TVDSB strengthens commitment to elementary French Immersion

Posted On Tuesday November 26, 2019

Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019 – Important changes have been introduced to Elementary French Immersion programming aimed at strengthening the Board’s ability to deliver consistent, high-quality French Immersion education that is equitable for all students across Thames Valley.

Beginning September 2020, entry into Elementary French Immersion will be consolidated to  Grade 1 – eliminating entry in Senior Kindergarten and Grade 7.

The changes will allow the Board to better deploy staff to address the ongoing challenges caused by the continued popularity of French Immersion education in the face of a nationwide shortage of qualified French-language educators. 

Education Director Mark Fisher said the changes will not result in job losses.

“These changes are necessary for Thames Valley to meet the needs of our students while using our resources most effectively,” said Director Fisher, adding that many school boards in Ontario have a single point of entry into Elementary French Immersion. However, unlike many school boards, Thames Valley will not “cap” or limit enrolment into Elementary French Immersion programs.

Parents/guardians and community members told the Board in a recent survey that capping enrolment was their least popular option for improving delivery of French Immersion education – which continues to be in high demand in most areas of the school district.

A key advantage of the changes includes providing primary students with a solid foundation in English instruction in the 2-year Kindergarten program. In addition, research has found that fewer parents and guardians are registering their children for Grade 7 entry and, less than half of those who start French Immersion in Grade 7 continue to Secondary French Immersion.

Superintendent Sheila Builder, who has been leading a major review of French Immersion education across Thames Valley, said the changes will allow Senior Kindergarten and Grade 7 French Immersion teachers to be redeployed to more effectively meet demand for this popular program. 

“We want to ensure that we provide consistent, high-quality French Immersion education in all areas of the Board,” said Superintendent Builder, who noted that about 5,000 students are currently enrolled at Thames Valley’s 11 French Immersion Elementary schools.

She added that parents and guardians will receive emails this week about the changes and directing them to the Board’s website for more details. Parents and guardians may also contact their school principal for more information.

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