January 12, 2011

Fantastique! DSBN to Offer Expanded French Immersion Programming  

Students at the District School Board of Niagara will soon have even more opportunity to immerse themselves in Canada’s other official language. Beginning in September, 2011, Oakridge, Dalewood, Alexandra and Parliament Oak Public Schools will offer French Immersion programming beginning in Grade 5. Queen Mary Public School will continue offering a Grade 7 entry to the French Immersion program. Trustees approved the changes at their regular meeting on January 11, 2011.

Currently, Dalewood and Oakridge offer a Grade 7 entry into the program, while no program exists at Parliament Oak. “We know there is significant community interest in French Immersion programming,” said Carol Germyn, Superintendent of School Support Services. “By creating a system-wide Grade 5 entry point, we will be able to offer even more students access to this program and make it easier for families who move from one school to another within the DSBN. From a staff perspective, this decision will also facilitate better sharing of best practices and resources amongst French Immersion teachers.”

Superintendent of Schools Sue Mark adds that the decision by Trustees will enable students in Niagara-on-the-Lake to access French Immersion in their own community.  “This is an extremely positive development, which many parents in NOTL have been advocating for. We are very pleased to be able expand our programming to support these students and their families,” said Mark.

“Learning French opens up many exciting opportunities for students,” said DSBN FSL and International Languages Consultant Lorraine Gower. “Becoming literate in a second language improves one's ability to read, write, and think, making it easier for students to learn additional languages.”

French Immersion students also have the ability to take part in a wide variety of co-curricular activities. Schools offer a range of fun and challenging exercises including French speaking contests, French plays, exchange programs, science fairs, Historica fairs, French camp and bilingual debating.

Parents interested in enrolling their children in the expanded programs will be able to access applications online from the DSBN website www.dsbn.org beginning on January 24, 2011.

For more information about French Immersion at the DSBN, please contact Lorraine Gower at 905-227-5551 ext. 52220