The WCDSB’s St. Louis Adult & Continuing Education program for International Languages supports students in K – Grade 8 to learn a new language and culture. Currently it offers twenty different languages at six different locations on Monday and Wednesday evenings as well as Saturday mornings. There are 100 permanent instructors teaching 1,890 students. This translates to a 13% increase compared to last year.
St. Louis is particularly proud of the two new languages that began to be offered this year: Chin and Arabic.
The decision to offer an elementary Arabic program was informed via community consultations undertaken throughout the 2016-17 school year. The consultations identified a clear need and desire for such a program. The program, launched in September, 2017, runs on Wednesday evenings to support the many new immigrants from Syria enrolled in our ESL program for adults that also runs on Wednesday nights. These children are fluent in Arabic and many of them arrived in Canada just a year ago. There is also another group of children in the program who don’t speak Arabic well, or at all. St. Louis has hired three teachers with experience and degrees in education and they are in the process of hiring more supply staff and a fourth permanent teacher. This new Arabic school began with 20 students in one class in September and is currently supporting more than 80 students.