The Rumour Mill is active as are Politics in Oakville. There is a high school planned to open in Ward 4 on West Oak Trails Boulevard in 2012. The announcement has conjured controversy, not celebration. It is being built to accommodate the future population growth in Oakville and to relieve the overcrowding at Abbey Park High School and White Oaks Secondary School. Somehow it has become about French Immersion?
Education and trusteeship is not about French Immersion. While it is important to some Ward 4 families, it is but one issue among many more significant issues in Education and Halton. It’s time to refocus and move on to the issues that matter most, to most: The health, safety, well being and inclusivity of each and every one of our children and families; the quality of education our children receive when they arrive at school; the stability resulting from pro-active, accurate short and long term planning; fiscal responsibility; transportation, our community and Ministry cut backs and initiatives.
Don’t be fooled by ridiculous, poorly thought out rumours. To criticize a trustee or trustee candidate for soliciting feedback is ludicrous. How else might a trustee or candidate understand and represent community opinion if it has not been received?
To help you understand:
- One trustee cannot make a final decision; Decisions are made via the democratic process by eleven trustees at the board table.
- A single-track French Immersion (FI) elementary school in Halton is one that houses French Immersion students only.
- A dual-track school in Halton is an elementary school that houses both FI and English stream students.
- We do not typically refer to a high school as dual or single track.
Diversity in programming is exceptionally important for the engagement and success of many of our students. Specialization in 2010 is common and High schools provide a wide scope of program and course options throughout Oakville, Halton and Ontario. There are two main categories of courses offered to students in high school; compulsory/mandatory and elective. To graduate students must successfully complete 30 credits. See ministry link for details: www.edu.gov.on.ca/extra/eng/ppm/graduate.html
It’s no lie. I believe in specialized programming and choice; students are successful when programs are specific to their educational strengths, interests and needs. Principals offer course options based on interest and enrolment. Principals cancel courses when enrolment is insufficient. At no time will English Programming be affected at a high school containing a French immersion program. Most French Immersion students will have completed their required courses in French by grade 10, they too require choice.
Students choose to attend high school out of area to participate in specialized programs such as, Specialist High Skill Major, (SHSM), French Immersion, Apprenticeship Training, International Baccalaureate (IB) and others. These programs and courses are subjected to the same enrolment guidelines as any other course.
Oakville has a total of 821 students participating in F I programming at the Secondary School level. Those 821 students are at four schools in Oakville. We build high schools to accommodate at least 1200 students so that we can provide depth, breadth and choice to students preparing for college, university and work. To think trustees, parents of French Immersion students or staff would want to limit students to a single-track high school shows a lack of understanding.
Students need choice in education; parents want choice for their children. The Halton District School Board continues to provide challenge and choice. Be thankful.
As your trustee representative I have listened, heard and responded by finding solutions that best served all of the students and the system. Check the record! Special interest groups will always exist and do not belong at the board table. I clearly understand the opinions in this Ward. I have lived and breathed them for four years.
The fear mongering in our community has nothing to do with the public voting record of the current trustee. For your information and clarification I offer you this:
- Ecole Forest Trail was built specifically to deal with the overcrowding at Ecole Pine Grove and was designated FI before I was elected;
- I supported Palermo Public School as a single-track FI Center as a means to deal with the exceptionally high FI enrolment in Ward 4;
- many parents residing in Palermo and West of Fourth Line expressed their desire to remain at “their school”;
- information from 2006 when I was Co-Chair of Ecole Pine Grove, before trusteeship has been circulated to appear current;
- a single track French Immersion Secondary School model does not exist in Halton, it does not make sense.
Please do your research before October 25th our children count on it.
- Kathryn Bateman-Olmstead, Ward 4 Trustee Candidate and Incumbent
The 2010 Oakville Municipal election will be held on October 25, 2010. Visit our special Oakville election 2010 section for the latest election news, candidate profiles and more.