Sea to Sky school trustees have approved high school French Immersion programs for Whistler and Pemberton.
The decision was made on Wednesday at a regular board meeting of the seven members of the board of trustees. As of September, Grade 8 students will have the choice of studying in both of Canada’s official languages. Whistler Secondary principal Bev Oakley said she expected the trustees would approve the new programs.
Oakley worked with the staff at Spring Creek Elementary and parents of students in the Grade 7 French Immersion program at the school to ensure there was enough interest to make the program work at the high school level in Whistler.
Oakley said the lessons for students in the Whistler program will be delivered in both English and French.
“At the high school level French Immersion needs to be at least 50 per cent so we are doing a 50 per cent split,” said Oakley. “One of the things about high school is we want to make sure the science, math and English is taught in English so we can get experts in the field that will teach our students.”
Social studies, French language and literature, physical education and one or two elective courses are going to be delivered in French, said Oakley.
Registration into the Whistler Secondary immersion class is set to begin on April 22 at 8:30 a.m.
According to Oakley, parents of interested students are going to start seeing information about the program after spring break, which started Friday, March 15. She said newspaper advertising is to be purchased with details of how to register.
Parents with students interested in French Immersion will have to fill out a registration package complete with a copy of their report card. The registration forms will be available at the school. Oakley said she is also looking into making the form available through an Internet download.
“It’ll be on a first-come-first-served basis,” said Oakley. “The class limit is 30. We won’t be going over 30.”
Oakley explained that on April 22 the applications will be collected, dated and time stamped.
“Anyone over and above the 30 will go on a waiting list,” she said.
Oakley also added that priority will be given to students from within the Whistler catchment area, meaning there are no guarantees out-of-area students will be accepted into the program. She added that three of the 30 or so students whose parents expressed an interest in registering for French Immersion at Whistler Secondary might ultimately choose to register at Pemberton Secondary.
Oakley said a minimum of 27 students is needed to make the program go.