Parenting & Family

Ontario School Zoning

  • Last Updated:
  • Dec 18th, 2022 12:32 pm
[OP]
Newbie
Feb 9, 2022
6 posts
1 upvote

Ontario School Zoning

I just discovered this side of RFD and just happened I had some questions about schools. I moved from Quebec to Ontario in 2021 and was not familiar with the school boards and zoning. I did some research and I believe I want to send my son (born in April 2021) to the French catholic school board.

I found Ontario school rankings (Fraser institute) and was wondering how valuable is that information? For example, is a school that is rated 9/10+ significantly better a school rated 7/10? There is a good school very close by, but we aren’t in the zone, would they exceptionally admit us anyway? Would I have to move to be in a better school zone?

Looking for experiences from other parents for the long term as well. Should I consider the rankings for high schools as well? Any other resources to learn about this?

Thank you!
15 replies
Member
May 21, 2012
327 posts
275 upvotes
Burlington
IIRC, the Fraser rankings are mostly based on the EQAO scores with no context. This causes issues such as schools with classes such as life skills classes (for kids with special needs where the regular curriculum is not appropriate) to automatically score lower as it is unlikely the children in those classes would meet the provincial standard.

All schools/school boards handle admittance of kids outside the catchment area differently. It would be best to contact the principal directly to find out what their processes are. That being said, it may change since your child is not entering school for a few years. The catchment areas can also change as school boards adjust to changing populations. These changes don't happen often, but they do happen.
Deal Addict
Nov 13, 2013
4056 posts
2533 upvotes
Ottawa
muskrat191 wrote: IIRC, the Fraser rankings are mostly based on the EQAO scores with no context. This causes issues such as schools with classes such as life skills classes (for kids with special needs where the regular curriculum is not appropriate) to automatically score lower as it is unlikely the children in those classes would meet the provincial standard.

All schools/school boards handle admittance of kids outside the catchment area differently. It would be best to contact the principal directly to find out what their processes are. That being said, it may change since your child is not entering school for a few years. The catchment areas can also change as school boards adjust to changing populations. These changes don't happen often, but they do happen.
Don't disagree with any of this but mostly the rankings are pretty fair. For French Catholic the catchment areas are large so they vary less. A 9 and 7 will be visible. A 7.8 and 7 maybe less so.
Deal Expert
Feb 7, 2017
23540 posts
22506 upvotes
Eastern Ontario
Maddore wrote: I just discovered this side of RFD and just happened I had some questions about schools. I moved from Quebec to Ontario in 2021 and was not familiar with the school boards and zoning. I did some research and I believe I want to send my son (born in April 2021) to the French catholic school board.

I found Ontario school rankings (Fraser institute) and was wondering how valuable is that information? For example, is a school that is rated 9/10+ significantly better a school rated 7/10? There is a good school very close by, but we aren’t in the zone, would they exceptionally admit us anyway? Would I have to move to be in a better school zone?

Looking for experiences from other parents for the long term as well. Should I consider the rankings for high schools as well? Any other resources to learn about this?

Thank you!
Good posts from the others …

Of note …
You have to QUALIFY to go to either the French Language Boards or Catholic Schools in Ontario

So someone in the home must be 100% able to speak French
And preferably it should be their mother tongue

And to go to a Catholic School… be it a French or English one
Again at least one parent must be Catholic

If you are good with the qualifications … then you’ll be all set

If you only have one …
You’d be looking at either French Public School or English Catholic School

If you have neither … it’ll be English Public School

If it’s English School … then there’s further streaming as to regards to how much French education is given and when
Anywhere from the minimum (core) … to full on French Immersion
(There’s also an Extended French Option … in the middle)

So …lots of choices
Lol waaaay more than in Quebec

What you qualify for / choose … will determine which Board you’ll be under
And which schools they have on their list in your neighbourhood … or larger zone
That your kid will be streamed to

The more specialized the school
The fewer they are … the bigger the zone
The more likelihood of bussing
Deal Addict
Nov 24, 2004
4559 posts
1118 upvotes
Toronto
PointsHubby wrote: And to go to a Catholic School… be it a French or English one
Again at least one parent must be Catholic
This actually depends on the region. It's absolutely true (for elementary students) in the GTA. Elsewhere in Ontario, it's a looser criterion, and in the French Catholic boards things are different too.

