Stratford Accommodation Review 2011 – 2012

French Immersion Funding Details

Director's Information Report - December 13, 2011

Director's Action Report - February 28, 2012

DAR-Stratford ARC Part-1
DAR-Stratford ARC Part-2

Please note: This document has been split into two parts because of its size.

Final Meeting of the Stratford ARC

The final meeting of the Stratford ARC was held on January 19, 2012 at Bedford Public School beginning at 7:00 PM. The Committee presented its Draft Recommendations at that time and then had 14 days to finalize the recommendations.

Final Recommendations of the ARC

The finalized Stratford ARC recommendations have been filed with the Board and is available at this link. Stratford ARC Recommendations. The Board will receive the staff recommendations and report at its regular meeting on Tuesday, February 28, 2012.

Draft Recommendations of the ARC

Select this link to view the Draft Report which was presented January 19, 2012Stratford ARC Draft Recommendations 19Jan2012

Draft ARC Report – presented by Kathy Vassilakos

After extensive consultation with parents, community members and professionals in fields relevant to the issues being addressed by the Accommodation Review, the members of the ARC have come to a consensus regarding the optimal recommendation to address the future of the French Immersion program and balancing public school enrolment in the City of Stratford.

The Stratford ARC recommends a second dual-track school at either Anne Hathaway or Avon School. This would alleviate enrolment pressures at Bedford School and create two French Immersion sites with balance between the elective and core programs. This also creates either a North/South or East/West distribution for the French Immersion program, increasing access across the city of Stratford. Moreover, expansion of the current dual track model would not require the closure of any community school in Stratford.

Rationale for Recommendations

Benefits to Students
  • The fewest number of students are displaced by the second dual track site option, especially if phased in over the next few years. Disruption to a student’s primary education through changing schools should be minimized and the phased in second dual track site coupled with phased in border changes accomplishes this better than any available single track option.
  • No student loses their community school as would occur in the single track option.
  • Choice of programming through the community school setting is increased.
  • Easier transition to the English stream if there is a need to transfer out of the FI program
  • Siblings who may be in different programs are not separated.
  • Dual track schools increase diversity enriching the experience for all students.
  • Dual track schools avoid segregation by ability or program. Given that the vast majority of students with IEPs are in the core program the shift to a single track school coupled with bussing of core students out of their neighbourhood results in a disproportionate displacement of students with special needs away from their community school. This is a violation of the principle of equal access in a public school system.
  • Expansion of the dual track model which offers French Immersion within a community school setting does not create discrimination based on ability and allows all students to attend the same school as their siblings, friends and neighbours.
  • FI programs create gender disparity in the classroom whether at a single track school or dual track schools. At dual track schools the effects of a gender imbalance can be reduced through blended programming in the English portion of the day. Furthermore re-distribution of the FI population to two well-balanced dual track sites increases the potential for blended programming in addition to re-balancing school-wide gender disparity.
  • Accessibility – there are no barriers to students at either of the 2 dual track choices or at the current site.
Benefits to Community
  • No community loses their community school as would occur in the single track option.
  • Good urban planning principles state that smaller community-based schools are the best model for supporting viable, vibrant communities and can be a major driver for economic stability and growth in communities (as presented by Kristen Sainsbury, Urban Planner).
  • The value of inter-generational schooling should not be underestimated when assessing the importance of schools to a community. Support for specific neighbourhood schools and the public school system in general relies on a community’s attachment to its school. This is enhanced by inter-generational school attendance.
  • Diversity in a neighbourhood is an essential component of vibrant communities and this is reflected in its neighbourhood school. A single track French Immersion school that displaces a community school increases the risk that the neighbourhood demographics will shift to fewer families thereby reducing diversity. A single track French Immersion school also creates a concentrated socio-economic disparity among schools within the city. In contrast, expansion of the dual track model and movement of borders offers the opportunity to adjust socio-economic distribution of students across the city of Stratford resulting in more balance and less disparity between schools in terms of items such as needs, fundraising etc.

