Principal's Message

Welcome to the Norman Johnston Alternate Program website!  Norman Johnston is part of a family of 6 OCDSB Alternate Programs serving 1100 students across Ottawa-Carleton. As you read through the pages of this site, you will learn about our students, our programs, our mission in education and our values. Alternate programs developed in Ottawa in the 1980's to remove barriers to success and increase the independence of our students. The Norman Johnston Alternate Program is 33 years old  this year!

Students best suited to working in an Alternate Setting are independent, mature, self-motivated, and respectful of others. In general, our students are seeking to have more control over their own learning while working with their teacher as a coach. At NJ students are encouraged to have a strong voice in their educational journey
At NJ we truly believe that all students can be successful. We believe in working closely with our students, our Parents/ Guardians, and community partners, to ensure we have a welcoming, safe, equitable, caring, and stimulating environment which fosters learning and a sense of belonging to all who walk through our doors. We continue to support our students in their pursuit of their excellence in both their education and personal wellness.

No single description can be used to define all of our students. Norman Johnston students may be any or all of the following:

  • Students for whom traditional school setting has not worked for reasons such as the larger setting, multiple courses, large groups, lack of connections, student attendance, anxiety, or other issues.

  • Students needing a minimal number of credits to graduate.

  • We are continuous intake so you do not need to wait for the next semester

  • Students whose work schedule makes following a traditional time table difficult

  • Students aged 16 - 21.

  • Applied, academic or workplace students.

  • Students who benefit from a non-semester, one course at a time setting.

Alternate programs are similar to other Ontario schools. Our students are full-time Ontario students. We follow the same Ontario Curriculum at all grade levels. We evaluate students following Ontario Curriculum Guidelines and Growing Success just like all other schools.  Most of our students are working toward an Ontario Secondary School Diploma and will be following one of the four major pathways available to them: College, University, Employment and Apprenticeships.

Alternate programs are different from other Ontario schools. Firstly, the students call all staff members by our first names because we value trust and relationships. Also, we structure the student timetable differently.  Although students don’t have a scheduled lunch break, they can usually complete their school day as early as 12:45 p.m. so that they can have their lunch off-site after the school day.  Our students generally work on one course at a time, taking up to 6 weeks to complete each credit. For the most part our students work independently, with inter-dependent support, feedback, coaching, and direction from their teacher.

If you are interested in the school, please complete the Registration Form found on our home page.

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