Without knowing where the OP is, it's hard to provide more advice.
Deal Expert
Feb 7, 2017
23540 posts
22506 upvotes
Eastern Ontario
JHW wrote: This actually depends on the region. It's absolutely true (for elementary students) in the GTA. Elsewhere in Ontario, it's a looser criterion, and in the French Catholic boards things are different too.

Without knowing where the OP is, it's hard to provide more advice.
True enough

But I just gave them a general overview for the Province and what’s here
French vs English and Catholic vs Public Education

@Maddore … indeed if you are going to post questions or reply to others in the RFD FORUMS
It’s a good idea to update your RFD PROFILE
So it shows some sort of location
As RFD has millions of members from right across Canada
NFLD to BC … and Point Pelee to Iqualuit … and beyond
So knowing a bit about WHERE you are helps with giving you best answers
Or knowing your perspective whenever you reply to others
As things across Canada differ greatly
You can put in your Province, Region, nearby Big City, or Hometown
Just as a bit of a reference to your POV
(See how mine says Eastern Ontario under my user name … and others here say Toronto, Burlington, and Ottawa etc )
Member
Feb 4, 2017
356 posts
246 upvotes
Toronto
I mailed a letter directly to the principal of the Catholic school I wanted my daughter to attend outside of my area.

Principal called me and was thrilled to have my daughter join the school.

I did not meet some of the requirements outlined on the school board website including pastoral reference and baptism certificate. I changed the property tax allocation as requested but they did not ask me to provide proof.

However, the principal did ask me to change my address on file to one in the district. This was after a year of attendance and her saying the board was doing a audit.

I would start with introducing yourself, your family and explain why you want your daughter to attend the school.

Good luck!
Deal Addict
Nov 24, 2004
4559 posts
1118 upvotes
Toronto
Hiotosan wrote: I did not meet some of the requirements outlined on the school board website including pastoral reference and baptism certificate. I changed the property tax allocation as requested but they did not ask me to provide proof.
That seems like an odd request -- you can't change the "property tax allocation" (which isn't really a tax allocation, but a school trustee election roll registration) without being baptized. Voters have to be Catholic to do that "allocation", so someone in the household has to be Catholic?
Deal Fanatic
Dec 20, 2018
7697 posts
6881 upvotes
fogetmylogin wrote: Don't disagree with any of this but mostly the rankings are pretty fair. For French Catholic the catchment areas are large so they vary less. A 9 and 7 will be visible. A 7.8 and 7 maybe less so.
the rankings are fair in that they just take eqao scores..but without context it's pretty useless. Eg a highly ranked school could be because it has a special education program (eg gifted) which lifts the school's overall eqao score, but not really meaningful to compare to say a lower ranked school that doesn't have a gifted program. gifted students attend gifted classes, so it's like a school within a school to an extent but the fraiser rankings don't reflect that.
Deal Addict
Nov 13, 2013
4056 posts
2533 upvotes
Ottawa
StatsGuy wrote: the rankings are fair in that they just take eqao scores..but without context it's pretty useless. Eg a highly ranked school could be because it has a special education program (eg gifted) which lifts the school's overall eqao score, but not really meaningful to compare to say a lower ranked school that doesn't have a gifted program. gifted students attend gifted classes, so it's like a school within a school to an extent but the fraiser rankings don't reflect that.
There are a few schools with this but generally you can compare like to like and having a gifted program has benefits as well. Anyway the French Catholic system doesn't have this issue.

