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September 26, 2012

Board approves changes to elementary French immersion program

Enrolment cap takes effect Sept. 2013, siblings of current FI students automatically accepted into grade 1 FI

At its Regular Meeting of the Board on Sept. 25, Peel District School Board trustees approved changes to its elementary French Immersion (FI) program as recommended by the board’s French Immersion Review Committee. No changes were approved for the extended French program.

“As a part of the review process, staff examined the very real accommodation and staffing challenges in the French immersion program,” says Shirley-Ann Teal, superintendent of education  and committee lead. “The approved changes help plan for the sustainability of the French immersion program, while ensuring students receive a high quality program designed to help them develop a high degree of proficiency in French.”

In total, the French Immersion Review Committee made 21 recommendations. The following recommendations were approved by trustees on Sept. 25:

1. that the board implement 50% daily instructional time in grades 1-8 FI, effective September 2013
2. (a) that the board place an enrolment cap of 25 per cent of the total annual grade 1 enrolment number in the elementary FI  program. This cap would be in place for  students entering new to the FI program commencing September 2013. The enrolment cap is to be reviewed by December 2017.
2. (b) that the board approve the implementation of a lottery system to identify students gaining entrance into the program. Students who have siblings in the elementary FI program as of September 2012 would not be included in the lottery. Upon registration, younger siblings would be automatically accepted into the FI program. This consideration of siblings would remain in effect as long as an older sibling remains in the elementary FI program.
3. that the board consider the feasibility of appointing an administrator to facilitate the attraction and retention of French language staff
4. that the staff consider the organization of both single track and dual track FI schools as a part of the 2012-13 annual planning process and annually thereafter
5. that the board establish a committee to conduct a full review of the FI/EF program at the secondary level during the 2013-14 school year

A comprehensive communications plan will inform parents of the changes to the FI program so that they are aware of the enrolment cap, lottery system, waitlist process, changes to instructional time in grade 1 FI and the registration deadline of Jan. 25. Information will also be distributed to parents and community members over the next few months.

Parents interested in French immersion should visit the Peel board’s website. Information will be posted at http://wwwedit.peelschools.org/parents/programs/French. Parents can also visit the website of Canadian Parents for French (Ontario) at www.cpfont.on.ca for additional information. 

The French Immersion Review Committee was formed on October 25, 2011, and met during the 2011-12 school year to examine data and to consider the implications of the various options to manage the growth of the FI programs at the elementary level.

As a part of the review process, staff collected information that was relevant to the goals and objectives of the committee. Information was gathered from central departments as well as from other school boards. A stakeholder survey completed by parents, position paper prepared by Peel Principals’ and Vice-Principals’ Association and focus groups held with teachers helped to provide an understanding of current perceptions regarding existing FI/extended French programs and suggestions for improvements. Committee members also met with representatives from Canadian Parents for French at various times throughout the year long review.

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Media contact: Shirley-Ann Teal, superintendent of education and committee lead, 905-890-1010 (or 1-800-668-1146) ext. 2353, shirleyann.teal@peelsb.com

Reference: Carla Pereira, manager of communications (acting), 905-890-1010 (or 1-800-668-1146) ext. 2814, carla.pereira@peelsb.com

Note to media: To download the full final report of the French Immersion Review Committee—Elementary, visit http://bit.ly/OGQk6x.

 

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