The Best High Schools in Kitchener, Ontario

The Best High Schools in Kitchener, Ontario

There is a lot to keep in mind while choosing a high school for your children. Grades 9 to 12 are an important time for students to explore their favourite subjects, learn valuable skills and to really get involved in a school community. Finding the best school environment for learning can make all the difference for those four years. There are eight high schools in Kitchener between the Waterloo Region District School Board and the Waterloo Catholic District School Board. Each school has its own strength and opportunities, but eight is a lot to consider. We’ve narrowed it down to the top five high schools in Kitchener with information about their location, program offerings and academic standings to help you make the best decision for your family.

Jump to one of the Top Five High Schools Below: 

  1. Resurrection Catholic Secondary School
  2. Cameron Heights Collegiate Institute
  3. Kitchener-Waterloo Collegiate & Vocational School
  4. St. Mary's High School
  5. Huron Heights Secondary School 

5. Huron Heights Secondary School

Huron Heights Secondary School is a high school in the Waterloo Region District School Board. This spirited school is located in the southern Kitchener area between the neighbourhoods of Huron Park and Brigadoon. Its boundaries cover a large area of southern Kitchener that is south of Bleams Road, east of Trussler Road and north of New Dundee Road. Students attend Huron Heights for Grades 9 to 12.

This high school is a promising option for students with a variety of interests. The course offerings provide a blend of academically focused programs and programs designed with more practical experiences in mind. Huron Heights also offers four Specialized High Skill Majors (SHSM): Arts and Culture, Environment, Health and Wellness and Sports. These are highly focused programs for Grade 11 and 12 students that mix course requirements, hands-on work and additional certification to help students prepare for a career in one of the specialized fields. This additional certification always includes CPR qualification as well as industry-specific qualifications.   

Huron Heights performs well on the province-wide Grade 9 Math EQAO test and the Literacy Test. In the most recent year of testing, they averaged Level 3 of 4 on the Math test and sported a 74 percent pass-rate on the Literacy Test. These scores contributed to their overall Fraser Institute ranking of 6.5 out of 10 that year. Over the last five years of test results, Huron Heights has averaged a Fraser Institute ranking of 6.3.

Outside of academics, Huron Heights has quite a reputation for its award-winning school spirit. Students can participate in school events like seasonal dances, concerts, student-run silent auctions and the Kitchener Clash football game to experience the best of the Huron Height school community. For those interested in fitness, Huron Heights offers a wide range of seasonal sports as well as active clubs like kick-boxing and self-defense, badminton, triathlon and mountain biking. Other clubs and extracurricular activities include choirs, bands, an annual drama performance and a long list of culture clubs for a variety of student interests.       

4. St. Mary’s High School

St. Mary’s High School is a Catholic secondary school in the Waterloo Catholic District School Board. The school’s origins go back to the St. Ann’s Convent School which opened in 1907. The St. Mary’s High School as it’s known today opened in its current building on Block Line Road in 2002. St. Mary’s is located in central Kitchener in the eastern part of the Country Hills neighbourhood. The school’s boundaries include central Kitchener, southern Kitchener and the area east of the Conestoga Parkway.  

Students of St. Mary’s can take advantage of this high school’s great community partnerships through a diverse list of programs. St. Mary’s is partnered with Conestoga College to give students the opportunity to pursue college credits and high school credits at the same time with their College Dual Credit Program. This allows students to explore trades, make progress toward college and even combine some of the course offerings with co-op placements. St. Mary’s is partnered with the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University to offer University Dual Credit courses as well. These allow academically strong students to pursue a specialized course and university credits. St. Mary’s students can participate in the College Cooperative Education Program and the University Cooperative Education Program which allow them to take post-secondary courses as a part-time student while still in high school. St. Mary’s also offers SHSM programs and Advanced Placement courses for students looking for a focused enrichment experience.