Select this link to view the complete DRAFT RECOMMENDATIONS REPORT presented January 19, 2012Stratford ARC Draft Recommendations 19Jan2012

Next Steps

Final ARC report submitted – February 2, 2012
Staff report to Board of Trustees – February 28, 2012 in Seaforth
Special Board meeting for delegations related to the Stratford ARC – March 29, 2012 at Hamlet P.S.
Board of Trustees vote on decision regarding Stratford ARC – May 8, 2012 in Seaforth

ARC Meetings

The first orientation or training session for members of the Accommodation Review Committee (ARC) was held on August 31, 2011. The first official public ARC meeting was held September 14, 2011 at Bedford Public School.
October 20, 2011 - Hamlet Public School
November 17, 2011 - Shakespeare Public School
December 8, 2011 - Romeo Public School
January 19, 2012 - Bedford Public School

All meetings begin at 7:00 PM.

ARC Meeting Agenda

ARC Meeting Minutes

Highlights of ARC Meetings and Reports

ARC Meeting Highlights and Reports - January 19, 2011
ARC Meeting Highlights and Reports - December 8, 2011
ARC Meeting Highlights and Reports - November 17, 2011
ARC Meeting Highlights and Reports - October 20, 2011
ARC Meeting Highlights and Reports - September 14, 2011

Committee Membership

The Committee is made up as follows:
Kathy Vassilakos - School Council Rep - Bedford
Sharon Poelstra - Alternate School Rep - Bedford
Kevin Smith - Community Rep - Bedford
Dean Bachellier - School Council Rep - Hamlet
Sarah Rouse - Alternate School Rep - Hamlet
Steve Wells - Community Rep - Hamlet
Krista Scott - School Council Rep - Romeo
Sheila Feore - Alternate School Rep - Romeo
Art Fortin - Community Rep - Romeo
Jennifer Noordhof - School Council Rep - Shakespeare
Sherrie Hall - Alternate School Rep- Shakespeare
Beckie Walsh - Community Rep - Shakespeare
Brad Beatty - Municipal Rep - Stratford

Reports and Resources

12-01-19 - Remailer Summary Stratford ARC
11-12-08 - Remailer Summary Stratford ARC

Bedford Enrolment Committee Reports

Aug 31 Hugh Cox Presentation< Aug 31 Janet Baird-Jackson Presentation

Other Information

Here's a list of Stratford schools and the year they had/will have full day Kindergarten.
Anne Hathaway - 2014
Avon - 2012
Bedford - 2014
Hamlet - 2012
Romeo - 2010
Shakespeare - 2013
Updated Easier to View Stratford Elementary Boundary Map
Stratford Elementary Boundaries

Preliminary Pupil Accommodation Analysis 2011-2012

Board Launches Accommodation Review in Stratford

Special Board Meeting - Tuesday, June 7, 2011

As required by Policy 15, Staff presented the Board with its Preliminary Accommodation Analysis Report for 2010/2011. The report detailed challenges facing Avon Maitland with declining enrolment, aging buildings and financial pressures as a result of declining enrolment.

The report analyzes all of these factors and considers independent enrolment projections covering the next few years. The Analysis also included a recommendation from staff to begin an Accommodation Review and establish an Accommodation Review Committee for a group of four schools in the City of Stratford. The Board approved this recommendation and placed Bedford P.S., Romeo P.S., Shakespeare P.S. and Hamlet P.S. under review.

Closeup of Stratford on a mapThis particular review is not expected to result in any reduction of the number of schools in Stratford, but rather study reconfiguration of program and boundaries. This has been necessitated by the growth of the French Immersion program at Bedford, which is a dual track school. The ARC will consider such options as creating a single track - French Immersion school, or adding a second track French Immersion program to one of the other schools. There are numerous other options to be considered in this process as detailed in the report.

Highlights of the Preliminary Accommodation Analysis Report

Avon Maitland District School Board is committed to providing a comprehensive range of educational opportunities equitably distributed across a broad and diverse geographical area through sustainable community schools. Various factors beyond the control of the board impact on this commitment. These factors include changing and mobile populations, a changing funding environment, new legislation, changing educational objectives, community aspirations, the potential for mutually beneficial partnerships with other agencies and the physical characteristics of buildings.

To maintain its commitment to the judicious use of finite resources, Avon Maitland District School Board monitors and evaluates all schools on a regular basis and studies in detail schools whose viability may be in question.

Avon Maitland District School Board is aware that changes in any school’s student accommodation or other status have an impact beyond the school. The board therefore maintains that the detailed study of any school must have a district-wide perspective and include public consultation.

