WAAR Questions and Comments

The following questions and comments have been received from community members interested in the Woodstock Attendance Area Review. They are presented here, along with answers provided by TVDSB staff, for the information of Woodstock school communities. Submit your questions or comments here: FEEDBACK


1. Question: Is TVDSB building a new school in Woodstock?

Answer: TVDSB is undertaking an Attendance Area Review in Woodstock for the purpose of balancing enrolment across English language schools in the city, and to provide relief from enrolment pressure at Roch Carrier French Immersion Public School through the creation of additional French Immersion instruction space in Oxford County. 

One of the planned outcomes of the Attendance Area Review is to better position the Board to request capital investment from the Ministry of Education when student enrolment in Woodstock supports construction of new schools and/or additions. 

The Ministry has requested that the Board ensure existing school space is better utilized before seeking funding for new schools and/or additions to accommodate growing enrolment across the city.


2. Question: What's the Difference Between a Single Track and Dual Track French Immersion School? 

Answer: Single Track French Immersion Schools consist of students who are engaged in French Immersion classes most of the day.  Typically, single track schools exist where the student interest in French Immersion is sufficient to fill an entire school building.

Dual Track French Immersion Schools consist of students who are engaged in the same French Immersion classes as single track schools.  In the same building, students are participating in English classes (except for their Core French Class). Typically, dual track schools exist where there is space to accommodate both programs.  The students in both the French Immersion and English Programs receive the same education as their peers in single language French or English schools.


3. Question: Has there been an audit done to determine if students are actually attending the schools within their set boundaries?

Answer: An out-of-boundary analysis was completed as part of the preparation of the Initial Attendance Area Review Report. It was determined that the vast majority of students are attending their designated school and that out-of-boundary attendance is not contributing to the student distribution imbalance across elementary schools in Woodstock.


4. Question: Will Junior Kindergarten and Senior Kindergarten be available in French Immersion either at Roch Carrier French Immersion PS or Oliver Stephens PS?

Answer: The entry point for French Immersion (FI) is Grade 1. Due to continued enrolment growth anticipated at Roch Carrier FI PS, English Track JK and SK classes are not proposed to be offered at Roch Carrier FI PS at this time. English Track JK and SK classes would continue to be offered at Oliver Stephens PS.


5. Question: Will Kindergarten be available in Junior Kindergarten and Senior Kindergarten in English at Roch Carrier French Immersion PS (if it is not available in French because of staffing shortages)?

Answer: Please see the above response.


6. Question: Is the Board aware that Woodstock already has a full French Catholic public and high school, a Catholic French Immersion school and a public French Immersion school within Woodstock?  Why would we add yet another French school to this same region of Oxford instead of one of the other cities?

Answer: Oliver Stephens PS was identified as the preferred location to offer additional French Immersion programming in Oxford County in order to meet the needs of current French Immersion students based on their place of residence.


7. Question: Will the TVDSB have a legacy agreement for FI attendance boundaries for current families and if so as of what date?

Answer: A decision regarding the legacy agreement for existing attendance areas for current students has not been made. Trustees will consider this as part of their deliberations regarding the Final Attendance Area Review Report, expected to be presented in the fall of 2021 after the receipt of public feedback.


8. Question: Do the facility utilization numbers in the preliminary plan reflect legacy agreements of current students or do they assume immediate (September 2022) movement of students? 

Answer: The facility utilization numbers in the options presented as part of the Initial Attendance Area Review Report do not reflect the legacy agreements of current students and assume student movement in September of 2022.


9. Question: Which of the two options presented by the Board will reduce busing times for the greatest number of county students?

Answer: Between the two French Immersion options under consideration, the option that would create north and south French Immersion attendance areas in Woodstock and the County would result in lower overall average ride times for students residing outside of the City. Final ride times would be based on where students reside as well as the number of students who are eligible and have registered to use the school bus. Southwestern Ontario Student Transportation Services maintains Service Design Standards, which contain details regarding the design of home to school transportation and may be accessed via the following link: http://www.mybigyellowbus.ca/uploads/servicedesignstandards.pdf (Answer updated April 12, 2021)


10. Question: In the second Board option, does the Oliver Stephens facility utilization target consider the likely increase to French Immersion enrollment from families local to that specific school?

Answer: Enrolment projections for FI programming at Roch Carrier FI PS and Oliver Stephens PS in both options under consideration are based on historical trends and attendance shares across Oxford County.


11. Question: Will the TVDSB have a legacy agreement for FI attendance boundaries for current families and if so as of what date?

Answer: A decision regarding the legacy agreement of existing students has not been made. Trustees will consider this as part of their deliberations regarding the Final Attendance Area Review Report, expected to be presented in the fall of 2021 after the receipt of public feedback.


12. Question: As a parent in the school community, I find it very frustrating that our voices haven’t been heard over the years while the school capacity was increasing at an alarming rate. Now that attention is finally on us, how can the only options be to break up the grades? How many millions of dollars went into renovations and building extra levels for schools in London? It’s not because we are in a smaller city that we deserve less. The enrolment rate isn’t going to decrease for French Immersion. The options you’re proposing will decrease it. I know of many who moved from the Waterloo board because dual track isn’t a true immersion experience. In dual track, the entire school isn’t immersed into a second language. Again I will reference the rest of London. Are there any schools there that are dual track?? No. Only us. Why are you targeting our city and our children to completely change the education experience? I’m so disappointed and, quite frankly, very upset. If we have to choose one of the two choices you propose, I suppose making the changes for new enrolments in grade 1 would be my choice but it doesn’t change the fact that those children, although not my own, won’t have the proper immersion experience as we know it.

Answer: A TVDSB dual-track French Immersion school consists of students who are engaged in the same French Immersion classes as single-track schools. TVDSB has one dual-track elementary school in London (Princess Elizabeth PS) and the French Immersion experience is excellent. Typically, dual track schools exist where there is space to accommodate both programs, and students in both the French Immersion and English programs receive the same education as their peers in single-track French Immersion or English schools. 

Please note that TVDSB did explore the option to establish a second, single-track French Immersion school in Oxford County. However, due to provincial restrictions, we are currently unable to move more than 50 percent of a school’s population in order to create sufficient consolidated school space for a single-track French Immersion facility.

