French up in the air

Future of high school French immersion is up in the air

  • Oct. 9, 2014 7:00 a.m.

Liz Bevan

 

Castlegar News

 

French immersion enrolment is on the rise across the province and School District 20 is no exception.

Currently, there is a waiting list for students who want to learn everyday subjects in a second language at Rossland Summit School (RSS), but with no French immersion programming at J.L. Crowe Secondary School, the future of immersion for high school students in Trail is uncertain.

“Both classrooms (at RSS) are full at 30 students,” said Bill Ford, assistant superintendent for SD20. “The new intake (for French immersion) at Grade 6, continues to have a waiting list. The program has done very well.”

Right now, only Stanley Humphries Secondary School (SHSS) in Castlegar offers high school level French immersion, so the question remains, what about students in Trail who want to continue their immersion high school education without travelling to Castlegar?

At Monday’s SD20 board meeting, it was revealed that students currently in French immersion at RSS don’t have the option of continuing their French immersion studies at a high school level without going to SHSS.

Ford says there are no answers as to whether J.L. Crowe will start to offer immersion courses for when current elementary immersion student eventually get to high school.

“Those decisions are yet to be made,” he said. “We only started this last year and we are going to have to make those decisions soon.”

The success of the immersion program at RSS hasn’t gone unnoticed, even at a provincial level.

The Canadian Parents for French in B.C. and the Yukon have published a report showing the steady increase in numbers for French immersion programs in the school district. The report stated that at the end of the 2013-2014 school year, there were 202 French immersion students out of the 3,739 students enrolled in SD 20.

Glyn Lewis, executive director at Canadian Parents for French in BC and the Yukon, says he attributes the jump in enrolment in recent years to continued success to former immersion students now having their own kids.

“French immersion has been around for over 35 years now,” he said. “It is a really well tested and tried immersion program delivery model. We have got second and third generation graduates coming through the program now. My generation, who went through it are having kids now and putting their kids in the program because they remember the experiences that they had and they want their kids to have the same opportunities.”

Lewis also has a few suggestions for parents who want to push for answers regarding a future immersion program in Trail.

“Lots of smaller communities are struggling to keep their numbers up and we don’t have that issue here,” he said. “Round up the parents and put a bit of pressure on the trustees. Continue that conversation and push them to start planning for it. You really don’t want to be caught in May or June without anything figured out. The other alternatives are online courses, reading, or being exposed to French media and all that stuff is great, but it is only supplementary to being part of the program.”

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Trucking company fined $175K for Lemon Creek fuel spill

Decision handed down last Friday in Nelson court

Interior Health leading the way with innovative therapy for stroke patients

Percentage of ischemic stroke patients who received treatment has risen dramatically

Trail open house part of Basin-wide public engagement

Trail event goes Thursday, March 12 from 2-6 p.m., and guided discussion from 6-8 p.m.

Missing Nelson woman found dead

Police say there is no evidence of a crime in the death of Heather Gunderson

Clothing, jewelry, purses: RCMP ask court about disposal of evidence in Robert Pickton case

Pickton was sentenced to life with no chance of parole for 25 years for the murders of six women

Ryan nets hat trick in return as Senators beat Canucks 5-2

Ottawa winger received assistance for admitted alcohol problem

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs meet with provincial, federal ministers

Neither party speaking on the groundwork laid for tomorrow’s talks

Speaker ‘will not tolerate illegal activity’ on B.C. legislature grounds, says chief of staff

Chief of staff to the B.C. speaker Alan Mullen says situation with demonstrators appears ‘fluid’

MPs to examine privacy implications of facial-recognition technology used by RCMP

The MPs will look at how the technology affects the privacy, security and safety of children

Dates back to 2009: Calgary police lay charges in fraud involving semi-trucks

Three people from Calgary are facing charges that include fraud over $5,000

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs optimistic ahead of talks with feds, province

Discussions with provincial and federal governments expected to start later today

‘The project is proceeding’: Horgan resolute in support of northern B.C. pipeline

B.C. premier speaks as talks scheduled with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs

Most Read