Ministry of Education Background Information
The Ministry of Education supports French Immersion programming in BC schools, consistent with the goal of providing the opportunity for non-francophone students to become bilingual in English and French.
French Immersion programming benefits the cognitive and social development of students, as well as their opportunities for career advancement. Research demonstrates that students who successfully complete a French Immersion program attain functional bilingualism while doing as well as, or better than, their unilingual peers in the content areas of curriculum, including English Language Arts.
The major goal of French Immersion is to provide the opportunity for non-francophone students to become bilingual in English and French. Once a firm base in French has been established, instruction in English language arts is added, and instruction in the English language gradually increases. Students continue to receive instruction in certain subjects in French so that proficiency is achieved in both languages by the end of Grade 12.
***Further information on French Immersion can be obtained at the Ministry of Education website at the following link: French Immersion Program Policy
Sea to Sky School District No. 48 Background Information
Late French Immersion has been in the Sea to Sky School District for the past 27 years. Currently the Late French Immersion program has an entry point at grade 5 and provides students with an education equivalent to that which is available in the English language program, while providing opportunities to acquire a high level of proficiency in French.
Many Squamish area families have expressed desire for an Early French Immersion program. Early French Immersion would provide students with the same opportunities as Late French Immersion, with an entry point for students in kindergarten and grade 1.
What We Have Heard:
- There is strong support in the Squamish community for the implementation of an Early French Immersion program
- Parents in the community have expressed a desire for programs of choice in schools
- Many teachers currently teaching in Late French Immersion have expressed support for an Early French Immersion program
- Consideration of an Early French Immersion program is consistent with existing Board policies and Ministry of Education programming
- Many parents are willing to work with District staff and public transportation to create public transportation accessibility for French Immersion families
- It may be challenging to accommodate Early French Immersion with our already tight space issues due to projected growth in elementary schools
- The potential negative impact of Early French Immersion drawing more students away from our smaller elementary schools
- Some families may have accessibility issues due to transportation constraints
- Only an Early French Immersion program OR a late French Immersion program will be able to be sustained in Squamish, not both
School District 48 Board of Education will take into consideration core criteria including the following:
- Would an Early French Immersion program provide an appropriate and sustainable program of choice for our Squamish families?
- Would the implementation of an Early French Immersion program detract in any significant way from other schools or programs?
- Does an Early French Immersion program meet the terms of the Sea to Sky Teachers’ Association collective agreement?
- Does an Early French Immersion program support the terms of the CUPE agreement?
- Does an Early French Immersion program incorporate ideas and feedback from DPAC, school PACS, and/or other parent partners?
- Does an Early French Immersion program recognize both the needs and challenges of the communities in Sea to Sky?
- Does an Early French Immersion program have significant financial, resource, or space implications?
- Do the families of the Squamish area prefer an Early French Immersion program over the existing Late French Immersion program?
- If changes are to occur, what is the best timing and implementation plan for the decision?
The School District No. 48 senior staff has attended September PAC meetings to provide information about the Squamish grade seven configuration process, the Early French Immersion process, and the calendar selection process, and has used the feedback from those conversations to help shape the options presented.
- September 7 to October 1: Senior staff visits all SD48 PAC meetings
- October 23: French Immersion information webpage active
- October 23: Emails/letters home to parents inviting parents, students and community members to the information night at Howe Sound Secondary School
- October 28: Public information night at Howe Sound Secondary School, 7 pm
- October 29 to November 4: French Immersion survey open to public
- November 8: French Immersion survey results posted on SD48 website
- November 13: Information presented in public board meeting
- November 14 to December 6: Senior staff further collects and collates any necessary information
- December 11: Public Board Meeting: French Immersion decision
Slides from the October 28 information night at Howe Sound Secondary