In the last five years of provincial testing, St. Mary’s High School has earned an average Fraser Institute Ranking of 6.4 out of 10. Their most recent ranking of 6.1 comes from an average score of Level 2.9 out of 4 on the Grade 9 Math EQAO and a 78.8 percent pass-rate on the Literacy Test. Over the last five years of testing, St. Mary’s has performed consistently well on the Literacy Test with an average pass-rate of 79 per cent.

Students of St. Mary’s can also participate in a range of extracurricular activities alongside their studies. For those interested in student leadership, joining the Student Council is one of the best opportunities at St. Mary’s. For students looking to join a sports team, St. Mary’s has seasonal teams over the course of the school year. Fall is the season for girls basketball and boys volleyball among others. Boys basketball, girls volleyball and hockey teams play during the winter and badminton and soccer are some of the sports played in the spring season. St. Mary’s also operates a number of student clubs such as the DECA Business Club, Model United Nations, a Dance Team and a Creative Writing Club.

3. Kitchener-Waterloo Collegiate & Vocational School

Kitchener-Waterloo Collegiate (KCI) is a Waterloo Region District School Board high school with historic roots in Kitchener. The institute began as the Berlin Grammar School and the beautiful original structure of the school on King Street dates back to the 1870s with expansions over the years to grow and update the school. KCI’s location along King Street places it near the heart of Downtown Kitchener. The school boundaries concentrate on the core of Kitchener with magnet boundaries covering much of Kitchener, Waterloo and the surrounding county because KCI offers a French Immersion Program with expanded boundaries. KCI takes students from Grade 9 to Grade 12.

KCI is one of the few Waterloo Region high schools that offers a French Immersion program. This offering allows students to take advanced French courses as well as core courses taught in French to earn a certificate upon graduation. For students interested in the arts, KCI offers courses in drama, film, music, visual arts and writing. Many of those courses pair well with after school activities that help students show off their skills. KCI also offers Advanced Placement (AP) courses, SHSM programs and Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) branches. KCI’s advanced placement options in French, physics and world history allow students an enriched learning experience topped off with the chance to earn university credits in a special exam. At KCI, students can explore a SHSM in Environmental Studies, Health and Wellness and Information and Communication Technology. Students interested in gaining trade experience can pursue an apprenticeship program in automotive, cooking, hairstyling and horticulture. 

Across the last five years of provincial testing, KCI has earned an average Fraser Institute ranking of 6.5 out of 10. Their most recent ranking of 6.7 comes from an average of Level 3 of 4 on the Grade 9 Math test and a pass-rate of 79.1 percent on the Literacy Test. This most recent year marked improvement in KCI’s performance on the Literacy Test and a consistently good score on the Math test.

Outside of courses, KCI runs many clubs, sports teams and other activities to keep students engaged with their interests. Students looking to practice musical arts can join one of the school’s choirs or ensembles or participate in coffeehouse school events. Students interested in performance can participate in Drama Club, the Improv Team or audition for the larger school productions. KCI Athletics runs seasonal teams like basketball, curling, football, rugby, soccer, volleyball and many others. Other KCI clubs and gatherings include leadership opportunities like student councils and subject-focused clubs like Coding Club, Cross Fit Club, Culinary Club and Horticulture Club.

2. Cameron Heights Collegiate Institute

Cameron Heights Collegiate Institute is the top performing Kitchener high school in the Waterloo Region District School Board. This welcoming high school has been a part of Kitchener since 1969 when they opened their doors on Charles Street in the central part of the city. Cameron Heights’ boundaries include the school’s home neighbourhood of Cedar Hill and the surrounding area as well as a section of Kitchener that is south of the Conestoga Parkway but north of Bleams Road. For out-of-bounds students attending Cameron Heights’ International Baccalaureate Program, the school does not provide transportation, but is conveniently located on the ION light rail transit route. This high school is open to students in Grades 9 to 12.

Students of Cameron Heights can choose from a wide range of courses to complete their high school diploma. Two programs unique to Cameron Heights are the International Baccalaureate Program (IB) and the Cameron International Studies Certificate (CIS). Both programs encourage students to turn their thoughts to an international stage while fostering a well-rounded education concentrated on discussing global issues. Students accepted into the IB program graduate Cameron Heights with two diplomas: one is their hard-earned high school diploma while the other is an internationally recognized IB diploma. The program is divided into Pre-IB courses for grades 9 and 10 and the diploma program itself which is for students in Grades 11 and 12.

