School board considers French immersion

Program could draw students back from Chilliwack school district

Being bilingual can open doors to new opportunities for Canadian youth.

But at the moment, there are no French immersion programs in the Fraser Cascade school district.

Agassiz parent Colin Fisher is hoping to change that. He approached the school board last Tuesday night, in the hopes that they would consider bringing in an immersion program.

The board was receptive to Fisher’s idea, and agreed to put the idea out to other parents as a first step.

If there is enough interest in the program, the board would then consider taking it a step further to begin creating a program.

“I certainly would support your efforts,” trustee Al Fraser told Fisher. “I believe in everyone having a second language.”

Fisher and his young family moved here from a small town in Alberta, where French immersion is very popular.

He was surprised upon moving here to find he would have to bus his young children to Chilliwack to be immersed in French. While he doesn’t consider himself fully fluent, as a federal government worker Fisher has a working knowledge of French.

“I’ve also traveled around a lot extensively in my younger years, and I was shocked by the amount of people who spoke more than one language,” Fisher told the Observer.

“Opportunities expand exponentially as soon as you have that second language,” he said.

He is currently on parental leave and hoping to do something positive for his children, with his time away from work. He’s been talking to other parents in the area who have expressed the same interest.

“While I don’t really expect it to happen soon, it would be nice to see us try,” he said.

Chilliwack School District has a late immersion program, starting at Grade 6. Fisher is hoping to see an early immersion program.

More options in the school district means there are fewer reasons for Agassiz students to bus into Chilliwack, and would boost the district’s student population. But finding French immersion teachers is not an easy task, said Stan Watchorn, director of education.

To get a program started, there would need to be about 22 students.

To discuss the program, contact Fisher at




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