EFI placement decided by lottery

Chilliwack school district is holding an informational meeting for early French immersion on Dec. 4 at Cheam elementary at 7 p.m.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve been on the forefront of bringing early French immersion to Chilliwack, or are only just becoming interested – everyone has an equal shot at getting their child in come September.

The Chilliwack school district has 22 EFI spots available for kindergarten and 24 for Grade 1. If there’s more demand than spots can accommodate, the district will hold a supervised lottery.

Superintendent Evelyn Novak said a lottery was the fairest option available.

“In order to be fair to all of Chilliwack school district, we had to go with a system that was providing opportunity for all of our students,” said Novak. “We looked at all the various options for selection, and because we’re committed to it being an opportunity for all students in the district … we felt the lottery system was the most fair and reasonable.”

While Jocelyn Thomas, president of Chilliwack Parents for Early French Immersion, understands the reasoning, she was disappointed.

Along with several other parents, Thomas has been championing EFI in Chilliwack for the past two years, attending board meetings, starting petitions, creating the Chilliwack Parents for Early French Immersion group. She had hoped that would have given her and the others a leg up.

“The thought of maybe not making it in if the program is popular is disappointing,” said Thomas.

Her daughter starts kindergarten in September 2014, when EFI starts.

But at the same time, said Ron Plowright, another original parent, “I wouldn’t want to take another child’s shot way either.

“I want everyone to have a shot at it.”

Online registration for EFI starts on Jan. 8 and runs for two weeks.

The school district is holding an early French immersion information meeting at Cheam elementary on Dec. 4 at 7 p.m.

Related story: Victory for early French immersion.

kbartel@theprogress.com

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