Supporting Children with Learning Challenges in FSL Programs

Who are
in FSL
1. Welcome Message and About CPF
Tanzila Mian, Project Manager, CPF Ontario
2. Supporting Students who are Struggling in FSL Programs
Nancy Wise, Consultant, French Immersion Educational
Consulting Inc.
Denise Harding, Academic Coach, Evoke Learning York Region
About CPF
We are the national network of volunteers which values French as an integral
part of Canada and which is dedicated to the promotion and creation of French-secondlanguage learning opportunities for young Canadians.
CPF was founded in 1977 by a small group of concerned parents who
wanted to ensure that children would have the opportunity to become bilingual in the
Canadian school system.
Today CPF is a national organization with its headquarters in Ottawa and branch
offices in all 10 provinces and in the Northwest Territories.
• Over 22,000 members in Canada
• Over 4,000 members in Ontario, 34 local CPF chapters
Engaging Parents & Students
• Organizes French-language activities to engage students of all ages from
across the province
• CPF Branches offer informative brochures and publications to support parents
• Provincial and Regional Conferences and parent workshops
• Advocate on behalf of parents to the Ministry of Education in support of
access to quality FSL programs.
Become a CPF Member
To be involved in your child’s education
To be informed about provincial policy and issues that affect your children and
their French Second Language program
To support extracurricular French activities
Schools join to foster a sense of community and encourage parental engagement
Annual Family Membership: $25
Annual School Membership: $60
Supporting Students Who
Are Struggling in
French as a Second
Language (FSL) Programs
Nancy Wise
Consultant, French Immersion Educational Consulting Inc.
Denise Harding
Owner & Academic Coach, Evoke Learning York Region
Homework Helps
What We Want You to Understand
• With support, children with special education needs can be
successful in FSL programs.
• Research has shown that children with special education needs
are capable of learning a second language.
• If your child is struggling in a FSL program, there are steps that
need to be taken to ensure that he/she gets support.
• Struggling students need support both at school and home, and
a strong partnership between the two is in your child’s best
Homework Helps
Overview of FSL Programs in Ontario
• Core French: a mandatory requirement for all Grades 4 to 9 students in
English-only schools (minimum 600 hours by the end of Grade 8 PLUS 1 credit
in Grade 9)
• Extended French: although entry points vary between school boards, French
must be the language of instruction for the study of FSL and at least one other
subject (minimum 1260 hours by the end of Grade 8 or 25% of instructional
time at every grade level of the program PLUS 7 credits in high school)
• French Immersion: although entry points vary between school boards, entry
for early immersion is in SK or Grade 1, and French must be the language of
instruction for the study of FSL and at least two other subjects (minimum 3800
hours by the end of Grade 8 or 50% of instructional time at every grade level of
the program PLUS 10 credits in high school)
Ministry of Education Policies that Support FSL
Students in Ontario
• Schools and school boards are expected to promote inclusiveness,
“recognizing that all students can learn FSL given the appropriate support”
(A Framework for FSL in Ontario Schools, 2013, p. 16).
• FSL teachers are expected to “strive to meet the diverse needs of all
students through the use of differentiated instruction and by providing
accommodations and/or modifying expectations if necessary” (A
Framework for FSL in Ontario Schools, 2013, p. 10).
The Experience of the FSL Learner: Policy vs. Practice
• Despite the fact that Core French is mandatory for all students in Gr. 4-9,
students with special education needs are often encouraged to drop Gr. 9
French to accommodate the Learning Strategies course in Gr. 9.
• Students who are experiencing difficulty in French immersion schools are
often “counselled out” by school authorities and encouraged to switch to
English-only schools.
• Gifted students enrolled in French immersion schools often have to
switch to English-only schools in order to access programs that offer
Dispelling the Myths
Dispelling the Myths
Myth #1: French immersion (FI) is an enriched program geared to the
academic elite, most of whom come from English-speaking, high
socioeconomic backgrounds.
There is considerable evidence indicating that FI is the most suitable
program for the widest range of academic ability (Canadian Parents for
French, 2012). Research also shows that students from varied language
and socioeconomic backgrounds can thrive in FI.
Dispelling the Myths
Myth #2: All FSL students, particularly those who are struggling, should
be proficient in their first language before learning French so as not to
negatively affect their first language skills.
In FSL programs, French language skills are typically acquired without
detriment to the development of first language skills (Dr. Renée Bourgoin,
Dispelling the Myths
Myth #3: There are no support services or resources available for
FSL students who are experiencing difficulty.
