether students face scheduling conflicts, are unable to physically attend, need more control over their learning, or are separated by oceans from their desired place of learning, we remove the barriers and give students the opportunity they need to succeed.
We believe that every student should have the opportunity to be recognized for their academic efforts, and encouraged to pursue higher studies in universities and colleges. As such, it is our goal to follow proven curriculum recognized around the world and ranked empirically in independent research studies as “world-class” or “world-leading”, which is accepted by leading post-secondary institutions as being rigorous and suitable as the foundation for further higher learning in their own halls.
3. The School
Software and Hardware Requirements.
In order to use the the online learning management system (LMS), the following minimum requirements must be met. If you have lower specifications, the system may still run but some functions may be lost.
Operating System: Windows 7, 10, Mac OSX Sierra, iPad IOS10
Internet Connection: Broadband speed up at least 256 Kbps
Browser: Mozilla Firefox 50 or later, Internet Explorer 9 or later (Microsoft Edge is not recommended), Google Chrome 50 or better, Safari 10 or later
PC: 2GHz Pentium 4 or faster, 2GB of RAM
In addition, the following applications are needed to use all of the materials on our LMS:
Adobe Flash Player: http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer
Adobe Reader: http://get.adobe.com/reader
Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) or an equivalent (e.g. Open Office, Viewer)
Finally, make sure you have the following settings configured properly:
4. Code of Conduct
It is the duty of the Principal and Vice-Principal, as well as every member of our school community, to enforce and uphold the Code of Conduct which we all abide by.
Academic success for any student is contingent on regular attendance. Students who do not participate in their online course regularly will not be able to obtain all the learning they should from their course. COS operates on a continuous intake model so students are free to start courses at any time and learn at their own pace. However, because prolonged periods of inactivity will diminish the learning experience, we take the following steps to ensure that students are progressing through their courses in a planned and orderly fashion:
- The school retains attendance records by monitoring logins to the system. It is expected that both students and teachers login to their courses regularly, at least once per week for students. There will be no warning for not logging in once per week, but it may impact learning habits evaluations, as all students’ login records are retained.
- A typical course worth 1.0 credit should take approximately 4 months or 110 hours of learning. Students that need more than 4 months must communicate with their teachers and explain their circumstances in order to develop a plan to complete the course within the 12-month deadline for course completion.
- Our course software tracks the spent time spent in our systems. This time must equal 110 hours to fulfill student attendance requirements for a 1.0 credit course, or 55 hours for a 0.5 credit course. Otherwise, the student will not be able to receive the credit. If students do any work offline while not on our system, the may report it through the attendance tracker to count towards the required me.
- If students do not consistently log in to the course, they will not likely succeed. Our school records absences based on the required number of hours. The number of absences shown on the report card will be equal to the number of hours less than the minimum that the student has attended. For example, for a mid-term report card for 1.0 credit course, they must have attended 55 hours (half of 110), and if they attended only 53, then they have 2 absences.
- If a student is unable to login and continue their course for a period of 1 month or more, they must inform their teacher and the school. If the school does not receive any such communication from the student after 1 month of inactivity, we will contact the student to determine their status. If there is no response or the student cannot be reached, the school will then contact the student’s parents or legal guardian after another 2 weeks.
- Students who do not complete their course after 12 months from enrollment will be automatically unenrolled.
Under Ontario law, all students under 18 in must attend school unless they have graduated or have been excused.
4.2 Safe School Environment
Everyone associated with the operation of the school is obligated to provide the best possible service to the school’s clients, which include but are not limited to the students, parents, and any other party with a vested interest in the learning experience of the students. Every person in our school community, which includes all teachers, staff, and clients, must treat every other person in our community with respect and dignity. Teachers will exert authority over students only in respect to their duty as an educator to guide students in their learning. In return, students will acknowledge the authority of teachers and follow instructions related to their coursework. Teachers and students will communicate frequently through electronic means, and it is expected that respectful language is used at all times. No abusive language, bullying, threats, harassment, or any other act which endangers the physical or mental health of any member of our community will be tolerated. Any violation should be reported to the Principal immediately. In the normal course of learning, staff and students may upload files to the learning system. Inappropriate electronic material is not permitted to be uploaded, and the school staff will remove such content. When in doubt as to whether an intended behaviour is inappropriate, members of the school community should consult with the Principal or Vice-Principal.
4.3 Acceptable Use Policy
Everyone who uses or has access to COS’ technology must accept and abide by this policy. The school reserves the right to monitor all material and activity on school systems for appropriate use. Appropriate use means that it is used only for purposes associated with the goals of COS, and only authorized users may use it. Any content or information accessible via COS technology will be treated as school property. Prohibited uses include but are not limited to the following:
- Sharing access or login credentials with unauthorized users
- Transmission of advertising, spam, or other unsolicited communications
- Gaining unauthorized access to resources or systems
- Creating or spreading malware
- Using school resources for personal or commercial purposes
- Any action which violates other parts of the school’s policies on conduct and behavior
- Any action which violates provincial or federal law
Users are responsible for ensuring that their behavior complies with this policy.
While using our technology, users should have no expectation of privacy over any data or information transferred. We reserve the right to remove privileges at any time and determine at our discretion what constitutes acceptable use.