A decision regarding the legacy agreement of existing attendance areas for current students has not been made. Trustees will consider this as part of their deliberations regarding the Final Attendance Area Review Report, expected to be presented in the fall of 2021 after the receipt of public feedback.


13. Question: Why is the Superintendent for the schools involved in the WAAR rejecting Elementary Out-of-Area Exemption Requests from families to move students from higher utilization schools (e.g. Springbank PS) to lower utilization schools (e.g. Algonquin P.S., Oliver Stephens PS)? The February 23 TVDSB meeting report showed out-of-boundary students are a non-issue for Woodstock schools. Reporting on enrollment pressure is completed and TVDSB intends to move these students anyway, based on its reported options. 

Answer: Every out-of-area exemption request is considered on a case-by-case basis and approved or denied as per the considerations outlined in the Board procedure on this matter at the following link: Procedure 4012a 


14. Question: Education is expected to be same at every school, but cultures are extremely different at school. We personally seen the huge difference from attending another school prior to RCFI. Can you please address these concerns. My child has been flagged with early identification for social and emotional developmental issues. We are finally on the right path. All these changes will negatively impact her. Thank you for addressing these concerns. 

Answer: All of our Thames Valley schools offer the same supports and resources to all students, as required. We are committed to ensuring the most consistent transition possible for all students involved in this process.  Parents and caregivers will have the opportunity for collaboration with staff as part of the student transition process. It would be critical at this opportunity to ensure your concerns related to your child are shared with staff. 


15. Question: Can you please share where the regulations are that indicate we are unable to move all students from Roch Carrier FIPS to Oliver Stephens PS so they stay together. 

From previous answer;
“...provincial restrictions, we are currently unable to move more than 50 percent of a school’s population in order to create sufficient consolidated school space for a single-track French Immersion facility.”

The schools are less than 3 km from each other. There has to be a way to get an exception. 

Answer: The Ministry of Education is in the process of developing supports to assist Ontario’s school boards with conducting pupil accommodation reviews, which is the process that would need to be followed in order to move all students from an English track school to convert it to French Immersion. Currently, school boards are generally not permitted to conduct pupil accommodation reviews. More information may be found here: http://edu.gov.on.ca/eng/policyfunding/reviewGuide.html


16. Question: How many students are currently bused to Springbank PS? 

Answer: There are 167 students currently eligible for busing to Springbank PS.


17. Question: What are the impacts on busing from the options under consideration?

Answer: The following is a summary of impacts on busing based on the options being considered:

English Track

By changing the designated school for the Oliver Stephens PS satellite area (located west of Southside PS) to Eastdale PS, all 71 bus-eligible students would remain so. 

By changing the designated school for the Springbank PS satellite area (located north of Devonshire Avenue) to Algonquin PS, 4 of the 86 students who are currently eligible for busing would remain so (82 students would no longer be eligible for busing based on their proximity to Algonquin PS).

By returning holding zone students from Winchester Street PS to Springbank PS, 38 of the 39 students who are currently eligible for busing would remain so.

French Immersion

Option 1. Roch Carrier FI PS becomes the designated FI school for the northern part of Oxford County, including the northern part of the City of Woodstock. Oliver Stephens PS becomes the designated FI school for the southern part of Oxford County, including the southern part of the City of Woodstock.

212 students would move from Roch Carrier to Oliver Stephens. Of those students, 178 would remain bus eligible and 34 would not be bus eligible based on their proximity to Oliver Stephens. 266 Students would remain at Roch Carrier with no change in transportation eligibility (68 students would remain ineligible based on their proximity to Roch Carrier).

There are currently 13 vehicles transporting a combination of students from within and outside of Woodstock. 7 of those vehicles would be needed to transport students to Oliver Stephens and 6 would be needed to continue transporting students to Roch Carrier. 

Option 2. Oliver Stephens PS becomes the designated FI school for Oxford County students who reside outside of Woodstock (in addition to a neighbourhood attendance area surrounding Oliver Stephens PS)

194 students would move from Roch Carrier to Oliver Stephens. Of those students, 167 would remain bus eligible and 27 would not be bus eligible based on their proximity to Oliver Stephens. 284 students would remain at Roch Carrier with no change in transportation eligibility (68 students would remain ineligible based on their proximity to Roch Carrier).

There are currently 13 vehicles transporting a combination of students from within and outside of Woodstock. A net gain of 3 vehicles is anticipated in order to accommodate this option: 10 vehicles would be needed to transport students to Oliver Stephens and 6 vehicles would be needed to transport students to Roch Carrier.


 18. Question: Special education students have a legal right to the interventions established in their Individual Education Plans (IEP). What is TVDSB's plan for students with Instructional Accommodations and Environmental Accommodations that require their classroom grouping with like-ability peers? The planned boundary changes will divide these critical close-grade groupings of like-ability peers at Roch Carrier French Immersion PS. Families have already declined their children's relocation to out-of-town congregated classrooms, based on the presence of these peers within their school community. Will TVDSB authorize special education cohorts with a legacy agreement clause, protecting the established peer and educator relationships that normalize their experiences, as per codified Areas of Need on their IEP?

Answer: If the proposed boundary changes proceed, all impacted students will be reviewed by incoming and sending school and all needs considered. Parent partnership in this will be valued to ensure student needs are met. This process will ensure that all necessary accommodations and modifications to program are part of the transition process. 


19. Question: How do you plan to staff Oliver Stevens PS with qualified French Immersion teachers when there's a French teacher shortage?

Answer: Staffing is done at the Human Resources level of the organization. In principle, during the transition year, we will have the same number of French Immersion students between two schools as we do in one, and there will be only slight demand for additional staff. The board is always hiring qualified French staff and will have a good amount of lead time following any decision by the board to secure adequate staffing. 


20. Question: Will Oliver Stephens PS as a dual track school have all signs updated within the school to be bilingual to support and encourage the use of both English and French language. Will the library be updated to ensure that there is same selection of French books as there is at Roch Carrier FIPS?

Answer: Once a decision is made by the board, a thorough assessment of the needs of each school will be completed, and a process to secure all the necessary materials will follow.  


