BROCKVILLE – Enrollment trends at the largest high schools in English-language school boards in the region have prompted a review of French-language programs.
Administrators of the Upper Canada District School Board voted on April 13 to review its French immersion program.
Trustee William MacPherson (Ward Two) filed the motion saying he has observed a decline in FI enrollment further into secondary school programs.
“French is a little different from mathematics in the sense that it is not equal in all areas. What works in Prescott-Russell is less so in Lanark,” MacPherson said.
Calling the move of students from small rural schools to take the French immersion program an “exodus,” he estimated that only 10% of those students graduate from high school with a certificate in French.
MacPherson told trustees he wants to see how existing FI programming and core French programming can be improved for different areas of the board.
UCDSB currently offers dual-track FI programs in most secondary schools and extended French programs in other schools. Thirty-five of the boards’ 53 elementary schools offer FI or dueling programs.
Administrator Donald Cram (Ward One) agreed with the review.
“As a former school principal, there is a mass exodus [from FI] at the end of grade 8,” he told the board. “There is another one in 10th grade. I think we need to review our programming, improve it and make it more viable for more students up to grade 12.
At the higher levels of many UCDSB schools, there is a decline in FI enrollment due to course selection options. Enrollment numbers dictate the courses offered each school year, which means students often don’t have a language option for classes.
Cram thought the board might have to consider reducing the FI at the end of grade 8. “I think we really need to review our whole French immersion program. »
The review of the program will be conducted by Director of Education, Ron Ferguson, who will report to the board in January 2023. UCDSB trustees last reviewed French language programs to the board during the school year 2013-2014.