3 p.m., Nov. 25)
Public school board French instruction changes likely
By Fred Sherwin
looking more and more likely that the Ottawa District
School Board will implement changes to its kindergarten
and Early French Immersion programs next fall.
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.
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)
in September 2016
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
story was made possible thanks to the generous support
of our local business partners.)
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