A group of parents is getting together in hopes of a francophone school in Golden.
A Francophone school is a school where french is the first language and helps french speaking students become bilingual and learn about their culture. It differs from an immersion program in the sense that an immersion program is for kids whose first language is English and they’re going to learn French versus the francophone school where the kids first language is French.
Parent board member John Denham says having a francophone school would be a great benefit not only for the kids going to the school, but also for their parents. “We live in an English environment,” said Denham. “Being able to have their home language be taught at school would be a great thing for parents”
Fellow board member Rochelle Robichaud echoed the statement. She said a francophone school would help her and her son. “He’d be learning a lot more French,” said Robichaud. “Right now I’m the only French speaking person around him. Everything around him is English. It would help to pick up the language.”
In September the parent board met with Le Conseil scolaire francophone (CSF) the school board which specializes in francophone schools across Canada and Denham said the meeting went very well and they walked out pretty impressed with how things went.
Denham said in order for francophone school to be approved in Golden, they have to demonstrate that there is a significant amount of kids who would join the school. That not only means students who currently would be able to attend the school, but also includes kids not old enough for school, but will be in the next few years.
“We want to demonstrate that there is a significant amount of kids who will join the school,” Denham said. “Even if you’re [expecting] for that matter.”
Denham said that Golden has a good amount of francophone families. “About 4 percent of the population here is francophone. Other small communities have francophone schools… For francophone families, a francophone school is very interesting for them”
Denham said he believes that bringing a francophone school to Golden would make the community more attractive for francophone families and more people would want to settle because of the school.
Currently, the board says there are over 50 kids that are eligible for the school and they believe there could be more.
While there is not a specific number that the CSF requires to start a school, the parent board is wanting to have as much support as possible.
The parent board is currently writing a proposal for the CSF and is still looking for additional families interested in a francophone school.
“If people haven’t contacted us, please contact us,” said Robichaud. “Contact doesn’t mean you have to join, it just shows support.”
Currently, the closest francophone school to Golden is located in Revelstoke.