At St. Mary Catholic Secondary School we are proud to offer Core French (French as a Second Language). As of September 2021, we will be offering French Immersion for our Grade 9, 10, 11, and 12 cohorts. The goal of these programs is to develop overall skills and communication in French. 

Opening Doors to Opportunities

As a Board, we value the learning of French and recognize the many benefits that French language-skills provide students.  Our French language programs open doors to opportunities! Watch the video below to learn more about what our elementary and secondary students have to share about learning French.

Studying French

The study of French is an important part of the secondary school curriculum. French is one of Canada's two official languages, but also widely used around the world.

As one of Canada's two official languages, the study of French is an important part of the secondary school curriculum. Widely used around the world, the ability to read, write, listen and speak in French is valuable for a number of reasons. Learning French allows students to:

  • strengthen their first-language skills;
  • enhance their critical and creative thinking abilities;
  • increase their understanding of other cultures; and
  • gain career advantages.

Goals of French as a Second Language programs

The primary goal of French as a Second Language (FSL) programs in Ontario is to increase students' confidence and proficiency to use French effectively in their daily lives. All FSL programs emphasize the development of:

  • listening;
  • speaking;
  • reading; and
  • writing skills.

Core French Program 

All secondary students must complete a minimum of one French credit to earn an Ontario Secondary School Diploma. Grade 9 students have the option of studying Core French at an academic, applied and open level. In Grades 10 - 12, Core French is offered at the academic and university level. 

Not sure what level Core French to take in Grade 9? The French curriculum changed in 2014 and now it involves a lot of speaking and listening. No matter your child's experience, if your child has academic skills and are taking the majority of their courses at the academic level (i.e., ENG1D, CGC1D), they will likely be great at academic level in Core French. If in doubt about which level is appropriate, please consult your elementary school's French teacher. 

For more information on the Core French Program, please contact Ms. S. Walton, Curriculum Chair of English and Modern Languages (ext. 41956).

French Immersion Programs

Students who have completed the French Immersion program in elementary school can continue their French language studies at the secondary level. Students who have completed a minimum of 3800 hours of French in elementary school continue into the French Immersion stream at St. Mary.

The secondary French Immersion program offers a minimum of seven courses in French which include four French language courses (one per grade) and at least three other subjects taught in French (see table below).

Secondary students are required to complete 30 credits to receive their Ontario Secondary School Diploma. The French Immersion program requires students to complete 10 of the 30 credits in FrenchUpon completion, our students receive an French Immersion certificate at graduation. The chart below outlines the courses students are required to take in French.

Grade 9Grade 10Grade 11Grade 12







World Religions

Religion (optional)




Health and Physical Education

Careers and Civics (optional)


For more information on the French Immersion Program, please contact Mlle. Nicole Oster, Curriculum Chair of French, at 905-420-7166 (ext 40433) or view the Ministry of Education's - A Parents' Guide to French Immersion document.

Diplôme d’études langue française (DELF)

Through partnerships with the Ministry of Education and Alliance Française de Toronto, we are pleased to offer Core French registered in a Grade 12 FSL course (Semester 1 or 2) the opportunity to participate in the Diplôme d'études en langue française (DELF) Proficiency Exam.  

The Diplôme d'études en langue française (DELF) is an internationally recognized assessment of French proficiency. The exam measures a student's ability to use French in everyday life.  Students' French skills are measured across four areas:

  • Listening;
  • Speaking;
  • Reading; and 
  • Writing.

Our students choose one of three testing levels to complete - A2, B1, and B2. The student's French teacher will discuss the best testing level for a student to complete. The DELF Proficiency Exam has two components - a written exam and an oral interview. Upon completion, successful candidates will receive a DELF diploma from France’s Ministry of National Education. 

For more information please visit DCDSB DELF Proficiency Exam.


Alternative and Enrichment Education

  • Explore: Explore is a five-week intensive summer language-immersion program. Participants in Explore receive a $2000-2800 bursary (taxable income) that covers tuition fees for the programs, instructional materials, meals and accommodations, workshops, and other mandatory activities. Discover another region of Canada while learning French. Enjoy five weeks of learning and adventure, friendship and discovery!
  • International Student Exchange - Ontario (ISE): ISE a registered not-for-profit corporation, has a proud tradition of providing exceptional reciprocal exchange programs for Ontario elementary and secondary students with France, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Germany & Quebec! In cooperation with Ontario school boards, ISE ONTARIO is pleased to offer Ontario students the opportunity to invest in their future as they develop and improve their language skills, discover exciting cultures and places, and make friendships abroad.