KCDSB Unveils Renewed French Language Strategy

KCDSB Unveils Renewed French Language Strategy
Posted on 06/17/2020
Hilary Aitken Leads Kenora Catholic's Renewed French Language StrategyHilary Aitken Leads Kenora Catholic's Renewed French Language StrategyLearning French as a Second Language may be one of the most important goals a student can learn while in school. At its June Board Meeting, Kenora Catholic unveiled its renewed French Language Strategy to enhance its Core French and French Immersion programs. The renewed strategy aims to give more students an opportunity to learn French as a Second Language while creating goals to develop the already highly successful program.

With well over 30 years of experience in French Immersion, Kenora Catholic’s program is well known for its outstanding academic excellence and deep appreciation for the French language culture, bringing the dynamic Francophone culture into all classrooms.

The Board’s French Immersion program began in 1986 and has grown and evolved to where it is today, with many graduates of the program going on to use their French language for travel, leisure, post-secondary education or professional work environments. Students can begin their French Immersion education at École Ste-Marguerite Bourgeoys and graduate from St. Thomas Aquinas High School with a French Immersion Certificate.

“Our French as a Second Language committee has worked hard to develop a new three-year plan and a new vision that will focus on highlighting the incredible achievements we’ve already seen through our French Language Strategy while creating a renewed vision and goals to take the program to new heights,” said Derek Haime, Director of Education.

The first step in the Board’s new strategy was to appoint a dedicated French as a Second Language Lead to develop and implement the Board’s strategy. Hilary Aitken, Vice Principal at École Ste-Marguerite Bourgeoys has accepted the position.

“I am excited to be working with a team of educators who are as passionate about French education as I am, and who are committed to thinking outside of the box. We will further engage and motivate our students to become functionally bilingual and cultivate a love for the French culture,” said Hilary Aitken.

Director Haime, talked about why Hilary was a great choice to fulfill the board’s vision. “Hilary has a great passion for teaching and learning in both of her official languages. She has a vision for bringing French language and culture to greater prominence in Northwestern Ontario and at Kenora Catholic and we are excited to see how she further develops the program.”

One of the first initiatives of the strategy is to showcase the graduates who have gone on to use their French language skills in their post-secondary endeavours; some pursuing careers requiring French Language competency, others continuing their studies in French at the college or university level, while still others are travelling or working abroad.

The second step in the strategy is to phase in the implementation of the diplôme d’études en langue française (DELF) testing at various grade levels to determine the language proficiency using the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). Encouraging and supporting students to challenge the DELF at various levels will help serve as a consistent benchmark for teachers and students to track progress and set new language development goals, as well as motivation for students to challenge themselves to make strides in their second language development.

“We are excited about our renewed French Language Strategy and committed to making lasting changes to equip our students with the ability to communicate beyond our classrooms, with the confidence and ability to use French effectively in their daily lives,” said Hilary.

Kenora Catholic’s three-year French Language Strategy is aligned with the provincial French as a Second Language goals. As part of the strategy, Hilary Aitken plans to become trained as a Regional Examiner for the DELF examination.
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