A temporary French Immersion program for Westside students is being considered for transfer from Kelowna Secondary to Mount Boucherie Secondary for the 2022-23 school year. (Contributed)

KSS looking to relocate French Immersion students

Program enrolment options eyed for Okanagan Mission and Mount Boucherie secondary schools

The French Immersion and international student programs at École Kelowna Senior Secondary are the focus of attempts to address enrolment over-crowding at the school.

The school district wants to redirect students within the Okanagan Mission Secondary (OKM) catchment area bound for the French Immersion (FI) program at Kelowna Secondary School (KSS) to instead attend OKM beginning next September, while also shuffling Westside FI students attending KSS to a temporary relocation of their program at Mount Boucherie Secondary (MBSS) starting in the 2022-23 school year.

The international student enrolment at KSS would also be capped at 75 full-time equivalent students.

Speaking at the planning and facilities committee meeting Wednesday (Dec. 2), Central Okanagan School District superintendent/CEO Kevin Kaardal said the school district is confronted by minimizing the impact on students and parents with a school running out of classroom space.

“It’s not a question of whether or not we want to do this…it’s simply a question of space,” Kaardal said.

School district staff reported OKM currently has space for 300 more students, with the additional cost to add FI to the OKM estimated by staff at $150,000 to $200,000.

READ MORE: French Immersion shake-up for Kelowna Senior Secondary

READ MORE: School board challenges French Immersion expansion for Westside

“The positive aspect, is students within the OKM catchment area now at KSS would be able to attend their neighbourhood high school,” reiterated Ryan Stierman, school district secretary-treasurer/CFO.

Stierman noted consideration was also given to expand FI to the Canyon Falls Middle School but the school doesn’t have the long-term capacity to offer a French Immersion program for École Dorothea Walker Elementary catchment FI students.

While the committee endorsed the OKM recommendation for the school board to consider at its Dec. 9, meeting, the redirecting of FI students to MBSS fell under greater resistance.

Stierman acknowledged the FI program being introduced at an already over-crowded MBSS will mean three to four portables added to the school, noting the ultimate solution remains to build a new secondary school in West Kelowna, with either the new school or MBSS adopting a permanent FI program.

“The problem is we have to deal with the KSS enrolment problem right now as a new school is still four or five years down the road,” he said.

Stierman said school district projections indicate KSS will need to create 80 to 100 FI student spaces by 2024 to accommodate Westside students.

Committee chair Chantelle Desrosiers said she was concerned about the ‘temporary’ nature of committing to an FI program at MBSS when there is yet no solid timeline for a new secondary school on the Westside.

The ministry of education has declared it a capital spending priority to secure a land site and begin the planning process, but a firm commitment on the school being built won’t likely be confirmed until next spring, or later.

“The second part of the puzzle for me is I think it would be irresponsible on our part to make this commitment without (approval) to add more portables from the City of West Kelowna,” she said.

Trustee Rolli Cacchioni addressed the portable addition aspect, saying they are a fact of life for the Central Okanagan School District dating back to 1989, blaming the lack of funding from the province to keep up with periods of enrolment growth.

“Various provincial governments over that time have not stepped up to the plate to support the building of new schools,” he said.

Desrosiers said staff should consult with Westside FI parents on this latest move before any final decision is made, a commitment Stierman said could be completed over the next two weeks.

“There has been consultation done in the past but there is now a whole new generation of parents and children in the program who weren’t there before and they should be heard from,” Desrosiers said.

Trustee Moyra Baxter added she didn’t see the rush in making a decision since the implementation of an FI program for MBSS is being considered for the 2022-23 school year.

She noted past consultation with parents had clearly shown a preference of Westside FI parents to send their kids to a larger more inclusive program at KSS, offering a complete range of course options and the opportunity to share an educational experience with other area FI students.

The committee agreed to bring the MBSS issue up for discussion again at the committee’s Jan. 6, 2021, meeting, and make a recommendation for the school board to consider at its Jan. 13, meeting.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

This historic photo is of Kelowna’s dance band ‘The Pettman Imperials’. 

The photo was shared to the Old Kelowna Facebook page by Ali Richardson whose grandfather Charles Pettman played drums in the band. 

While it’s unclear who is playing the saxophone, from the back the members are; Chas Buckland , Harold Pettman, Tiny Walrod. In the front is Carl Buckland, Charles Pettman and Kay Buckland. 

Harold and his brother Charles started the band in the 1930s, and played weekly at the Aquatic Club in City Park.
A look back at Kelowna’s past

The Pettman Imperials: Kelowna’s dance band circa 1930s

The students were told to think about a problem in their lives and what the solution to that problem could be. (Ashly Griffin)
Kelowna teacher brings creative learning to school during difficult time

Teacher Ashly Griffin wanted to take students’ mind off the pandemic

Esa Carriere, 23, was the victim of a 2018 Canada Day homicide. (File)
Youth sentenced in Kelowna Canada Day killing

Young woman pleaded guilty to lesser assault charge, sentenced to 15-month intensive support and supervision program

A rendering of UBC’s planned downtown Kelowna campus. (Contributed)
Kelowna’s new downtown campus to help alleviate UBCO’s space crunch

The sizable development is anticipated to be completed by the fall 2024 semester

The BC SPCA is adapting its fundraising after cancelling events due to COVID-19 restrictions. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
BC SPCA gets creative with fundraising as pandemic continues

The non-profit’s in-person fundraising events all had to be cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions

Vancouver Canucks’ Travis Hamonic grabs Montreal Canadiens’ Josh Anderson by the face during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horvat scores winner as Canucks dump Habs 6-5 in shootout thriller

Vancouver and Montreal clash again Thursday night

Interior Health has declared the Cariboo Chilcotin a community cluster. (Angie Mindus photo)
Interior Health declares Cariboo Chilcotin region a COVID-19 cluster, 215 cases since Jan. 1

Most cases are related to transmission at social events and gatherings in Williams Lake

Vernon Fire Rescue Services responded to a single-vehicle rollover Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, after a vehicle came into contact with a pedestrian light pole at Kalamalka Lake Road and 14th Avenue. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Minor injuries in rollover after vehicle hits Vernon crosswalk pole

The vehicle flipped onto its side, closing Kalamalka Lake Road

Penticton city council heard from Dhorea Ramanula, of Paid Employment for People with Lived Experiences Tuesday, Jan. 19. Ramanula’s organization has operated public washrooms in Kelowna staffed by community support workers since April, she says Penticton could benefit from a similar facility. (Michael Rodriguez - Kelowna Capital News)
Penticton interested in new public washroom concept to combat vandalism

Public washrooms with on-site support staff have been operating in Kelowna since April

Canada Post had remove a lot of letter boxes around Penticton after they were vandalized. This letter box at the United Church on Main St. remains unscathed. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Street mailbox vandals strike Penticton drop boxes

Canada Post had to remove a bunch of the vandalized units

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Vernon's Noric House long-term care facility is dealing with an influenza outbreak amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (File photo)
Two more deaths at Vernon care home

Noric House case numbers remain steady, but death toll rises

Most Read