It was my privilege to welcome students who are participating in the Ottawa Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) SAIL program (Students Accelerating in Literacy) to City Hall this past Thursday. Their visited consisted of a brief introduction to the vocabulary we use at the municipal level of government and what resources that the City has to offer to residents followed by a tour of City Hall. Thanks to Mayor Watson for taking time to visit with the students. They had the opportunity to ask him many questions about Canada, the City, and his role as a leader. For many of the students this was their first experience with government outside of their own countries. Some of whom have only been living in Canada for two weeks. There were over 40 students participating in the SAIL program attending from high schools across the City including Woodroffe High School.
SAIL is a program organized by the OCDSB Continuing Education department, where they offer a non-credit opportunity for OCDSB High School Students in English Language Development and English as a Second Language classes based on their recent arrival in Canada. Those students who can’t access other summer language learning opportunities because of language level or age are the priority. Students are given the opportunity to enrich their education by developing oral proficiency, reading proficiency, and basic numeracy skills. Part of the program involves experiential learning through real world field trips like the one to City Hall.
I was thrilled by the number of female students who showed interest in my role as a municipal leader and really enjoyed the opportunity to give all of the students the view of what makes up municipal government. I am encouraged to see programs like SAIL being offered to new students as it is a part of what is needed to help meet the needs of communities and giving young people the opportunity to experience success.