McGuinty Government Helping More Students Succeed

    Ontario Establishing Standards On The Delivery Of English As An
    Additional Language

    LONDON, ON, June 21 /CNW/ - The McGuinty government is helping more
students learning English as an additional language through improved
evaluation of their skills, stronger relationships between the schools and
their families and clear standards on classroom instruction, Education
Minister Kathleen Wynne announced today.
    "We are taking important steps to help the 20 per cent of Ontario
students who have a first language other than English," said London-Fanshawe
MPP Khalil Ramal. "Providing more support for students learning English will
also help us meet our target of having 75 per cent of students achieve the
provincial standard in reading and writing by age 12."
    The first-ever provincial English as a Second Language (ESL) and English
Literacy Development (ELD) policy covering kindergarten to Grade 12 will be
released to school boards in September. The policy will require school boards
to help students learning English as an additional language by:

    -  Providing an orientation of education in Ontario to them and their
       families - done in their first language whenever possible
    -  Better assessing their reading, writing, listening and speaking skills
       to determine the right grade level and programs
    -  Helping them make the transition from elementary to secondary school
    -  Assessing their progress and regularly reporting it to parents.

    The new policy will also better define which students should be receiving
ESL or ELD instruction - making access more consistent across the province. In
addition, the province is currently working with school boards to find the
most effective and efficient ways of using ESL and ELD funding to help more
students excel.
    "I'm pleased with the government's effort to create a better learning
environment for all of my students, including those learning English as a
second language," said Rick Hansen Public School ESL teacher Eleanor Good.
"These students deserve every opportunity to establish a solid foundation in
reading, writing and speaking English so they can build a successful future."
    "We are ensuring that all Ontario students who are learning English as an
additional language receive the high quality education that they need to
succeed - no matter where they live or what grade they are in," said Wynne.
"As a former ESL teacher, I know that if you empower students who are learning
a new language, they will succeed."
    The new policy was developed with the help of more than 400 educators and
other community leaders. This is just one more example of how the government
is working with education and community partners to reach every student and
achieve better results. Other examples include:
    -  Shrinking class sizes in kindergarten to Grade 3 - nearly all
       classrooms now have 23 or fewer students compared to 64 per cent three
       years ago
    -  Better reading, writing and math skills - the percentage of elementary
       students achieving the provincial standard has risen 10 percentage
       points to 64 per cent
    -  More graduating high school students - 12,000 more students graduated
       over the past two years as the graduation rate climbed five percentage
       points to 73 per cent.

    "Thank you to everyone who is helping us improve the way we teach
thousands of students who are learning English as an additional language,"
added Wynne. "Together, we are ensuring a brighter tomorrow for Ontario by
putting students first today."

    Disponible en français


For further information:

For further information: Michelle Despault, Minister's Office, (416)
212-3747; Patricia MacNeil, Communications Branch, (416) 325-2676; Public
Inquiries: (416) 325-2929 or 1-800-387-5514, TTY: 1-800-263-2892

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