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Nelson’s K-9 Francophone school embodies values of kindness, courage, and connection

École des Sentiers-alpins delivers high-quality education in a vibrant French-speaking setting

As a parent, when you enrol your child in a French-language school, you are providing them with an opportunity to evolve in a rich cultural environment where the emphasis is placed on students’ success and well-being. Furthermore, when your child attends a Francophone school, intrinsically, your family belongs to a unique school community.

A strong sense of community built on inclusion is just one of the benchmarks that define École des Sentiers-alpins (ESA), a public Francophone school providing British Columbia’s curriculum for kindergarten to Grade 9, including the Franc Départpreschool program.

In partnership with L.V. Rogers (SD8), ESA students can continue on at École Secondaire de Nelson (ESN), which offers Grade 10 to 12 francophone public education and follows the new B.C. Ministry of Education requirements.

Thanks to this partnership, graduates from the Francophone program obtain two diplomas, the Anglophone Dogwood and the Francophone Cornouiller, giving students the opportunity to access English-speaking and French-speaking universities.

Unparalleled West Kootenay location

The high quality of education, language skills, a strong sense of community, and connection to the broader French-speaking world are all important reasons why families are drawn to ESA, with a vibrancy matched only by its location in Nelson — a lively mountain town of activism, recreation, culture and creativity — tucked in the Selkirk Mountains along the West Arm of Kootenay Lake.

“The beauty and the value of the lands where we get to learn, being in the mountains in all seasons, is extraordinary,” says Sylvie Mazerolle, principal, ESA.

“Lots of kids basically learn to ski as they learn to walk in this community. And when people are skiing, you feel the whole city is happier. It brings out a beautiful energy. The outdoor activities here are incredible: mountain biking in the off-ski season, rock climbing, kayaking, paddle boarding and canoeing on Kootenay Lake. It’s a community that values physical activity, both for its physical benefits, but also in terms of mental health and connection to the community.”

Mazerolle adds, “With lots of people on e-bikes and cycling around town, it’s apparent that Nelson values the environment. There are all sorts of initiatives to support all kinds of folks who work to have a greener community and address climate change, and so that really does inform the type of school we are.”

Strong values, unique education

ESA takes immeasurable pride in their deep values of well-being, kindness, courage and connection. They make a conscious and intentional priority of being an inclusive school whose community is dedicated to student success, climate justice, equity, and anti-racism.

“We’re a school that’s really trying to be anti-racist and have done explicit ongoing learning as a team,” Mazerolle explains. “We’ve been sharing resources with parents and trying to integrate anti-racism into our teaching and learning with the kids. We’re a very equity-informed school, where the philosophy of inclusive and caring education is not only valued but enacted.”

The meaningful inclusion of a parent’s child in school and classroom life is exemplified in three projects ESA is part of. One is a pilot program at the Conseil scolaire francophone de la Colombie-Britannique – or School District 93 – that’s tied to the Ministry of Education’s new priority on early childhood, the Early Learning Framework.

“We’re also part of a pilot program implementing inclusive education between Grades 3 to 6, with Dr. Jennifer Katz and Universal Design for Learning,” reveals Mazerolle.

“Also, our Grades 7 to 9 were selected by the University of Ottawa for a brand-new initiative, Canadian Playful Schools Network, funded through a grant from the LEGO Foundation, which is helping us build our seed-to-table pedagogical gardening project.”

“As well, it’s helping us do play-based learning in mathematics, including coding and gaming, and it’s also helping us develop a climate leadership course for Grades 7, 8, 9. It’s been so beautiful, and I’m genuinely excited about all these projects.”

How to apply / Comment s’inscrire

Section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees Canadian citizens established in B.C. the right to have their children educated in a Francophone education program.

Criteria include: their first language learned and still understood is French, or; they received their education at the primary level in French (excluding French immersion), or; their children have received or receive their education at the primary or secondary level in French (excluding French immersion).

For more information about Southeastern B.C. francophone schools, visit or call 250.825.4020.

N’attendez plus, inscrivez-votre enfant dès maintenant dans une des écoles du CSF !



The Conseil scolaire francophone de la Colombie-Britannique (CSF) is a public school board recognized nationally for its dynamism and innovative spirit, engaging students and communities. With 47 schools across B.C. and over 1,200 employees, the CSF is one of the largest francophone employers in Western Canada.