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sarah_mom
02-21-2012, 07:06 PM
Hi there,
I love the idea of languages for my kids and started looking into the French Immersion program in Waterloo Region... and I was surprised! Its not French Immersion, its 'partial' immersion, which means that the region does not meet Ministry of Education requirements for the immersion program, so they've simply called it something else. A bunch of parents have started a move towards changing this: http://www.waterloo-french-immersion.ca/
We started by talking to the Board of Trustees, then we made a few presentations and had motions put forward to make changes to the French Immersion program. Right now, its not really French Immersion, and its first come first serve (so no guarantee you'll get in even if you enrol) with priority given to those families in FI school districts. It turns out that most of Southern Ontario has full French Immersion programs with guaranteed access, but we don't have it here. Seems crazy to me! If you are thinking of enrolling your child in 'partial' French here or have questions about it, please visit the website http://www.waterloo-french-immersion.ca/ for more information or contact your Board of Trustee member (http://www.wrdsb.ca/about-us/trustees/photos-and-contact-info)and ask them why we don't have a true French Immersion program! Anyway, let me know what you think about the program or if you are interested in finding out more about it.

newmama
02-21-2012, 10:17 PM
I've worked in both programs. I would love to see WRDSB become full French Immersion. That being said, the partial program isn't so bad. The students are still picking up French just maybe not at the same rate as in full French Immersion.

momofthreecuties
02-22-2012, 08:52 PM
while I would like to see the program move to more French I would love more to see the program be more accessible to everyone first.

mommyKim
02-23-2012, 02:00 AM
Thank you for this article/link! DH and I really want our son to go into the frech immersion program (he is only entering jk this fall) but we really don't have much time to get our ducks in row.

It is disappointing to say the least that not every area of the city has a FI school accessible to the residents, we are one of those families. I think it's rediculous that b/c of where I live I may not be able to get ds into a FI school and have to apply as an out of bounds student and pray that ds gets in!!

I live in the Ottawa/Strasburg area of the city so if you have any recommendations for a FI school please feel free to PM me.

momofthreecuties
02-23-2012, 02:42 AM
not only might you not get in, out of boundary students don't have priority, but they also don't provide transportation. And in my case, we can't even park in the parking lot, so once I drive 15 min to get my kids to school, I need to park and walk several hundred meters, I know it doesn't seem like much, but I have a 1 year old as well as a1st grader and a kindergartner. All I hear from people in this region is that it is my choice to send them so I need to suck it up, just hard when in three other districts that I have been in they bus you to your nearest FI school.

Momto4
02-23-2012, 01:30 PM
I'm withdrawing my son from FI after March Break. It really was not a good fit for him, at all. If you child's home school offers it, I think it's great to give it a try. If you are going to switch schools to try it out, as we did, then I suggest that you do lots of research so you know you are making the right choice.

I counting down the days until March Break and my son can go back to the happy child he once was.

momofthreecuties
02-23-2012, 08:56 PM
I'm sorry to hear that FI didn't work out for your son. It is so hard when you are out of district because you have to make some big adjustments for it to work. It can make the decision to withdraw harder because of all the transition involved. In my case, both my children would have to change schools if we decided to withdraw. We have had three students leave our French Immersion class.

KitchenerMom
02-23-2012, 10:56 PM
I would love to see this change... I have to transport my kids to school everyday for their partial french Immersion. Im saddened that its only partial. and transporting them there is costing me an arm and a leg lately. Ive had to keep them home once this year cause I had no gas and no money for gas.. sad. Equality for all is what I hope for... the whole arrangement disgusts me. Also the fact that even with so many parents urging them to change it. they see nothing wrong with the way it is.

KitchenerMom
02-23-2012, 10:59 PM
I just happily signed both petitions..

Momto4
02-23-2012, 11:55 PM
Momtocuties- my son is in your son's class. I haven't announced it yet but the school knows he will be leaving soon. I'm trying to work out some logistical issues, daycare being a huge one.

I've been urged to wait and see what next year brings but my son is not enjoying school any more and that is the most important thing for me. I'm disappointed for sure, but what can you do?

Anyway, I do hope the FI program continues to improve and the program becomes equitable for all children.

Emilysofiasmom
02-24-2012, 06:05 PM
i was in the "partial" french immersion growing up i guess. And based on how i was fluent in french and clueless in english, i won't be putting DD in french!!

