English schools to parents: Nous sommes bilingues
Published Thursday, January 17, 2013 1:03PM EST
The English Montreal School Board has launched a new French-only website with the goal of increasing student enrolment.
Most Quebecers are not allowed to go to English schools, and with a declining anglophone population, the EMSB needs every student it can attract so it doesn't fade away.
However English schools face a significant barrier: parents who think their children will not learn French in an English institution.
Alessandro Monteferrante is one such person. Both he and his wife went to English public schools, but their children go to a French private school.
"Honestly it was a no-brainer for us. There was never a discussion that they were going to go to an English school. It was French all the way," said Monteferrante.
Angela Mancini, chair of the EMSB, wants to change this attitude by promoting its French programs.
"Our job is to market that to the parents, and to let them know that if they choose to come to one of our schools here at the English Montreal School Board their students are graduating bilingual," said Mancini.
The board's new website includes testimonial videos from staff and former students demonstrating their mastery of the French language.
Current students like Matthew Lazaris know the value of learning French.
"I find it's very important because you use it in your everyday life just walking around and going to places," Mathew said, and the EMSB is pointing to students like him in hopes of recruiting some of the 50,000 English-eligible students who are currently in the French system.
Parents with children in English schools are happy to see the extra promotion, but it's not enough for Monteferrante.
"We're steadfast on that they are going to go to French," he said.
Registration at the EMSB begins in three weeks.