Parents say school district giving French immersion the runaround

A group of parents seeking to implement French immersion in Revelstoke are frustrated with the school board. Here's why.

Editor,

Twenty concerned parents (with kids in tow) showed up to last week’s school board meeting to demonstrate our frustration that the trustees are ignoring the possibility of a French Immersion program this fall. Both the school board and school district have maintained that they fully believe in the quality of a French immersion program (FI has been around since 1965, after all) and the advantages it could provide for the children of SD19 upon graduation.

Yet, as September draws closer and the need to make a decision increases, there was no French immersion agenda item on the school board’s regular meeting last week. No discussion about staffing implications, which is one of the board’s concerns. No evaluation of which school could accommodate the program, should it be implemented (another concern that had been raised). Only a note to say that the fall 2013 cohort was adjusted from nine to 10 students, which in itself is an insult.

We know there are at least 18 fully-committed families in the 2013 cohort who have submitted surveys yet many remain unaccounted for. In good faith, we continue to work on this discrepancy with the school district. It would be appropriate for the board to be addressing the staffing and classroom organization concerns concurrently to be prepared for implementation should the numbers line up.

In February, two parents made an undisputed presentation to the school board trustees addressing the sustainability of the program using data specific to Revelstoke. If there was really a commitment from the school board and district to look at the viability of French immersion, it should have been an agenda item at last week’s meeting. There should be some ideas at this point about the location of the program. There should be a willingness to engage in discussion beyond the “numbers” while we wait for kindergarten registration to be completed. We are a concerned group of parents in SD19 who are looking for implementation of French immersion in September and we want to engage in the planning process … not be ignored and told we’re not allowed to speak at a public meeting.

Sincerely,

Ben Wilkey, Stephanie China, Michelle Pollack, Giles Shearing, Lynsay Roe, Nikki Ball, Bex Parkin, Arleigh Garrett, Imogen Whale, Marnie DiGiandomenico, Vanessa Morrow, Kris Howe, Cynthia Gallant, Stephanie Melnyk, Jeff Acton, Anita Hallewas, Kendra Von Bremem, Angus Woodman, Amanda MacIntosh, Birte Paschen and Steve Moore,

Revelstoke

 

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