March 02, 2016 - 8:30 AM
KAMLOOPS - With nearly 150 students travelling from the North Shore to downtown for French immersion, and another 30 on the waiting list, the district is looking at the possibility of adding a French immersion school in north Kamloops.
At the Feb. 29 school board meeting, trustees were presented with figures about where students in Kamloops French immersion schools are coming from. Currently 146 students who live in north Kamloops elementary schools’ catchment areas are attending Lloyd George School, the closest French immersion elementary school to the North Shore. North Kamloops neighbourhoods are also home to 31 of the 73 students registered or on the waiting list for French immersion Kindergarten in September 2016.
Supt. Karl deBruijn says the board asked for the numbers as interest in French immersion in Kamloops seems to grow. A lineup of parents started the day before registration opened at Lloyd George School this year, with more than 30 people spending Valentine’s Day night in the cold. As of now 73 children are on the list for 57 spots, leaving 16 on the wait list, something deBruijn says hasn’t happened in a long time.
“We can see with these two charts there’s regularly 150 students attending French immersion from the North Shore,” he says. “It’s looking like there might be enough there to consider a small French immersion school.”
However, he says there’s still a lot to go through, and discussions about what a school might look like or consists of haven’t officially started yet. Also, while there are lots of North Shore students heading south for French immersion, deBruijn says there haven’t been any requests for a school closer to home by parents. The school district does have options for sites though, he says.
“The Happyvale site is potentially an option,” deBruijn says. “We could repurpose that building. Happyvale has a capacity of 200 students.”
He says that if a new school was started on the North Shore, students wouldn’t be pulled from their current schools. Instead it would start with a Kindergarten class and build capacity from there, growing to a full population years later. The main issue, he says, is funding, with a potential cut to the administration budget coming from the province.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016