Upper Grand welcomes Syrian newcomers

مرحبا بكم في مجتمعنا.

The Upper Grand District School Board is a place where students and staff lead, learn and inspire – together.

Upper Grand welcomes Syrian newcomer families into our schools and communities.

We are committed to providing a safe and inclusive place for children to learn and grow. Upper Grand has a number of programs and supports in place to make the transition into our schools as smooth as possible.

Our schools

Upper Grand has 65 elementary and 11 secondary schools in the City of Guelph, County of Wellington and County of Dufferin.

Student success is the goal of over 3,000 dedicated teaching and support staff who are aided by the contributions of caring volunteers and community partners.

All students in Junior Kindergarten (JK) through Grade 12 are welcome to register at a school for English or French Immersion programs. We encourage Syrian newcomers to register at their home school, according to their home address. To determine which school the child should attend, go to www.findmyschool.ca.

School staff will be on hand to help families register for school. Newcomers should call their school to arrange an appointment to register and tour the school.

For information on registering at an Upper Grand school and supports for students including elementary, secondary and adult English as a Second Language programs, download the PDF below in English or Arabic:

Supports available

All of our schools have English as a Second Language (ESL), Special Education and counselling/social work supports available as needed. We are committed to understanding and meeting the unique needs of newcomer children and their families.

An example of other supports available includes access to tablets equipped with Google Translate to assist with communication.

Resources for parents in Arabic

Numerous resources are available to help families settle within our school communities. For resources translated in Arabic, including information on starting school, parent-teacher interviews, Full Day Kindergarten and more, visit the Settlement.org website.

Helping Syrian newcomer students in our community

As numerous community groups work to ensure Syrian families receive a warm welcome and are set up for success, many have been asking what they can do to help.

If you would like to donate to the Syrian newcomers settling in our communities, you can do so through the Upper Grand Learning Foundation (UGLF), through the Free to Achieve Fund. UGLF is a non-profit, registered charity dedicated to improving educational opportunities for students and families in the communities the Upper Grand District School Board serves.

UGLF's Free to Achieve Fund strives to help students identified as in-need, whether the need is for basic necessities like clothes and food, eye glasses or opportunities outside the classroom that they wouldn’t normally have, like involvement in sports or swimming lessons.

To donate to Syrian newcomer children, visit the UGLF’s Free to Achieve Fund website and when making your donation indicate it is in honour of “Syrian families.” Charitable tax receipts are provided for donations of $20 or more.

The UGDSB is also holding a fundraiser to support Syrian newcomers settling in our community. UGDSB has partnered with Orca Book Publishers to raise funds by selling their newly published book entitled, Stepping Stones: A Refugee Family’s Journey by Canadian children’s author Margriet Ruurs through school and board websites. For every book that is sold through the board or school websites, Orca will donate $10 to local settlement agencies to support Syrian refugees.

To learn more about the fundraising initiative or to purchase a copy of the book, please click here.


For more information, please contact your home school or Superintendent of Education Cheryl Van Ooteghem at (519) 822-4420 ex. 746.