Late French Immersion gets the nod in Rossland

A second push to garner enough students for the program received its quota to guarantee the program in fall.

Late French Immersion is a go for the city of Rossland.

A second push to garner enough students for the program—slated for the former Rossland Secondary School building—received more than enough response from the community to guarantee the city will begin hosting the program in fall.

SD20 director of instruction, Bill Ford, said the deadline for registration extension revealed 16 more applicants—13 from Rossland, two from Trail and one from Fruitvale.

The program had been stalled at 17 applicants—with the bulk of registrants coming from Rossland—for several weeks and needed only eight more students or the fledgling program was in danger of not being realized.

As a result, the deadline for registration in the program—for current Grade 5 students—for next year had been extended to last Thursday. To sweeten the pot and entice in extra students, the district offered the program to current Grade 6 students in the region, creating a combined program for the coming school year.

It did the trick, said Ford.

“For people on the ground, the good news is it’s a go,” he said. “Now the challenge will be, to be quite honest, is sustaining it. Next year we’ll be looking for a good cohort of kids moving into Grade 6 to take the program.”

The school district held a lottery last Friday with the 16 new registrants, and three students were placed on the waiting list. Class size is capped at 30. As the program is new to the south end of the district, the board indicated that a minimum of 25 students needed to be enrolled in the program for it to proceed.

Now there needs to be resources purchased for the new program, said Ford.

“But it doesn’t cost the district anything because we get Late Immersion Funding from the federal government,” he said, with money getting funnelled through the province.

One staffing position will be created.

Registration for next year begins in spring.

Of the current Grade 5 students registered for the program, 16 are from Rossland, one is from Fruitvale but there are none from Trail, Warfield or Montrose.

Late French Immersion is available for students who are presently enrolled in a School District 20 school and are in Grade 5, and now Grade 6 for the combined program in Rossland.

The Late French Immersion program provides students with an education equivalent to that which is available in the English language program. The difference is the Late French Immersion Program provides opportunities for students to acquire a high level of proficiency in French.

In the first two years of the Late French Immersion program, French will be used to deliver the instructional program for 80 per cent of the time, while English will be used for 20 per cent.

Students will remain as a group for four years in Rossland, being transferred to Castlegar’s Stanley Humphries Secondary School for grades 10 to 12.

Rossland had room to host the program now that the soon-to-be former Rossland Secondary School building will be a kindergarten to Grade 9 facility in the fall.


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