4.4 Academic Integrity
A secondary education experience can only be successful if all participates maintain integrity and honesty. Students will be held accountable for their work’s legitimacy and the school will take measures to verify as such. Academic dishonesty will be subject to disciplinary penalties, including but not limited to receiving a grade of 0, withholding of final exams, required re-submissions with legitimate work, and deactivated accounts. Any deliberate attempt to falsify, fabricate, or tamper with information relevant to the student’s participation in a course, or to present work other than one’s own as one’s own, would be considered academic dishonesty. Offenses which compromise academic integrity include but are not limited to the following:
- Attempts to gain an unfair academic advantage
- Distributing or acquiring answers to assessments such as assignments, quizzes, tests, and exams except when expressly permitted by the teacher
- Copying or allow the copying of answers on assessments when the instructions do not permit working together with other students
- Submitting academic work that was purchased or acquired from a source other than the student’s self.
- Assuming the identity of another or allowing another to do so in order to fulfill any academic requirement.
- Using devices, content, or other aids during an assessment which is not allowed by the instructions.
- Viewing another student’s assessment or allowing another to view an assessment while a student is completing it.
- Hacking school systems for the purpose of cheating or altering records related to academic achievement
In addition, plagiarism is a serious academic offense that students are responsible for learning to recognize and avoid. Students must ensure that they do not present the work of others as their own, whether deliberately or accidentally. Any time the work of others is used as source material, students must include appropriate citations. Negligent plagiarism is when students fail to include citations by carelessness or otherwise allows the work of others to be misconstrued as their own unintentionally. Dishonest plagiarism is when student knowingly fail to include citations or otherwise conspires to mislead others into believing that the work of others is their own. Negligent plagiarism will result in a warning, remedial instructions on appropriate citation methods, and required corrections. Repeated offences of the negligent type will result in grade penalties in the assessment in which the plagiarism is found, and excessive repeatedly offences may result in a grade of 0 for the entire course. Dishonest plagiarism will result in a warning for the first offence, and both teachers and the office of the principal will be notified of the offence, but the student will be allowed to resubmit their own work. The second dishonest offence, in any course the student takes with our school, will result in a grade of 0 once confirmed, and parents will be notified. The third dishonest offence will result in removal from the course without refund and parents will be notified. In addition to frequency, the school will also consider the maturity and grade level of the student in determining penalties. More mature and higher grade level students are more likely to be judged as dishonest plagiarism with heavier penalties. Individual circumstances may also play a role.
5. Academic Programming
Our school follows the Ontario curriculum for course programming. Any person interested in learning more about the relevant policies can go here: Ontario Schools: Policy and Program Requirements, 2011 (OS). All Ontario Curriculum Documents are available to the general public on the Ministry of Education’s website.
5.1 Types of Secondary School Courses
The Ontario secondary school program is based on a credit system. Full credit courses are 110 hours in length. A credit is granted by the Principal on behalf of the Ministry of Education in recognition of the successful completion of the expectations of a 110-hour course that has been developed or approved by the Ministry of Education. This means achieving 50% or more on the final grade for the course. Some courses may be offered as 55-hour half credits or multiple credit courses. For the purpose of granting a credit, scheduled time is defined as the time during which students participate in planned learning activities designed to lead to the achievement of the curriculum expectations of a course. Planned learning activities include interaction between the teacher and the student and assigned individual or group work (other than homework) related to the achievement of the learning expectations in the course. Planned learning activities can be delivered through classroom or e-learning instruction and activities and/or through community placements related to work experience and cooperative education.
The curriculum is organized into several types of courses, intended to enable students to choose courses suited to their strengths, interests, and goals. The following three types of courses are offered in Grades 9 and 10:
- Academic courses develop students’ knowledge and skills through the study of theory and abstract problems. These courses focus on the essential concepts of a subject and explore related concepts as well. They incorporate practical applications as appropriate. The code of an academic course ends with the letter “D”, ie ENG1D
- Applied courses focus on the essential concepts of a subject and develop students’ knowledge and skills through practical applications and concrete examples. Familiar situations are used to illustrate ideas, and students are given more opportunities to experience hands-on applications of the concepts and theories they study. The code of an applied course ends with the letter “P”, ie ENG1P
- Open courses, which comprise a set of expectations that are appropriate for all students, are designed to broaden students’ knowledge and skills in subjects that reflect their interests and prepare them for active and rewarding participation in society. They are not designed with the specific requirements of university, college, or the workplace in mind. The code of an open course ends with the letter “O”, ie BTT2O
The common course code of all courses consists both of a five code character and a course title component, as designated by the Ministry of Education and Training in Ontario.
Students in Grades 9 and 10, along with their parents or guardians will make the choice between academic, applied or open courses primarily on the basis of their strengths, interests, and needs. The Principal, guidance counseling team, and teachers are here to assist the student in making his or her choice of course selection. Students who are successful in any academic or applied course in Grade 9 will have the opportunity to enter either the academic or applied course in the same subject in Grade 10. Grade 10 courses do have prerequisite requirements. Grade 10 academic courses prepare students for Grade 11 University or College preparation courses; Grade 10 applied courses prepare students for Grade 11 College or Workplace preparation courses.
5.1.2 Changing Course Types
A student may change his or her educational goals in secondary school. If the student decides to embark on a new pathway, he or she may find that a prerequisite course that has not been completed, is now required. In most cases, a student may enroll in a different type of course in a given subject in Grade 10 than the type he or she completed in Grade 9, although doing so may require additional preparation, as recommended by the Principal. In Grades 10 to 12, a student may change to a different type of course in a given subject provided that the student has taken any course specified as a prerequisite for that course, unless waived by the Principal.
5.1.3 Grades 11 and 12 Courses
Grade 11 and 12 students will choose from university preparation, university/college preparation, college preparation, and open courses.
