Parents set to lobby for early French immersion at next Chilliwack school board meeting

Chilliwack parent group in support of early French immersion plan to present their case to school trustees at the Dec. 13 board meeting.

Parents in support of early French immersion in Chilliwack want to know the school district’s plans for determining whether or not there is sufficient interest to implement the program.

On Dec. 13, at the first public meeting of the new school board, a group of parents will be asking trustees just that.

“We need for this to go forward,” said Jessica Becker, who has a three-year-old daughter she wants attending early French immersion.

“We need to determine how much interest there is, and identify the barriers so we can overcome them.”

On the Parents for Early Immersion in Chilliwack Facebook page, followers were encouraged to attend the Dec. 13 meeting and voice their support of an EFI program during the public participation portion of the meeting.

The Facebook group has over 100 followers.

“Each of us who is able to participate will be telling our own stories and experiences with EFI and expressing our need for it,” said Becker.

“EFI is a standard in even smaller communities than ours. We would like our children to have equal footing with other Canadian children.

“I would be very surprised to see if the numbers were not already there,” said Becker.

In September, the school district conducted an online survey to see how many parents would be interested in enrolling their children in EFI.

The results of that survey have not yet been released.

When contacted by The Progress, Superintendent Michael Audet said he wasn’t comfortable sharing that information without first presenting it to school trustees.

Becker and other supporters of EFI would like the district to conduct a more expansive mail-out survey that includes all families in Chilliwack, not just families with children in the public school system.

“Our concern with the survey already taken on the school district’s website is its reach,” she said. “Unless a parent of a pre-school child was seeking info from the website… they would not have known about the survey. Our target is parents of children who will be entering the school system in the next one to two years.”

Following the Dec. 13 meeting, the group will continue its lobbying efforts.

“We are determined,” said Becker. “We are actively communicating, networking, and gaining momentum.

“There are people out there who really want this.”

For more information, visit the Parents for Early Immersion in Chilliwack Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/earlyimmersion or email earlyimmersion@gmail.com.See related story: Parents push for early French immersion

kbartel@theprogress.com

twitter.com/schoolscribe33

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