New French language schools to start the academic year in Ontario

In Espanola, on the shore of Georgian Bay, La Renaissance Catholic School will open its doors for the first time this year. Students from two former primary and secondary schools in the municipality meet in these new buildings, as well as a new nursery.

If the Catholic school shares its new premises with the Sacred Heart School of English, French speakers are not among the minority. About 500 students enter on Tuesday: 50% in the French language school, 50% in the English language school.

To house them, the building, which was finally ready after four years of construction, was divided at the center into two identical parts.

The principal of La Renaissance makes no secret of her enthusiasm for the start of the school year. For me it is greatLynne MacLean confirmed.

Since I’ve been here, I’ve had a theme every year. My theme this year is: “Take your place”. At school, in society, and in the worldShe said with confidence.

We want to show the community, the county, the world, that we are here in Espanola, that we have a beautiful school, and that we deserve it. We are good people and produce good citizens.

Quote from:Lynne McClain, Principal of La Renaissance School

For Lynne MacLean, the new Catholic school in Espanola is the culmination of years of effort.

Photo: Radio Canada/Zachary Rother

The Renaissance School is also an expensive village in a municipality like Espanola, where only 15% of the population of about 5,000 people speak French as their mother tongue.

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It’s great, because our parents recognize the advantage of their son being bilingual. […] We have many families who speak English perfectly, but the parents support the school, they participate in the education of their children, they encourage him to speak French.Mrs. Maclean explains.

While touring the new school, she noted that the new building had already convinced parents to move to La Renaissance, which led to higher enrollment rates during the summer.

Students will benefit from new physical education rooms, comfortable classrooms, and instruction that puts technology at the center of learning, the principal notes.

A row from Al-Nahda School.

New classes at La Renaissance Catholic School vary according to the age of the students, but the technology is still there.

Photo: Radio Canada/Zachary Rother

Several new schools

Espanola is not the only municipality to have a new French language school this year.

To the south, Quatre-Vents Public High School in Parry Sound is gradually opening up with a first group of three students in the ninth grade.

At Blind River, a new public school also welcomes its first students.

And in eastern Ontario, Pierre-de-Blois High School is open to more than 300 students.

There is a craze for secular education in French in Ontariosays Dennis Chartrand, president of the Ontario Public School Boards Association.

A man wearing glasses and smiling in an interview.

President of the Ontario Public School Boards Association, Denis Chartrand.

Photo: Radio Canada

We are really happy to be able to open new schools. It is fundamental for a society, especially a minority society, to have institutions. Because the institution makes the community grow, and the school is the most important institution, He said.

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However, the president believes that French speakers still do not get their fair share of the pie when it comes to primary and secondary education.

It ensures that many municipalities that have the necessary staff to accommodate a French language school by law are still waiting for the green light from the province. His organization is also in the process of identifying them.

However, according to Mr. Chartrand, the fight is at the heart of the French-speaking community.

We work together. We cooperate, we know we are in the minority, we know we have to work harder than others, so we do it.

Quote from:Dennis Chartrand, President of the Ontario Public School Boards Association

At the time of writing, Radio Canada was not able to obtain data from the Ontario government regarding attendance at French language schools.

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