Discussion to continue on French Immersion

Kelowna Superintendent Kevin Kaardal said the board must consider a variety of factors before Grade 4 French Immersion classes can begin

Superintendent Kevin Kaardal with board chairperson Moyra Baxter

The Central Okanagan Board of Education has put on the brakes for beginning French Immersion at a Grade 4 level in the district.

At a regular board meeting, Wednesday night, Jan. 11, superintendent Kevin Kaardal said the board must consider a variety of factors before an immersion class starting at the Grade 4 level can begin.

These factors include: Cost, immersion growth, enrolment growth, as well as discussing other options.

See more stories on french immersion development in the district.

The decision for at Grade 4 French Immersion has been deferred in West Kelowna until after a public consultation and will be decided at or before the next regular board meeting.

In B.C. funding for late immersion starts in Grade 6, so there will need to be discussions on how the board will receive funding for the pilot immersion classes, said Kaardal.

Kaardal said there are two reasons a Grade 4 immersion was considered.

“The earlier the kids get into the program the better chance they have adapting minds. Number two, they would be able to catch-up to the early immersion cohort which would be a big enough cohort to run a middle school immersion program in the Westside,” he said.

If the district decides to go ahead with the program, it will be the first in the province to start French Immersion at the Grade 4 level, opposed to starting at Grade 6, according to the district.

If a Grade 4 plan is approved Kaardal estimates it would be implemented in the next two years.