21. Question: Further to your response to Question 6: Was Oliver Stephens PS identified as the preferred location for French Immersion programming based on the Board’s need to fill schools in south Woodstock so that it can apply to build a new school in north Woodstock? Or, based on the inability to successfully partner with the other two boards offering French instruction within the city? Coordinating with the Catholic board may help with staffing/hiring of qualified teachers as well. Finally, have you researched whether more Tillsonburg or Ingersoll residents would join if their children didn't have to travel by bus for 30-60 minutes? 

Answer: The purpose of the review is to alleviate enrolment pressure at Roch Carrier FI PS and to balance enrolment across English track schools in Woodstock, as per recommendations received from the Ministry of Education. The proposed boundary changes are intended to address both of these challenges. The TVDSB has partnered with our coterminous board in the past and will continue to explore such partnerships in the future.


22. Question: I feel this entire process is flawed, discriminatory, biased, and most importantly, will suppress the French language. The dividing line as outlined in the map appears to create no disruption for wealthier families, but appears to disrupt/impact lower income individuals. Why was a North/South division selected, versus an East/West division? What considerations were taken into account? 

As public servants to the community I am hoping to hear back from you with a virtual meeting invite, with meeting attendance confirmed, supporting documents that show: 

• How the community was involved in helping shape this decision

• Quality of education assessments 

• Socio-economic impact analysis with population distributions reflected in decision process 

 Your decisions have a generational and cultural impact on the region. Please take our concerns seriously and don't dismiss our requests. We care about our children's education, do you? Failure to adequately address the request above will be a clear sign that you don't care. 

Answer: The boundary change options were determined based on a number of factors, including available programming space, the location of student residences, transportation considerations, development activity and enrolment projections. School-level Attendance Area Review Committee (AARC) subcommittee meetings are in the process of being scheduled by AARC members who represent each of the schools participating in the attendance area review. 

Notices and agendas for each school-level meeting are being distributed to parents and guardians via School Messenger emails  and will be posted on the attendance area review website. The purpose of each subcommittee meeting is to discuss proposed options, receive public input and prepare a school community report for submission to the TVDSB as part of the review process.


 23. Question:  Geographically, the location does not make sense. It appears to be band aid solution to solve other issues rather than actually improve quality of French Immersion education. There are 7 FI schools in London, 2 in St Thomas, 1 in Strathroy, and 1 in Woodstock. Woodstock appears to be serving the largest geographical area. 

Why not move outside of Woodstock to another part of Oxford County? There is no transparency. Can the all options, costs and impacts of different options reviewed be shared? 

Why hasn't anything been shared about the quality of school. No two schools are equal. We came from low rated school where there were a significant number of issues. Sending more children to a school with existing issues will not resolve existing issues. Are we taking into account our children's well being? 

They first needed to go to kindergarten in one school to be moved to another where we advised they would be with their peers. Then we have the pandemic and the emotional toll that goes along with that and then we expect them to adjust to another school without any issues. Creating a school with division with English and French students will create a division in the school between the students. Do we have any examples of what schools this has been implemented and how efficiently the program is. If this is efficiently why hasn't this been implemented in smaller towns across the region. 

Quote from Bill McKinnon "This much needed review will help set the stage for future capital investment in Woodstock schools as more and more families discover the excellent lifestyle our community has to offer. This will also help meet the growing demand for high quality French Immersion programming."

Dual track – is a step down from the current program and is therefore not 'high quality French Immersion.' Is TVDSB only interested in future for Woodstock not anything outside of the area. There are a significant number of families that live outside of Woodstock. Why don't we move to another area so that other parts within TVDSB can benefit from future capital investment .

Answer:  The boundary change options were determined based on a number of factors, including available programming space, the location of student residences, transportation considerations, development activity and enrolment projections. Please note that the initial attendance area review report is available on the attendance area review website and may be found via the following link: https://pub-tvdsb.escribemeetings.com/filestream.ashx?DocumentId=3186.

The TVDSB did explore the option to establish a second, single-track French Immersion school in Oxford County. Because of provincial restrictions, TVDSB is currently unable to move more than 50 percent of a school’s population in order to create sufficient consolidated school space for a single-track French Immersion facility. 

Dual-track French Immersion schools consist of students who are engaged in the same French Immersion classes as single-track schools.  In the same building, students are participating in English classes (except for their Core French Class). TVDSB currently has one dual-track elementary school (Princess Elizabeth PS in London) and the French Immersion experience is excellent at this school. 

Typically, dual-track schools exist where there is space to accommodate both programs, and students in both the French Immersion and English programs receive the same education as their peers in single-track French Immersion or English schools. 


24. Question: What is TVDSB's plan for children entering Junior Kindergarten in September 2021, who live within the changing school zones? Will they be granted Senior Kindergarten attendance in the same school, so they can complete the two-year Full-Day Kindergarten program in the same school with the same educators, as intended by the Ministry of Education? Will they be granted Elementary Out-of-Area Exemptions to begin Junior Kindergarten at the same school where the TVDSB intends to move them for Senior Kindergarten in September 2022? 

Does TVDSB intend for hundreds of our youngest and most vulnerable learners to begin their education with unpredictability or is the board actively planning to protect the FDK program for the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 school years during these boundary changes?

Answer: A decision regarding boundary changes is expected to be made by the Board of Trustees in the Fall of 2021, with implementation intended to occur for September of 2022. Students starting Junior Kindergarten in September of 2021 would be expected to enrol in school based on current attendance areas. The TVDSB has established a process for out-of-area exemption requests and these are considered on a case-by-case basis, as per TVDSB Procedure 4012a.


25. Question: I am wondering if you have considered the possibility of a large amount of children being withdrawn from French Immersion due to being forced into a dual-track school? How will that effect the students who do go to Oliver Stephen's? If enrolment drops will my child end up in split classes for the next 5 years? I have yet to talk to a parent who is in favour of this plan. Many have considering pulling their kids from French immersion when this takes place.

Answer: Students in both French Immersion and English programs at dual track schools receive the same high quality education as their peers in single-track schools. TVDSB Administration monitors enrolment at each school in order to ensure that spaces are used optimally. This attendance area review was initiated in part to address the high demand for FI programming in Oxford County and this demand is projected to continue. 


26. Question: Why is the use of the old Tollgate School by the Woodstock round-about not being considered an option? Why can it not be opened up as a second French Immersion Public school for those living in Oxford County outside of Woodstock?