- College preparation courses are designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills they need to meet the entrance requirements for most college programs or for admission to specific apprenticeship or other training programs. The code of a college preparation course ends with the letter “C”, ie MBF3C
- University preparation courses are designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills they need to meet the entrance requirements for university programs. The code of a university preparation course ends with the letter “U”, ie SCH3U
- University / college preparation courses are designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills they need to meet the entrance requirements for specific programs offered at universities and colleges. The code of an university / college preparation course ends with the letter “M”, ie MCF3M
- Open courses, which comprise a set of expectations that are appropriate for all students, are designed to broaden students’ knowledge and skills in subjects that reflect their interests and prepare them for active and rewarding participation in society. They are not designed with the specific requirements of university, college, or the workplace in mind .The code of an open course ends with the letter “O”, ie EMS3O
5.1.4 Prerequisite Courses
Courses in Grades 10, 11, and 12 often require the student to have completed a prerequisite course. All prerequisite courses are identified in curriculum policy documents published by the Ministry of Education, and no course apart from these may be identified as prerequisites. Any school operating in Ontario must provide parents and students with clear and accurate information about prerequisites. If a parent or an adult student (a student who is eighteen years of age or older) requests that a prerequisite be waived, the Principal will determine whether or not the prerequisite should be waived. The Principal may also initiate consideration of whether a prerequisite should be waived. The Principal will make his or her decision in consultation with the student, the appropriate staff and the parent or guardian.
5.2 Course Codes
Course codes are a unique identifier for courses taken. These codes are designated by the Ministry of Education and consist of a 5-character sequence: a 3-character subject identifier, a 1-digit number for the level ranging from 1 to 4 (representing grades 9 to 12) , and a 1-character course type identifer.
For example, Principles of Mathematics might be MPM1D. The “MPM” is the shortcode for the subject matter, “1” refers to grade 9, and “D” refers to Academic (explained above).
6. Student Achievement
The COS assessment and evaluation policy is based on the Ontario Ministry of Education’s policy guidelines outlined in the document “Growing Success: Assessment, Evaluation, and Reporting in Ontario Schools“. This policy follows seven fundamental principles to procedures and practices that:
- are fair, transparent, and equitable for all students;
- support all students, including those with special education needs, those who are learning the language of instruction (English or French), and those who are First Nation, Métis, or Inuit;
- are carefully planned to relate to the curriculum expectations and learning goals and, as much as possible, to the interests, learning styles and preferences, needs, and experiences of all students;
- are communicated clearly to students and parents at the beginning of the school year or course and at other appropriate points throughout the school year or course;
- are ongoing, varied in nature, and administered over a period of time to provide multiple opportunities for students to demonstrate the full range of their learning;
- provide ongoing descriptive feedback that is clear, specific, meaningful, and timely to support improved learning and achievement;
- develop students’ self-assessment skills to enable them to assess their own learning, set specific goals, and plan next steps for their learning.
6.1 The Achievement Chart
The achievement chart is a provincial framework of performance standards for evaluating student achievement. The chart for each discipline/subject can be found in the curriculum policy document referenced above. These charts identify four categories of knowledge and skill which are common to all disciplines:
- Knowledge and Understanding: Subject-specific content acquired in each grade/course (knowledge), and the comprehension of its meaning and significance (understanding)
- Thinking: The use of critical and creative thinking skills and/or processes
- Communication: The conveying of meaning through various forms
- Application: The use of knowledge and skills to make connections within and between various contexts
The chart also identifies 4 achievement levels:
- Level 1 (50% – 59%) represents achievement that falls much below the provincial standard. The student demonstrates the specified knowledge and skills with limited effectiveness. Students must work at significantly improving learning in specific areas, as necessary, if they are to be successful in the next grade/course
- Level 2 (60% – 69%) represents achievement that approaches the provincial standard. The student demonstrates the specified knowledge and skills with some effectiveness. Students performing at this level need to work on identified learning gaps to ensure future success.
- Level 3 (70% – 79%) represents the provincial standard for achievement. The student demonstrates the specified knowledge and skills with considerable effectiveness. Parents of students achieving at level 3 can be confident that their children will be prepared for work in subsequent grades/courses.
- Level 4 (80% – 100%) identifies achievement that surpasses the provincial standard. The student demonstrates the specified knowledge and skills with a high degree of effectiveness. However, achievement at level 4 does not mean that the student has achieved expectations beyond those specified for the grade/course.
Student achievement will be graded according to the achievement charts and assigned a percentage value as follows:
A grade below 50% indicates that achievement does not meet curriculum expectations and the student requires special strategies to address their learning needs. If a student ends a course below 50%, they will not receive a credit for that course.
6.2 Reporting Achievement
Student achievement will be communicated to students and parents through a report card. The report card will report the achievement of curriculum expectations and the development of learning skills. It includes the percentage grade assigned and additional ratings on learnings skills and habits. The report card also includes teachers’ comments on students’ performance for further clarity. A final report card is issued after 100% completion of a course including the final summative assessment. A mid-term report card is issued when a student passes the halfway mark in a course. This threshold varies from course to course at the discretion of the teacher, and will always include more than 55 hours in a 1.0 credit course, but may include assessments from beyond the 55 hour threshold. However, attendance reported will still be based on the minimum 55 hours. Canada Online School uses a report that reflects most of the same information as the Provincial Report Card, adjusted for the online environment.
6.2.1 Reporting on Curriculum Expectations
A percentage grade is assigned to every course, representing the student’s overall achievement in accordance with the achievement chart. The final grade for each course between for grade 9 to 12 is determined by a combination of evaluations conducted throughout the course and a final evaluation at the end of the course. Evaluations conducted throughout the course such as tests and assignments weigh 70%, while a final evaluation such as an exam is weighted 30%. Evaluation is “assessment of learning” and does not include “assessment for learning” and “assessment as learning” that teachers also incorporate in their courses. Assessment for and as learning have no weighting in the final grades assigned.
