VSB adds 66 new French Immersion Spaces: Anticapted waiting list to drop from 250 to 184

VANCOUVER/CKNW(980) – The Vancouver School Board has approved the recommendations of a task force, on how to deal with increasing demand for french immersion. The board has voted unanimously on the interim recommendations. The lottery system approved for the next school year means it’s ‘the luck of the draw’ for parents trying to get their kids into french immersion. Board Chair Ken Denike admits it’s not the best method of determining who get in [That is an understatement, ed]. “We need to discuss the whole matter of whether french is an entitlement or as a choice, as it’s currently being practiced. and that’s to be done, it comes to the next committee meeting with a terms of reference.”

There are 66 new early french immersion spots in kindergarten, and an extra 30 spots for grade 6 students.

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Yes indeed – new spaces. When the waiting list from last year was 250 a mere 66 is, in my opinion, insignificant. When one takes into account more than a third of those spaces were already in the system -that is they were temporary approvals for the last several years at Trafalgar and Tennyson Elementary Schools– that have now been fixed in place with continuing support, it means that we have added next to nothing for French Immersion. I say this from my perspective as one of the two parent reps who sat on the taskforce that VSB set in place last March that made these recommendations. The taskforce spent many hours attempting to identify spaces and initially seemed to find about 121 – enough to accommodate half of last year’s waiting list. Bye the time January 2006 rolled around we were down to the 66 spaces for early French immersion that have now been established.

If we are going to be able to respond effectively to the growing need for French language instruction in our schools than there will need, I believe, to be an attitude change amongst the administrators and other players. French Immersion is not an elitist program, it’s not a haven for reactionary white middle class professionals. French Immersion is more and more the option preferred by many people in the system who are interested in having their children able to meet the realities of our global society that is a world in which speaking more than one language is a norm ( Dr. Diane Dagenais of SFU has done research on this subject that is very informative).

For background and addition information see the following links:

French Immersion Taskforce report to School Board

Vancouver School Board info related to new French Immersion spaces

In early Novemeber it looked like we would have 121 spaces. What happened? Read the article in the Vancovuer Courier about the 121 spaces.

Canadian Parents for French: VSB taskforce archives

See also info on Quilchena Parent Advisory Council webpage.

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