Program Viability Committee
The Halton District School Board is experiencing challenges in providing viable programming in English and French programs in some elementary schools. French as a Second Language (FSL) programs include French Immersion and Core French programs.
In February 2015, a committee was established to examine issues related to the challenges of providing English and FSL programming. The committee, known as the "Program Viability Committee", studied the issues. These issues included the increasing uptake in French Immersion and the impact on the core English program. The board’s ability to recruit a sufficient number of qualified and fluent elementary French teachers was also considered. These issues were presented with preliminary recommendations Report 15081 to the Board of Trustees in June 2015. At that time it was also recommended that a process for consulting with parents and the public would be required.
Report 15114 describes the plan for community consultation and input.
Phase I – Public Information Meetings (October/November 2015)
The Halton District School Board set four public meetings to discuss English and French as a Second Language (FSL) elementary programming. Parents/guardians were invited to attend to learn about the key issues, as well as the process and timelines to gather public input.
- Burlington – October 26 at Nelson High School
- Oakville – October 27 at White Oaks Secondary School
- Milton – November 2 at Milton District High School
- Halton Hills – November 3 at Georgetown District High School
View the 2014/2015 Long-Term Accommodation Plan (LTAP)
which includes school enrolment projections and historical enrolments. It also gives details about historical French Immersion uptake, school capacities, portable counts and more.
Phase II - Community Input (January/February/March 2016)
Parents and community members were invited to learn more about the four (4) options presented in Board Report #15081
and given the opportunity to provide input and involvement through the following:
1. Parent/Guardian/Community Questionnaire
A link to the English and French as a Second Language Program questionnaire was emailed to all parents/guardians. The questionnaire included a series of questions related to the proposed four options. This online questionnaire was open to all parent/guardians and community members from January 6 - 29, 2016. A summary of the written comments from the questionnaire was made available on the website and shared with parents/guardians in May.
2. Focus Group Sessions
Ipsos Reid, an independent research company, was hired to facilitate focus groups sessions with parents/guardians. In total, 15 focus groups were held within the Halton community between mid-February to mid-March. The Ipsos Reid report
was posted and shared with parents/guardians in May.
3. School Council Involvement
Principals shared a presentation with all school councils to inform parents of the issues and to collect school council feedback.
4. School administrators and teacher
Staff in the Halton District School Board were invited to respond to a staff questionnaire. Responses were shared with the Program Viability Committee.
5. Student input
Student input was gathered through consultation with Student Senate. Students were asked to complete a student version of the public questionnaire.
Presentations to the Board of Trustees
April - Program Viability Committee - Executive Summary
May 11, 2016 Committee of the Whole meeting
Trustees are updated regarding the work of the Program Viability Committee (English and French as a Second Language programing). The presentation
from this meeting was posted on the HDSB website and emailed to parents. The timeline for the discussion and decision making by the Board of Trustees was also shared with parents.
June 1, 2016 Board of Trustee meeting
The agenda for this meeting contained Report 16096
regarding program viability of English and French programming. Trustees received this report for “information” at this June 1, 2016 meeting.
by Associate Director David Boag was provided concerning the recommendations of the PVC and Report 16096. June 15, 2016 Board of Trustee meeting
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 14 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 :
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. Be it resolved that students enrolled in our current FI model be grand parented and allowed to complete elementary school in the current model.
Also passed unanimously at the same meeting were two related motions:
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.
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.