Tammymom
03-03-2012, 04:37 AM
It would be nice to see the boards offer full immersion programs to all who want it. I looked into the partial immersion programs available but I didn't like that it was only partial immersion and that you have to wait to grade 1 to start the program and then have to switch schools if your home school doesn't offer the program. We decided to go with KW Bilingual school instead (they do JK to Grade 8) for various reasons but one of the several things that I found very appealing is that they teach all subjects in both languages (one day French, one day English) so that students learn all the concepts, vocabularly, grammer etc... in both French and English at the same time. A bit different than immersion in it's approach but seems well rounded to me in doing it that way.

newmama
03-03-2012, 11:02 AM
...I checked out the site for the KW bilingual school since I thought it sounded interesting. It says on the site that they do a 1/2 day in English and a 1/2 day in French...which is the same as the Partial french Immersion program. Does it change at a certain grade level-just wondering...

KitchenerMom
03-03-2012, 12:16 PM
...I checked out the site for the KW bilingual school since I thought it sounded interesting. It says on the site that they do a 1/2 day in English and a 1/2 day in French...which is the same as the Partial french Immersion program. Does it change at a certain grade level-just wondering...

Thats not the same as partial... in partial its more of 30% day in french and 70 percent in english

newmama
03-03-2012, 01:13 PM
I teach partial F.I. it is 50-50.

newmama
03-03-2012, 01:29 PM
I teach in partial F.I. It's 50% French, 50% English.

mom2girls
03-03-2012, 01:32 PM
I teach in partial F.I. It's 50% French, 50% English.

Yup, dd in gr 1 gets 50-50 too

Tammymom
03-03-2012, 01:52 PM
Just to clarify...we are sending our daughter for JK just 1/2 days so it's one day French one day English. However you are correct for full day students it's 1/2 a day French, 1/2 a day English at KW Bilingual school. I believe the difference between it and Immersion at the regular school boards however is that firstly they start French right at JK rather than grade 1 and they teach every subject in both languages rather than splitting up teaching some subjects in English only and some French only. This way the children get a full understanding of every subject and it's related vocabulary/content etc... in both languages. If you are interested in the school and their program I would suggest just giving them a call to ask some questions,all the staff there is very nice and happy to answer anything you may like to know about the school and it's program. :o)

Tammymom
03-03-2012, 01:56 PM
I should also note another difference that we really liked about the KW Bilingual school is that they have very small class sizes all the way from JK to grade 8 so lots of personalized attention, they offer 1/2 day programs or full days for JK and Kindergarten so lots of choices for what works for your family. If you are looking into various options for French schooling I would definate recommend checking them out.

KitchenerMom
03-03-2012, 05:17 PM
50 -50 in their book and 50-50 in my book are different.. considering the teachers dont even have to be fluent in french... Most of their french dictation is in English half the time... meh... irritates the hell out of me especially since we came from a french immersion school in the Thames valley district where it was waaaaaaaaay better.

newmama
03-03-2012, 08:58 PM
Sorry but I beg to differ and ive taught FI in tvdsb too.

newmama
03-03-2012, 10:24 PM
I had to run before I could finish my post. I think you are painting a particular panel of education with a very wide brush. All of the teachers I work with or have worked with in the past have all been fluent, professional and qualified. This applies to those I have had as colleagues in both the partial and full French immersion panels. It is too bad that you are having a poor experience and I understand that there are fewer subjects taught in French here in Wrdsb but as someone that works within the program it is still, in my opinion, very worthwhile for many students that attend.

newmama
03-03-2012, 10:33 PM
I should also note another difference that we really liked about the KW Bilingual school is that they have very small class sizes all the way from JK to grade 8 so lots of personalized attention, they offer 1/2 day programs or full days for JK and Kindergarten so lots of choices for what works for your family. If you are looking into various options for French schooling I would definate recommend checking them out.

Thank you for the information. Very cool that there is an option out there for the J/K , S/K students.

Edited for spelling...terrible at posting from a cell.

KitchenerMom
03-04-2012, 02:02 AM
I had to run before I could finish my post. I think you are painting a particular panel of education with a very wide brush. All of the teachers I work with or have worked with in the past have all been fluent, professional and qualified. This applies to those I have had as colleagues in both the partial and full French immersion panels. It is too bad that you are having a poor experience and I understand that there are fewer subjects taught in French here in Wrdsb but as someone that works within the program it is still, in my opinion, very worthwhile for many students that attend.

