About Ontario School Districts

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What are school districts/school boards?

School Boards are also known as school districts. All publically funded schools in Ontario follow the same curriculum and all are essentially organized in a similar way. There are consistent practices in student achievement and mandatory requirements for teachers.  It is important to note that while both public and Catholic secondary schools have the same high standard of education, there are some differences.

Funding for schools comes from the Ontario Ministry of Education through tax revenues from the citizens of the province. Nearly every public school in Ontario is part of a designated school board.  School boards:

  • oversee a specific geographical area as indicated in the overview map,
  • have elected trustees from local communities and can decide some policies and procedures based on local needs,
  • are responsible for the hiring of all staff, including teachers, principals and support staff,
  • are managed by a senior staff consisting of a Director of Education and Superintendents.

There may be as many as four different school boards in one geographical area. Here are the number of school boards in Ontario by type of school board:

  • 31 English Public
  • 29 English Catholic
  • 4 French Public, and
  • 8 French Catholic

Public and Catholic Education in Ontario

Ontario’s public and Catholic school boards (French and English) are fully funded by the Ontario Ministry of Education, and both types of school boards must follow The Ontario Curriculum; both systems provide a similarly high quality education. The core curriculum in Catholic schools is essentially very similar to that in the public schools, but there are separate curriculum documents that place emphasis on Catholic religious values.  Public and Catholic differ in that public schools are completely secular whereas Catholic schools integrate religious beliefs into the daily life of students through religious practices such as prayers, school masses, and connecting to the Catholic community.

French Language School Districts

Canada is a bilingual country and the two official languages are French and English.

The essential difference between French language and English language school boards is that students enrolled in French language schools learn all subjects exclusively in French, with the exception of required English language courses.  In general, all support services and communication with the school are conducted in the French language. French Language school boards are publically funded.

To contact a French-language school board in Ontario, visit: www.ontario.ca/page/french-language-schools

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