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Parents outraged at flawed presentation; ‘crisis’ in SD8 leadership

Nelson Daily Editor
By Nelson Daily Editor
May 26th, 2011

To the Editor:

Parents campaigning for a third French Immersion classroom at Trafalgar Middle School were outraged to find that the document entitled French Immersion Discussion, produced by senior management of School District No. 8, contained inaccuracies.

Parents’ suspicions were further raised when they gathered information about districts mentioned in the SD8 presentation. Much more of the data was shown to be faulty as well.

The presentation in question was the same one presented to the Board of Education, and as a result, was pivotal in denying parents a third French Immersion classroom for their children.

Trafalgar middle school parent representative to SD8’s French Advisory Council (FAC), Francesca Blishen, was concerned.

“It is deeply upsetting to think that parents might have been denied the education they chose for their children because of a potentially flawed presentation. If this is the case, it is time for the District to consider putting a third class back on the agenda.”

At last night’s May 26 District PAC meeting Superintendent Jeff Jones claimed the SD8 presentation acquired its information from the Ministry of Education. Parents refute this claim outright, since at the April 26 parent meeting SD8 senior management clearly told parents that they had “called around to other districts” for the information.

Victoria Vaseleniuck, vice president of Canadian Parents for French BC and Yukon Branch, said the Canadian Heritage working document — Reflection on Future Actions with Respect to Official Languages in Education 2013-2018, published Feb 2011 — states that ‘French Immersion is and will remain the most successful program for learning French as a second language.

Vaseleniuck said the document reported that ‘not only do immersion students attain high proficiency levels in French, they do so in an additive way that is at no cost to their first language or to the knowledge acquired in other subject areas.’

“Therefore, denying children access to one of Canada’s official languages, for which demand is growing, is short-sighted by this District’s Board of Education members and SD8 Administration,” said Vaseleniuck.

SD8’s inaccurate presentation has further cast doubt on district staff leadership, concerns recently voiced by Trafalgar PAC, who have stated that there is a crisis in leadership in SD8 at this time.

Trafalgar PAC

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