French being taught at 12 Burlington schools. more to follow. Director of Education David Eaule announces retirement.

News 100 redBy Walter Byj

February 19, 2015


It was a class that was half an hour late – technology got the blame.

School board meetings are now projected onto a screen that is behind the chair facing the trustees.  Some had difficulty speaking and watching themselves in real time.

Votes will no longer be a simple show of hands – the vote count is taken electronically and projected onto the screen.  A lesson here for Burlington city council.

There was just the one delegation: Christian Dragnea of Oakville who thanked the board for their efforts in determining the boundaries for the new elementary school in Neyawagaya/Dundas Street area in Oakville. Recognizing that no decision is perfect, the recommendation brought forward was easily the best. The new boundaries for both the new schools in Oakville and Milton were passed unanimously. Kudos to the board.

Next was an item that will most certainly be quite controversial, not only for Halton, but also for the entire province. With the new Health and Physical Education curriculum to be released shortly, trustee Gray, Halton Hills, presented to the board the following recommendation.

“Based on the need to ensure common understanding and consistent messages about the curriculum expectations associated with the new Health and Physical Health Education Curriculum, be it resolved that the Chair of the Halton District Board be directed to write a letter to the Ministry of Education to insist the following:

-the time frame of the full implementation of the new Health and Physical Curriculum ensures professional training sessions for both elementary and secondary teachers and members of school admin teams take place prior to implantation to ensure a fulsome understanding of the knowledge and skills students are expected to demonstrate at each grade level.

-full funding and resources are provided to support Board training and curriculum implementation.

This was passed unanimously by all the trustees. No doubt this will occupy much of their time and efforts in the near future.

In September of 2014, the HDSB introduced a program whereby 40 minutes a week of Primary Core French teaching for grade one students began in 24 Halton elementary schools; 12 of those schools were located in Burlington.

Although a full year has not been completed, the feedback to date has been positive and the initial 24 schools will expand the program to grade two in the 2015/2016 school year. Along with the grade one students, they too will receive 40 minutes of French on a weekly basis. This program is to expand to an additional 12 schools next year with the hope of all schools being on board by 2018.

The additional schools for next year are yet to be determined. Chair Amos wanted more schools in the program as soon as possible.  Associate Director Miller explained that getting proper staffing would be difficult in the short term and that they were following the original plan to be completed by 2018.

Trustee Grebenc (Burlington) asked if a search outside the province was being conducted to locate additional French staffing. Miller responded that due to limited funding resources, recruiting was limited within Ontario. Robert Hamilton, Principal of French Programs, confirmed that New Brunswick would be a primary source of new teachers as the program expands and that they would plan to do some recruiting in that province.

Trustee Pappin (Burlington) asked where the time comes from to teach French. She was assured that it is not taken from literacy or numeracy but rather during arts or phys ed time periods. It should be noted that the Ministry of Education does not provide a primary Core program in French and that it is the HDSB staff that is developing the program.

The board will continue to monitor the program and seek additional parent input to determine its success. If fully implemented, the timetable will be as following,

Grades 1 to 3 40 minutes weekly
Grade 4 120 minutes weekly
Grade 5 160 minutes weekly
Grades 6 to 8 200 minutes weekly

Eaule David

David Eaule retires after 40 years in education – he has been with the Halton Board for five years.

The board was also told that a JK program will not be not be offered at Pineland this coming school as the target of 15 student was not reached. Only 12 students were enrolled as of February 15th. Superintendent of Education Eatough stated that all parents have been advised and are in the process of making alternate plans.

The evening concluded with Chair Amos emotionally reading a letter from Director of Education, David Eaule, announcing his retirement effective August 31st 2015. Eaule has been an educator for 41 years and decided it was time to retire. Euale said that during his five years with the Halton board he has worked with 25 trustees.  He has no current plans.

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