Parents and teachers at Alberni Elementary School say the school’s French Immersion program is under threat by a proposed school closure in the district.
Pamela Chandler, a teacher in the district, circulated an e-mail on Monday asking people to come out to the public meeting at Alberni Elem. on Tuesday, Feb. 5 and speak up in defence of the French Immersion program.
“They will not listen to staff, only the parents and students, and the decision is up to the trustees who will be there waiting to see the turnout,” she wrote.
Chandler declined a further interview with the News. A spokesperson from Canadian Parents for French, the parent advisory council for the French Immersion program, referred any comment to Chandler.
In her e-mail Chandler alludes to the French Immersion program being moved from Alberni Elementary to Maquinna Elementary School across town, noting that as part of pending transportation cuts, students will not be bused.
She also said the Strong Start Centre and community school could be closed.
Also, that the on-site daycare will be moved along with the Francophone school, but no destination is given.
The French Immersion program has been centrally located for 27 years, and it only works if it is accessible to all families in the community, Chandler wrote.
Alberni District Teachers Union (ADTU) president Ken Zydyk said the union isn’t aware of any concerns about the French Immersion program being moved. “We haven’t received any concerns about it from parents or teachers,” he said. “I don’t have any insight if there are plans for the program. I haven’t seen or heard anything that would suggest this.”
At the Jan. 22 school board meeting, trustees said they would no longer comment publicly on the school closure issue until the public information sessions, which are scheduled for Feb. 5–7 at Alberni, Gill and Wood elementary schools, respectively (please see fact box).
* SCHOOL CLOSURE PUBLIC MEETINGS:
◆ TUES., FEB. 5 at Alberni Elementary School, 7 p.m. in the gym.
◆ WEDS., FEB. 6 Gill Elementary, 7 p.m. in the gym.
◆ THURS., FEB. 7 Wood Elementary, 7 p.m. in the gym.
An overview of the financial details relating to school closures will be available online at www.sd70.bc.ca.