Mark Campbell

Local schools open their doors for prospective JK students

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Local elementary schools opened their doors recently to welcome prospective new students.

Open houses were held to showcase the schools and what they have to offer. For Amherstburg Public School, they are now accepting registration for the second year of its French Immersion program. Principal Mark Campbell said there has been a lot of interest again in the French Immersion program, but a lot of interest for the traditional English-stream as well.

Joshua Sutton pedals a tricycle around the gymnasium at Stella Maris School during the Catholic elementary school’s recent open house.

Joshua Sutton pedals a tricycle around the gymnasium at Stella Maris School during the Catholic elementary school’s recent open house.

The first year of the French Immersion program at Amherstburg Public School has gone well, he stated, with 21 students currently enrolled.

“We’re happy with where we’re at,” said Campbell. “We’re hopeful to have 20-25 kids in the program next year.”

Campbell estimated that roughly 15 families expressed interest in French Immersion during the open house. He said another 20-25 students would help keep the program sustainable. Eventually, the plan would see French Immersion run from JK-Grade 8 in addition to the English stream.

Students who choose to take French Immersion could write a French proficiency test once they arrive at high school, Campbell added.

Chloe Maziak tries her hand at some of the musical instruments at Amherstburg Public School’s recent open house.

Chloe Maziak tries her hand at some of the musical instruments at Amherstburg Public School’s recent open house.

“It opens a door for them if they follow through with it,” said Campbell.

There was interest split between the English and French Immersion streams, he said.

“It’s (the families’) choice and they can register for whichever they prefer,” said Campbell.

“Both are fantastic programs,” added vice principal Christina Pottie.

Stella Maris School also welcomed possible new students and principal Sophie DiPaolo reported it was a good turnout there as well.

“We’ve had a lot of people come in and take packages,” said DiPaolo.

Now that students from the former St. Bernard School have integrated into Stella Maris, DiPaolo believes it led to a higher turnout.

Journey Laframboise creates some artwork during the recent JK open house at Amherstburg Public School.

Journey Laframboise creates some artwork during the recent JK open house at Amherstburg Public School.

“I would say it’s up from previous years,” she said.

DiPaolo said she loves seeing the children excited to come to school in the fall and said they enjoyed the activities and tour of the school, which is an indication they are doing something right.

“They liked being here and they liked the interactive activities,” said DiPaolo.

French Immersion coming to Amherstburg Public School

 

(CLARIFICATION: Amherstburg Public School will still be offering English JK/SK next year as French Immersion will be offered as an option. The school will be presenting French Immersion as part of a dual-track option.)

By Ron Giofu

 

Parents of students within the Greater Essex County District School Board who want to enroll their children in French Immersion will now be able to do so in Amherstburg.

Amherstburg Public School will begin offering French Immersion this fall with JK and SK students being the first recipients of the program. Principal Mark Campbell said the program will likely grow incrementally but will only be offered at first to the two kindergarten levels.

The development of French Immersion at Amherstburg Public School will allow students that would normally go to Anderdon Public School or Malden Central Public School to go to Amherstburg Public for the program. The fact the program is coming to Amherstburg will also allow public school families to stay closer to home. The closest option currently for French Immersion within the public board is Sandwich West Public School, said Campbell.

“It will be a transition,” said Campbell. “It will be interesting to see how many people come here or go to the French Catholic school down the road (École St.-Jean Baptiste).”

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According to information provided by the Greater Essex County District School Board (GECDSB), French Immersion students learn the same curriculum as those students enrolled in the English stream with only the language of instruction being different. Parents do not have to speak French, with Campbell noting report cards will be sent home in English.

The GECDSB touts benefits of the French Immersion program to be the increasing of first language skills, problem solving, respect and understanding of other cultures, the understanding of oneself and others, appreciation of the value of languages and its functions, the ability to understand and communicate in French and the increasing of opportunities for the future.

Campbell pointed out his own children are enrolled in French Immersion in Kingsville and he believes it will open up opportunities down the road for them.

“We’re a bilingual country,” he said. “It opens up opportunities in high school, university and beyond if they already have a second language acquired.”

SK and JK instruction will be entirely in French. Should the program expand locally, the French Immersion program calls for 80 per cent French instruction for Grades 2-5, and 50 per cent in Grades 6-8.

“We’re trying to get information out there,” said Campbell. He believes offering French Immersion could increase enrolment at the school and could possibly attract students from other boards as well as those who attend Anderdon or Malden.

“It’s not a competition,” he added. “We’re just offering a new program that just happens to be at Amherstburg Public School.”

Campbell believes it is an exciting time for Amherstburg Public School, but noted some teachers have some concerns.

“It’s a learning curve for everyone and we’ll see what it looks like,” said Campbell. “I think the benefits outweigh any costs that may be involved. It offers more opportunities for our school.”

For further information, contact the school at 519-736-2189 or the public board’s teacher consultant Angeline Humber at 519-255-3200 ext. 10218.

Early registration at Amherstburg Public School runs Feb. 16-26 with the JK open house being Feb. 17. Campbell indicated the teacher consultant will be at the open house and they will be able to answer questions, with Campbell adding he was a vice principal at a French Immersion school in the past.