Push for FI program gains momentum

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

Four Waterdown mothers have banded together to promote the introduction of a French Immersion (FI) program at Allan A. Greenleaf School for the fall of 2007.

Kyra Paterson, Lynda Moore, Christina Grant and Vanessa Palmer-Newman formed Waterdown Parents for French Immersion last week and are now busy revising an information poster and pamphlet in hopes of uncovering enough public interest to convince the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) to establish its first FI program in a school outside Hamilton's city core.

Paterson, who initiated the drive about a month ago, is hopeful the school board will respond if sufficient interest is shown. Over the past few weeks, she has gathered the signatures of about 20 Waterdown parents who, collectively, have 40 children of different age groups that they would like to see enrolled in a FI program.

But Krys Croxall, the board's superintendent of program and assessment, has told Paterson that 30 to 35 students of Senior Kindergarten age from Greenleaf School's catchment area (the specified community neighbourhood from which a school draws its students) will be required before the school board will consider starting a new FI program.

Even if the numbers are there, "that might not be enough to convince the board to establish a program at Greenleaf," the superintendent warned Paterson in a recent e-mail. Croxall describes Greenleaf's situation as "problematic" because of Waterdown's population explosion and the board's current policy for FI programs.

Under its "magnet school" policy, Greenleaf would have to take in interested students from other catchment areas. This presents a problem because the Waterdown school is already over capacity and the community's expected spurt in population will only add further strains to the system.

The concept of a FI "home school" model, requiring 30 to 35 in-catchment students at the SK level before introduction of a new program, was introduced to the board a few years

ago but failed to get support. If that system was adopted, not all students in Waterdown would have equal access to the program and that might also prompt opposition from some trustees, Croxall's e-mail message stated.

Despite her cautionary words, Croxall told the Review she hopes to see the program expand and is particularly hopeful it will be offered when a new elementary school is built in Waterdown. In a new school, space can be allotted for new programs from the start and there is "room to build" on the programs, she said.

Flamborough school trustee Reg Woodworth said the fall 2007 timeline proposed by Paterson isn't beyond reach, but several steps would have to take place before the FI program could be established locally. Space could become available at Greenleaf if it was given free rein to use the portables at neighbouring Waterdown District High School that would become available if the board is able to move ahead with expansion plans for the high school.

The HWDSB is currently in negotiations with a developer to purchase land for the expansion.

"If the board can achieve what it wants at the high school, a lot of portable space will become available, " Woodworth said.

But the key is getting through the negotiations and buying the land in a timely manner. If property could be secured in three to four months, Woodworth said the board is prepared to make "immediate plans" for the high school's expansion and it's conceivable the new addition could be completed by September, 2007.

Beyond that, trustees would need to reach agreement on whether to back the existing "magnet school" policy or adopt the "home school" option.

Woodworth said the board plans to build two new public schools in Waterdown, but their construction is tied to proposed subdivision growth and is dependent on land being secured for the schools. Expectations are that the new housing won't come on stream for five to 10 years.

Paterson hopes her quest is attainable. She is the mother of two young sons, the eldest of which will start JK during the next school term. She wants her sons to learn to speak French for a number of reasons.

"It's so important to be bilingual today," she said, adding that she works for the federal government and there are severe limits on advancement for those who cannot speak both French and English. "Children learn so much faster and easier," she said, further emphasizing the need for French instruction at an early age.

Paterson also has a French-Canadian mom and thinks it would be wonderful if her two sons could converse with their grandmother in French.

Building a list

The newly-formed Waterdown Parents for French Immersion intends to continue getting the word out about its plans and building up the list of parents' names interested in seeing the program come to Greenleaf School. They will be targeting parents in Greenleaf's catchment area to gauge interest.

"I started this (initiative) because I thought if I didn't, no one would," Paterson explained. The formation of a working group has boosted her spirits and she hopes, with the help of other like-minded moms, to share her knowledge about Waterdown's prospects for a FI program with others in the community.

Parents wanting to learn more about the issue are directed to the new, revised website for the group at http://waterdownFI.bravehost.com or those wanting to contact the group directly by e-mail can write to: waterdownFI@hotmail.com Alternatively, Paterson can be reached by phoning 905-690-7623.

For information on the HWDSB's policy and curriculum for FI programs, visit www.hwdsb.on.ca/fimmersion/

"If the board can achieve what it wants at the high school, a lot of portable space will become available."

