Nanaimo-Ladysmith School District is sounding out parents and students to see if they are interested in a Grade 8 and 9 French Immersion program at Ladysmith Secondary School starting in Sept. 2016.
“If your child is entering French Immersion Grade 8 or 9 in September 2016, and/or is currently in Grade 8 at LSS and attended French Immersion in Grade 7, he/she may indicate interest for Grade 8 or 9 French Immersion at LSS,” says a Dec. 8 letter to parents from Assistant Superintendent of Schools Tim Davie.
Parents have been given until Dec. 17 to respond to the letter. “Once the information has been compiled, a decision will be made as to whether or not there is sufficient interest to offer the program,” it says.
Support for French Immersion was strong in the community, up to June, 2014, when the French Immersion program at Ecole Davis Road was relocated to North Oyster and Davis Road was closed as part of SD68’s Enhanced Facilities Plan.
The school was operating at ‘200 per cent of its capacity’ and there was a waiting list to get into the program, even though parents knew the school might be closed, according to the Parent Advisory Committee, which fought hard to keep the program open.
On the same day Nanaimo-Ladysmith School District sent its letter to parents about the level of support for a French Immersion program at LSS, the Canadian Parents for French and La Fédération des francophones de la Colombie-Britannique released polling results that show “French is a huge hit in Canada’s most western province.”
A commissioned Insights West poll shows 70 per cent of British Columbians support Canada’s two official languages; and 66 percent believe French is an integral part of the Canadian identity.
“We’ve come a long way,” said, Patti Holm, President of Canadian Parents for French. “Enabling youth to work, live, and grow in any part of our country is an incredible gift. It also continues to make our country stronger.”
The poll also showed British Columbians “see big benefits in multilingualism,” with 93 per cent saying they believe it is an important skill to have, and 75 per cent agreeing that speaking French opens “social, career, and cultural opportunities.”