Today’s Poll

Second meeting planned between parents and SD8 over French Immersion

Nelson Daily Editor
By Nelson Daily Editor
May 4th, 2011

Workable solutions are being sought between the school district and the parents of students who want more French immersion spots opened up.

Currently there are 86 people on the waiting list for the upcoming school year but there are only 60 spots open in two Grade 6 classrooms, predicating the need for a third class. For the 2010-2011 school year, over 90 applications were received for 60 student spaces in two classes.

Parents in support of a third French immersion classroom are vowing to attend School District No. 8 (Kootenay Lake) board of trustees’ next meeting this Tuesday, May 10, to lobby for “workable” solutions that came out of the previous gathering between the district and parents on April 26.

The parents believe one solution would be the creation of an integrated approach to French immersion, one that would involve parents, LV Roger High School, Trafalgar School and the school district, and could help reduce the program’s drop-out rate.  

“If parents are involved in the district’s delivery of French immersion, from enrolment in Grade 5, right through to graduation with a double Dogwood, then there is no doubt that parents and students will feel more committed to the program,” said one of the parents, Trish Dehnel.

Dehnel said the parents believe another way to reduce the drop-out rate is by offering a volunteer tutor service to support students who are challenged by the program, and for those with learning difficulties who may otherwise opt for English instruction.

However, the school district stated in the past there are only two classes being offered at Trafalgar School with no plans to add another.

But many parents say they would be happy to deal with larger than usual class sizes, said Dehnel, or even a split, just so long as their child gets educational instruction in French.

French Immersion students bring extra funding into the district through a federal payment for each student in an FI program, a payment that is in addition to the regular funds the students already generate.

“Right now the demand for French immersion is growing both nationally and provincially, and if the district chooses not to deal with this sustained surge, then they will miss out on the funds generated by these students,” said parent Annick Faehndrich. “Some parents will have to leave SD8 to seek alternative French opportunities.”

The school district claims French immersion will cost the district $100,000, since there would be a similar cost whether the class was taught in French or English.

Provincial policy supports the introduction of French Immersion where there is the demand, and advises districts to establish and strengthen such programs (


See also

Parents lobby SD8 for French immersion spots

Categories: General


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