On Monday, November 2, our School Ward Trustee, Sheila Cary-Meagher, hosted an informal meeting in Gledhill’s school library to discuss the “French Immersion Pathway for Middle School and High School.”
The meeting was attended by large group of parents. Attendees also included our Principal – Cathy McAleese, our Vice Principal, Vincent Spadaro, the Principal of DA Morrison – Marc Mullan, and our superintendent – Lucy Giannotta.
The details of the PARC (Pupil Accommodation Review Committee) recommendation were briefly discussed. The full document can be found here:
Of particular relevance to our school is the pathway of Gledhill’s French and English students over the following few years:
Current Grade 6 Students (English & French) will graduate Grade 6 from Gledhill in June 2016 and begin Grade 7 at DA Morrison in Sept 2016 (Note: this is not a change for students in the English program; students in the French program would have gone to Glen Ames Middle School for Grade 7 prior to this change)
Current Grade 5 Students (English and French) will graduate Grade 6 from Gledhill in June 2017 and begin Grade 7 at DA Morrison in Sept 2017
Current Grade 4 Students (English and French) will graduate Grade 6 from Gledhill in June 2018 and begin Grade 7 at DA Morrison in Sept 2018
Current Grade 3 Students (English and French) will graduate Grade 5 from Gledhill in June 2018 and begin Grade 6 at DA Morrison in Sept 2018 (Note: this is the start of Gledhill students entering middle school at DA Morrison when they begin Grade 6; these students will also enter middle school with those entering Grade 7 from Gledhill – a double cohort for this year)
Current Grade 2 Students and those in lower grades (English and French) will graduate Grade 5 from Gledhill and begin Grade 6 at DA Morrison
(September 2018 will also be the first year students from Earl Beatty Jr & Sr PS French Immersion will feed into Grade 6 at DA Morrison)
Concerns voiced by parents at the meeting included:
- Whether this pathway and timeline are firm or is there any room for negotiation?
- The resources that would or would not be available to a small cohort of French Immersion students attending a new French Immersion program at both DA Morrison and eventually East York Collegiate. These included such things as library resources and teaching staff.
- The perceived abruptness of this announcement and lack of consultation with Gledhill parents.
The principal of DA Morrison and the Trustee had some assurances, including:
- extra funding would be available to any school setting up a new program
- the Principal of DA Morrison has a high level of commitment to implement and oversee a successful transition
- The suggestion of including an Extended French Program (which would begin for students in Grade 7) to increase the size of the French population and thereby increasing access to resources
There were many questions that remained unanswered, and there was discussion of a follow up meeting in December to discuss:
- What success the Trustee could have in delaying the timeline by 1 or 2 years?
- What financial resources the school would have to ensure a full French Immersion program would be in place at DA Morrison (for books, teaching staff, etc.) from the first year of transition
- Could Extended French be offered at DA Morrison?
The Gledhill School Council will keep parents informed about any future meeting dates.