Evaluation is based on the student’s overall achievement. Teachers use their professional judgement to determine which specific expectations should be used to evaluate overall achievement of curriculum expectations. Evaluation is the sole responsibility of the teacher and does not include peer judgment.
6.2.2 Reporting on Learning skills and work habits
The report card records 6 identified learning skills and work habits: (1) Responsibility, (2) Organization, (3) Independent Work, (4) Collaboration, (5) Initiative, (6) Self-regulation. The learning skills and work habits have 4 possible ratings: E – Excellent, G – Good, S – Satisfactory, N – Needs Improvement.
6.3 Methods of Evaluation
Teachers will collect evidence from observations and all student product submitted or not submitted along with their professional judgment to determine grades. Some evidence may be weighted more heavily than others. Teachers look for consistent evidence and give special consideration to more recent evidence to determine final grades.
6.3.1 Final Evaluations
All courses have a final exam, final project, or a combination of both, depending on the nature of the course. The format of the evaluation must be the same for every student in the same course unless there is a demonstrated and documented need for accommodation. The curriculum expectations being evaluated must also be the same, but questions may differ slightly between students. A course with a final exam must be proctored by an impartial individual who maintains the integrity of the exam, or use the online exam proctoring service approved by COS. The supervising proctor must be arranged by the student but approved by the school first before an exam date can be scheduled. Students who have completed their coursework must request an examination.
All coursework must be completed. Coursework may include tests, assignments, labs, discussions, projects, etc. It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that all coursework is completed before attempting final evaluations. Any graded coursework not submitted will be assigned a grade of 0. If a student has significant incomplete coursework, they may be barred from taking or submitting final evaluations, at the judgment of the teacher in consultation with the Principal’s office. There are no late assignments because students are free to do their coursework at any time during their period of enrollment. However, unexplained periods of prolonged inactivity and badly timed progress (ie, cramming at the last month or week) through a course may result in lower ratings for learning skills and work habits. Students are expected to complete coursework in a planned, regular, and systematic manner, which continuously reinforces their learning throughout the course. All courses are provided with timelines for course completion, which are guidelines for the student to follow.
7. Ontario Secondary School Diploma Requirements
Requirements for the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD)
The requirements for earning an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) are as follows:
- students must earn a minimum of 30 credits, including 18 compulsory credits and 12 optional credits
- students must complete 40 hours of community involvement activities
- students must meet the provincial secondary school literacy requirement
If students are taking only a small number of courses from COS and attend another Ontario public or private school, they must complete the 40 hours community involvement and literary requirement at the other school which they are registered. Only students who are the sole responsibility of COS will complete the community involvement and literary requirement at COS.
7.1 Academic Credits
The 18 compulsory credits are:
4 credits in English (1 credit per grade)
- The Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course (OSSLC) may be used to meet either the Grade 11 or the Grade 12 English compulsory credit requirement.
- The Grade 11 Contemporary Aboriginal Voices course may be used to meet the Grade 11 English compulsory credit requirement.
- For English language learners the requirement may be met through earning a maximum of 3 credits in English as a second language (ESL) or English literacy development (ELD); the fourth credit must be a Grade 12 compulsory English course.
3 credits in Mathematics (at least 1 credit in Grade 11 or 12)
2 credits in Science
1 credit in the Arts
1 credit in Canadian geography (Grade 9)
1 credit in Canadian history (Grade 10)
1 credit in French as a second language
- Students who have taken Native languages in place of French as a second language in elementary school may use a Level 1 or 2 Native language course to meet the compulsory credit requirement for French as a second language.
1 credit in Health and Physical education
0.5 credit in Career Studies
0.5 credit in Civics
Plus one credit from each of the following groups:
Group 1: English (including the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course), French as a second language, classical languages, international languages, Native languages, Canadian and world studies, Native studies, social sciences and humanities, guidance and career education, cooperative education
Group 2: French as a second language, the arts, business studies, health and physical education, cooperative education
Group 3: French as a second language, science (Grade 11 or 12), computer studies, technological education, and cooperative education
Note: The following conditions apply to selections from the above three groups:
- A maximum of 2 credits in French as a second language may count as additional compulsory credits, 1 credit from Group 1, and 1 credit from either Group 2 or Group 3.
- A maximum of 2 credits in cooperative education may count as additional compulsory credits, selected from any one of the groups 1, 2 and 3.
7.2 Community Involvement Requirements and Procedures
Students must complete a minimum of 40 hours of community involvement activities as part of the diploma requirements. The purpose of this requirement is to encourage students to develop an awareness and understanding of civic responsibility and of the role they can play and the contributions they can make in supporting and strengthening their communities.
Although this diploma requirement applies to students in Grades 9 to 12, students in Grade 8 will now be able to start accumulating community involvement hours in the summer before they enter Grade 9. For mature students, principals will determine the number of hours of community involvement activities required.
Community involvement activities must take place outside scheduled class time and must be performed without pay. Students are encouraged to choose activities inside and outside of the school community to benefit from a broad range of experiences. Eligible activities provide services to improve the community of well-being of its members.