Flamborough trustee Reg Woodworth

Push for FI program gains momentum

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

Four Waterdown mothers have banded together to promote the introduction of a French Immersion (FI) program at Allan A. Greenleaf School for the fall of 2007.

Kyra Paterson, Lynda Moore, Christina Grant and Vanessa Palmer-Newman formed Waterdown Parents for French Immersion last week and are now busy revising an information poster and pamphlet in hopes of uncovering enough public interest to convince the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) to establish its first FI program in a school outside Hamilton's city core.

Paterson, who initiated the drive about a month ago, is hopeful the school board will respond if sufficient interest is shown. Over the past few weeks, she has gathered the signatures of about 20 Waterdown parents who, collectively, have 40 children of different age groups that they would like to see enrolled in a FI program.

But Krys Croxall, the board's superintendent of program and assessment, has told Paterson that 30 to 35 students of Senior Kindergarten age from Greenleaf School's catchment area (the specified community neighbourhood from which a school draws its students) will be required before the school board will consider starting a new FI program.

Even if the numbers are there, "that might not be enough to convince the board to establish a program at Greenleaf," the superintendent warned Paterson in a recent e-mail. Croxall describes Greenleaf's situation as "problematic" because of Waterdown's population explosion and the board's current policy for FI programs.

Under its "magnet school" policy, Greenleaf would have to take in interested students from other catchment areas. This presents a problem because the Waterdown school is already over capacity and the community's expected spurt in population will only add further strains to the system.

The concept of a FI "home school" model, requiring 30 to 35 in-catchment students at the SK level before introduction of a new program, was introduced to the board a few years

ago but failed to get support. If that system was adopted, not all students in Waterdown would have equal access to the program and that might also prompt opposition from some trustees, Croxall's e-mail message stated.

Despite her cautionary words, Croxall told the Review she hopes to see the program expand and is particularly hopeful it will be offered when a new elementary school is built in Waterdown. In a new school, space can be allotted for new programs from the start and there is "room to build" on the programs, she said.

Flamborough school trustee Reg Woodworth said the fall 2007 timeline proposed by Paterson isn't beyond reach, but several steps would have to take place before the FI program could be established locally. Space could become available at Greenleaf if it was given free rein to use the portables at neighbouring Waterdown District High School that would become available if the board is able to move ahead with expansion plans for the high school.

The HWDSB is currently in negotiations with a developer to purchase land for the expansion.

"If the board can achieve what it wants at the high school, a lot of portable space will become available, " Woodworth said.

But the key is getting through the negotiations and buying the land in a timely manner. If property could be secured in three to four months, Woodworth said the board is prepared to make "immediate plans" for the high school's expansion and it's conceivable the new addition could be completed by September, 2007.

Beyond that, trustees would need to reach agreement on whether to back the existing "magnet school" policy or adopt the "home school" option.

Woodworth said the board plans to build two new public schools in Waterdown, but their construction is tied to proposed subdivision growth and is dependent on land being secured for the schools. Expectations are that the new housing won't come on stream for five to 10 years.

Paterson hopes her quest is attainable. She is the mother of two young sons, the eldest of which will start JK during the next school term. She wants her sons to learn to speak French for a number of reasons.

"It's so important to be bilingual today," she said, adding that she works for the federal government and there are severe limits on advancement for those who cannot speak both French and English. "Children learn so much faster and easier," she said, further emphasizing the need for French instruction at an early age.

Paterson also has a French-Canadian mom and thinks it would be wonderful if her two sons could converse with their grandmother in French.

Building a list

The newly-formed Waterdown Parents for French Immersion intends to continue getting the word out about its plans and building up the list of parents' names interested in seeing the program come to Greenleaf School. They will be targeting parents in Greenleaf's catchment area to gauge interest.

"I started this (initiative) because I thought if I didn't, no one would," Paterson explained. The formation of a working group has boosted her spirits and she hopes, with the help of other like-minded moms, to share her knowledge about Waterdown's prospects for a FI program with others in the community.

Parents wanting to learn more about the issue are directed to the new, revised website for the group at http://waterdownFI.bravehost.com or those wanting to contact the group directly by e-mail can write to: waterdownFI@hotmail.com Alternatively, Paterson can be reached by phoning 905-690-7623.

For information on the HWDSB's policy and curriculum for FI programs, visit www.hwdsb.on.ca/fimmersion/

"If the board can achieve what it wants at the high school, a lot of portable space will become available."