It is not a fair assessment of the principal or teachers but it's the other kids which are most important. Lastly some very good schools don't focus on the test. My kids elementary school is in very nice area and was around a 7 for many years. Recently they have rocketed in rankings this is not an improvement in actual reading or math but getting all the kids to do their best on the test rather than saying it's irrelevant. (Not saying which approach is better). Some of these small private schools spend weeks preparing for the test which is clearly a waste of time.
Member
Feb 4, 2017
356 posts
246 upvotes
Toronto
JHW wrote: That seems like an odd request -- you can't change the "property tax allocation" (which isn't really a tax allocation, but a school trustee election roll registration) without being baptized. Voters have to be Catholic to do that "allocation", so someone in the household has to be Catholic?
To be fair, I have not confirmed the roll registration as I just filled out the form, mailed it and never heard anything back.

Point I was making is that the catholic school I applied to did not ask me to do it nor did they ask for verification.
Deal Addict
Nov 24, 2004
4559 posts
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Toronto
Hiotosan wrote: To be fair, I have not confirmed the roll registration as I just filled out the form, mailed it and never heard anything back.
You likely won't "hear" anything but at the time of the next municipal election, you will find that you are on the voter list for the Toronto Catholic District School Board trustee elections (you will get the "English-Catholic" municipal ballot) and technically it is not permitted for non-Catholics to vote for Catholic Board trustees.

That's why I'm confused that the principal asked you to change that "allocation" even though they know you're not Catholic.
Deal Guru
Dec 5, 2006
13436 posts
8810 upvotes
Markham
Maddore wrote: I just discovered this side of RFD and just happened I had some questions about schools. I moved from Quebec to Ontario in 2021 and was not familiar with the school boards and zoning. I did some research and I believe I want to send my son (born in April 2021) to the French catholic school board.

I found Ontario school rankings (Fraser institute) and was wondering how valuable is that information? For example, is a school that is rated 9/10+ significantly better a school rated 7/10? There is a good school very close by, but we aren’t in the zone, would they exceptionally admit us anyway? Would I have to move to be in a better school zone?

Looking for experiences from other parents for the long term as well. Should I consider the rankings for high schools as well? Any other resources to learn about this?

Thank you!
Ranking reflects a lot about that neighborhood. It doesn't tell you whether teachers are better or whatever in that sense. But good rank tells you at least kid's parents care their children's study.

Only thing I would say is don't just look at overall scores, you need deep dive it to see underlying components
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User avatar
Jan 19, 2007
1380 posts
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Torontario
smartie wrote: Ranking reflects a lot about that neighborhood. It doesn't tell you whether teachers are better or whatever in that sense. But good rank tells you at least kid's parents care their children's study.
...
"good rank tells you at least kid's parents care their children's study!" :) love it Smiling Face With Open Mouth
Deal Addict
Nov 13, 2013
4056 posts
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Ottawa
JHW wrote: You likely won't "hear" anything but at the time of the next municipal election, you will find that you are on the voter list for the Toronto Catholic District School Board trustee elections (you will get the "English-Catholic" municipal ballot) and technically it is not permitted for non-Catholics to vote for Catholic Board trustees.

That's why I'm confused that the principal asked you to change that "allocation" even though they know you're not Catholic.
Not sure the constitutional background on the trustee voter eligibility but generally everyone switches to where there kid is registered no? As you say it doesn't change a cent of taxes and is irrelevant not sure why the schools still thinks it sends some kind of message.
Deal Addict
Nov 24, 2004
4559 posts
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Toronto
fogetmylogin wrote: Not sure the constitutional background on the trustee voter eligibility but generally everyone switches to where there kid is registered no?
It's not in the Constitution but rather the Education Act (Ontario law) that someone voting for Catholic trustees must themselves be Catholic.

https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/90e02#BK252
As you say it doesn't change a cent of taxes and is irrelevant not sure why the schools still thinks it sends some kind of message.
I think it's because they want to still have some legitimacy to the trustee elections -- it's a bit hard to compare, but at least in Toronto I think the Catholic Board trustee elections have lower voter turnout numbers.

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