Volume 12 Week 5

Wednesday, July 26


 

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Orléans Ward
Bob Monette

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Tim Tierney



 

 

 

   



(Posted 3 p.m., Nov. 25)
Public school board French instruction changes likely in 2016

By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

It's looking more and more likely that the Ottawa District School Board will implement changes to its kindergarten and Early French Immersion programs next fall.

The board had voted to wait at least a year to make the changes to allow for more public consultations, but on Tuesday they reversed that decision after it was impressed upon them that the delay would prevent the board from realizing an additional $2 million in provincial funding and $700,000 in operational saviings.

The proposed changes include :

- increasing French instruction in English Core French junior and senior kindergarten from 20 minutes a day to 150 minutes a day beginning in September 2016, making instruction 50/50 in French and English

- increasing French instruction in the Early French Immersion junior kindergarten program from 20 minutes a day to 150 minutes a day (EFI senior kindergarten is already 50/50) beginning in September 2016

- reducing French instruction in Grades 1 to 3 of the EFI program from 100 per cent (5hrs/day) to 80 per cent to allow for math to be taight in English only, also beginning in September 2016

- reducing French instruction in Grade 1 to 3 of the EFI program from 80 per cent (4hrs/day) to 60 per cent (3hrs/day) to allow for English as a subject beginning in September 2018

The proposed changes will bring the public boarrd more in line with the Ottawa Catholic School Board which has been using the 50/50 French/English split in junior and senior kindergarten for nearly 20 years.

The Catholic board does have a dual track program in Grades 1 to 3. Instead they offer 75 minutes of French instruction per day, compared to 40 minutes per day in the public board English Core French program, or 180 minutes per day in the EFI program if the proposed changes are implemented.

The changes were unveiled in September with an invitation for parents and other board supporter to provide their input either directly by e-mail or through an online survey.

A full two-thirds of the 3,000 people who responded to the survey were supportive of the propsed changes.

A minority of parents, however, are upset for a variey of reasons. Some are angry that they will no longer have the option of enroling their children in an English kindergarten program, while others see the changes to the Early French Immersion program as watering it down.

The board plans to consult more with parents and staff, including sending a notice home with children, advising parents of kids not yet in kindergarten of the changes, and allowing more time for school councils to discuss the changes.

It is highly unlikely, however, that they will change their minds in light of the results of the first round of public consultations and the fact they stand to gain an additional $2 million in fundiing from the province by offering a 50/50 model in kindergarten.

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)

 

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