2020/21 French Immersion Review

Background Information

The board began offering FI in 2015/16 at St. Anne (K) and Sir Edgar Bauer. Additional FI sites were added in 2016/17, 2019/20 and in 2020/21. Since 2015/16 the board has refined the approach to school direction for FI from creating service areas to associate regular track/English schools with FI locations.

In 2017/18 a French Immersion Program Review was undertaken to develop proactive planning to guide future accommodation decisions, FI growth and ensure quality programming for all students.

The 2020/21 review provided an opportunity to revisit those recommendations coming out of the 2017/18 review, review and reconfirm elements including school organization, entry point, transportation and site selection criteria. As the first cohort of FI students will graduate from Grade 8 in 2022/23, the review also explored secondary course selection options and location criteria.

The review was initiated in October 2020 and final recommendations presented to the Board of Trustees in June 2021.  The following reports and public meeting materials were shared throughout the review process:


In June 2021 the Board of Trustees approved the following recommendations as outcomes to the 2020/21 review:

  1. That the Waterloo Catholic District School Board continue to offer French Immersion in Dual Track (English and French Immersion) elementary schools, and prioritize that French Immersion be offered in a Grade 1-8 configuration or a school configuration consistent with English programming in the same facility.
  2. That the Waterloo Catholic District School Board continue to provide a Grade 1 entry point for French Immersion, and that available Grade 1 spaces be determined annually, based on facility and staffing limitations, and that a lottery be held, by site, where interest in French Immersion exceeds available space and that siblings of existing French Immersion students receive priority access when applying to attend French Immersion.
  3. That consistent with the Board’s priority to keep siblings together, the Board review APA003 – Admission of Out of Boundary Students to reflect the admittance of siblings of French Immersion students in a capped school.
  4. That the Waterloo Catholic District School Board continue the practice of not providing bus transportation to elementary French Immersion students who reside outside of a school’s English boundary.
  5. That the Waterloo Catholic District School Board assess the impacts of offering transportation to French Immersion students living outside a secondary school’s English boundary, and that a decision on providing transportation to these students be made prior to November 2021.

Secondary French Immersion

On October 25, 2021, staff presented the Secondary French Immersion Site Selection and Evaluation of Transportation Alternatives report advising that:

  • St. David CSS will offer the first secondary French Immersion program in the Waterloo Catholic District School Board starting in September 2023.
  • Future secondary site locations will be reviewed and confirmed by staff through future communication and / or reviews.
  • Secondary French Immersion students who reside outside of the St. David CSS boundary will be eligible for transportation.
  • Transportation will be offered to those French Immersion students who qualify, generally in accordance with the hub style option outlined in the staff report.
  • Transportation will not be available to Out of Boundary non French Immersion siblings wanting to attend St. David CSS.
  • The availability of Out of Boundary transportation for secondary FI students may be reconsidered as additional high schools are designated to offer French Immersion in response to the expansion of the program as additional cohorts from the board’s elementary schools enter high school.

Contact Us

Email: planning@wcdsb.ca