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Chilliwack parents invited to offer input on early French immersion

Parents wanting a say on the introduction of an early French immersion program in the Chilliwack school district have until Dec. 21 to fill out an online survey.

Chilliwack already has a late French immersion program (beginning in Grade 6), however there has been a call by parents for early French immersion, which begins instruction at the kindergarten or Grade 1 level.

The district is currently considering the feasibility of implementing an early French immersion program in one or more elementary schools for the start of the 2014 school year.

In a release issued Friday, the district says the program is designed for non-French speaking students who wish to attain a high level of proficiency in both official languages. Students are immersed in the French language within the classroom, and French is used for meaningful communication and instruction in the subject areas such as math, science, social studies, art, physical education and French language arts. Knowledge of the French language, either on the part of the parents or the child, is not a requirement to enroll children in the program.

The Chilliwack Board of Education has requested a study to find out whether there is enough community interest both to begin an early French immersion program and to maintain it in the future. It will look at specifically where in the community (which catchment schools) this community interest is found. This report will also try to identify and assess the district’s ability to support such a program by looking at available school space and staffing. Finally, the study will look at how the implementation of an early French Immersion program supports and aligns with the district’s and board’s strategic plan.

A report will be prepared and presented to the board in early 2013.

The district is asking parents to take a few minutes and provide their feedback through an online survey.

All responses will be kept confidential and will be reviewed, collated and included in the final report to the Board. (There is only one response available per computer.)

Deadline for the survey is Dec. 21 at 3 p.m.

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