Public School Board Forced To Change ESL Programming

The Greater Essex County District School Board is making changes to the English as a Second Language program to better serve a growing number of new Canadians.

Superintendent Clara Howitt says the numbers were higher than expected, and to address the need, the board is launching a new program for the 2017-2018 school year.

More than 900 newcomers enrolled at local public schools this past year.

"We expected newcomers but we didn't know how many," says Howitt. "It was fast and furious and we did our best to be responsive and we did just that. But in the process of examining our practices we looked that there was a new way to better meet the needs of our students and we wanted to help build the capacity of our staff."

The public school board’s new ESL program will see full day integration for Kindergarten to Grade 2 students while the remaining grades will be at their home school for half the day.

There will also be more support for ESL teachers and ESL coaches.