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1. Making that Bold Step

To get from the classroom to using French in the community is a bold and important step for French language learners. As a parent, you play a key role in supporting this step. Even if you don’t speak French, you can enhance your child’s confidence, fluency and their motivation by encouraging them to participate in extra-curricular activities in French.  Research shows a direct correlation between out-of-class language use and proficiency gains. 
 Look for French programs such as story time, book clubs and homework help at your public library.  Visit French Street to find French cultural performances, French extra-curricular programs (arts, sports, drama etc), camps and exchanges.  
To get engaged in your child’s French education, why not join Canadian Parents for French (CPF)  - a not for profit organization that supports bilingualism by creating opportunities for youth to learn and use French.  CPF is an educational partner of the TDSB!    By volunteering with your local CPF Chapter, parents can help bring extra-curricular activities, resources and grants to support your school community.     For more information, contact Rosemary Sutherland, Chapter Development and Outreach Officer at rsutherland@on.cpf.ca

2. Making that Bold Step for Teens

There are many great opportunities for teenagers to make that bold and important step to use their French with native French speakers across Canada and beyond.
Explore  offers bursaries for immersive experiences in French speaking communities across Canada and just announced a new 3 week summer program for ages 13-15 as well as their 6 week programs for ages 16+. CEEF offers exchanges with France during the school year and during the summer. ISE offers summer language exchanges in Quebec and France. The YMCA  has a summer work exchange for ages 16-17 where the student gets a paid job experience in French, usually in Quebec.
EduTravel   provides students the opportunity to do credits in French during the summer and there are information nights on January 10, 2019 at Lawrence Park and on January 16, 2019 at Etobicoke School of the Arts.  

3. Ministry Parent Consultation Closes December 15

“For the Parents” Ministry of Education consultation  closes on December 15, 2018. They are looking for feedback from parents, students, educators and interested individuals and organizations on the education system in Ontario.
Submissions can be made anonymously via an online form with fill-in text boxes, by providing your email address to receive an on-line survey link or by emailing with your feedback in an attached PDF or word doc.

Feedback can be given on anything, including French programs if using the online form or responding via email. The specific questions being asked are on improving student performance in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), preparing students with needed job skills, improving provincial standardized testing, ensuring students graduate with important life skills, banning cellphone use in classrooms, building a new age-appropriate Health and Physical Education curriculum and what should be in a Parents’ Bill of Rights. 

The Ministry of Education is also asking stakeholder organizations, including the TDSB, to provide input to their budget process. The timeline for this annual consultation is unusually short and it is during the transition between the outgoing and incoming Boards of Trustees. Materials from the Ministry were received at a special meeting of the Finance, Budget and Enrolment Committee on November 26, 2018 and submissions to the Ministry must be made by December 14, 2018. The Education Funding Engagement guide asks stakeholder organizations to identify 4% that can be cut from education by finding efficiencies. TDSB staff is drafting the response and Trustees will consider it at their meeting on December 12, 2018.  

4. National Essay Competition Closes December 21

French for the Future’s annual French essay contest for Grade 10-12 students is on until December 21, 2018. 
This year’s essay theme  is “When I was in high school, playing rugby would allow me to relax and to find my balance” says Magali Harvey, member of the Canadian Rugby Team. “With unlimited means (time, money, resources…), how would you improve the well-being of high school students?”. Post-secondary scholarships of $1000-$12000 are awarded to the winners. 

French for the Future is a national not-for-profit organization (founded in Toronto!) that works to inspire passion for French-English bilingualism. It hosts Forums with secondary school students and one is being planned in Toronto in April. Teachers can connect with French for the Future to register their students. Grade 10 and 11 students can apply to be a French for the Future ambassador to have the opportunity to attend a week long Forum, all expenses paid. 
Details here

5. Junior Extended French Applications by February 4

Applications are open for the Junior Extended French program from January 7 – February 4, 2019. Details here

The program starts in grade 4 and students do 50% of their day French from grade 4-8. In grade 9-12, Extended French students do a minimum of 7 credits in French. Information evenings are being held across the city during January and there is a virtual information evening on January 15, 2019. Information evening details here

All TDSB French Second Language programs are designed for students who do not speak French at home. All on-time applicants to the Junior Extended French program are given a placement however, admission to a specific school is not guaranteed. To support equity of access, transportation is provided in accordance with TDSB transportation policy and procedures. The Junior Extended French program began at the TDSB in 2004 at two schools and has gradually rolled out to 38 schools across the city. About 1300 students joined the program last year.   

6. Storytime without Books

The Toronto Public Library offers a great 24 hour service for children up to 12 years old. There are stories in French (and many other languages) offered for different levels of understanding. This FREE  service can be accessed by telephone at (416) 395-5400.

7. Spelling and Grammar Homework Helper

We can all relate to those late nights of wondering if we need to double check our writing. Now there is BonPatron.com ,an easy to use FREE checker for grammar, spelling, conjugation, phonetics and much more… Middle and high school students and parents, can type in short texts in French and BonPatron will highlight words and phrases to double check. 

8. French Review Update

The Summary of Findings from the French Review consultation that took place in May-June 2018 was given to Trustees of the Program and School Services Committee (PSSC) on November 1, 2018 and received by the Board on November 28, 2018.

The release of the full report is expected in the coming days. TDSB staff is asked to “review findings, participation, enrolment trends, and research literature in all French programs in the TDSB with the Multi-year Strategic Plan in mind and bring back recommendations to the Board of Trustees in spring 2019.”
The FSLAC plans to discuss the development of recommendations at their upcoming meetings January 9 and February 11, 2019. Parents, students and Trustees are welcome to attend. Meetings take place at 7 pm at the TDSB Offices at 5050 Yonge St. 

9. Multi-Year Strategic Plan & FSL

 The TDSB Multi-Year Strategic Plan (MYSP) and Action Plans  were approved by the Board on October 24, 2018. This plan is intended to drive the work of the TDSB to achieve these five goals: transform student learning, create a culture for student and staff well-being, provide equity of access to learning opportunities for all students, allocate human and financial resources strategically to support student needs and build strong relationships and partnerships within school communities to support student learning and well-being.

The Action Plans have the French Review as an item under the goal of providing equity of access (p.40). Reviews are also anticipated for the Optional Attendance policy and transportation. Other planned actions of particular relevance to French Second Language programs and the Summary of Findings in the French Review include building capacity and collaboration to support students with special education needs (p. 23-24), supporting staff well-being (p.36), improving program offerings in secondary schools including experiential learning (p. 41) and strengthening opportunities for parents/caregivers to contribute to the direction of the Board (p.50). 

10. Join us at the FSLAC

 The French as a Second Language Advisory Committee is looking for new parent members and alternates during 2019.  Interested parents can join us at upcoming meetings on January 8 and February 11, 2019 to learn more about the FSLAC and parent involvement at the Board. Meetings start at 7 pm at the TDSB offices at 5050 Yonge St., ground floor. FSLAC information is posted on the TDSB website:  www.tdsb.on.ca/fslac.

11. Share this Newsletter

Help us share TDSB French news and parent tips with parents and school councils by forwarding this newsletter. Please encourage parents and school councils to sign up here . There is also a sign-up button on our TDSB webpage tdsb.on.ca/fslac . It just takes a minute to get connected. The FSLAC newsletter is produced by parent volunteers once/per term. This is our 10th year!