Immersion consultation

There are few things parents get more passionate about than their child’s education

There are few things parents get more passionate about than their child’s education. It’s a tough world out there and adults know the importance of preparing their little ones for the competition.

Last year there was plenty of fireworks over Kootenay Lake School District’s French immersion program. Too many students wanted in, the registration process caught some parents off guard and the school board was unwilling to add a third class. It bordered on nasty at points as parents fought hard in an attempt to provide their kids the opportunity to benefit from the popular education stream.

Last week the school district sent out a notice about the process for Grade 6 French immersion intake. There is a meeting scheduled for next week (see story on Page 4) and all parents who are eyeing this program as an option are encouraged to attend.

Though there has been a process in place for many years, this time around it seems as though the school district is being extra cautious. It’s a wise course as the issue of too many students and not enough spaces is sure to repeat itself this time around.

The main challenge for the school district is finding a solution that satisfies parents and fits within the budgetary pressures that are a constant. French immersion has a high attrition rate, many kids eventually find it’s not the right fit. The board has maintained that adding a third class has the potential to cause problems beyond Grade 6 and they are not willing to sacrifice the whole for the few. Fair enough.

So what is the board going to do when the demand exceeds the two classes? It’s sure to happen this year and the solution is still not clear. The two main options are first come/first serve and lottery. Both have flaws and both will result in disappointed parents.

It all starts next Wednesday when the school district and parents begin to work towards a solution that’s fair and reasonable. Not everyone will emerge satisfied, but the school district should be commended for its consultative approach.


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