Artist’s rendering of H.S. Grenda Middle School currently under construction in Lake Country, slated to open next September for the 2021-22 school year. (Contributed)

Artist’s rendering of H.S. Grenda Middle School currently under construction in Lake Country, slated to open next September for the 2021-22 school year. (Contributed)

Parents push for French Immersion program at new Lake Country middle school

SD 23 now in its second round of surveys centred on French Immersion at H.S. Grenda Middle School

The Central Okanagan School District (SD 23) is inviting the public to weigh in on the possibility of a French Immersion curriculum at Lake Country’s new middle school.

SD 23 is in the community consultation stage of revising its long-term facilities plan, which was last updated in 2012. As part of those consultations, the school district released a survey inviting feedback on the idea of having a French Immersion program at the new H.S. Grenda Middle School, which is scheduled to open in time for the 2021-22 school year.

The survey yielded more than 220 responses from 169 participants. A second survey based on the findings of the first is now open until Nov. 19.

With more than 60 responses, transportation was the initial survey’s most commonly mentioned consideration. Currently, French Immersion students at Peter Greer Elementary School have to leave Lake Country after Grade 6 and transfer to École Dr. Knox Middle School in Kelowna. Offering French Immersion at H.S. Grenda would allow students to stay in Lake Country longer.

READ MORE: Kelowna parents push for new Glenmore high school

“Keeping Lake Country FI students in Lake Country will build community and eliminate long travel for students,” said one respondent.

Under the transportation policy approved by the Central Okanagan Board of Education last year, French Immersion students are not eligible to be transported to their catchment school without special approval.

Retaining enrollment in the program was another highly cited consideration among survey respondents.

“Not having middle school programming deters students from enrolling in French in elementary or encourages them to drop French after grade 5/6,” one respondent said.

An SD 23 survey to assess the demand for the French Immersion program has been sent to all Lake Country families, and can be found at this link.

To view the results of the first survey or to complete the second survey, visit SD 23’s consultation website.

After completing the survey process, the board will review the final recommendations on how to move forward in December.

READ MORE: Central Okanagan School District launches community consultation on long-term facilities

Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
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