Flamborough trustee Reg Woodworth

Push for FI program gains momentum

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

Four Waterdown mothers have banded together to promote the introduction of a French Immersion (FI) program at Allan A. Greenleaf School for the fall of 2007.

Kyra Paterson, Lynda Moore, Christina Grant and Vanessa Palmer-Newman formed Waterdown Parents for French Immersion last week and are now busy revising an information poster and pamphlet in hopes of uncovering enough public interest to convince the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) to establish its first FI program in a school outside Hamilton's city core.

Paterson, who initiated the drive about a month ago, is hopeful the school board will respond if sufficient interest is shown. Over the past few weeks, she has gathered the signatures of about 20 Waterdown parents who, collectively, have 40 children of different age groups that they would like to see enrolled in a FI program.

But Krys Croxall, the board's superintendent of program and assessment, has told Paterson that 30 to 35 students of Senior Kindergarten age from Greenleaf School's catchment area (the specified community neighbourhood from which a school draws its students) will be required before the school board will consider starting a new FI program.

Even if the numbers are there, "that might not be enough to convince the board to establish a program at Greenleaf," the superintendent warned Paterson in a recent e-mail. Croxall describes Greenleaf's situation as "problematic" because of Waterdown's population explosion and the board's current policy for FI programs.

Under its "magnet school" policy, Greenleaf would have to take in interested students from other catchment areas. This presents a problem because the Waterdown school is already over capacity and the community's expected spurt in population will only add further strains to the system.

The concept of a FI "home school" model, requiring 30 to 35 in-catchment students at the SK level before introduction of a new program, was introduced to the board a few years

ago but failed to get support. If that system was adopted, not all students in Waterdown would have equal access to the program and that might also prompt opposition from some trustees, Croxall's e-mail message stated.

Despite her cautionary words, Croxall told the Review she hopes to see the program expand and is particularly hopeful it will be offered when a new elementary school is built in Waterdown. In a new school, space can be allotted for new programs from the start and there is "room to build" on the programs, she said.

Flamborough school trustee Reg Woodworth said the fall 2007 timeline proposed by Paterson isn't beyond reach, but several steps would have to take place before the FI program could be established locally. Space could become available at Greenleaf if it was given free rein to use the portables at neighbouring Waterdown District High School that would become available if the board is able to move ahead with expansion plans for the high school.

The HWDSB is currently in negotiations with a developer to purchase land for the expansion.

"If the board can achieve what it wants at the high school, a lot of portable space will become available, " Woodworth said.

But the key is getting through the negotiations and buying the land in a timely manner. If property could be secured in three to four months, Woodworth said the board is prepared to make "immediate plans" for the high school's expansion and it's conceivable the new addition could be completed by September, 2007.

Beyond that, trustees would need to reach agreement on whether to back the existing "magnet school" policy or adopt the "home school" option.

Woodworth said the board plans to build two new public schools in Waterdown, but their construction is tied to proposed subdivision growth and is dependent on land being secured for the schools. Expectations are that the new housing won't come on stream for five to 10 years.

Paterson hopes her quest is attainable. She is the mother of two young sons, the eldest of which will start JK during the next school term. She wants her sons to learn to speak French for a number of reasons.

"It's so important to be bilingual today," she said, adding that she works for the federal government and there are severe limits on advancement for those who cannot speak both French and English. "Children learn so much faster and easier," she said, further emphasizing the need for French instruction at an early age.

Paterson also has a French-Canadian mom and thinks it would be wonderful if her two sons could converse with their grandmother in French.

Building a list

The newly-formed Waterdown Parents for French Immersion intends to continue getting the word out about its plans and building up the list of parents' names interested in seeing the program come to Greenleaf School. They will be targeting parents in Greenleaf's catchment area to gauge interest.

"I started this (initiative) because I thought if I didn't, no one would," Paterson explained. The formation of a working group has boosted her spirits and she hopes, with the help of other like-minded moms, to share her knowledge about Waterdown's prospects for a FI program with others in the community.

Parents wanting to learn more about the issue are directed to the new, revised website for the group at http://waterdownFI.bravehost.com or those wanting to contact the group directly by e-mail can write to: waterdownFI@hotmail.com Alternatively, Paterson can be reached by phoning 905-690-7623.

For information on the HWDSB's policy and curriculum for FI programs, visit www.hwdsb.on.ca/fimmersion/

"If the board can achieve what it wants at the high school, a lot of portable space will become available."

Flamborough trustee Reg Woodworth