Answer: Tollgate Central PS closed in 2011. Due to its small size and the lack of municipal sanitary sewer services at the site, this facility is not recommended to be utilized for a new school.


27. Question: Is it possible to ensure that children that may possibly be transferred be grouped together in the same class for 2021-2022 school year? This could help with transitioning.

Answer: The TVDSB is committed to ensuring the most consistent transition possible for all students involved.  Parents and guardians will have the opportunity for collaboration with staff as part of the student transition process and it will be important to ensure that any concerns are shared with staff at this time.


28. Question: Why was Oliver Stephens PS selected as the preferred site for a second FI school in Oxford County and were other options considered?

Answer: Administration reviewed where current FI students reside in Oxford County with an objective to establish a second FI school close to the largest concentration of students while still having a viable number of pupils to be able to offer the program. Once it was determined that Woodstock  was the ideal location based on existing need, Administration examined schools with existing space or where enough space could be reasonably created for the program while limiting student movement to the extent possible.  

Oliver Stephens PS and Eastdale PS were identified as two available options that, based on their available space, could accommodate the program without a significant overhaul of attendance boundaries across Woodstock. Oliver Stephens PS was selected as the preferred option based on its central location at the south end of Woodstock and the fewer changes to existing attendance areas that would be required in order to create sufficient space at the school in order to offer both English and FI programming. 

Algonquin PS was also considered as a potential option for a second FI school but was determined to not be ideal because of the school’s anticipated role in assisting with managing the growing enrolment in the north end of Woodstock.


29. Question: The success of a dual track school in London is continuously cited as an example, and it is being used as the foundation for launching a dual track school in Woodstock. The difference is the dual track school in London grew to a Grade 1-8 French Immersion by adding a grade each year, and not by transferring students from a current enrolment at a London French Immersion school. Would it not be the equitable outcome to follow the same model that was successful in London for the Woodstock/Oxford French Immersion plan and it would be the least disruptive to the current loyal Roch Carrier FIPS students whom a vast majority have attended since at least first grade?

Answer: The attendance area review was initiated due to growing enrolment at Roch Carrier FI PS requiring the extensive use of temporary classroom space. Although no decisions have been made around the legacy agreement of existing students yet, the recommendation to move part of the entire program came from the need to take enrolment pressure off of Roch Carrier as an alternative to limiting enrolment in French Immersion. The outcome referenced in your question can certainly be incorporated into the community feedback to be considered by the Board of Trustees as part of this process.


30. Question: Was there a review by a qualified authority to determine the mental and emotional impact of separating students from their friends and also from familiar environments and routines? 

Has any review accounted for the cumulative emotional and mental toll the last two school years have had on students, added with the likelihood that a return next year will not resemble pre-pandemic school, and then stress associated with fear of the unknown for the following school year. TVDSB has stated that their focus is on managing the mental health of our children but we have not been presented with any study that indicates this will not negatively impact students. 

Answer: There are some external studies underway to examine the impact of the global pandemic on students but this data is not currently available, and may not be for some time. Unfortunately, we are not aware of any investigations that would meet the scope of your question.  Our focus will be on transitioning any students that move, as well as those who remain at their current schools, with care and compassion.  We are committed to providing support to all of our learners  as they experience changes and as they adjust back to a post-pandemic normal.  Any concerns about impact is encouraged to be raised by parents, teachers or students to school teams and individual supports will be explored. 


31. Question: In presenting two undesirable dual-stream options that divide our school community, TVDSB messaging is that options are limited by the current provincial government's policies. 

The population of Roch Carrier French Immersion Public School, however, far exceeded the building's on-the-ground capacity under a previous government and long before the Revised Pupil Accommodation Review Guideline (2018). Further, TVDSB's own report projects that the overcapacity issue will persist through at least two future provincial elections, even if you force the dual-stream option on our community: by 2027, Option 1 puts RCFI back at 168% of on-the-ground capacity, and Option 2 puts Roch Carrier back at 172% of on-the-ground capacity.

Given the past and future extension of RCFI's overcapacity beyond the term of the current government, and TVDSB's assertion that both capital expansion and pupil accommodation review are curtailed by this specific government rather than by the will of the Board, why not wait on the French Immersion part of the Attendance Area Review? We are a year out from a provincial election.

Answer: There is considerable enrolment pressure at Roch Carrier FI PS as well as a student distribution imbalance across English-track elementary schools in Woodstock that is creating an accommodation challenge across the city. The Board of Trustees has initiated this review in order to address this challenge. School communities that would like to suggest that the attendance area review be delayed should include this recommendation in their school community report for Trustees’ consideration.


32. Question: Why is TVDSB actively determined to continue this process mid-pandemic? I keep getting messages about how TVDSB cares about my children’s mental health – and yet you are pitching these big changes for many students in Woodstock after a very disruptive 1.5 years of school. Many parents can’t engage in the consultation process either because of their work as essential workers, or due to stress related to being a small business owner striving to stay afloat. It’s overall unfair to the Woodstock community to make these choices that will affect so many mid-pandemic.

Answer: There is considerable enrolment pressure at Roch Carrier FI PS as well as a student distribution imbalance across English track elementary schools in Woodstock that is creating an accommodation challenge across the City. The Board of Trustees has initiated this review in order to address this challenge. School communities that would like to suggest that the attendance area review be delayed should include this recommendation in their school community report for Trustees’ consideration.


33. Question: How was it decided to do an Attendance Area Review instead of Pupil Accommodation Review?

Answer: There is currently a moratorium on Pupil Accommodation Reviews while the Province updates its Pupil Accommodation Review Guidelines. The TVDSB considered its options and Trustees initiated an Attendance Area Review in order to address immediate accommodation challenges.


34. Question: Can this process be postponed until after the pandemic or after the next election? 

Answer: There is considerable enrolment pressure at Roch Carrier FI PS as well as a student distribution imbalance across English-track elementary schools in Woodstock that is creating an accommodation challenge across the city. The Board of Trustees has initiated this review in order to address this challenge. School communities that would like to suggest the attendance area review be delayed should include this recommendation in their school community report for Trustees’ consideration.


