English as a Second Language (ESL)

English as a Second Language

The Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board is committed to assisting with the transition for our newcomer students into our Ontario Catholic schools.

At our Catholic elementary schools, students in Grades 1-8 are supported by English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers who work with the students individually or in small groups throughout the school week.

At our Catholic secondary schools, students in Grades 9-12 are supported either by ESL support teachers or through ESL classes. Schools will run ESL classes and specialized ESL subject classes (e.g., ESL Science or ESL History) based upon ELL (English Language Learner) populations at the school.

Students who are 18 years of age or older, and their parents, may also take ESL credit courses at our Continuing Education location at St. Charles Mountain, East 5th Street, Hamilton.

The ESL/ELD programs teach students how to communicate effectively in English and assist newcomer students so that they can be successful and fully participate as members of Canadian society.

How to Register




Visit the nearest HWCDSB Elementary school for support.

Visit the nearest HWCDSB Secondary School.
Ask for a Registration Package.
Fill out the registration package at home and return it to the school.
The school will be in touch to book an intake appointment that will include:

  • a meeting with administration;
  • a language and math assessment;
  • a meeting with student services; and,
  • a tour of the school.

Important Documentation Required to Register:

  • Proof of age from a government document (birth certificate, passport, immigration document);
  • Immigration information (VISA; Refugee Status, Permanent Resident Status, etc.);
  • Proof of address (e.g. rental or purchase agreement, utility bill, credit card statement);
  • Immunization Record;
  • Catholic Baptismal Certificate (Elementary); and,
  • Last Report Card (Secondary).

Welcoming Process

Secondary students will be able to participate in the YMCA’s NOW (New Comer Orientation Week) which runs the last week of August at one of the secondary schools. They will connect with student leaders for support throughout the year and receive an initial language and math assessment.

Who needs to receive this initial language and math assessment?

  • Students who are new to Canada, entering the Ontario school system for the first time and whose first language is not English;
  • Students who are re-entering the Ontario school system after an extended absence;
  • Any students from a French language school in Canada;
  • All International students; and,
  • All students who attended schools where English was not the language of instruction.

Important Dates:

How to support you son or daughter with school and learning:

  • Participate in their learning:
  • Ask questions about what they did at school;
  • Help them with their homework;
  • Have them teach you what they have learned;
  • Use online school resources like their teachers myClass website;
  • Help them study for tests and quizzes; and,
  • Look at old tests and help correct any mistakes;
  • Check to make sure their homework is finished;
  • Read to and with your children (in your own language and in English);
  • Watch English television programs together;
  • Attend parent-teacher meetings;
  • Get involved in the school, volunteer or attend school trips;
  • Attend school barbeques, sporting events, plays, concerts, science fairs, liturgies, school Mass, etc.;
  • Monitor their use of television, cell phones, and computer;
  • Stay informed about what is happening at the school and within the school board