French immersion at Vancouver West Side school may move to Downtown Eastside

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      Next year could be adieu for French instruction at a Kitsilano school.

      The Vancouver education district is proposing the transfer of the Early French Immersion program from the Henry Hudson Elementary School in the city’s West Side.

      The program is recommended to be relocated to the Lord Strathcona Elementary School, which is located in the Downtown Eastside.

      The transfer may happen in 2020.

      A staff report to the Vancouver school board notes that Henry Hudson is a dual track school that offers both an English program to catchment students, and early French immersion for students in Vancouver.

      With a total of 402 students, the school is currently operating over capacity or at 118 percent.

      “Hudson does not have sufficient classroom space to adequately accommodate enrolment forecasts,” the staff report states.

      At present, there are 152 early French students at Hudson.

      According to the staff report, 53 percent of students attending early French immersion at Hudson live in the Downtown Peninsula or Yaletown, while 42 percent reside in Kitsilano.

      “The English program enrolment at Hudson has been increasing for several years,” it notes.

      The report points out that Strathcona is the nearest school with an early French immersion program.

      In addition, Strathcona has sufficient space to accommodate French students from Henry Hudson.

      One option suggested by staff is to relocate the early French program over seven years starting in September 2020.

      Another possibility is to fully relocate the program to Strathcona next year.

      District staff will engage stakeholders regarding the proposed transfer. A new report is expected to be submitted to the school board in spring.