A Canadian Parents for French organization sounded the alarm in late February over School District 69 (Qualicum) cancelling a required Grade 12 French Immersion class this semester.
But the situation is not as dire as it appears at first glance, according to information shared by SD69 superintendent Rollie Koop. French Immersion students are required to take the class, Francais Langue 12, in order to graduate with a French Immersion diploma.
Due to “eleventh-hour circumstances beyond our control,” Koop and Ballenas Secondary School principal Rudy Terpstra decided to cancel the class, which had been scheduled to run in the second semester of this school year, said Koop.
“It was not a decision that we anticipated having to make, nor was it entered into lightly,” said Koop.
However, at Ballenas, French Immersion students take the Francais Langue 12 course in their Grade 11 year, said Koop.
“This avoids an historical concern about a singleton (and required) immersion class which was often in conflict with other courses students were seeking to enroll in during their graduating year.”
All students who had been enrolled in the cancelled course are Grade 11 students, he said, and efforts are being made to re-arrange schedules this semester so that students can enroll in Francais Langue 12 next year.
Though Koop said he could not go into the particulars of why the decision to cancel the class this semester was made, he said. “Our hope is that by making the decision that we did… we would in fact be preserving the integrity of the programming that we would be offering these students, as well as many others whose schedules may have been impacted if we had taken another pathway.”
A delegation from the Canadian Parents for French BC/Yukon (which made the original complaint about the cancelled class) presented at the school board’s Tuesday, March 13 meeting. Greer Cummings suggested SD69 adopt a new French Immersion policy framework that Cummings said would have the school board express its explicit support for the program. She said such a framework would require the district not let this situation happen again.