35. Question: Can you provide some insight in how the dual-track school in London was formed. 

Answer: A key to the success of the introduction of French Immersion programming at the dual-track school in London was the creation of transition teams to welcome the new students and families into the school community. The parents formed a joint Transitional School Council, which allowed the new combined parent group the opportunity to start working together and planning for the following year. Tours of the school and information nights were arranged. Even though they would not be in the same classrooms the following year, the students who would be arriving at the school the following year had opportunities to meet some of their peers currently attending the school. As part of the transition process, staff ensured that resources were made available to support the FI curriculum at the school. 


36. Question: Can you provide some insight on how the new school culture will be developed; blending of two school communities.

Answer: Once a decision has been made, every effort to support a cohesive school culture will be part of our transition process. TVDSB is committed to supporting all families, students, staff and the school community’s important perspectives as we work together to implement the plan that is approved. Every school culture is unique.  Blending two schools provides an opportunity for parents and students to build a stronger school council and collaborate with administration on school culture. School councils help to guide events, fund-raise and provide valuable input on the school code of conduct.  The School Climate surveys, as well as the Safe and Inclusive Schools Plans, allow parents and students to collaborate based on school-level data to determine strategies and structures for improving the culture of the school and to keep it a safe and healthy place to learn. As always, equity remains one of our key operational goals and this applies to all of our students.  


37. Question: What if a large portion of families destined for Oliver Stephens PS opt to return to an English-track school? How will this affect class breakdowns? Can they have access to data related to the number of students/grade?

Answer: Student enrolment projections for each school were provided in the Initial Attendance Area Review Report as well as the accompanying presentation. Class breakdowns are a product of the number of students registered in each grade. Once the number of students who are registered in the program is confirmed, students and their caregivers will be provided with a class assignment.   


38. Question: Have capital funding requests been submitted for Roch Carrier? 

Answer: TVDSB monitors the conditions of all of our schools and prioritizes capital investment based on the needs of the entire system, including those at Roch Carrier FI PS.  


39. Question: Will Kindergarten be an option for families at Oliver Stephens PS who have older siblings in the FI program there?

Answer: Every out-of-area exemption request is considered on a case-by-case basis and approved or denied as per the considerations outlined in the Board procedure on this matter at the following link: Procedure 4012a


40. Question: Has TVDSB considered merging with Holy Family Catholic FI school in town? 

Answer: The TVDSB is always looking for innovative ways to help manage enrolment in order to continue to meet the needs of all of our students. A school merger with our Catholic co-terminous Board has not been explored in this instance given that such an undertaking is likely to require capital investment from the Ministry of Education, which is not available for addressing accommodation pressure as a result of a specialized or alternative program (such as French Immersion).


41. Question: Are our committee reports public documents once they are filed with the school board? 

Answer: Yes.


42. Question: Why was a consulting firm hired to solve a problem within a board of education? (One might assume that economists are adept at solving problems of economics.) When researching this firm, it looks as though the team making these recommendations are a) mostly experienced in geography & land development (not education); b) all from Toronto/Hamilton (not the local area); c) not exactly a diverse committee with 4 out of the 5 being male and 0/5 from the BIPOC community. How can we trust that this non-diverse committee is making the best decision for our area when TVDSB is so proud of its diversity, equity and inclusion work? (Link to the team from Watson here: https://www.watsonecon.ca/expertise/sectors/education/school-board-accommodation-planning-and-capital-financing-studies)

Answer: Watson & Associates was retained to assist the TVDSB with the Oxford County French Immersion and City of Woodstock Elementary Panel Attendance Area Review. Watson & Associates has completed a considerable volume of demographics work, enrolment projections studies, capital and financing studies and attendance and accommodation studies on behalf of school boards, including TVDSB, throughout Ontario and beyond. The firm provides services to close to 50 school boards across Canada. The consulting team is working closely with TVDSB Administration and all recommendations are formulated in conjunction with our staff. All decisions pertaining to this attendance area review will be made by the Board of Trustees.


43. Question: The 2 options presented for French Immersion in Woodstock appear to be overly simplified solutions to a more nuanced issue. Were the social and broader cultural implications of Option 2 which creates an urban vs. rural divide considered?

Answer: The intent of Option 2 was not to create an urban vs. rural divide but to provide an alternative option for consideration. The TVDSB encourages school communities to provide feedback regarding the options in their respective school subcommittee reports so that this information can be considered by Trustees as part of the decision-making process. 


44. Question: Is there any data to back up the claim that dual-track French Immersion is on par with single-track FI? Other than the anecdotal evidence that the dual-track school in London has been working well, are there any actual studies or hard data to prove this claim?

Answer: There is not a study available to us to reliably compare the schools.  A quick comparison that can be publicly found are EQAO results. On analysis, the dual-track school mentioned has substantively similar results to Roch Carrier FI PS in all areas. That said, dual-track is the only option open to the Board due to Ministry restrictions at this time, and will fix the overcrowding issue at Roch Carrier which has persisted over a period of years.  Alternative suggestions that fit the Ministry requirement to not move more than 50% of a school population are welcome to be added to community feedback through your school committee.  All options will be presented to the Board of Trustees for consideration.  


45. Question: Very recent data shows that population growth in Woodstock has soared beyond expectation in the past 12 months due to the pandemic. I’ve seen the answer a few times given that "Because of provincial restrictions, TVDSB is currently unable to move more than 50% of a school’s population in order to create sufficient consolidated school space for a single-track French Immersion facility.” My question is: given the new population data, would TVDSB reconsider and move 49% of a school’s population, and place new, incoming students at a new single-track FI facility? Basically, is the idea of creating a dual-track instead of a single-track FI school already etched in stone, or is there space to review?

Answer: In order to convert an English single-track school in Woodstock to a single-track French Immersion school, all students at the existing English school would need to be relocated to other English schools across the city. Given the provincial restrictions that are currently in place, this is not possible at this time.


46. Comment: Both options impact students south of Woodstock more than any others within Oxford County. It’s a very long bus ride from Tillsonburg and the decision to send a small child on that journey for a quality French Immersion education is not one that parents decide lightly. It’s filled with a lot of worry and doubt. However, I think most parents would agree that those fears are easily put to rest once it’s evident how caring and competent the teaching staff and administration are at RCFI. Now, the proposition is that parents must go through this decision all over again and disrupt their children’s lives, when they have already been incredibly disrupted over the past year. Before coming to a final decision, please, please, please endeavour to keep existing RCFI students there and also keep siblings together.

