Interest in Late French Immersion at Pegler
Education: Deadline is March 15
Wednesday, Feb 14, 2018 11:28 am
You’re never too old to tackle something new in Okotoks, including a new language.
Grayson Billings, a Grade 4 student at École Percy Pegler School, attended an information meeting Monday night for Late French Immersion for Grade 5 students at the school beginning in the 2018-19 year.
“I wanted to hear the information myself,” Billings said, who hopes to enrol in the program in the fall. “It would be neat to have two languages and be able to speak to other people — to be able to speak French.”
Billings came to Okotoks after he was in kindergarten, the grade in which most students start French Immersion.
The family is hoping they will get the opportunity for a second chance in September.
“Grayson is a bright kid and I think the challenge will be important for him,” said Grayson’s mom Lauralee Billings.
Although only a handful of parents attended the information meeting on Feb. 12, the division has received approximately 70 responses regarding the Late Immersion program. More than 60 of those showed positive interest in the program, said Pam Rannelli, Foothills assistant superintendent of schools, learning services.
Between 20 and 25 students would be needed to run the program. Time is paramount as there is a March 15 deadline because the division will need to start the process of hiring a French Immersion teacher.
The late Immersion program would have the students being nearly fully immersed in French for Grade 5 and 6, with only phys ed, English language arts and music being taught in English.
The students would continue to learn with the late immersion contingent for Grade 6 at Pegler and then in Grade 7 and 8 at École Okotoks Junior High School. They would join those students who have taken immersion since kindergarten in Grade 9 at OJHS, and for high school at Foothills Composite.
Lesley Doell, Foothills French Immersion facilitator, said while initially the first few months will be somewhat exhausting for the new Grade 5 French Immersion students, they will be well-versed in the language by the end of that first school year.
By having it start in Grade 5, they will have continuity before moving on to junior high school.
“They will be with the same homeroom teacher for two years before they go on to that junior high school setting,” Doell said. “They progress very well in that package.”
Foothills School Division trustees passed a motion at their Feb. 7 meeting to pursue looking into the program for the fall if enough interest is shown by parents.
The program would initially be for students in the Okotoks area school boundary.
Katie Simpson, the mother of Grade 4 student Emma, is interested in having her daughter in the program.
“I think it is a great opportunity to start a little bit later in the program,” Simpson said. “We had changed schools a couple of years ago when she was in Grade 2 and by then it was too late to get into French Immersion. I think it is something we are excited about and she is as well.”