Regina Public Schools moving French immersion from Harbour Landing to Perry School

The board of education for Regina Public Schools has voted to move Harbour Landing Elementary School's French immersion program to Dr. A.E. Perry School.

Parents say neighbourhood still needs new school to solve overcrowding issue

The Harbour Landing School Community Council says some families moved to to the area so their kids could attend the French immersion program at the school. (CBC)

The board of education for Regina Public Schools has voted to move Harbour Landing Elementary School's French immersion program to Dr. A.E. Perry School.

For some kids in Grade 4, that could mean attending a third school as part of the program.

"I know a lot of families move to Harbour Landing with the intent to put their kids in French immersion and with the intent that they would attend a community [school] … where they live," said Lori Ekdahl, a member of the Harbour Landing School Community Council.

Ekdahl said families are now forced to make a decision: move their kids into an English classroom, transfer to a school out of their neighbourhood, or move their families closer to Perry School.

Perry School is just over two kilometres away from Harbour Landing, and is on the other side of Lewvan Drive from the Harbour Landing neighbourhood.

Lori Ekdahl says moving French immersion students from Harbour Landing School won't completely solve the school's overcrowding program, although she was supportive of the decision. (Matt Howard/CBC)

The school division would not do an interview on the topic. Spokesperson Terry Lazarou said the division has asked families to decide if they will move their children for the 2020-2021 school year by Feb. 1. 

"We have moved programs before and we work very hard to keep the school communities, including students, informed and involved in any changes to their school," Lazarou said in an email. "This move will be no different."

Lazarou said teachers with the program will move schools. 

Overcrowding at school

The French immersion program currently includes 171 students from kindergarten to Grade 4.

The division said it chose to move the program because of Harbour Landing School's high enrolment, which is projected to increase.

The school opened in 2017 and was built to serve 650 students. There are now 915. By 2027, the school is projected to serve over 1,500 students.

The Harbour Landing School Community Council has called for another school to be built in the area. 

The division said getting a new school in Harbour Landing is it's No. 1 priority. 

It said it has made a request to the Ministry of Education and is waiting to see if a new school is part of the next provincial budget.

The board of education has voted to move Harbour Landing School's French immersion program to Dr. A.E. Perry School. (Tyler Pidlubny/CBC)

Ekdahl said the overcrowding at the school is a concern for many parents. Her daughter is in a Grade 2 class with 50 other students and two teachers. 

"She certainly isn't getting as much one-on-one time with the teachers as children are in a smaller class, but all of the classes are that way," she said. 

"With that being said, I think that the administration and the faculty are doing an outstanding job with the situation." 

Ekdahl said moving the French program won't fix the overcrowding problem, although it's a step in the right direction. 

"I think the solution that they have will alleviate some pressures. It just won't be immediate," said Ekdahl.

"I don't think that anyone is surprised. And now the focus is going to be on making sure that we have a smooth transition for the kids for some of the families."

About the Author

Alex Soloducha is a reporter for CBC Saskatchewan.


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