School District 20 has a secret! In days of cutbacks and closures, our local SD uses federal money to support a parallel, alternative, opportunity-enhancing road to graduation. Anyone in Grade 5 (and maybe 6) can apply. For students eligible this year, that application window will open and then be irrevocably closed before Easter. Do parents know enough about this program to make an informed choice before that deadline has passed?
In September 2013, SD20 went out on a limb and opened a second Late French Immersion program, hosted now in Rossland as well as Castlegar. For parents who remember struggling with high school French, they may be assured that the immersion experience is far different: LFI students absorb language by daily interaction, activity, and shared experiences. This year’s LFI grads will have not only a “double Dogwood” attesting to their bilingualism, but also a strong sense of connectedness among classmates they have studied and grown with for 7 years.
Why language immersion? Because a second language comes easily at a young age, and expands brain function to better absorb new learning in the future.
Why French? Because bilingual Canadians have doors opened to them that unilingual Canadians do not. (And because the federal government supports French with funding, which BC schools are notoriously short of.) Why now? Because the class list for Sept 2014 LFI entry is drawn up in April, and then the door is closed.
Students in grades 5 and 6 will hear presentations about LFI and receive information packages before Spring Break.
Any student from Fruitvale to Rossland is eligible to attend: the only requirements are good attitude and work habits — straight As are not required. Parents of children in this age group will want to watch for the information package, and give thought to whether LFI might be a good fit for their child.
They say that in hindsight, regrets are more often from opportunities missed than opportunities taken. Parents, let LFI for your child not be an opportunity missed because it slipped notice until it was too late… or because it got forgotten in a backpack over Spring Break.