Eligible Activities include:
– assist with school events, assist School Councils, activities for children
– organization and leadership of school activities that benefit the community
– volunteering in a zoo, animal shelter, or on a farm
– volunteering in galleries, libraries, community productions
– assisting charitable organizations with special events, programs, clerical tasks
– assisting with child/youth programs, volunteering in a not-for-profit child care centre or camp
-assisting community organizations with special events, food banks, community support services, shelters, clerical tasks
– assisting community members in need
– flower/tree planting, beautification projects, recycling projects, recycling depot
– volunteering in hospitals, hospices, Canadian Blood Services (volunteering to organize or assist with a blood donor clinic), donating blood (time required to donate)
– volunteering for activities sponsored by the police
– assisting with programs, special events
– assisting in seniors’ residences, providing services for seniors in the community
– assisting sports organizations with coaching, organizing special events, assisting with projects/events
– those activities that expand community service to others beyond the school day (holiday dinner participation, environmental action activities, etc.).
– where a blood donor clinic takes place during the school day, hours will only be provided to students volunteering during their lunch, spare periods or before and after school.
The ministry has developed a list of activities that may not be chosen as community involvement activities. These are referred to as ineligible activities. An ineligible activity is an activity that meets one of the following descriptions:
-is a requirement of a class or course in which the student is enrolled (e.g., cooperative education portion of a course, job shadowing, work experience);
-takes place during the time allotted for the instructional program on a school day. However, an activity that takes place during the student’s lunch -breaks or “spare” periods is permissible;
-takes place in a logging or mining environment, if the student is under sixteen years of age;
-takes place in a factory, if the student is under fifteen years of age;
-takes place in a workplace other than a factory, if the student is under fourteen years of age and is not accompanied by an adult;
-would normally be performed for wages by a person in the workplace;
-involves the operation of a vehicle, power tools, or scaffolding;
-involves the administration of any type or form of medication or medical procedure to other persons;
-involves handling of substances classed as “designated substances” under the Occupational Health and Safety Act;
-requires the knowledge of a tradesperson whose trade is regulated by the provincial government;
-involves banking or the handling of securities, or the handling of jewellery, works of art, antiques, or other valuables;
-consists of duties normally performed in the home (i.e., daily chores) or personal recreational activities;
-involves activities for a court-ordered program (e.g., community-service program for young offenders, probationary program).
The requirement is to be completed outside students’ normal instructional hours – that is, the activities are to take place in students’ designated lunch hours, after school, on weekends, or during school holidays. Any activities not on the approved list must first receive the school’s written approval.
Before beginning any activity, students will provide the principal or other school contact with a completed “Notification of Planned Community Involvement Activities” form indicating the activity or activities that they plan to do. This form must be signed by the student, and by his or her parent if the student is under eighteen years of age. More than one such form may be submitted when additional activities are planned that were not included on a previously submitted form.
A “Completion of Community Involvement Activities” form must be completed by the student, the student’s parent (if the student is under eighteen years of age), and the community sponsor (that is, the person or organization that provided the community involvement opportunity for the student). The student must submit the form to the principal or other school contact upon completion of the 40 hours or at appropriate intervals determined by the principal.
These forms and documentation instructions will be provided by the school upon request (only for students who are the sole responsibility of COS).
7.3 Notification of the Provincial Secondary School Literacy Test
All students are required to meet the secondary school literacy graduation requirement in order to earn an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD). The requirement is based on the expectations for reading and writing throughout the Ontario curriculum up to and including Grade 9.
The purpose of the secondary school literacy graduation requirement is to determine whether students have the skills in reading and writing that they will need to succeed in school, at work, and in daily life.
To meet this requirement, students are expected to take and successfully complete the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) in Grade 10. Once students have successfully completed the OSSLT, they may not retake it. The test thus identifies students who have demonstrated the required skills in literacy as well as those who have not demonstrated the required skills and will need to do further work. The test identifies the specific areas in which these latter students need remediation. The test is scheduled by and administered through the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) once each year, usually in the spring. Students will usually take the OSSLT in the school year during the school year in which they enter grade 10.
COS does not currently offer the OSSLT. To complete this requirement, students can take the OSSLT by registering at another school that offers the OSSLT.
Students who do not successfully complete the OSSLT will have opportunities to retake the test in subsequent years, on dates scheduled by the EQAO.
Students who do not successfully complete the OSSLT after two attempts will have additional opportunities to meet the literacy graduation requirement in accordance with the policies pertaining to the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test, the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course (OSSLC).
Policy requirements for taking the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course (OSSLC) are contained in the curriculum policy document The Ontario Curriculum: English – The Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course (OSSLC), Grade 12. Students who pass the course are considered to have met the literacy graduation requirement. The reading and writing competencies required by the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) form the instructional and assessment core of the course. The course differs from other courses in that it outlines specific requirements for evaluation in order to ensure alignment with the requirements of the OSSLT. If a student has had two opportunities to take the OSSLT and has failed it at least once, the student is eligible to enrol in the OSSLC. Principals have the discretion to allow a student to enrol in the OSSLC before he or she has had a second opportunity to take the OSSLT, if the principal determines that it is in the best educational interest of the student.
Mature students have the option to enrol directly in the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course without first attempting the OSSLT. They may still elect to meet the literacy graduation requirement by successfully completing the OSSLT.
For students with special education needs, accommodations specified in the student’s IEP must be available to the student throughout the course. However, because achievement of the expectations in this course represents fulfilment of the literacy requirement for graduation, no modifications of the expectations are permitted.
Students who were receiving special education programs and/or services and had an IEP documenting accommodations required during the taking of the OSSLT may be eligible to enrol directly in the OSSLC if the required accommodations were not available on the day the OSSLT was administered. In such cases, the student must have been present to take the test but the required accommodations, or a reasonable alternative to them, were unavailable to the student during the whole test or part of the test.
To be eligible for an exemption, a student must have an IEP. The IEP must include documentation to support an exemption from the literacy graduation requirement and a clear indication that the student is not working towards an OSSD. Both parental consent and the approval of the principal are required for an exemption.
