More than 50 parents on both sides of the French Immersion issue attended an information session at Signal Hill Elementary on Monday, April 16. This was the second meeting on the issue this year, and was held in response to criticism that the initial meeting presented a pro-French Immersion bias.
The option being examined for Signal Hill is early immersion, a program accessible to children either currently in kindergarten or starting kindergarten in the fall. It is an initiative of Pemberton Parents for French Immersion.
According to Principal Pat MacKenzie, successful implementation of the program will be dependent upon registration numbers. Given attrition rates over the course of elementary school educations, she says an ideal starting number would be 48 students. This figure comes from a leaflet prepared by SD48 Superintendent Dr. Rick Ericksen. The superintendent is well-known for his commitment to accommodating parental choice education.
Parents of children who will be in Kindergarten or Grade 1 next year will have the opportunity to pre-register their children for the potential French Immersion stream April 23, 24 and 25 at the school. Parents registering a student entering kindergarten in the fall need to bring the child’s birth certificate. Parents of current kindergarten students will be asked to complete a French Immersion registration form.
One of the concerns that has emerged as a result of these discussions is the impact a French Immersion program could have on L’ é cole de la Vallée de Pemberton.
“This program should not have an impact on the existing French program,” said MacKenzie, citing the fact that L’ é cole de la Vallée de Pemberton falls under SD93.
L’ é cole de la Vallée de Pemberton is open to children who have at least one parent who has been educated in French. The French Immersion stream, if successful, would be open to all children entering the school system.