Beginning in September 2017, French Immersion in the North Vancouver School District will look different.
"With the new BC curriculum coming into play, the timing is perfect for looking at enhancing flexibility and choice in the French Immersion secondary program at all three sites," said Dr. Joanne Robertson, Director of Instruction, North Vancouver School District.
Three secondary schools in the North Vancouver School District offer French Immersion – Argyle Secondary, Handsworth Secondary and Windsor Secondary. In British Columbia, the only mandated course in French Immersion is Français langue seconde (FRAL), which students must take from grades 8-12. Currently in North Vancouver, in grades eight and nine students must take FRAL, Sciences humaines (social studies), Sciences naturelles (science), and Education physique (PE) or Beaux Arts (fine arts). In grade 10, students must take FRAL, Sciences humaines, Sciences naturelles, and Planification (planning). In grade 11, students must take FRAL and Sciences humaines; and in grade 12, students must take FRAL.
"While these courses meet the recommended time allocations for French instruction, the current secondary French Immersion program configuration does not offer students any choice of subjects," explained Robertson. "After extensive consultation with students, staff and parents, our school district is changing the Secondary French Immersion program to offer students more choice."
A collaborative process to review the French Immersion program started in January 2016. Throughout the spring and fall, students, staff and parents took part in various activities, such as surveys, in-school feedback sessions and district-wide public input evenings. As a result of this consultative process, it was determined that students at the secondary level would benefit from having more choices of courses taught in French.
Beginning next school year, four big changes will take place in Secondary French Immersion. This first is that students in grades 8-10 will now have a choice as to whether they take Science in French or in English. The second major change is the addition of three new courses: Éducation physique et santé en plein air 8 (outdoor physical education and health), Culture et communication 9 and 11/12 (culture and communication), and Leadership 10. The third change to the program is that more emphasis will be placed on French oral language proficiency in the new courses. The final change is greater choice and flexibility in completing the requirements for graduation.
To exemplify the increase in choice, below is a timetable under the current Secondary French Immersion program and a timetable under the new Secondary French Immersion program.
New (September 2017):
"We are very pleased with the input we received from students, staff and parents towards enhancing the Secondary French Immersion program. We are confident that the changes we are implementing will better meet the needs of our students," said Robertson.
Once the new Secondary French Immersion configuration is in place, the School District will continue to develop new courses in French in the future to reflect the interests and needs of students.
For more information about the changes or about the 2016 French Immersion review process and outcomes, please visit (pages 15-35): http://www.sd44.ca/Board/Meetings/Documents/BOE%20Package%2020161018.pdf