The Kootenay Columbia school board has given the green light to an early French immersion program for kindergarten students at Twin Rivers Elementary in Castlegar.
The program will run for two years, after which the board will review its success and demand.
But the program is already receiving a great deal of attention.
According to superintendent Greg Luterbach, there are already 18 registered children.
Only 22 spots are available for this year’s trial run.
ACE IT lauded
District trades coordinator Murray McConnachie told the board Monday of the many successes of the ACE IT program.
ACE IT programs provide high school students the opportunity to attend trades training classes while in high school. There are no tuition fees and students receive course credits towards high school graduation and for the first level of technical training in an industry training authority program.
The program has turned out many, millwrights, hairdressers, welders, chefs and more over the many years since its inception.
To give an example of the effectiveness of the program, in the 2013 six month course, there were 29 students. So far 24 are in the workforce.
“These kids are amazing,” McConnachie said, “I can brag about these kids all night.”
McConnachie is very proud of the program and several board members congratulated him for his work and all the program does for youth in the school district.
Trustee Terry Hanik offered additional advice as well: “I’m very impressed with what you do… A presentation like this could go a long way with the public too, and I know when I was running [for office], trades was a priority for everybody.”
Hanik said he wants everyone to be more aware of what programs are available for students interested in a career in the trades.
The program offers special training as well, including Red Seal Cat erpillar mechanics, allowing graduates to work on Cat equipment anywhere in Canada and make a hefty wage to boot.
Luterbach spoke up on McConnachie’s behalf as well.
“He works tirelessly. Like many programs such as this, there are things that don’t fit nicely in our little box within schools, but Murray doesn’t get caught up in that. He just says, ‘Okay, if this is what needs to be done for the kids, then I’ll get it done.’ I am very proud of Murray and all that he does.”
An amendment to the district budget received three readings and passed Monday.
The budget bylaw was changed from $40.8 million to $42.5 million due to several areas receiving either more or less funding than anticipated.
However, the budget has been balanced and a surplus for the year stands at over $396,000.Most of these funds came from the district’s capital fund.