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French immersion program for Junior Kindergarten to Grade 6 students to start in Orangeville in September 2009


For Immediate Release
February 25, 2009

GUELPH, Ontario — A Junior Kindergarten to Grade 6 French Immersion (FI) program will be implemented in Orangeville for Dufferin County students beginning in September 2009. Grades 7 and 8 will be added in the following two school years.

Dufferin County students currently enrolled in French Immersion attend Brisbane Public School. The board deferred making a decision in January on the proposed program due to concerns raised that the families of these students had not been appropriately consulted on the possibility of moving their children to the proposed program in Orangeville.

A public information meeting was held on February 12 for parents with children enrolled in FI at Brisbane. Other interested parents also attended. All those present were asked to complete a survey and comment sheet to determine if there was sufficient interest in starting an Orangeville-based program, and if it was implemented, would they enroll their children. Surveys were also sent home the following day with Dufferin County students at Brisbane whose parents were not in attendance at the meeting. Every effort was made to contact all Dufferin-Brisbane families before the February meeting. Ninety-seven percent of the Dufferin-Brisbane families returned the survey.

The survey results were collated and presented to the board, with the parents’ comments and a report on the activities undertaken by the review committee since the January Board meeting. The board’s Planning Department provided a report on the possible locations for a FI program if it was implemented in Orangeville.

Many parent delegations for and against the start up of a JK-grade 8 program were in attendance at both the January and February board meetings. Concerns from these parents, and those who completed surveys, discussed equity and fairness (no program is currently offered in Dufferin County), the quality of the program and the availability of resources, the length of the bus ride for students, and the impact on the existing program at Brisbane if one was implemented in Orangeville. Also raised was the effect on the grade 7 to 12 programs at Erin Public School and Erin District High School.

After considering all the input received, trustees voted in favour of starting the program in September 2009. The location has yet to be decided.

For more information
Maggie McFadzen, Communications Officer, 519-822-4420, ext. 725
[email protected]

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