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May 3, 2013

The Association franco-ontarienne des conseils scolaires catholiques (AFOCSC) celebrated the 15th anniversary of its 8 school boards and more than 225 years of French Catholic education in Ontario, at its annual congress in London on May 3rd.  School board representatives, elected officials and dignitaries were in attendance to celebrate the many success stories and achievements of catholic schools since the inception of the boards in 1998.

 

“Even though our current French Catholic boards date back only 15 years, French Catholic education has a prolific history that goes all the way back to the period of the British Reign in the Windsor region. In fact, the very first Ontario French Catholic School was built near Windsor in 1786, in l’Assomption,” stated AFOCSC president Mélinda Chartrand. “The history of French language Catholic education in Ontario is one of perseverance, courage and a commitment to provide a quality education that has won the support and confidence of parents. If, even today, nearly 75% of Francophone parents choose French Catholic schools for their children, it is because we have established a long-lasting reputation and relationship built on trust that remains foundational in our communities throughout the province,” she added

Over 70,000 students presently study and develop their Catholic and Francophone identity in the French Catholic School Boards’ 213 elementary and 58 secondary schools in Ontario. These students, who mirror the province’s broad cultural diversity, regularly meet or surpass provincial standards in Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) province-wide tests. They are supported by quality teaching and guidance provided by committed staff. Moreover, 90% of these students earn their secondary school diploma in four years through the only academic program in the province that enables them to develop academically, physically, socially, culturally and spiritually as Francophones and members of the Catholic community, from Junior Kindergarten to grade 12. 

"I would like to thank AFOCSC who, for 15 years, has defended with conviction and efficiency the interests of the 8 boards with whom it is affiliated," said the Honourable Madeleine Meilleur, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services and Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs. "The association promotes French Catholic education within Ontario’s communities and has a strong voice in making sure the government understands their needs."

The AFOCSC also took the opportunity to unveil its new Web site at www.afocsc.org and to announce that it is in the process of renewing its strategic plan. Director Benoit Mercier looks forward to the launch of a French Catholic graduate expectations framework in 2013-2014. “This framework will suggest principles by which school boards can improve their planning, programs and services in order to uphold the mission of French Catholic schools. It will outline the goals and expectations which will allow each child to thrive in his or her Catholic faith and Francophone identity as they take their place in 21st century society.”

The AFOCSC sees a bright future for French Catholic education in Ontario and plans to underline its rightful place in education in the province of Ontario in September 2013 with a promotional campaign entitled ¨L’école catholique … c’est un plus!”

 AFOCSC acts as spokesman for the eight French Catholic school boards in Ontario serving over 72,000 students.

For Information:

Benoit Mercier, Executive Director AFOCSC (416)250-1754

For comments:

Melinda Chartrand, president AFOCSC (905)328-8389