Kamloops’ public French school is adding another grade, inching closer to the goal of one day being able to offer them all.
École Collines-d’or, located on Partridge Drive in Westsyde (in the former Oak Hills elementary building), will offer Grade 8 in the next school year, which will begin in September.
The move was approved by the School District 93 board of education back in 2015, Jodi Lavigne, president of the school’s parent advisory council, told KTW.
School District 93 is the Conseil scolaire francophone public school district in B.C.
The additional grade is being implemented now as the school has been able to procure a new portable for the property with funds from SD93.
Lavigne said all schools in SD93 are experiencing growth and the district can only accommodate so many new portables at a time.
A Grade 8 teacher will be hired to teach math and science exclusively.
The school currently has 11 Grade 7 students, all of whom will now have the option to continue their education without having to transfer to another school in Kamloops.
“There are many benefits to having another year at Collines-d’or — continuity of their language, smaller classes, enhanced opportunities for leadership,” Lavigne said.
Parents advocated for the additional grade, which is one step closer to their goal of having a full K-12 francophone school in Kamloops, Lavigne said.
Collines-d’or rents space from School District 73, which owns the Oak Hills property.
The school is in a building meant for grades kindergarten to 3, lacking spaces such as a dedicated gymnasium.
Lavigne said School District 93 has been looking to purchase a larger space for years.
Having opened its doors in September of 2001 with only 10 students, École Collines-d’or today has a student body of 87 — a 50 per cent increase in the last 10 years.
Lavigne said École Collines-d’or is often assumed to be a private or French immersion school, but it is in fact a public French-speaking school, that’s part.
SD93 has its own board of trustees and oversees all the public francophone schools in the province.
The school district has 41 schools in B.C. and nearly 6,000 students. SD93 has seen a 25 per cent growth in the last five years, Lavigne said.
SD93 was founded in response to Section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which covers the rights of Canadian citizens to have their child educated in the official language that is considered the minority language in the province.
In B.C., students of SD93 classes must have at least one parent who has French as their first language or who received their primary school instruction in French (excluding French immersion).
However, a student who attended a francophone school outside B.C., but has English-speaking parents, would still be eligible to be taught in the school district.
For more information on the Conseil scolaire francophone public school district (SD93), go online to csf.bc.ca.