SURREY, B.C.: Surrey school trustees hope to establish new Punjabi Language program
SUBJECT to school community consultations, Surrey school trustees hope to establish a new Punjabi Language program at T.E. Scott Elementary School in September. The recommendation follows a recent survey of Grade 4 parents at 10 elementary schools with the highest proportion of Punjabi-speaking families. More than 30 families indicated they would register their child for a Punjabi language class in Grade 5 if one was available.
A staff report – Long Range Facilities and Education Plan – endorsed by the Surrey Board of Education at its June 18 public meeting contains more than 40 wide-ranging recommendations to map out the district’s future direction and priorities in educational programming and facilities management.
After extensive public consultations on programs of choice earlier this year involving stakeholder meetings and the online tool PlaceSpeak, the board has supported several recommendations to explore choice program expansion.
“Our board heard loud and clear our parents value the quality and variety of our programs of choice, and they want more,” says Chairperson Shawn Wilson. “While we continue to be challenged for space because of ongoing growth, trustees support staff’s recommendations to find ways to meet the widespread desire for these programs.”
Long Range Facilities and Education Plan: Expansion of Punjabi
The district has heard clearly from the local Punjabi community that it would like to see expansion specifically at Chimney Hill Elementary. PFP has been directed to survey elementary schools in the area and present options for consideration of additional Punjabi programming. It was clear from the Community Forums that the desire is not for Punjabi Immersion, it is Punjabi as a second language beginning in grade 5 with options for entrance to secondary schools where instruction in Punjabi would continue. If it is determined that there is space, the district would need a process to survey the community to determine enrolment as previous experience with Punjabi programs indicates that participants tend not to travel cross-boundary for Punjabi, but rather access it in their local school where available.
- There is another option with Punjabi language programs and that is to ensure the district is providing regional access in the secondary schools so students who wish to begin with Punjabi as their formal second language option in secondary school have that option.
Recommendation: That by July, 2015, staff complete the surveying of 10 elementary schools with the highest representation of families who are Punjabi speaking at home to determine parental interest with a view to potentially expanding the grades 5 through 7 Punjabi Language Program.
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