School District 69 (Qualicum) is prepared to offer a late French immersion program to students starting at the intermediate level.
All they need is some students.
Families of Grade 5 students in all elementary schools in the district have been sent a letter, seeking to gauge interest in a late immersion program. The future of the program will depend on how many positive responses the district receives by its March 7 deadline.
“If we have a small number, we will let them know right away,” assistant superintendent Gillian Wilson told the SD69 board during its regular meeting Tuesday at the board office in Parksville. “If we have enough for a small class, then it will go through the budget process to determine whether it will work.”
Wilson said the district has not set a firm minimum number of respondents required to host the program. Asked by trustee Julie Austin whether the immersion program would be held at Oceanside Elementary School — where the current immersion program is run for students beginning in kindergarten — Wilson said the location has also not been locked in.
“We didn’t commit to any specific location,” Wilson said. “We were clear in our dialogue around that.”
Wilson said the letters were mailed to all families of Grade 5 students, rather than “stuffed in backpacks to end up who knows where,” she said to general laughter. As of Tuesday’s meeting, she said, the school district had received seven responses from people who showed a definite interest.
Another seven families attended an information session hosted Feb. 22 by the district.
Asked by trustees whether that would be enough students to hold the program, Wilson said seven would be far too few for even a small class.
“We haven’t said we need ‘X’ number,” she added. “Let’s work with the responses we get. We’ll ask who’s interested and from there we’ll make our decision.”
If there is sufficient interest, late French immersion could be introduced as early as this September, Wilson said.
For more information or to express a viewpoint on the late immersion program, contact Francine Frisson, SD69 district language coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Field trips OK’d
A decision by the Victoria School Board one night earlier to halt approval for field trips to the U.S. had no impact on several planned trips by SD69 students in the coming year.
The local board approved a trip by the Ballenas Secondary School music department to Seattle in May of this year, and also approved a planned Kwalikum Secondary School trip to Paris during spring break in 2018.
“I’ve seen on the news that schools are keeping an eye on field trips to the U.S. and not crossing the border if they had international students who migh not be allowed back into Canada,” Trustee Austin said.