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Welcome to Zenon Park's École Notre-Dame-des-Vertus

École Notre-Dame-des-Vertus is the Conseil des écoles fransaskoises (CÉF) school in Zenon Park, Saskatchewan. It serves Francophone families from the communities of Zenon Park, Tisdale, Carrot River, Arborfield, Nipawin and Melfort that seek quality Francophone education for their children at elementary and high school levels. The French first language education offered at École Notre-Dame-des-Vertus is delivered by teachers who are inspired by best practices in use across Canada. And it all starts with our free prekindergarden program.

By registering your children at École Notre-Dame-des-Vertus, you are ensuring they will have access to the very best education available anywhere. Every new day at school will help them acquire new academic skills. They will develop their Francophone identity through enhanced, tailored programming. You will discover a world of learning opportunities for your children and possibly yourself. École Notre-Dame-des-Vertus' qualified teachers and educators all contribute to students' success and the school's in delivering exceptional educational services, with the support the local francophone community.

Francophone education at École Notre-Dame-des-Vertus

It took much community determination and courage to create a Francophone school in Zenon Park. In mid-August 1997, École Notre-Dame-des-Vertus officially became the 12th school to be run under the umbrella of Division scolaire francophone n° 310. 41 students entered school that fall in temporary classrooms prepared to welcome them in the old convent. A name was chosen through a contest asking the public to find a name for the school: "École Notre-Dame-des-Vertus" became the winning entry.

A court decision in favour of parents' application by the end of June 1998 ordered the construction of a new school in the community to serve the needs of Francophone families. Students moved into the new facility after the community pulled together in the months before to make it possible to enter the new building on Monday, May 17, 1999. A proud new chapter of Zenon Park's history started that day.

By 2001, École Notre-Dame-des-Vertus had students enrolled in all grades. Its first graduates were honoured and celebrated with great pride the following spring.

Studies have shown that Francophone schools are the best place for francophone students to get an education -- and they will have the advantage being fully bilingual at the end. Enrollment in French first language education will lead to students self-identifying more readily as bilingual Francophones than if they attend immersion school. Francophone students spend the school day in an environment where day-to-day life occurs predominently in French. This includes school interaction with parents, between teachers and ultimately with the community at large. Students experience French as a language not only for going to school, but for their future workplace and life in general. Their proficiency in French will remain longer. It will be part of who they are.

Incidentally, because of the nature of the environment in which we live, proficiency in English is easily acquired by our students. They learn French first, but they acquire English just as fast. Our Francophone students end up developing as good a command of the English language as native English-speakers.

Francophone education prepares students well for today's life journey

Upon graduation, our students' proficiency in both French and English tends to broaden the scope of choices available to them through advanced education at technical institute and college levels. Their Francophone school years are sure to influence the careers paths they will follow. The family decisions our graduates eventually make as adults are more likely to reflect the Francophone experiences at the heart of the Fransaskois school foundations. Perhaps they will be compelled to give the gift of Francophone education to their own children. This cycle of life is intricately woven through education, culture and community.

École Notre-Dame des Vertus is an essential ingredient in helping ensure the Fransaskois contribution to the shaping of Saskatchewan society remains vibrant in the years to come.