Superintendent Hugh Gloster

French Immersion program bursting at seams as another school year underway

Public process to begin to revamp French Immersion program over the next two years

  • Sep. 9, 2015 8:00 p.m.

When close to 22,000 students headed back to school on Tuesday, classrooms across the Central Okanagan School District were filled with more learners than in previous years as the district continues to be one of the few in the province with increasing numbers.

One program in particular continues to grow and is out-pacing the number of available classroom seats in the district and the Central Okanagan School District is now looking to completely revamp the French Immersion program in the district.

It’s projected about 2,300 students will enter French Immersion programs this year, about 12 per cent of the student population within the Central Okanagan. The majority of those students are in one of the six elementary schools while the district’s lone French Immersion middle school—KLO Middle—was at capacity as of Tuesday with about 480 French Immersion students and 400 students in English programs.

“Attendance in French Immersion is up and we have struggled to keep up with the demand,” said district superintendent Hugh Gloster. “As the elementary schools’ attendance has gone up (in French Immersion) it’s putting a huge amount of pressure on KLO. We are getting the maximum out of our current model but we really do need to look at a different model for French Immersion.”

To deal with the increased numbers in the French Immersion program the school district will embark on a lengthy public consultation program that will bring students, parents, teachers and administrators together to look at how the district can best accommodate students wanting to take French Immersion.

Gloster said the current model can last for two more years but by the start of the 2017 school season, it’s expected the district will have a new program, using input from all stakeholders.

“We know we have a program that is really popular but we’re willing to look at other models and the driver for change is the pressure point with all of the elementary programs flowing into KLO, which has a fixed capacity,” he said.

French Immersion in the Central Okanagan has a long history, dating back to the late 1970s when the program was offered at KSS. By 1993—the earliest records available at the district—there were some 1,640 students enrolled in French Immersion. That number has ebbed and flowed over the years but since a low of 1,484 students were registered in 2003, the number has been steadily climbing to this year’s 2,372 projected students.

This October, the school district will kick off what is expected to be a full year of consultation with stakeholders as it looks to have a new program in place by September 2017.

“The process is going to take us the better part of a year-and-a-half to come to a decision,” said Gloster, who will present the public consultation plan to board members on October 7.” We can go through with the existing program while we design a new one. We’re looking at different models. We may have to make some substantive changes rather than opening a new program here or there.”

Currently there are six elementary schools in the Central Okanagan hosting French Immersion programs: Ecole Belgo Elementary, Ecole Casorso Elementary, Ecole Dorothea Walker Elementary, Ecole George Pringle Elementary, Ecole Glenmore Elementary and Ecole Peter Greer Elementary. KLO Middle School is the only middle school while KSS is the lone high school offering French Immersion.

 

Just Posted

Arbitrated settlement for Kelowna jail guards

Details of arbitration settlement in contract dispute not released

New boss at Kelowna’s Flair Airlines

Flair’s founder and president Jim Rogers steps down after selling shares in company

Okanagan nurse assists Rohingya refugees

Crystal Grymaloski volunteers with Samaritan’s Purse disaster response mission in Bangladesh

Accident at busy Kelowna intersection

There are reports of a two vehicle accident on Highway 97 leading through Kelowna

Inquiry underway in Kelowna murder case

A preliminary inquiry is taking place for the man accused in the 2014 death of Christopher Ausman

Kelowna artist creates fundraiser for a friend

Artist Laurie Koss was inspired by her friend’s cancer battle to help her keep fighting

Premier offers condolences to family of boy, 15, killed in Vancouver crossfire

John Horgan: ‘No stone is to be left unturned until we find the perpetrator of this heinous crime’

VIDEO: Explorers uncover Canada’s deepest cave in Fernie

The cave, named Bisaro Anima, was confirmed to have broken the record on New Year’s Day

Canadian junior captain returns to Rockets lineup

Dillon Dube will be back in Kelowna’s lineup Wednesday night after world juniors and bout of flu

Waters: For Trump words speak louder than actions

U.S. president’s first year in office marked more by what he said than what he did

Letter: Many share Hodge’s thoughts on Trump

Kelowna letter-writer says Charlie Hodge was on the mark in his take on Donald Trump

Column: RRSP a good choice for first time buyers

Kelowna mortgage brokers examine the rules around using your RRSP as down payment

Community lends a hand after fire

Fundraiser to aid fire victim’s wife

Vernon to host largest Special Olympics B.C. Winter Games in 2019

Games to be held Feb. 21-23, with more than 800 athletes expected to take part

Most Read