Cameron Heights had the highest Fraser Institute ranking of any high school in Kitchener based on their most recent test scores. Their fantastic ranking of 7.6 out of 10 is the latest in a series of consistently improving rankings over the last five years. It comes from an average performance of Level 3.2 of 4 on the Grade 9 EQAO Math test and a 80.6 percent pass rate on the Literacy Test. Over the last five years, Cameron Heights has earned an average Fraser Institute ranking of 6.8. 

Between sports, clubs and teams, Cameron Heights offers an extensive list of activities for students to get involved with. Cameron Height sports are seasonal so students can potentially get involved with multiple sports teams over the course of the school year. Other athletic activities include getting involved with the Athletic Council, Ultimate Frisbee Club, Yoga Club or joining recreational teams. There are other clubs for a variety of interests like technology, games, public speaking, gardening and many more. Some favourite student activities include working on the Globe and Gael - the school’s official newspaper - helping with the yearbook or joining one of Cameron Heights’ musical groups. 

1. Resurrection Catholic Secondary School

Resurrection Catholic Secondary School is the highest ranked high school in the Waterloo Catholic District School Board. This Catholic high school opened in 1990 and boasts an excellent academic, artistic and athletic reputation in Kitchener. This high school is located on University Avenue in western Kitchener. Resurrection’s boundaries include its home neighbourhood of Highland West as well as much of Kitchener’s west end and the county to the west of the city. Resurrection Catholic Secondary School is open to students in Grades 9 to 12.

Academics at Resurrection allow students to explore a variety of subjects while completing credits toward their diploma. There are course offerings to study language, religion, math, science and technology with many subjects also offering enrichment experiences. In addition to the diploma pathway, Resurrection students can enroll in special programs alongside their classroom learning to focus their education or learn special skills. Resurrection is partnered with local universities and colleges to offer UCEP, CCEP and University Dual Credit programs to their students. Students interested in taking Advanced Placements courses in Grade 12 can prepare by taking Resurrection’s stream of AP-prep courses in English, French and mathematics. For students interested in getting a head start on their career, Resurrection offers SHSM in Arts and Culture, Business, Energy Health and Wellness, Horticulture and Landscaping, Hospitality and Tourism, Information and Communications Technology, Justice, Community Safety and Emergency Services, Sports and Transportation.      

Based on the most recent year of provincial test scores, Resurrection was the second-highest Fraser Institute ranked high school in Kitchener with a score of 7.4 out of 10. This score was based on an average performance of Level 3 of 4 on the Grade 9 Math test and an impressive pass-rate of 87.6 percent on the Literacy Test. While Resurrection got second place on this year’s rankings, they have a strong lead for the best average ranking from the last five years of test scores. Thanks to consistently good performances, Resurrection has an average Fraser Institute ranking of 7.5 out of 10.

Extracurriculars at Resurrection are just another opportunity for student excellence. The talented student population of this high school partake in a variety of teams, clubs and competitions. High school sports take place in the fall, winter and spring seasons and are organized into junior, senior and varsity (all grade) teams. Clubs and other activities include robotics, green earth, gardening, dance and computer programming with diverse offerings to appeal to the student body. Artistic students who want to practice and perform can join the concert band, jazz band, choir or Resurrection’s drama performances. Students can also compete against other schools in math and science challenges hosted by nearby universities.

There are many factors to consider when looking at high schools for your children. Fortunately, Kitchener, Ontario has some of the region’s strongest contenders for exciting opportunities and engaging programs. 

*** Rankings and student body information are provided by Frasier Institute

*** School boundaries are subject to change. Visit Waterloo Region District School Board | Waterloo Region's Catholic Schools | conseil scolaire MonAvenir school board for a complete list of school boundary information and phone numbers to verify.

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