Answer: Roch Carrier French Immersion PS has a capacity for 282 students and its enrolment is approaching 500. As such, additional FI programming space is required to continue meeting the needs of our current students. Unfortunately, keeping all existing Roch Carrier students at the school is not a viable option given the enrolment level of the school. The TVDSB is committed to ensuring the most consistent transition possible for all students involved.  Parents and guardians will have the opportunity for collaboration with staff as part of the student transition process.


47. Question: How are the interests of families whose oldest children will enter JK in September 2021 being considered in the WAAR process? School sub-committees were only formed from the families of current students, not future students, so the families of future JK students would only be heard if they also had an older, registered sibling. 

Further, many families of future JK students entering in 2021 are unaware of TVDSB's proposed changes, and of the board's refusal to commit to protecting their FDK attendance at a single location. How is TVDSB notifying incoming JK families of the board's proposed changes, which would significantly impact the early education experiences of many children?

Answer: Board procedure requires consultation with the current school community. Members of the public who are not current members of the school community have an opportunity to make delegations to the Board of Trustees as part of this process. This matter has been raised at individual school-level meetings and is likely to be presented in Attendance Area Review subcommittee reports that will be considered by the Trustees as part of their deliberations.  Any resulting changes are expected to be implemented in time for 2022-2023 school registration. At the time that JK students begin in September of 2021, a decision regarding this Attendance Area Review would not yet have been made and therefore any movement between schools may not align with the final decision. 


48. Question: I am writing with great concern over the proposed boundary changes for specifically Springbank PS. I have a son who is soon to be 9 years old and a 6-year-old son who attend Springbank PS. They attend that school because my husband and I wanted them to attend Springbank PS, so much that when we had our first son we put our first house up for sale and did the research to find out where we must buy or build in order for our son to be able to go Springbank PS. This research led us the our forever home. 

My children are thriving at Springbank PS – but that has not always been the case. My oldest son suffers from anxiety and it has taken 4 years and the support of the staff and students, his friends, his peers at Springbank PS to get him to where he is today. This past year has been a trying one that nobody saw coming and my family, as well as many others, have seen the impact it has had on our children. My son’s anxiety returned and we had to work very closely with his teachers to ensure a safe and secure return for him. 

I have spoke to many, many families who would be affected by this change and they all feel the same.

Switching schools is a very big deal. School is like a child’s second home – they spend the other half of their time with their teachers, peers and friends. If you remove a child from the only school they’ve ever known, if feels to them as you’re taking them away from the safety and security that they’ve known. It takes a long time for a child to feel accepted at a new school. 
I am begging you to reconsider this proposal for my family and many, many other families that will be affected by this change. 

Answer: All of our Thames Valley schools offer the same supports and resources to all students. We are committed to ensuring the most consistent transition possible for all students involved in this process. Parents and caregivers will have the opportunity for collaboration with staff as part of the student transition process. It would be critical at this opportunity to ensure your concerns related to your child are shared with staff.


49. Question: I have great concern about this proposed Attendance Area Review if this means children will be uprooted and moved to a different school, some of which are at critical stages in their adolescent years. If there is a legacy agreement approach I think that is a much more reasonable way of handling this. Although my family is not directly affected in the sense that our children will remain in Springbank PS school area, our children will be GREATLY affected with 99% of their friends being moved. Our children have had to adapt these last two school years; I don't think we need to ask any more of them. 

Mental health is of such great concern and by splitting up friendships at crucial ages when they have been well established for the majority of their school careers is one of the worst things I could think of for these kids who have been through enough. Kids are resilient they say but that's not true; that's a bandaid. Later in life people deal with traumas and things of bad nature that happened during childhood, so that proves they aren't actually resilient. We just bandaid them and forget about them and wonder what happened to them when they fall victim to hardships later in life. Bottom line: removing children from schools they have built relationships with teachers and friends to make way for future students is an extremely poor idea. Our children should not have to suffer because of the inadequacies of the school board and prior boundaries put in place.

Answer: Changing development patterns and neighbourhood demographics necessitate the review of school attendance boundaries from time to time in order to ensure that school spaces are used optimally. TVDSB is committed to working with parents and caregivers as part of the transition process. A decision regarding the legacy agreement of existing attendance areas for current students has not been made. Trustees will consider this as part of their deliberations regarding the Final Attendance Area Review Report, expected to be presented in the fall of 2021 after the receipt of public feedback.


50. Question: I think this is a horrible idea!!!! I do not want my kids to go to Algonquin PS! My kids struggle to fit in and they are happy and content here!!! Love the teachers and no other teachers compare to those at Springbank PS. The school is the best school my kids have ever been too. I also purchased this specific house to have my kids go to this school and take the school bus. I feel boundaries should never change for schools. People buy in certain areas for their kids go to a certain school. Changing this is unfair to the parents and kids. This is a silly waste of time. With what our kids are going through due to COVID-19, they do not need to go through changing schools, teacher's and friends well. There is never a good time for this. Kids need stability and structure. You are pulling the rug out from under them.

Answer: Periodically, it becomes necessary to review attendance area boundaries in order to ensure our schools remain optimally utilized. This is primarily due to development patterns in our communities and changing neighbourhood demographics. Our educators are excellent across the district and TVDSB is committed to ensuring that the transition process considers the needs of our students through collaboration with parents and caregivers.


51. Question: My son is currently enrolled in Grade 3 and we are just starting to get the ball rolling on providing him with the extra supports he needs! He has been struggling academically basically his entire school career and we are just starting to see a tiny bit of progress. I would REALLY hate for him to be forced to switch schools when, by the time that does happen, we will just be getting into a good spot for once! My daughter also attends Springbank PS and is currently in SK. I will do EVERYTHING I possibly can to keep them BOTH at Springbank PS if this decision to force them to switch schools comes to fruition. I don't think it's right to uproot kids, especially those that are struggling. 

Answer: All of our Thames Valley schools offer the same supports and resources to all students. We are committed to ensuring the most consistent transition possible for all students involved in this process. Parents and caregivers will have the opportunity for collaboration with staff as part of the student transition process. It would be critical at this opportunity to ensure your concerns related to your child are shared with staff.


