After much discussion, the Central Okanagan School District is moving forward with new middle and early French Immersion programs.
At a regular board meeting on Wednesday night, trustees discussed the West Kelowna area before passing a motion to support French Immersion for Grade 4 and Grade 6entry points.
Currently, the district has French Immersion only at the Kindergarten entry point.
“When are we talking about putting in middle school French Immersion on the west side? That’s the question I keep getting all the time,” said trustee Rolli Cacchioni.
The report presented to the district does not have a date for the implementation of the French programs due to other factors such as overcrowding in the west side schools, and procedures that have to occur.
“We do believe we would like to build a viable program on the westside. Our target year would be 2018,” said superintendent Kevin Kaardal.
The first step is a district-wide consultation, then the district will provide recommendations to the government on what it should do in terms of the West Kelowna area and also recommendations for French Immersion, said Kaardal.
“It just doesn’t happen overnight,” he said.
Chairperson Moyra Baxter said there are many elements to the schools in West Kelowna which make it a large issue including population growth, and the changing and building of middle schools.
“I can tell you the west side is going to be our biggest problem,” she said.
The school board received positive feedback from the community regarding Grade 4 and Grade 6 French Immersion.
An online survey conducted had 994 surveys completed and 242 people attended regional town hall meetings.