Volume 12 Week 5

Wednesday, Feb. 3


 

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Orléans Ward
Bob Monette

Beacon Hill,
Cyrville Ward
Tim Tierney



 

 

 



(Updated 9:30 p.m., Feb. 3)
OCDSB poised to increase kindergarten French instruction

By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board is one step away from passing a number of changes to its kindergarten and Early French Immersion programs.

The board's trustees met as a committee of the whole Tuesday night to hear from parents upset over the proposed changes which include increasing French instruction in both junior and senior kindergarten, and switching math instruction in the Early French Immersion program in Grades 1 to 3 from French to English.

Specifically the changes would increase French instruction in junior and senior kindergarten from 40 minutes a day to 150 minutes a day, making for a 50/50 split.

The proposed changes will bring the public board 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. They changes will also yield an additional $2 million in funding from the province.

Most of those who spoke against the proposed changes were worried about the impact they would have on kindergarten students with special needs, most notably students with speech impediments.

But staff countered that argument by claiming that bilingual instruction would create a level playing field for children who are under-represented in the board's Early French Immersion program, such as children with special needs, newcomers who don’t speak English, and kids from lower-income families.

The argument is that by increasing French instruction in kindergarten, and switching math instruction to English in Grades 1 to 3, more of these children will chose to continue their education in the EFI stream.

After the trustees had heard from nearly a dozen parents, the committee voted in favour of the staff recommendations which included using some of the $2 million in additional funding from the province to provide additional support for kindergarten students.

After the meeting Orléans-Cumberland trustee Keith Penny said the 65-70 concerned parents in the room were part of a vocal minority, and most of the parents he's talked are in favour of the changes which will come into effect next September.

The trustees are expected to ratify the changes at the next board meeting on Feb. 9.

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

 

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