Kamloops French immersion, science and arts schools hold lottery for student placement - InfoNews

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Kamloops French immersion, science and arts schools hold lottery for student placement

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February 09, 2017 - 1:00 PM

KAMLOOPS - Most lotteries involve money, but the Kamloops School District held the first one this week for a spot at a school.

The school district moved to a lottery system last year to determine which new students will get into a school of choice and the first one was held Tuesday, Feb. 7, for students registered for the district’s French immersion, arts and science schools. While some feedback has been negative, assistant Supt. Rob Schoen says the new system is more equal.

“We looked at how to make it equitable for everybody,” Schoen says. “The board received feedback from single parents who had no means to leave children in bed and line up.”

The old way for schools of choice was simply first come, first serve on registration day, but that changed in June. Last year parents were standing for hours in the middle of the cold night on Valentine's Day to reserve a spot for their young child at Lloyd George School, which meant some single parents were unable to find childcare in order to register their child in a school of choice.

Some parents aren’t happy with the lottery system, Schoen says, as it means they no longer have full control of their child’s destiny. He acknowledges it can be frustrating to have a child not going to the school nearest their home.

“That’s a hard concept to wrap your head around,” he says. “If you bought the house thinking that was the case that might be disappointing.”

This year there were 116 registrations for 113 spots at the school district’s two french immersion schools. The science school received 53 applications for 40 spots, while the Kamloops School of the Arts had 54 registrations for 40 spots. Schoen says with those numbers there is no plan to create a new French immersion school, or any school of choice. Additionally, he says those numbers are higher than the actual number of new students as parents may register students for more than one of the schools of choice.

“Some kids are counted three times,” he says. “When they take their spot, two other spots open up at other schools.”

While there were only three more new students registering for French immersion, the numbers weren’t split evenly as there were more spots open than registrations at South Sa-Hali Elementary, while Lloyd George School was the opposite, though Schoen expects the situation to even out.

The lottery was held Feb. 7 and the district is contacting parents now.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Brendan Kergin or call 250-819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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