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Blog: Thursday, April 20th, 2017
Immersion Continues to Boom!
Having grown year-on-year from its humble beginnings at Margaret Stenersen Elementary in 1978 to now including over 1300 students across six schools, French Immersion (FI) in the Abbotsford School District has gone through a positive season of introspection, with a detailed report just about to be publicized. Students have the option of entering French Immersion in either Kindergarten or Grade 6 (as part of the Late French Immersion program). At graduation, we continue to see our students earning bursaries and scholarships to prestigious universities, while graduating as bilingual citizens, ready to explore all that this broad, rich world has to offer. Clearly, our district is no stranger to the notion that French Immersion is one of the most successful Canadian educational experiences available.
Throughout the fall of 2016, with the assistance of an independent consultant, Abbotsford School District undertook a thorough review of our French Immersion program, examining data; interviewing teachers, administrators, students and parents; and asking important questions about the good, the great, and the opportunities for growth in this highly successful program. The aim of the study was to build a clear picture for ways to support and steward the continued successful growth of this powerful program.
In summary, the French Immersion program in Abbotsford is in great shape!
- Families continue to recognize the future opportunities beyond graduation that the FI program provides
- Students value the authentic opportunities to speak French offered by our program
- FI students achieve very well academically
In terms of possible growth areas, the report broke those down into several broad areas, leaving the Board of Education with options to study in each area:
- Communication of the program’s vision, structure, leadership, and financing would bring increased transparency to the program, enhancing general understanding of the program as a whole
- As the program has grown over time, the needs of its clientele has evolved. Thought will now go into how the FI program will respond to these changing needs in terms of equitable provision of services K-12
- Growth in the popularity of FI province-wide continues to require districts to be innovative in their recruitment of FI teachers and their models for structuring leadership of FI programs. Abbotsford School District also has options for continuing to ensure effective growth in these areas.
As our district examines and makes decisions around the more complex options, look out for clearer information for the public on the goals and benefits of the program; and for work to take place on crafting our vision for French Immersion in the district.
Our sincere thanks go out to all those who contributed to this valuable process. Your voice was heard and appreciated. We are excited about the continued opportunities that students graduating from this valuable program will enjoy in their personal and future professional lives, proving that we are a truly multilingual nation from coast to coast.