Parents lobbying for early French immersion in the Chilliwack school district are concerned a survey aimed at gauging interest might get lost in the Christmas shuffle.
"It's a crazy time of year to have this study," said Jocelyn Thomas, president of the Chilliwack chapter of Canadian Parents for French. "Everybody has everything else on their mind."
The survey, which comes in both an online and paper format, was released Dec. 4. Responses are due Dec. 18 for the paper survey and Dec. 21 for the electronic one, so Thomas's organization is now scrambling to get the word out.
"We want to contact all the daycares and preschools to let the parents with young families know," she said.
Besides its timing during the Christmas bustle, Thomas is concerned about the survey's reach.
So far the district has only publicized it within the district: on its website, in school newsletters and on school websites.
But not all parents who might want an early French immersion program already have kids in the system and could therefore be missed, according to Thomas.
That's important, she said, because the survey is intended to measure interest "both to begin an Early French Immersion program and to maintain it in the future," according to the district's introduction.
A report on the feasibility of an early immersion program in Chilliwack is due by the end of January.
The original November 2012 deadline was extended because a change of superintendents had delayed the hiring of a consultant to conduct the study.
Superintendent Evelyn Novak said the district wanted to get the survey done by Christmas so the report could be done on time.
"We'll see what the response is," she said. "If we have to do another take, we can try that if we need to."
As for publicizing the survey more broadly, Novak said the district hadn't considered it.
The timeline for the start of a possible program is September 2014, according to the survey.
If the program gets the green light, Thomas said Chilliwack CPF will lobby the district to start both a kindergarten and Grade 1 class at that time, instead of just a kindergarten class as indicated by the district earlier.
"There is enough demand that we can see for that year as well," said Thomas.
? For more information or to take the survey, visit www.sd33.bc.ca.
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