Public school French immersion gets reprieve—for now

While Lambton Kent District School Board trustees won't receive board staff recommendations at their Nov. 23 meeting after all, cutbacks in the program may still come, but for reasons other than the funding shortfall that initially prompted the concern.
A release issued by the LKDSB on Wednesday cited analysis of the recently validated 2010/2011 student enrollment data, which shows the number of students in the French Immersion program has dropped and is "changing significantly year to year."
It also cited a dropping off of French Immersion students in grades 4-8.
Senior administration, the release said, will ask the board to establish new policy and regulations regarding the viability of the French Immersion program.
The document "will include a process for involving and informing parents of both the process and outcomes," the release said.
The board is also planning to closely monitor French Immersion vacancy rates and combining classes when needed.
It also will look into the possibility of a middle or late school French Immersion delivery model to address the grades 4-8 attrition rate issue.
Original recommendations planned to go to the board included a phasing out of French Immersion at Brooke, Hillcrest/Queen Elizabeth II in Petrolia, Sir John Moore and Harwich Raleigh, even while allowing students enrolled in the program to complete French Immersion through grade 8.
French Immersion sites in Sarnia would also be consolidated with the potential for single schools in Sarnia and Chatham-Kent.

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