Let me just clarify I do think the my child's teachers are very professional and qualified for their position... I'm mostly dissatisfied with the immersion on a board level.. The teacher qualifications needs to be raised. the transportation issue needs to be fixed so that ALL kids have an opportunity to gain from the Immersion... We need to be offered Full French Immersion like all our surrounding areas.. Thames Valley in my opinion has it together when it comes to french immersion.. they offer full,... any kid can go regardless of boundaries... if too far they bus the kids. And the teachers talk french all day. Even when you go to the schools... there are french posters.. french signs... french everywhere. Here they segregate french kids into part of a regular school and walking around the school you probably wouldn't even know its a french Immersion school. But besides all that, Obviously I think its worthwhile or I would have pulled my child out of it 5 years ago. We are bound to have different view points... you as a teacher and me as a parent.

newmama
03-04-2012, 02:16 AM
I enjoyed having French immersion schools as opposed to dual track as well. It certainly changes the atmosphere. We can also agree on the issue of accessibility. We will have to apply as out of bounds once my child is in grade one.

Tammymom
03-05-2012, 03:34 AM
I recently read some info on this issue and it appears the school board is currently looking into making some changes (improvements) to the FI program. Here is the link to the article: http://www.kitchenerpost.ca/news/french-follies/
In the meantime I think it would be a really good idea for anyone with opinions on the issue to contact their school board trustee asap since they will be the ones involved in actually making decisions on improving the program. Here is the link to the trustees: http://kitchener.foundlocally.com/local/Gov-SchoolTrustees.htm

SAHM23BOYS
03-05-2012, 03:50 AM
Wow. Sorry to hear all the negative issues with your FI experiences. I have two kids in the program and have no complaints. Thankfully, we're within the boundaries of the FI school, so I don't have to transport them. The teachers that my kids have had have been great, especially this year. I've volunteered in the classrooms and I KNOW that the French instruction is mostly French because I don't understand a bit! (Zero French background for me as I'm not originally from Canada, but I do know the difference between English and French! :)) I'm excited that my children have this opportunity, not because I want them to be totally consumed by the French language, but because I know that learning a foreign language at an early age is much easier than when they are older, they are also exercizing parts of their brains that can accommodate language and are being challenged academically. They've come home with all A's and B's so I am convinced that something right is going on in their classrooms with their teachers! I have nothing but praise for the work that my children's teachers have done and for the experience that they are having in school.

Being a former public school teacher myself, I do have high standards for my children's education, and I believe they are being met, at least in my kids' classrooms.

KitchenerMom
03-05-2012, 11:17 AM
Wow. Sorry to hear all the negative issues with your FI experiences. I have two kids in the program and have no complaints. Thankfully, we're within the boundaries of the FI school, so I don't have to transport them. The teachers that my kids have had have been great, especially this year. I've volunteered in the classrooms and I KNOW that the French instruction is mostly French because I don't understand a bit! (Zero French background for me as I'm not originally from Canada, but I do know the difference between English and French! :)) I'm excited that my children have this opportunity, not because I want them to be totally consumed by the French language, but because I know that learning a foreign language at an early age is much easier than when they are older, they are also exercizing parts of their brains that can accommodate language and are being challenged academically. They've come home with all A's and B's so I am convinced that something right is going on in their classrooms with their teachers! I have nothing but praise for the work that my children's teachers have done and for the experience that they are having in school.

Being a former public school teacher myself, I do have high standards for my children's education, and I believe they are being met, at least in my kids' classrooms.


My Experiences have nothing to do with my opinion. My kids excel in the 'PARTIAL' French Immersion and love it. Your lucky you are in boundaries and have access to it. Not everyone does. And Im sorry but that bothers me. I think every child in Kitchener Waterloo should have that right. My other concern is if my children go thru the full partial french Immersion program to university... compared to children in other areas, they will be Behind, and that will effect their acceptance into certain programs. Not to mention we dont have a french Immersion Highschool... right now KCI is our only option and they have maybe 2-3 courses per grade in french to offer the FI kids.

This is why our program wont be upgraded to the standards of our surrounding areas, SO many parents are blissfully unaware.

KitchenerMom
03-05-2012, 04:48 PM
If your interested in helping Increase the Accessibility of French Immersion.. I created a page on facebook. I'm hoping to create a coalition of concerned parents.. Voices that speak together get things done!

http://www.facebook.com/FrenchImmersionWRDSB

sarah_mom
03-05-2012, 08:38 PM
This is awesome - I love all the discussion. We have a petition on the website about accessibility http://www.waterloo-french-immersion.ca/sign-the-petition/
It really is frustrating that its not guaranteed access to any child who wants into the program (it is guaranteed in other school boards). Please sign the petition and visit the site for other details . Seems like transportation is a really big issue - I will try and upload a new petition about that. I love the facebook site!

