Cougar Creek French Immersion program may fail before it starts

French program in peril before it starts

Only six families have signed up for a French Immersion program at Cougar Creek Elementary.

After years of lobbying for better access to a French Immersion (FI) program at Cougar Creek Elementary, only eight families have signed up for the 2014-15 school year.

In June, the Surrey School District green-lighted FI at the 12236 70A Avenue school after a huge outcry for more spaces. Wait lists, parents said, were too long.

If successful, a program at Cougar Creek will be the seventh of 101 elementary schools in Surrey offering FI.

Now, the district said the program is at risk of closing even before it starts due to lack of parents registering.

From late spring to mid-August this year, the parents of every one of the 229 families on the French Immersion program wait list were personally contacted and offered a seat at Cougar Creek, the district said Wednesday.

“The most frequent reason given by parents who were on the wait list and chose not to take one of the seats is because they didn’t want to drive,” district spokesman Doug Strachan said Thursday. He noted that driving is the nature of any choice program, as they are regional in scope.

The district is not considering a required threshold needed to keep the program, but it certainly would like to fill at least one kindergarten class of 22 students.

The situation will be reassessed as the school year begins.

A decision to continue or cancel the Cougar Creek French Immersion program will be made before opening day on Sept. 8, depending on registrations received.

Any parents wishing to have their kindergarten-aged child register for French Immersion at Cougar Creek is urged to call 604-595-6032 as soon as possible.