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Laronde completely immersed in French
Laronde Elementary will not have an English-speaking program next year.
The majority of parents have chosen to relocate their children to neighbouring schools after the future of the program was thrown in question due to low enrolment numbers.
“Most have decided to take advantage of having the opportunity to attend another school of their choice,” district spokesperson Doug Strachan said.
The school, at 1880 Laronde Dr., will teach only French immersion beginning this fall.
The majority of the 72 students currently enrolled in the English program are to relocate to Ocean Cliff next year, with the rest having chosen Ray Shepherd or Chantrell Creek, Strachan said.
The news comes two months after parents were informed that an English kindergarten and Grade 1 class was not expected to be viable for September, with just two Laronde students enrolled in kindergarten this year and numbers not expected to rise.
The letter was sent to parents from Surrey School District assistant Supt. Rick Ryan in February, and was followed a few weeks later by another form, which gave parents in all grades the opportunity to request their children be transferred to neighbouring schools.
“If they wanted to choose to go to a neighbouring elementary school (then) we would accommodate that – if they wanted that stability and not wait to find out later whether there was enough numbers in their class or whether it would have to be a multi-grade class or no class at all,” Strachan said. “The parents have responded in the majority, the strong majority, to say they’d rather have the stability and also… keep friends of their kids together, and have chosen to leave the school.”
Strachan said 10 students’ parents have not chosen another school – three Grade 5s, six Grade 6s and one Grade 7. Because the number isn’t sufficient to continue the English program, it is being cancelled, and parents are to choose alternate schools.
“It’s a difficult situation to be faced with,” Strachan said. “We were hopeful that we could continue the program, but at the same time, we needed to prepare and give parents as much notice as possible so there was as little disruption as possible if there wasn’t the enrolment for it to be practical to have classes.”
Whether the English program will return is unclear.
“Nothing is permanent,” Strachan said. “This is a reaction to the realities that we see right now and for the predictable and foreseeable future.”