Joan
03-05-2012, 10:58 PM
The Separate board unfortunately do not offer any french immersion programs through the schools - which I always think is a shame. Dont start any french until grade 4 (know my oldest who is now an adult started in grade 1 - I am curious as to when that changed).

newmama
03-05-2012, 11:13 PM
I'm certain part of it could be the lack of French teachers as you must have extra qualifications to teach FSL.

mommyKim
03-06-2012, 01:10 AM
I just signed both petitions. It is truly disheartening that my child (and other children) do not have access to FI schooling simply based on my postal code.

momofthreecuties
03-06-2012, 02:04 AM
I am excited that other people are concerned about the acessibility. I moved into the region a few years ago when my ds was just finishing up JK. He was in a full FI program where he was transported in both districts we lived in that year (Windor and Sudbury).

I was shocked and baffled that moving into Preston there would be no access to FI unless I was prepared to drive really far. I raised a stink and could not get anybody to even acknowledge that there was a problem. I was going to the EYC in Galt and all the moms there saw no problem with the way things were. I made a plea to the board and didn't hear a peep back from them. I wrote to the minister of Education and was told they had no control over the bussing situation. I spoke to the MPP and he wouldn't / couldn't do anything.

I now drive my kids about 15-20 min every day. I had to take a part time job in order to make this happen. I think it is disgusting that if you live in the richer areas of the region or have the financial wherewithall to have the time and means to transport them.

KitchenerMom
03-06-2012, 11:21 AM
It is sad, and ridiculous. They pretend there is no problem and sweep our concerns under a rug. Until this is made more public and awareness is spread there will be NO change. I know we aren't the only parents with concerns.

That's why I believe everyone should write their concerns on the facebook page I made. http://www.facebook.com/FrenchImmersionWRDSB

Lets get the elephant out of the closet, Im hoping to get more parents on this page, all voicing their concerns. If we get enuff people who all see a problem with this we could probably attract Media attention.

I think then and only then will they listen to us.

KitchenerMom
03-06-2012, 01:19 PM
I thought the way it worked was that if there was enough demand for FI at any of the schools that don't currently have it, that the school would get a class? I could be wrong, but that's always been my understanding. So maybe those schools just don't have enough families who are interested in putting their kids in the program? Noel's school didn't have FI until this year, and next year there will be TWO FI grade one classes. You would think if there was a shortage of FI teachers or something, our school wouldn't get two whole classes for one grade while other schools went without even one. But if it's really the case that the "rich" schools are favoured over the "poorer" schools when it comes to who gets FI, then that is totally not fair and needs to change.

Your right with the way it works, If there is enough children who register, a class will be made.. there needs to be 20 kids or more. say there is 19 kids,.. there wont be one made.. And a key word her from the website "Schools that do not presently offer French Immersion may be considered for a French Immersion grade one class if the class attains the enrolment of 20 registered students for September 2012."

But lets look at the way you register for example. On January 12th at 8am you are able to register online. If you dont have a computer you can go to the library..

Also look at schools who havnt previously had french Immersion but the interest was there so they created a class.. example Our school 'Brigadoon'... maybe there wasnt interest before... but do we really know? we dont have access to these records... it started as 2 grade 1 classes.. My daughter had 12 people in her class and maybe there was 13 or 14 in the other class. Now that the program has been there for a few years, the french Immersion students are outnumbering the non-immersion students... My point being... If people know its there and available.. they'll sign their kids up for it.

If people in these low income areas Know they dont have the funds or means to transport their kids everyday to and from an out of boundary school... whats the point of registering? Alot of people dont want to pull their children from schools that their kids have made friends with during JK and SK. Not to mention not everyone has computer or internet access.

If all our surrounding areas are able to provide "GUARANTEED" access to french Immersion ... Why cant our board? I just dont get it.

sarah_mom
03-06-2012, 01:59 PM
Hi mom's. Its important to sign up for FI, even if you aren't able to transport kids elsewhere. On the form Click Option A (http://www.wrdsb.ca/programs/french-second-language/partial-french-immersion-registration), which says that you are only putting your child in FI in their home school. This tells the board how many parents want FI at the home school even if it isn't provided. Otherwise, please sign the petitions here: http://www.waterloo-french-immersion.ca/sign-the-petition/ and join the facebook page. This way we can present parent interest to the Board and hopefully get them to listen. I know it may be too late for some parents to have access but at least it helps change what is essentially an unfair policy. Postal code should not determine educational options at a public board.

sarah_mom
03-06-2012, 02:02 PM
Also to those parents in the Catholic Board, our fight for changes to the program started with a presentation to the board. Then we had a few supportive trustees put forward a motion asking staff to look at changing the program. Staff came back to report they wanted to do further research (a bit disappointing). But we then got a motion passed asking staff to review hours to the program and report back with recommended changes in November, 2012. I'm not sure how the process works in the Catholic board, but it might be something to consider. As far as I know the staff have quite a bit of power there too so if there is a French consultant on the board, maybe talk to him or her and ask about how changes could be made. Hope this helps!

momofthreecuties
03-06-2012, 04:01 PM
As has been stated above, it is only if there is enough demand this year and for teh forseeable future plus there needs to be enpough space in the school. So, my boudary school which has about 20 Senior Kind. kids and has no buses to it will never offer it.