7.4 Policies on Substitutions for the Compulsory Courses
In order to provide the flexibility to tailor an individual student’s program to the student’s needs and to support his or her progress through secondary school, principals may substitute up to three compulsory credits with courses from other subject areas specified in the list of compulsory credit requirements.
Substitutions should be made to promote and enhance student learning or to respond to special needs and interests. Two half-credit courses may be used through substitution to meet one compulsory credit requirement (counted as one substitution); one full-credit course may be used through substitution to meet the two compulsory half-credit requirements of civics and career studies (also counted as one substitution).
The decision to substitute one course for another for a student should be made only if the student’s educational interests are best served by such a substitution. If a parent or an adult student (a student who is eighteen years of age or older) requests a substitution, the principal will determine whether the substitution should be made. A principal may also initiate consideration of whether a substitution should be made. The principal will make his or her decision in consultation with the parent or the adult student and appropriate school staff. In all cases where the parent or the adult student disagrees with the decision of the principal, the parent or the adult student may ask the principal to review the matter. The following are limitations on substitutions for compulsory credits:
✦ English as a second language and English literacy development courses may not be used to substitute for a compulsory credit. (They may be used, however, to meet the compulsory credit requirements for three English credits in accordance with section 6.1.1.)
✦ No more than one learning strategies course, from the guidance and career education curriculum policy document, may be used through substitution to meet a compulsory credit requirement.
✦ Credits earned for cooperative education courses may not be used through substitution to meet compulsory credit requirements.
✦ A locally developed compulsory credit (LDCC) course may not be used as a substitute for a compulsory credit; it may be used only to meet the compulsory credit requirement that it has been designed to meet.
Each substitution will be noted on the student’s Ontario Student Transcript.
7.5 Ontario Secondary School Certificate
The Ontario School Certificate (OSSC) will be granted, on request, to students who are leaving secondary school upon reaching the age of eighteen without having met the requirements for the Ontario Secondary Diploma. To be granted an OSSC, a student must have earned a minimum of 14 credits, distributed as follows:
7 required compulsory credits
- 2 credits in English
- 1 credit in Mathematics
- 1 credit in Science
- 1 credit in Canadian history or Canadian Geography
- I credit in health and physical education
- 1 credit in the arts, computer studies, or technological education
7 required optional credits
- 7 credits selected by the student from available courses
7.6 Certificate of Accomplishment
Students who are leaving secondary school upon reaching the age of eighteen without having met the requirements of the Ontario Secondary Diploma or the Ontario Secondary School Certificate may be granted the Certificate of Accomplishment. The Certificate of Accomplishment may be a useful means of recognizing achievement for students who plan to take certain kinds of further training or who plan to find employment directly after leaving school. Students who return to school could be granted The Ontario Secondary Diploma or the Certificate of Accomplishment once the appropriate requirement have been fulfilled.
7.7 Cooperative Education and Job Shadowing
It is possible to earn credits by completing a work placement in the community. These programs can complement students’ academic programs. A cooperative education credit course is accompanied by a related course on which the co-op credit course is based. The related course must be from an Ontario curriculum policy document or any ministry-approved locally developed course.
In their cooperative education program, students may earn between one and two cooperative education credits for each related course (the related course can be full or half credit). If the related course is a multiple-credit, a student may earn up to two co-op credits for each related course credit.
A cooperative education course includes pre-placement classroom sessions and classroom integration sessions in additional to the workplace component. The pre-placement sessions prepare students for the workplace with instruction on key knowledge required such as health and safety. The classroom integration sessions help students consolidate learning by reflecting on their workplace experience. Students in co-op programs must have a personalized placement learning plan (PPLP) developed with their teacher. The workplace supervisor and teacher will have regular meetings and reviews with the student to determine whether goals identified in the PPLP are being meant.
COS does not offer a co-op program at this time.
7.8 Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR)
Prior learning includes the knowledge and skills that students have acquired, in both formal and informal ways, outside secondary school. Where such learning has occurred outside Ontario classrooms, students enrolled in Ontario secondary schools and inspected private schools may have their skills and knowledge evaluated against the expectations outlined in provincial curriculum policy documents in order to earn credits towards the secondary school diploma. This formal evaluation and accreditation process is known as Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR). PLAR procedures are carried out under the direction of the school Principal, who grants credits.
The PLAR process developed in compliance with ministry policy involves two components: challenge and equivalency. The challenge process is the process whereby students’ prior learning is assessed for the purpose of granting credit for a course developed from a provincial curriculum policy document. The equivalency process involves the assessment of credentials from other jurisdictions.
COS offers the PLAR process equivalency component. To learn about the procedures and get the forms required, contact us.
7.8.1 Students under 18
Because young people benefit in many ways from the learning experiences offered in secondary school, PLAR has a specific, limited function in the Ontario secondary school program. For regular day school students, a maximum of 4 credits may be granted through the challenge process for Grade 10, 11, and 12 courses; or for Levels 1, 2, and 3 in classical languages courses; for Levels 2, 3, and 4 in international languages courses; and for Levels 3, 4, and 5 in Native languages courses. No more than 2 of these credits may be granted in one discipline.
For students who are transferring from home schooling, a non-inspected private school, or a school outside Ontario, principals will grant equivalency credits for placement purposes based on their evaluation of the student’s previous learning.
PPM No. 129 outlines in detail the PLAR policy and requirements that apply to regular day school students.
