The next Board of Education meeting for Merritt and Princeton’s School District 58 will see board members discuss recent challenges and concerns around the district’s French Immersion Program, which is delivered through two schools in Merritt. Several sources have told the Herald that the future of the program within the district is less than certain, as board members prepare to discuss what their agenda lists as “challenges and concerns.” 

SD58 representatives confirmed to the Herald that the district is committed to keeping the program around and finding innovative solutions to challenges that have arisen recently. The district is currently facing challenges around fully staffing the program and ensuring consistent delivery of french immersion programming in the Nicola Valley.

École Élémentaire Collettville, a French immersion school on Lindley Creek Road in Merritt, along with Merritt Secondary school offer local students the option for a K-12 education with a proficiency in the French language. Those who graduate through this program receive not only a B.C. Dogwood Diploma, but also a diploma de fin d’études secondaire en Colombie-Britannique for completing their French language learning as well.

The provincial government has had its current French Immersion Program in place since 1996, which features two types of immersion. Early French Immersion and Late French Immersion graduates should both leave grade 12 with the ability to participate easily in conversations in French, take post-secondary courses with French as the language of instruction, and accept employment with French as the language of the workplace. The province funds a portion of the school district’s french immersion budget.

The SD58 Board of Education meeting discussing the French Immersion Program, among other regular district business, will take place on Wednesday, February 8, starting at 6:00pm in the School Board office’s boardroom. The district’s office is located at 1550 Chapman Street.