Meeting to plug French Immersion

Parents interested in learning more about the junior and senior kindergarten classes offered at St. Michael’s School—both in English and French Immersion—are invited to attend a meeting there tonight.
Marie Brady, president of the local chapter of Canadian Parents for French, said the meeting, which runs from 7-8 p.m. in the gym, will provide general information about the school’s JK and SK programs.
But members of the CPF will be on hand to talk to interested parents about the benefits of French Immersion.
“It’s a good opportunity for parents to have their questions answered,” Brady said.
Two French Immersion students from Fort Frances High School, Dayna DeBenedet and Kirk Petrin, will also be there to talk about their experiences.
“They’re such wonderful ambassadors for the program. It gives them the chance to say, ‘We’re finishing, and we’re proud of ourselves,’” noted Brady.
“That really has a huge impact on parents,” she added.
DeBenedet participated in a school trip to France last year, and took second place in the secondary French Immersion division at the Concours d’art oratoire last year for her speech about 20th-century trends.
Petrin is a Grade 11 student with an older brother and a younger sister in French Immersion, as well.
The Northwest Catholic District School Board considered axing the French Immersion program last year due to a lack of enrolment.
The program begins in SK, and the board had set a minimum enrolment of 20 students to start in September—largely because of attrition rates in later years.
For example, the SK class of 1998-99 began with 26 students. But by the time they entered Grade 3, there were only 13 left—an attrition rate of 50 percent over three years.
But after hearing from parents and CPF members, the local Catholic board decided to let the program run another year despite an enrolment of only 16 students.
Whether it runs this September remains to be seen, with registration for French Immersion SK for the 2005-06 school year being held this Thursday (Jan. 27) from 9 a.m.-noon and 1-3:30 p.m. at St. Michael’s.
Registration for English JK and SK runs there tomorrow and Wednesday during the same times.