7.8.2 Mature students
A mature student is a student who is at least eighteen years of age on or before December 31 of the school year in which he or she registers in an Ontario secondary school program; who was not enrolled as a regular day school student for a period of at least one school year immediately preceding his or her registration in a secondary school program (for mature students, a school year is a period of no less than ten consecutive months immediately preceding the student’s return to school); and who is enrolled in a secondary program for the purpose of obtaining an OSSD.
Because of the broader life experience of mature students, the requirements concerning the application of PLAR procedures are different for them than for regular day school students. Principals will determine the number of credits, including compulsory credits, that a mature student needs in order to meet the credit requirements for the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD). At the discretion of the principal, up to 16 Grade 9 and 10 equivalency credits may be granted to a mature student following an individual assessment.
Mature students may earn 10 of the 14 remaining Grade 11 and 12 credits needed to meet diploma requirements in three ways:
- they may demonstrate achievement of the required secondary school curriculum expectations and receive credit through the challenge process;
- they may present education and/or training credentials for assessment through the equivalency process; or
- they may take the course.
It should be noted that Levels 2 and 3 in classical languages are equivalent to Grades 11 and 12, respectively; that Levels 3 and 4 in international languages are equivalent to Grades 11 and 12, respectively; and that Levels 4 and 5 in Native languages are equivalent to Grades 11 and 12, respectively.
Mature students must earn a minimum of 4 Grade 11 and 12 credits by taking the course at a secondary school (or through any of the options outlined in section 10). Mature students who have previously accumulated 26 or more credits towards the diploma must successfully complete the required number of courses to bring their total number of credits up to 30 before they will be eligible to receive the OSSD. Mature students working towards the OSSD under OS/OSS must also satisfy the diploma requirements with regard to the provincial secondary school literacy requirement. Principals will determine the number of hours of community involvement activities that a mature student will have to complete.
PPM No. 132 outlines in detail the PLAR policy and requirements that apply to mature students.
7.9 Other Credit Opportunities
Besides day school and co-op programs, there are additional ways to earn credits towards the OSSD such as e-learning, the Independent Learning Centre, and continuing education courses. These alternative credit opportunities allow students who are not well served by regular day schools to earn credits. As an online school, COS is one such alternative.
8. Academic Records
As the student learns at COS, they will receive reports of their achievement. The content of the reports will consist of the items outlined in the previous Course Calendar section titled “6. Student Achievement”. These are generally organized into report cards and a transcript if applicable. For every course undertaken at COS, a student will be issued a mid-term and final report card. A student who is the sole responsibility of COS will also have an Ontario Student Record (OSR) maintained at COS (ie, not attending another Ontario private school and taking more courses there compared to COS, and not attending a public school). A student with his/her OSR maintained at COS may also request to be issued an Ontario Student Transcript (OST), which is a summary of credits earned. The OST is also issued without request once upon graduating with the OSSD.
8.1 Ontario Student Record
The Ontario Student Record (OSR) is the record of a student’s educational progress through schools in Ontario. Principals are required to collect information for inclusion in the OSR for each student enrolled in the school and to establish, maintain, retain, transfer, and dispose of the OSR. The OSR is an ongoing record and will be transferred if the student transfers to another school in Ontario. However, the OSR is maintained only by the school at which a student is taking the most courses.
When a student applies to COS, they must provide COS with information such that a determination can be made as to whether they require an OSR. Instructions are given in the application form. If a student requires an OSR, then COS will establish an electronic OSR folder for the student, and later establish a physical copy when specifically required.
Parents/guardians and students are entitled to access the OSR file on request.
In the OSR goes:
- Form 1A
- Provincial Report Card (if the OSR is not held at COS, these will be sent to the student’s school that holds the OSR)
- Ontario School Transcript (OST)
- Documentation Files for such things as IPRC, IEP, psychological assessments, Violent Incident Form, etc.
- Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) Challenge for Credit: Cumulative Tracking Record
- Annual Community Involvement Report
- Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test results
Personal information in the OSR is maintained for at least one year after use. Report cards and documentation files are maintained for five years after use. The OSR folder containing the OST and the Office Index Card will be maintained for fifty-five years after a student retires.
8.2 Ontario Student Transcript
The Ontario Student Transcript (OST) is a comprehensive record of all course work and diploma requirements achieved by a student. An OST must be established for each student enrolled in an Ontario secondary school course, whether or not he or she is taking the course for credit. All information recorded on the transcript must be kept up to date, either in print or electronic form, and must be copied onto an official OST form when a printed copy is required. Upon the student’s graduation or retirement, a current and accurate copy of the student’s OST must be stored in the OSR folder.
All course attempts, including complete, failed, repeated, or withdrawn courses are recorded on the OST. Procedures on attempts for withdrawn courses are given below, and vary by course grade.
8.3 Course Withdrawal
A student has 12 months to complete a course upon enrollment (not including additional time which may be required to schedule a real-time final summative assessment. A real-time final summative refers to an exam or another form of proctored assessment, as opposed to a final project or assignment whose deadline will always also be the end of 12 months since enrollment). Not completing the course at the end of 12 months is an automatic withdrawal unless an extension is approved.
- After the first report card is issued for a course, the student will have 5 days to request withdrawal on grade 11 and 12 courses, in which the withdrawal will not be recorded. A withdrawal from a Grade 11 or 12 course after 5 days of the issuing of the first report card results in a “W” being entered in the “Credit” column of the OST along with the mark at the time of the withdrawal.
- If a student does not complete enough of the course content at the end of 12 months (or at the end of an extension) to be issued a report card and results in automatic withdrawal, it will not be recorded on the OST.
- Withdrawals at any time from Grade 9 or 10 courses are not recorded on the OST. Only successfully completions and granted credits are recorded. Withdrawals from PLAR challenge process are also not recorded.