Also with the on-line registration being first come first serve if you don't have a computer in your home you need to go to the library but the registration begins really early so by the time the library opens if you are an out of boundary family you are probably too late.

I talked to many moms in my kids school last year who were just resinged to the fact that they would never be able to have their child in FI - most of them lived in the subsidized housing with no ability to transport there children and no possibility of it ever coming to them. They had long ago given up. So unfair.

momofthreecuties
03-06-2012, 04:07 PM
If all our surrounding areas are able to provide "GUARANTEED" access to french Immersion ... Why cant our board? I just dont get it.

This, this and more this. I have lived in three districts and in each of these I was given 4 choices of where I could send my child: French Immersion Public, French Immersion Catholic, non FI public and non FI public. If I was too far to walk busing would be provided. Sometimes my closest school offered FI but if it didn't I was not out of luck like I am here.

It even makes more senes financially - establish a number of schools that offer FI (and space them out) and resource them properly. For instance since this is the first year our school is offering FI we have to do a lot of fundraisers to get the Home Reading books in French and a number of other French resources. Then you don't have to contiunue to add and subtract schools that offer the program depending on fluctuating need.

sarah_mom
03-06-2012, 05:32 PM
Like the other mothers in this forum, I find this extremely unfair. I do know the schools also have a computer available to sign up for FI, but again this assumes that parents are able to get to the school at 8am, and it ignores the issue of transportation. I have just added a petition about transportation at
http://www.waterloo-french-immersion.ca/sign-the-petition/

I agree with the above post that other districts are offering total access and busing (Guelph being one of them), why aren't we?

Lets get organised and send a message. Please sign the petitions and if you can, contact your school board trustee. If we get enough support, hopefully we can present the board with a lot of names of a lot of parents who want access and transportation.

Please pass on the website details: http://www.waterloo-french-immersion.ca to any interested party or to parent-teacher groups in your school.

Amers
03-19-2012, 11:37 PM
Hello Ladies,
Seeing as this was a thread essentially bashing the current Partial French Immersion program I wanted to let you know about my recent experience and find out if others have had something similar happen. I registered my daughter on Jan 12 at 8am like everyone else and just found out today that she was never registered for the program. I called the board and was told to re-register her and email them the original confirmation page which i did. Problem is, the classes have been made and the other parents notified. So, even if they go back and find my registration and realize that I would have qualified for a spot at the preferred school (we are out of boundary) she still may not get a spot.

You were all discussing fairness and accessibility and this is the epitome of just that. I am a single mom who chose her home without worrying about the local school because I assumed I would be transporting my child elsewhere. If I had known that she wouldn't get a spot ANYWHERE, I probably would have been a bit more selective in the rental I chose. Her home school is not one I would have chosen in a million years, smack dab in the middle of an industrial area and facing a busy street where cars struggle to go 60km/hr let alone the posted 40km/hr.

I am so disappointed and at a loss for words. If you know anyone who registered this year and has not heard back from the board yet please pass this along. It also happened to a friend of mine who called to check on his child's status and was told she wasn't registered either. We are definitely not the only ones. I believe that this is a repeat of last year where some people were able to jump the queue (register before 8am) and others had incomplete registrations, perhaps just on a smaller scale. I'm trying to get the word out that there may have been an issue this year too. Thanks for reading :)

Tammymom
03-19-2012, 11:56 PM
Hi Amers,
If you have the confirmation and the school still doesn't do anything for you I would contact my school board trustee asap as they actually have a lot of pull in certain situations. Several years back we had an issue with my brother not getting into a program that he should have (not french immersion though) and the trustee fixed it within a day or two for us.

momofthreecuties
03-20-2012, 12:26 AM
no advice, just good luck! Call Cindy Watson, she has been working hard on many aspects of this issue

Tanya-Mae
03-31-2012, 01:30 AM
My daughter started FI in JK when we lived in Sudbury. She was accepted into the FI program in gr1 in Kitchener. We live in the Country Hills area and she went to Southridge for FI. Westheights is the feeder school for gr 7/8 then KCI. One of the unfortunate parts of FI is that transportation is the parents responsibility. Takes some juggling but I have managed.