The Carlington Summit
by Greg Clunis.

The ongoing shuffling of resources in the Ottawa Carleton Public School Board means that there may be a French Immersion program located at W.E. Gowling School on Anna Avenue starting in September 2001.

Parents have only just recently learned of the plan, which has generated internet discussion, and which will only be presented to parents formally at the School Council Meeting scheduled for 04 December.

The proposal originates in a School Board document dated 16 November, 2000, which explores program options in response to the closure of Devonshire School. W.E. Gowling is involved because of its membership in the “Near West Family” of schools.

Option 3 in the discussion paper proposes moving part of Devonshire's Kindergarten-to-Grade-6 French Immersion (EFI) students to W.E. Gowling, and also those EFI students from the W.E. Gowling area that currently attend Agincourt School. One of the immediately apparent benefits is to return to W.E. Gowling students from its catchment area that are currently transported out to received their schooling.

The change would be implemented on a phased basis, require additional transportation costs, and might require the relocation of the day-care and other programs currently in the school.

The five year projection is that W.E. Gowling would have over 750 students, compared with the current enrolment just over 500. The Board's assessment presumes a maximum capacity of 834. When Gowling's population last peaked just over 700, prior to the departure of the grade seven and eights in the early nineties, there were six portables in the yard.

Opportunities for community feedback on the proposed changes have been limited. A public meeting on 16 November at the Adult High School provided a feedback sheet and specified a return date no later than 22 November.

Intermediate students require more though, for specialty rooms like shops and the kitchen.