- If there are extraordinary circumstances relating to a student’s withdrawal from a course, an “S” may be entered in the “Note” column on the OST.
8.4 Repetition of a Course
- Only one credit is earned if course is repeated.
- In Grade 11 and 12, an “R” appears on the student’s OST for the course with the lower mark.
8.5 Equivalent Credits
Out of province students or transfers from non-inspected private schools may be granted equivalent credits upon the Principal’s evaluation of the student’s previous learning. These are noted on the OST.
- “Equivalent Credits” are entered in the “Course Title” column.
- “PLE” entered in the “Course Code” column.
- “EQV” in the “Percentage Grade” column.
- the total number of credits entered into the “Credit” column.
- and the number of compulsory credits entered into the “Compulsory” column.
9. Special Program Planning Considerations
COS develops its programs with consideration for Ontario Ministry of Education policies and initiatives. Many areas of special consideration are embedded naturally within course content. These include but are not limited to the following:
- Students with special education needs: Our courses and teachers will strive to equitably accommodate exceptional students with support they may need as per their Individual Education Plan (IEP). The accommodation may take the form of altered assignments, differently formatted tests/exams, the use of special technological tools, etc. Special education accommodations are only implemented to provide fair treatment to students who have a demonstrated and documented need.
- English language learners: COS has strategies in place to support students who are learning English as a second language. Teachers are made aware which students are in or were in ESL programs and will make appropriate accommodations or provide resources to help them gain more proficiency.
- Environmental protection: Whenever possible, issues in environmental protection are highlighted, provided as extra interest topics, or used as examples during courses.
- Healthy Relationships: Every student is entitled to a safe environment based on mutual respect. Our courses use online discussions, case studies, role play, etc, to encourage cooperation and constructive comments. Students also learn about building healthy relationships through course content that highlights inclusive values.
- Equity and inclusive education: Diversity is valued at COS and we encourage students to share their unique life experiences and perspective while respecting others’ different values or viewpoints. Learning activities and the curriculum reflect the multicultural nature of Canada and the importance of equitable and inclusive treatment of all others.
- Financial literacy: Students must learn to make informed financial decisions and understand economic forces to be effective members of society. COS and the Ministry are working to embed financial literacy skills and knowledge in courses as appropriate.
- Critical thinking, literacy, numeracy and inquiry: Literacy is more than reading and writing. Its definition is constantly evolving and by today’s standard increasingly needs more sophisticated skills. It is the entire set of skills that allow a person to critically comprehend, analyze, generate and process information in all its forms, and then communicate it meaningfully to others. Every subject is responsible for enhancing students’ literacy, including mathematical literacy (numeracy). Students learn to inquiry deeply and think critically at all times, use relevant terminology, and conduct their own research. They will form opinions backed by logical evidence, detect bias, uncover implied meanings, and take big picture perspectives. With numeracy, students learn to not only perform mathematical operations but also understand their significance, application, and hidden biases.
- School library: A library provides access to resources and also allows students to develop skills in research. COS does not have a library in the conventional sense but we do provide information to students on how to access information they need, find useful texts or other media, and use electronic tools of research. In general, this information is made publicly available through our website.
- Information and communications technology (ICT): By use the COS online learning platform, students will naturally develop transferable skills relating to ICT. Students will learn to use various electronic tools to communicate, cooperate, and conduct research. Students will also be made aware of pitfalls and potential abuse in using the Internet or other electronic tools.
- Education and career/life planning: As students progress through their courses, they will be provided opportunities to learn about future opportunities and how to make career choices. The Ontario career planning program is described in Creating Pathways to Success: An Education and Career/Life Planning Program for Ontario Schools, Policy and Program Requirements, Kindergarten to Grade 12, 2013, which can be accessed here: http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/document/policy/cps/. Teachers are available to guide students through their planning and COS provides resources for students to research these opportunities on their own, and career related information is provided in course content where applicable. Additionally, the government of Canada provides extension resources for career planning online at https://www.jobbank.gc.ca/career-planning and students can get started by taking the career quiz.
- Cooperative education and experiential learning: COS does not have a co-op program but we recognize the value of experiential learning and will direct students to information regarding Ministry programs and opportunities when needed.
- Ethics: As part of the process of forming opinions and thinking critically, students will learn to develop their sense of ethics as it relates to both society and private decision making. As an academic institution, COS also requires students to understand ethical conduct in their academic work. Students learn about the consequences of plagiarism both dishonest and negligent, as well as the accepted conventions for citing the work of others properly.
10. Course Offerings
For a list of courses offered and their descriptions, see our website or the Appendix: Course Descriptions.
For course outlines, see our website or contact us to request a copy.
Appendix: Course Descriptions
Grade 9 Science Academic SNC1D
This course enables students to develop their understanding of basic concepts in biology, chemistry, earth and space science, and physics, and to relate science to technology, society, and the environment. Throughout the course, students will develop their skills in the processes of scientific investigation. Students will acquire an understanding of scientific theories and conduct investigations related to sustainable ecosystems; atomic and molecular structures and the properties of elements and compounds; the study of the universe and its properties and components; and the principles of electricity.
Grade 12 Mathematics of Data Management MDM4U
This course broadens students’ understanding of mathematics as it relates to managing data. Students will apply methods for organizing and analysing large amounts of information; apply counting techniques, probability, and statistics in modelling and solving problems; and carry out a data management investigation that integrates the expectations of the course and encourages perseverance and independence. Students planning to pursue university programs in business, the social sciences, or the humanities will find this course of particular interest.
Prerequisite(s): MCR3U OR MCF3M