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A new Early French Immersion program is to be launched at Cougar Creek elementary school this September. Parents with students on existing Early French Immersion waitlists will be contacted about potential registration.
The new program is one of several recommendations in a staff report endorsed by the Surrey Board of Education at its June 18 public meeting.
The Long Range Facilities and Education Plan contains more than 40 wide-ranging recommendations to map out the district’s future direction and priorities in educational programming and facilities management.
“Our board heard loud and clear our parents value the quality and variety of our programs of choice, and they want more,” says Surrey Board of Education chairperson Shawn Wilson. “While we continue to be challenged for space because of ongoing growth, trustees support staff’s recommendations to find ways to meet the widespread desire for these programs.”
After extensive public consultations on programs of choice earlier this year involving stakeholder meetings and the online tool PlaceSpeak, the board has supported several recommendations to explore choice program expansion, particularly French Immersion.
Subject to school community consultations, trustees hope to establish a new Punjabi Language program at T.E. Scott elementary in September. The recommendation follows a recent survey of Grade 4 parents at 10 elementary schools with the highest proportion of Punjabi-speaking families. More than 30 families indicated they would register their child for a Punjabi language class in Grade 5 if one was available.
Trustees have also asked staff to review all board policies and regulations relating to programs of choice to provide better clarity around definitions and processes.
As another potential step to address program of choice waitlists, the board has asked staff to consult with parents later in the fall about whether registration priority for siblings of students already in a program of choice should be modified in some way.
As one example of how sibling priority affects general access to programs of choice, the report notes there are more than 250 students on the waitlist for Fine Arts, but most of the new spaces available each year are taken by sibling registration.
Digital learning and reporting
Managing growth and costs
“This Long Range Facilities and Education Plan spells out the board’s challenges, priorities and direction for Surrey Schools,” says Wilson. “It is also a demonstration of the board’s open and transparent approach.”