In July 2018, the trustees of the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) unanimously approved the preservation of the International Languages Program for thousands of students in 44 schools. The Board acknowledged the many concerns expressed by parents regarding the elimination of the extended day and thanked the students, staff, parents, and community associations who took the time to provide feedback by phone, through writing, and in person at Board meetings.
Pending Ministry of Education approval, the IL program will be taught for 30 minutes a day, four days a week during the school day for the next school year. The IL program will be evaluated within the school year, and other alternative methods of delivery may be explored for future school years. In the 44 schools, the IL program will be integrated into the regular school day rather than an extended school day commencing September 2018. The Board trustees had hoped that the extended day could be reinstated, but the Board must abide by a decision in an Arbitrator’s award on a grievance between the Toronto Elementary Catholic Teachers (TECT) of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA) and the TCDSB.
The Board remains committed to providing students with opportunities to learn languages in addition to English and French. Research has shown that learning multiple languages improves student achievement, and opens the doors to endless opportunities for students in our global world. The International Languages program enriches the TCDSB curriculum, and enhances the school experience for students.
Parents in the 44 schools will be invited to participate in a survey to confirm their desire about the format of IL programming taught during four 30-minute periods each week, as approved by the Board, or through an alternative program delivery model that suits their individual community needs. Any schools who wish to opt out of the program will have that option. In accordance with the Board approved motion, all elementary schools will be surveyed to ascertain their interest on providing a new International Languages program at their school in future years.
The Director of Education is instructed to work with relevant union partners and stakeholders to identify available options which would keep International Languages programming in IL schools and any other interested school communities in the future, and staff will report back on the results of those discussions.
The Toronto Student Transportation Group (TSTG) will be advised of the changes to the program hours, and bus routes will be reorganized in order to accommodate students who rely on school bus transportation. To minimize transportation issues, the changes to pick-up at the end of the school day, due to the elimination of the additional 30 minutes, will be transitioned throughout the school year in order to ensure that all bus routes are adequately serviced. Supervision of students will be provided at these schools. As new drivers come on line, notification will be sent to families about changes to pick up and drop off times. All families are asked to visit the TSTG website for updates throughout the summer and into the school year.
The trustees are committed to delivering before and after school programs where families require care, and to expanding such programs at the TCDSB. Please contact our Early Learning Team or your local school trustee if you are interested in beginning a new program in your school community. Please call 416-222-8282 ext. 2660.