English Montreal School Board plans to open new French immersion school in NDG

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New English schools for NDG
WATCH: English schools in the west end of the city are bursting at the seams. Many schools are over 100 per cent capacity -- making for cramped quarters for students and staff. As Global's Gloria Henriquez explains, the EMSB has come up with a plan to merge two alternative schools and open a new elementary school in NDG – Oct 25, 2018

The 2019-2020 school year promises to open more doors for families looking to educate their children in French, as the English Montreal School Board unveiled plans to open a new school at Wednesday night’s board meeting.

It’s no secret that elementary schools in Montreal’s west end are bursting at the seams. This is an issue commissioners hope to remedy with a brand-new primary school at 4850 Coronation Ave. in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce that is set to open in September 2019.

“We’re pretty excited about this. The numbers are good,” said Joseph Lalla, EMSB commissioner for NDG and Montreal West. “The three schools in the area with French immersion programs — Edinburgh, Merton and Willingdon — are filled up.”

Commissioners voted in favour of the recommendation to open a new school, which will be located in a building currently used by two alternative high schools, Focus and Outreach. The plan is to relocate students from Focus and Outreach to the James Lyng High School building in Saint-Henri.

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It’s a change of heart from four years ago, when the Commission Scolaire de Montreal wanted to take over that same building on Coronation Avenue because the Sainte-Catherine-de-Sienne school was temporarily closing for renovations.

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At the time, the EMSB argued the at-risk students could not be moved.

“That was going to be a temporary situation, while Sainte-Catherine-de-Sienne was going to be demolished and rebuilt, so we did not want to move the students into a temporary thing, move them back and forth,” Lalla explained.

WATCH: English schools in Montreal face overcrowding as school year begins

Click to play video: 'English schools in Montreal face overcrowding as school year begins'
English schools in Montreal face overcrowding as school year begins

In creating a new school equipped with a new French immersion program, EMSB aims to offer a viable alternative to families who have opted for the French system despite having eligibility for English instruction.

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“This would be the first time that we have what we call the Français Plus program, which is full immersion from kindergarten to Grade 4 and then Grade 5 and 6 would be 50 per cent English and 50 per cent French,” Lalla told Global News.

The proposal to create the new school and relocate Focus and Outreach students will now go for consultation among the schools’ governing boards. An answer is expected next January.

With files from Gloria Henriquez

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