52. Question: I am concerned about the school boundaries. I would like it to be taken into consideration that if a child is unable to access bus transportation due to being under the 1.6 km from their school, that the child can be within the boundary to the designated school. For example, I walk my children to Roch Carrier FI PS because it is under 1.6 km to the school. If there are two locations for French Immersion, could the school boundary include a 1.6 km surrounding space for students to walk to school? Usually, the school boundary is divided based on large roads. THIS is problematic because a 15-minute walk is an ideal solution, instead of taking a bus to another location because we live on one side of a major road and the school is just a couple blocks over on the other side of the (same) major road. I hope that it can be taken into consideration when making the boundaries for the schools, that those who are close enough to walk to the school (specifically 1.6 km or closer) be able to register as a designated school.

Answer: The new school boundaries under consideration were designed with regard for school proximity and walkability. The options under consideration may be found in the initial attendance area review report. Elementary students who reside more than 1.6 kms from their designated school are eligible for bus service.


53. Question: In the Full Remote Learning stream of French Immersion this 2020-2021 school year, multiple classes have lacked a full-time French qualified teacher since before the winter break. 

While there may theoretically be the same number of FI students between Roch Carrier French Immersion and Oliver Stephens during the transition year of 2022-2023, TVDSB currently lacks adequate staffing to teach that number of students. The Board is failing to staff two streams of FI students right now, yet proposing to embed a dual-stream system and claiming French education quality will not suffer. 

Adding on the required qualified French staff for library services, learning support (TOSA) and administrators for Oliver Stephens, if TVDSB transitions that school to dual-stream, the duplication of services across two locations will require more FI professionals rather than the same number.

How exactly will TVDSB secure adequate staffing? If it is possible, then why is the Board failing to adequately staff Full Remote Learning right now?

Answer: TVDSB ensures staffing requirements based on collective agreements, provincial class size caps and required subject areas/courses/specialties for which qualifications are required; in elementary these are limited to French and Special Education support (Learning Support Teachers). 

For the 2020-2021 school year, TVDSB and other boards across the province have been challenged to support two learning models with limited provincial funding. However, Thames Valley has ensured that Full Remote Learning classes are supported through staffing from In-Person Home Schools (Learning Support Teachers and Educational Assistants) in addition to the appropriate staffing for classroom and Early Childhood Educators as per collective agreements, provincial class size caps and required qualifications.

Where qualified staff for French may not have been available, support through software and central staff was also provided to ensure the appropriate French programming was in place for all students in this learning model.


54. Question: Please try answering Question 6 again since the original response is not in keeping with my intended question so I'll re-frame.  What has the Board done to explore creative partnerships with other existing French schools in Woodstock? It's my understanding that in Strathroy public and Catholic boards have joined to share a building. This kind of creative problem-solving is needed in Woodstock for quality longer term solutions

Answer: TVDSB is always looking for innovative ways to help manage enrolment in order to continue to meet the needs of all of our students. A school merger with our Catholic co-terminous board has not been explored in this instance given that such an undertaking is likely to require capital investment from the Ministry of Education, which is not available for addressing accommodation pressure as a result of a specialized or alternative program (such as French Immersion).


55. Question: Could I please put in my voice to support the boundary for Roch Carrier F.I. and Oliver Stephens, the French Immersion program, be along Dundas St. to separate the two districts. My vote to favour this way of distributing students in the French Immersion programs is because I feel that having a mixture of rural students and city students in a classroom creates an environment of students hearing first hand of the different types of communities and experiences in Oxford County. This creates an enriching experience in the classroom.

I do agree with keeping the walking distance, 1.6 km, for students who live close by the schools, to support a healthy lifestyle of walking to school. Thank you for listening to my perspective.  

Answer: We will ensure that this perspective is included in the Final Attendance Area Review Report that will be presented to Trustees this Fall. 


56. Question: Does this feedback form work as expected? Whenever I submit an enquiry once, the form resets itself. It is only after I resubmit my message a second time that I receive a "Thank You" message displayed on the page. I worry that community feedback is not being submitted as expected.

Answer: It appears that the feedback form is working as intended. We’ve not heard from anyone who has not received a response to their question or comment. We’re also conducting manual pulls of questions and comments on the back end of the site just in case there any issues with email delivery of submissions. 


57. Question: Has TVDSB ever requested capital funding for Roch Carrier French Immersion Public School? Has any planning of expansion or renovation ever been done for the building, and if so, what was the outcome?

Answer: TVDSB receives annual capital grants from the Ministry of Education and these grants are prioritized based on the collective needs of schools across the district, including Roch Carrier French Immersion Public School. We can confirm that TVDSB has invested provincial funding into Roch Carrier through the School Renewal Program.


58. Questions: 
1) In an answer where someone queried other options considered, the response was, " ...Please note that the initial attendance area review report is available on the attendance area review website and may be found via the following link: https://pub-tvdsb.escribemeetings.com/filestream.ashx?DocumentId=3186. ..." The report in that link demonstrates no other option other than option 1& 2 in the AARC slide deck provided to community parent parents. It seems fair to ask you to revisit that question as no additional insight into alternatives appear in that link. Kindly please advise.

2) In the initial attendance area review report you mention a consultant report. Can we have transparency to the Watson & Associates Economists Ltd. (Watson)  report, please?

3) In the Q&A, you were asked on what your the criteria was the decision based for a north/south division in option 1 versus and east-west option. In reading the response, I'm not able to clearly draw the direct answer to that question. Can you clarify?

4) In many of the reports, you have "preferred option" noted with option 1. Why is that option the preferred one? On what criteria was the title of ´preferred' based?

Answers:
1) The purpose of the French Immersion component of the attendance area review is to provide enrolment pressure relief at Roch Carrier FI PS by establishing a second FI school in Woodstock. To this end, elementary schools with existing space were considered, including Oliver Stephens PS, Eastdale PS and Algonquin PS. Oliver Stephens PS was identified as the preferred school to offer FI programming based on its location, the size of the school as well as the number of pupil spaces that could be made available there with limited disruption to existing students.

2) The consultant’s report is available on the Board’s website: https://pub-tvdsb.escribemeetings.com/filestream.ashx?DocumentId=3186 

3) The north and south attendance areas for French Immersion identified as part of Option 1 were determined based on the locations of Roch Carrier FI PS and Oliver Stephens PS. The two schools would offer FI programming to students across Oxford County. Dividing the county in half in the manner proposed was deemed as a viable option that would allow for the provision of student transportation in an efficient manner and optimal space utilization at each school based on where students currently reside.