Board Policy No.15 – Pupil Accommodation Reviews, requires an annual preliminary analysis of accommodation data, which may include:

  • the Ministry of Education capacity for each school, the level of actual occupancy as a percentage of Ministry of Education capacity,
  • the current and projected enrolment in each school, other information or special circumstances that the director of education may deem relevant, and recommendations to the board regarding which school(s), if any, should be placed under review and the circumstances that support this review.

An accommodation review may result in such changes as:
changes to the grades offered in a school, closures, and/or any other practical solutions to overcrowded, underutilized, or inadequate school facilities.

Through an independent review and enrolment projections, the following conclusions have been developed from the data presented:

  • Many of the schools are well below the average enrolment implied in the Foundation grant calculation.
  • Enrolment will continue to decline in the district for the foreseeable future.
  • Since enrolment directly generates much of the board’s operating revenues, the board’s operating revenues will decline.
  • The district has more pupil spaces than it needs now, and this will increase as enrolment drops.
  • Declining enrolments remain our biggest financial challenge. Regardless of changes to the funding formula, our revenue remains directly tied to the number of students within the board. As enrolment declines, so does revenue.

Over an 7-year period, enrolments have declined by 14.5% in the elementary panel.

From 1999 until 2004, the Accommodation Reviews in the city of Stratford resulted in the closure of five (5) schools: Portia E.S., Falstaff P.S., Juliet P.S., King Lear P.S. and the former Avon P.S. with a resulting reconfiguration to create Stratford Northwestern P.S. and Stratford Central P.S. for grades 7 and 8 and relocate Avon P.S. to a new site. The net effect was the elimination of some 972 pupil places.

The latest enrolment projections for the north side of Stratford are increasing and this trend is expected to continue based on future housing developments on this side of the city. These developments would impact enrolments at Bedford P.S. and Avon P.S. in particular which are the two schools on the north side of Stratford.

The enrolments in the south end of the city are projected to decline. This is currently the case with Shakespeare P.S. as its enrolment continues to decline and the school has a number of available pupil places.

Hamlet P.S.’s enrolment appears to have stabilized leaving some excess capacity in that building.

The enrolment at Romeo P.S. is projected to increase slightly over the next ten years but it will remain under capacity even with this enrolment increase.

Bedford P.S. is a dual track school, with both English and French Immersion streams, and its enrolment continues to grow. For the 2011/2012 school year, Bedford P.S. is projected to be full. To that end, staff has had to deny border crossing requests for Kindergarten students who live outside of the school catchment area. Further, staff has established a waiting list for enrolment in the grade 1 French Immersion program. The current facility does not allow for additional increases in enrolment for either stream and the site is not conducive to additions to the building. It is anticipated that the demand for the French Immersion program will at least be stable, if not grow somewhat.

Despite some growth in enrolment in the north section of the city, there continues to be significant excess capacity in the Stratford schools that could be used to relieve pressure on schools in the city that are currently at capacity.

The Bedford School Council Enrolment Committee has undertaken its own review of the enrolment trends for the two (2) streams at that school over the past six (6) years. In its most recent report, the committee recommended either a stand-alone French Immersion school or the establishment of a second dual track school in Stratford in order to ensure the English stream program at Bedford P.S. is not disadvantaged by the imbalance of students in each stream.

Since 2007, the FI enrolment has consistently exceeded the English enrolment. Based on projections for the 2011/2012 school year, the English stream constitute just over one-third of the total Grade 1-6 enrolment at Bedford P.S. Based on enrolment projections for the FI program, we estimate that we would require between 260 and 280 pupil places to accommodate the program going forward.

If the Board were to entertain a single track French Immersion school within Stratford, it would need to consider buildings whose capacity is close to the existing French Immersion student population. Those schools would include Hamlet P.S. and Shakespeare P.S. While having significant excess capacity, Romeo P.S. would not have sufficient spaces to accommodate the current grade 1-6 French Immersion population.

If the Board were to entertain a second dual track school, the school chosen should be located in the southern section of the city. This location would provide the opportunity for students in that section of the city to walk to school.

A review of the program delivery needs for French Immersion, along with a review of existing school boundaries within Stratford, is required.

Select this link to view the full Preliminary Accommodation Analysis Report