As we have seen, the provincial government is committed to providing
the financial support that is necessary to ensure that the educational
needs of all learners are met, whether they are enrolled in English-only
or French immersion programs (FSL, Ontario Ministry of Education,
Dispelling the Myths
Myth #4: Students with learning challenges will be more successful
in English-only schools than in French immersion schools.
The claim that struggling students are at greater risk by remaining in
French immersion programs has never been substantiated by research
(Dr. Fred Genesee, 2012).
Navigating the Public School System
Navigating the Public School System
• You must commit to establishing a strong partnership with school personnel
in order to get your child the support he/she requires.
• There are steps that must be taken in order to access support in publicly
funded English-language district school boards.
• It will take time to navigate the public school system if your child is in need
of support.
• You are uniquely qualified to be your child’s strongest advocate if he/she is
in need of support, and over time, your child will learn the importance of
Step 1: Parent-Teacher Conference
• You and the teacher(s) should meet to discuss your child’s
strengths and needs.
• Create a written plan of action, specifying objectives & strategies
which will increase his/her opportunities for success.
• Decide on an appropriate timeline (e.g., 4 to 6 weeks)
• Set a tentative date for a school team meeting.
Step 2: School Team Meeting
• In attendance: one school administrator, your child’s teacher(s),
a special education teacher, and one or both parents.
• Review your child’s strengths and needs.
• Evaluate the effectiveness of the plan of action that was
• Create a follow-up plan of action, which may or may not involve a
referral for a consultation and/or assessment by school board
Step 3: Referral for Consultation/Assessment
Your child may be referred to a:
- speech-language pathologist
-physical/occupational therapist
-social worker
-behaviour specialist
-vision/hearing teacher
-autism specialist
-attendance counsellor
Step 4: Consultation/Assessment
Once informed consent has been obtained, school board
personnel may:
-review your child’s Ontario Student Record (OSR)
-schedule a time to observe your child in the classroom
setting and/or during unstructured time
-have further discussions with the teacher(s)
-administer selected measures
-complete a written report and arrange a follow-up school
team meeting
Step 5: Follow-Up School Team Meeting
• In attendance: one school administrator, your child’s
teacher(s), a special education teacher, one or both parents,
and the school board personnel who were consulted.
• Results and/or recommendations will be shared.
• If there is a diagnosis, referral to an Identification, Placement,
and Review Committee (IPRC) will be suggested.
Step 6: IPRC Meeting
You will receive an invitation to attend your child’s IPRC meeting at
least 10 days before the meeting date.
In attendance: one school administrator, a special education teacher,
and one or both parents.
Your child’s strengths and needs will be reviewed.
An identification will be recommended (e.g., Learning Disability), as
well as a placement (e.g., regular class with resource and/or
withdrawal support).
You will be asked to sign the IPRC documentation, and indicate
whether or not you agree with the recommended identification and
Step 7: Development of IEP
• Within 30 instructional days, the special education teacher will
develop an Individual Education Plan (IEP) for your child, in
collaboration with his/her teacher(s).
• The IEP will specify the accommodations that must be provided
for your child and/or the grade level expectations that must be
modified in order to meet his/her special education requirements.
• Once signatures are obtained, the IEP becomes a legal document
which is reviewed periodically.
• The IEP can continue to be implemented in high school and postsecondary institutions.
Assistive Technology
If your child’s assessment report included a recommendation for
assistive technology, a Special Equipment Amount (SEA) claim will
be made by the special education teacher for:
-computer equipment*
-specialized software in French & English (e.g., word prediction, text-tospeech, speech-to-text)
-training by a specialist
*This SEA equipment can be used by your child until he/she graduates
from high school, and then it must be returned.
OSAP for Post-Secondary Studies
If your child had SEA equipment, he/she will also need a computer and
specialized software during his/her post-secondary studies.
Prior to college or university, your child will need to be diagnosed by a
qualified practitioner so that he/she can apply for the Ontario Student
Assistance Program (OSAP).
Successful applicants can qualify for bursaries of up to $2000 per academic
year which cover the costs associated with assistive technology.
Each Ontario university and college has a centre for students with special
education needs. The centre is responsible for the coordination of
accommodations and support services for exceptional learners.
Thank You!
Please feel free to contact us for further information:
Nancy Wise, Ph.D.
Director, French Immersion Educational Consulting Inc.
[email protected]
twitter: fiedconsulting
Denise Harding
Owner & Academic Coach, Evoke Learning York Region
[email protected]
twitter: evoke_learning

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