Francophone students to ‘move’ into own school district By Amy Fendley Come July, francophone students in Myrtle Philip’s Programme Cadre will move into their own school district. "It’s a school district within a school district," said Bob Daly, the principal of Myrtle Philip. "They provide the teachers and support for the program and other services like administration, supervision, supplies and capital expenditures like furniture and equipment." The Francophone Education Authority is set up like a school district to address Section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, granting all Canadian citizens residing in British Columbia the right to educate their children in a francophone program - Programme Cadre. The program is different from French immersion, which teaches French to English speaking students. This is francophone education, for francophone students. The program was first implemented in the southern part of the province and Vancouver Island. There is currently 50 established programs. The official initiation of the Programme Cadre de Francais by the provincial government was in 1979. The creation of the Francophone Education Authority in British Columbia didn’t take place until 1995. In 1997, the B.C. Legislative Assembly voted in favour of Bill 45 in order to amend the School Act and recognize permanently the right to Francophone Education in B.C. In March 1998, the legislature approved an amendment to the "Conseil scolaire francophone de la Colombie-Britannique Regulation" presented by the Minister of Education to grant a provincial jurisdiction to the Francophone Education Authority by July 1, 1999. The FEA programs are recognized as independent School District #93. FEA teachers currently employed by School District #48 will, in July, have to make a decision as to whether they want to be employed by district 48 or by the FEA. If they chose the FEA, their jobs will not change, it will only mean an administrative switch over. Mamquam Elementary School and Myrtle Philip Elementary School are the only two schools in School District #48 which have FEA programs. Mamquam’s FEA enrolment number is 30, significantly less than Myrtle Philip’s 46. Myrtle Philip currently employs two full-time and one part-time FEA teachers. "Technically speaking in our school district, we have close to 5,000 students," said John Heatherington, assistant secretary treasurer for the Howe Sound School Board. "But 70 of them don’t show up on the registration. They come off our role and go directly onto the FEA’s." Next school year, the philosophy of School District #93 will be put into place. One noticeable change will be that FEA kindergarten classes will be full time. As well, Myrtle Philip will have a new, or rather an additional, principal. Daly will be responsible for the day to day supervision of pupils, while the principal for District #93 will be responsible for the administration of programs. Daly says he has been working very closely with Mike Edwards, principal of Mamquam, and Marie-Claude Collins, the new FEA principal for both schools. "We feel very strongly that French-speaking students will benefit from this program, under the guidance of someone who can access resources more readily than has been done in the past," said Daly. "Issues about staffing, access to special services for children, they’ll take care of that directly." FEA students will still have the benefit of taking part in extra-curricular activities, and productions funded through PAC, as Francophone parents maintain a voice through PAC.