Last year, more than 80 parents braved sub-zero temperatures to stand in line at Vernon’s Beairsto Elementary to ensure a Kindergarten spot for their children come September. Now, this first-come, first-served registration system is about to change. (Morning Star file photo)

Last year, more than 80 parents braved sub-zero temperatures to stand in line at Vernon’s Beairsto Elementary to ensure a Kindergarten spot for their children come September. Now, this first-come, first-served registration system is about to change. (Morning Star file photo)

Vernon school district moves to lottery format for French immersion

Parents can skip the lineup for French immersion in the 2020-21 school year as School District 22 is moving to a lottery format.

Last year, more than 80 parents braved sub-zero temperatures to stand in line at Vernon’s Beairsto Elementary to ensure a Kindergarten spot for their children come September.

Some parents even camped out overnight.

Jarett Pereboom was No. 2 in line. He arrived at 5 a.m. on Jan. 15, 2018, to spell his wife, who got to the school at midnight.

“We’re taking turns,” said Pereboom in 2018.

He has two children, the first of which started kindergarten that September.

“Obviously it’s important to us,” he said. “That’s why we’re lining up.”

The lineup extended from the front doors of the 27th Street school around the corner to the back playing field.

A representative from the school district’s board of directors said the first-come, first-served process has been in place for the past 20 years.

But now that’s changed for both French immersion and Montessori programs.

“Parents are no longer required to line up for first-come, first-serve registration,” the district said in a statement on Jan. 7, although siblings of students already enrolled are given priority.

The school district is hosting information nights for both specialized programs; the Montessori Parent Information Night will take place Jan. 8 at 6 p.m. at Silver Star Elementary in the library; the Late French Immersion Information Night is slated for Jan. 14 at 6 p.m. at Harwood Elementary — this is a two-year program available for students in Grade 6.

In addition, an information night for Academies and Special Programs is to be held at Kalamalka Secondary School on Jan. 14 at 6:30 p.m.

Registrations for new students to the district, including Kindergarten students and school transfer requests, will be accepted beginning Jan. 15-Feb. 14, 2020, between 9 a.m. and noon and 1-3 p.m.

Registrations must be completed in person — faxed registrations will not be accepted. New registrants must provide a copy of the child’s birth certificate, CareCard/BC Services Card and immunization records. Two pieces of proof of residency with current address must also be provided at time of registration.

For more information on the registration process and information nights can be found at sd22.bc.ca.

— with Roger Knox files

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@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

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