MONTREAL, DECEMBER 13, 2010 –The English Montreal School Board (EMSB) Council of Commissioners has voted to maintain the status quo of their programs – English core, Bilingual and Immersion –at the primary level. However, it was recommended that schools offering the Bilingual program, be “encouraged” to opt in favor of the existing French Immersion program..
A mandate was given to the Director General of the EMSB in March 2009 to prepare documentation in order to consult the school community on whether there would be one extended French program or retain itspresent two extended French programs . In May 2009, the Pedagogical Services Department presented to the Education and Facilities Committee, as per the mandate of the Council of Commissioners, documentation that validated and supported a recommendation for one extended French program at the EMSB.
On June 1, 2009 a presentation was made to a limited audience of parents on the review of the French Second Language (FSL) Programs at the EMSB. At that time, it was recommended that other opportunities for discussion to further explore this topic be organized by the Pedagogical Services Department. Four information sessions or cluster meetings to further review and consider the FSL Programs offered by the EMSB were organized in January and February 2010 that allowed for discussion and feedback from its stakeholders. Follow-up meetings with school Governing Boards and school community members also took place. In April 2010, a survey of all parents was conducted allowing everyone to have a voice in the consultation.
Four options of an extended French program had been developed for consideration. The purpose of the survey was to provide parents with the opportunity to identify their preference and to express their opinion regarding the extended French Program at the elementary school level which they believe best meets the needs of their children in becoming bilingual and biliterate. A one-page document was used for the survey and parents were requested to complete the survey and return it to their school by May 21, 2010.
The survey results were tabulated and presented at the meeting of the Council of June 16, 2010. The Pedagogical Services Department was then further mandated to collect and analyse the results of the end-of-cycle (EOC) exams in English, (ELA), French (FSL) and Math, which were presented at a commissioners’ workshop on November 16, 2010.