4) Option 1 was deemed as the preferred option as it is more efficient than Option 2 from a student transportation perspective. In addition, under Option 1 both Roch Carrier FI PS and Oliver Stephens PS would provide programming to students from within and outside of Woodstock.


59. Question: What is the plan for students entering JK in September 2021 in the impacted zones; will they be forced to move for SK in September 2022 or granted attendance boundary exceptions? Will school transportation be provided if they are considered exceptions?

Answer: A decision regarding the legacy agreement of existing attendance areas for current students, including 2021/2022 JK students, has not been made. Trustees will consider this as part of their deliberations regarding the Final Attendance Area Review Report.


60. Question: I have great concerns about the proposed dual track FI program at Oliver Stephens. It makes me sad that they will be dividing up students/friendships. I think the problem lies in the need for a larger school or two FI schools in our county. Our county continues to grow, and there is a trend towards education in French. My daughter will be starting grade six when these proposed changes take place. We chose Roch Carrier specifically for the types of learners she will be surrounded by in the intermediate years. We left Oliver Stephens school district to avoid our daughter attending that school. 

I have been a teacher with TVDSB since 2005. I am sad and disheartened that this is the decision that was felt best to solve the lack of space at Roch.
I would appreciate some more info on boundaries. How and who will decide where students will be placed? 

Answer: The Oxford County French Immersion and City of Woodstock Elementary Panel Initial Attendance Area Review Report is available via the following links:

Report - https://pub-tvdsb.escribemeetings.com/filestream.ashx?DocumentId=3185

Appendix A - https://pub-tvdsb.escribemeetings.com/filestream.ashx?DocumentId=3186

School communities met during the second half of the 2020-2021 school year in order to provide feedback regarding the Initial Attendance Area Review Report.  Administration has reviewed the feedback and is preparing a Final Attendance Area Review Report with recommendations to the Board of Trustees. The report will be presented to the Board for its consideration in September 2021.


61. Question: If this is about shutting down the little schools and making a “super school” like Laurie Hawkins PS? I feel it is a bad idea to close down little schools.

Answer: The Oxford County French Immersion and City of Woodstock Elementary Panel Attendance Area Review is exploring the creation of a second French Immersion school in Oxford County as well as potential boundary changes across English track schools in Woodstock. There are no school closures being contemplated as part of this process.


62. Question: I previously lived in Eastdale PS district. We moved out of that district and were very conscious of school boundaries when we chose where we would move to. While my son is not yet old enough to attend, I cannot comprehend how it can make sense to load a toddler onto a bus super early so that he can drive past 2 other schools in order to get there. Having to cross town and 2 other districts to go to school with most of the kids living nowhere near him. 
I can appreciate that you need to balance numbers, but our children are NOT numbers and the bigger picture needs to be considered. 
Sending him across town, putting a geographical barrier between him and building easy friendships where he can play with his classmates outside of school is not fair and is completely illogical. 
You can’t just see a map with numbers. 
You need to see our children and what’s best for THEM. This is NOT what’s best for the children. Thank you for taking the time to hear our concerns.


Answer: The proposed English track boundary change for Oliver Stephens PS was recommended based on a number of factors, including minimizing the number of students that would have to be moved as part of the attendance area review process, available programming space, the location of student residences, transportation considerations, development activity and enrolment projections for the area.


63. Question: Why would you move students who live west side of Mill St. who are in walking distance to Southside PS and bus them to the other side of the city, passing two schools along the way to Eastdale PS? Rather than bus those who are already being bused (to Southside but outside walking distance) to Eastdale instead? It blows my mind you wouldn't want to have as many students able to walk to school than cause more busing then needed.

Answer: The proposed English track boundary change for Oliver Stephens PS was recommended based on a number of factors, including minimizing the number of students that would have to be moved as part of the attendance area review process, available programming space, the location of student residences, transportation considerations, development activity and enrolment projections for the area.


64. Question: My daughter has anxiety disorder and needs stability. Changing her school is going to destroy the strong foundation of trust we’ve built. The boundary being south of Dundas will disrupt our lives greatly and negatively impact her mental health.

Answer: All of our Thames Valley schools offer the same supports and resources to all students, as required. We are committed to ensuring the most consistent transition possible for all students involved in this process. Parents and caregivers will have the opportunity for collaboration with staff as part of the student transition process once a decision is made by the Board of Trustees. It would be critical at this opportunity to ensure your concerns related to your child are shared with staff.


 65. Question: Are there any other potential outcomes (in addition to the ones listed below) for the AAR Decision to be made on Sept. 28, 2021 Re: FI AA Review?



1) Move forward with: FI AA - Option 1

2) Move forward with: FI AA - Option 2

3) Move forward with: FI AA - Option 1 - Alternate boundary.



Could the decision be delayed or postponed?

Answer: Trustees can elect to make any decision they deem appropriate for the Oxford County French Immersion and City of Woodstock Elementary Panel Attendance Area Review, including approving Administration’s recommendation, approving a different option or different scenario entirely, not making any boundary changes or postponing the decision as outlined in your correspondence.


 

66.  Question: I am at a loss at locating the information that explains the rationale, or consultation process itself, for the sudden (3rd) alternate boundary suggestion in the final report. 

a)  What exact concerns were raised about the tracks being the boundary?

Answer: Through the public consultation process, some school communities indicated that the French Immersion boundary proposed in Option 1 (i.e. railway tracks) would accentuate a perceived north/south socio-economic divide.

b) Explain the consultation process.

Answer: The TVDSB’s Attendance Area Review Procedure outlines the consultation process that was followed in this review. All six school communities affected were included in the consultation process.

c) What feedback did the board receive?

Answer: This refers to the feedback from some school communities related to utilizing the railway tracks as the FI boundary. See answer to a) above.

d) Why is Dundas a more appropriate boundary?

Answer: County Road 2 was selected as an alternative FI boundary within the City of Woodstock in order to address the concerns associated with utilizing the railway tracks as a boundary between the two schools, while at the same time ensuring that both Roch Carrier and Oliver Stephens are well utilized based on the number of students who reside within each proposed attendance area.

 

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