Immersion program planned

Parents of nine children in Summerland and 58 children in Penticton have expressed interest in an early French immersion program.

Parents of nine children in Summerland and 58 children in Penticton have expressed interest in an early French immersion program.

The Okanagan Skaha School District is working on a feasibility study to determine if there’s enough interest to offer the program for Kindergarten and Grade 1 students to complement an existing late immersion program that begins in Grade 6.

Public consultations were held last month at schools in Summerland and Penticton.

Assistant superintendent Dave Burgoyne, who’s overseeing the project, told the school board at its December meeting that parents in Penticton have indicated they have a total of 58 children who would be interested in entering the program, which would begin in 2014. Summerland parents added nine children to the list.

Burgoyne said he is also surveying those same parents, plus those of kids in the late French immersion program, about their preference for location.

“That may give us an idea of the willingness of parents to enrol in EFI if it means moving out of the community away from the neighbourhood school,” he explained.

The next step in the study process will be the formation of a committee with representatives from unions, the district parent advisory committee and other interest groups to sift through the information and come up with a recommendation for the board in the spring.

A similar study was prepared in 2004 and the district was prepared to move ahead with an EFI program then, but parental support evaporated when it came time to actually enrol kids for the program, which would have been located at Queen’s Park Elementary in Penticton.

 

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