Halton District School Board stops Grade 1 French Immersion Program

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At the June 15, 2016 Board meeting, Trustees unanimously passed the recommendation in “Report #16096” concerning program viability of elementary English and French programming in the Halton District School Board.

The issue of English and French program viability in the Halton District School Board has been intensely studied for the past 15 months by the Program Viability Committee. Wide public consultation included public information meetings, an online parent questionnaire, and parent/community focus group sessions in all communities.

The approved recommendation states :

Be it resolved that the Halton District School Board adopt Option 6, Grade 2 Entry to the French Immersion program at 100% intensity in existing single and dual track schools, as outlined in Report 16096.

Be it resolved that this model begin in Grade 2 of school year 2018/19. Entry into Grade 1 of our current FI model will cease after the 2016/17 school year and the 2017/18 Grade 1 cohort will be English program only.

Be it resolved that students enrolled in our current FI model be grand parented and allowed to complete elementary school in the current model.

“We are very pleased that Trustees voted to support this recommendation. We have listened to stakeholders and have put forward a change in model that we think will serve both English and French program families well moving into the future,” says Stuart Miller, Director of Education for the Halton District School Board.

In his remarks to trustees prior to discussion of the recommendation, Director of Education Stuart Miller thanked the Program Viability Committee for their work. Both Miller and Associate Director David Boag responded to trustee questions regarding the entry point to the program, the intensity of immersion, role of instructional staff in assisting parents to make an informed decision regarding entry to the program, special needs students and supports for their success.

Miller confirmed the French Advisory Committee will be reconstituted to look at implementation and ongoing issues.

Also passed unanimously at the same meeting were two related motions:

M16-0111:

Be it resolved that an annual report be added to the report schedule (starting in 2018), outlining the percentage and number of Grade 1 students in each elementary school that have registered for French Immersion or English programs for the following year, and that this report highlight any schools where fewer than 20 students have registered for the Grade 2 English program and any schools where registration percentages for French Immersion have increased from prior years and provide an action plan to address the enrollment in those schools. This report will be brought to the Board of Trustees prior to staffing deadlines.

M16-0112:

Be it resolved that the Halton District School Board direct the Director to study adding additional minutes to the Core French Program with a recommendation being brought back to the Board.

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