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The CECCE launches a pilot project for newcomers to Canada and Syrian refugees

March 22, 2017, OTTAWA – Students of the Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est (CECCE) who are newcomers to Canada can now benefit from a homework assistance program. The pilot project, called Programme A3 (for “accueil, aide, avenir,” or “welcome, help, future” in French), will offer supplementary academic support to students who are newcomers to Canada in order to help them reach their full academic potential and ensure better integration into, and success at, school.

The chair of the CECCE, Johanne Lacombe, believes this pilot project will be a great success, and that it will be renewed in September. “Many students who are newcomers to Canada, including Syrian families and refugees from other places, face a number of challenges. Generally, these students come from countries where education is significantly disrupted because of armed conflict or unstable political situations. Moreover, some of these students have lived in refugee camps without any schooling at all. As a result, they have trouble adapting to their new school environment. That’s why the CECCE believes this new program will help them better integrate into the French-Catholic school system.”

The Programme A3 will be offered free of charge to students in the CECCE’s elementary schools who are newcomers to Canada or Syrian refugees. It will be held once a week, on Wednesday evenings from 6 to 7:30 p.m., in the library of École élémentaire catholique Horizon-Jeunesse.

The CECCE is establishing the program in partnership with the Centre de services à la famille, which is responsible for recruiting volunteers to provide the students with assistance and support. Moreover, there will be CECCE students who, on a volunteer basis, support the students and parents participating in the program by greeting them, as well as helping the volunteer teachers carry out their duties.

“The CECCE cares deeply about the success of each and every student in the board, no matter what their educational background is. That’s why the team decided to create a program to help students who are newcomers to Canada so they can advance in their education, incorporating subjects such as French, math, science and technology. They will also have the opportunity to develop their skills in French and strengthen their knowledge of subjects they have learned previously,” said Réjean Sirois, Director of Education of the CECCE.

Coffee hour for Syrian families

In keeping with the initiative to support refugees, the CECCE has also launched a series of coffee-hour meetings in order to help Syrian families who have recently settled in Ottawa become integrated into Canadian society.

These meetings, hosted by CECCE community partners, will allow Syrian parents to ask questions and gain the information they need in order to understand how Canadian society functions and better integrate into it. The meetings will also give Syrian families a chance to familiarize themselves with the school system and how CECCE schools are run.

The meetings will take place two Saturdays a month, from 1 to 4 p.m., in the library of École élémentaire catholique Horizon-Jeunesse. In order to accommodate parents, a children’s play group, hosted by volunteers in an adjacent room, will also be offered during the meeting times to entertain children with educational games and creative activities.

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