PROGRAMS OF CHOICE
The Board recognizes the importance of the District continuing to be innovative in the delivery of educational programs and services. The Board supports the provision of various Programs of Choice which serve unique educational needs and which are accessible to students from beyond designated school catchment areas within the district.
Programs of Choice are educational offerings within our district that have limited enrollment and require a specific application process. Saanich School District currently offers French Immersion and a variety of Specialty Academies within its Programs of Choice.
New Programs of Choice may be considered by the Board following the completion of a process in which advice from partner groups is sought, received and considered.
A Program of Choice approved by the Board will:
- Operate within the parameters of the School Act and any associated Regulations as well as within the authority of the Board;
- Be consistent with all Board Policies and District Administrative Procedures;
- Provide all interested and qualified students with an opportunity to be included as part of the selection process for registrations with limited enrollments;
- Be housed in facilities where space permits and which are suitable to the program;
- Be offered in one (or more) locations in the District but open to students throughout the District;
- Be staffed at the same levels with respect to those established for elementary, middle and secondary schools;
- Be maintained without transportation assistance from the District;
- Incur no extraordinary costs for program maintenance;
- Be subject to periodic reviews by the District.
French Immersion is a Program of Choice. Learning French, an official language of Canada, enriches students’ lives, enhances their understanding of other cultures and celebrates diversity. The Board recognizes that there are cognitive, social and career benefits of learning French.
The Board commits to offering an Early French Immersion program (beginning in K-1) as a Program of Choice.
- The Board supports and adheres to the Ministry of Education “French Immersion Program” policy which states, in part, that the Ministry of Education supports French Immersion programming in BC schools, consistent with the goal of providing the opportunity for non-francophone students to become bilingual in English and French.
- Students who successfully complete a French Immersion program will attain functional bilingualism while also completing all required areas of curriculum, including English Language Arts.
- The Board expects that students with unique learning needs, including students with Ministry designations, will be supported in French Immersion programs similar to other programs.
Boards are permitted to establish Specialty Academies under Section 82.1 of the School Act. A Specialty Academy is an educational program that emphasizes a particular sport, activity or subject area and meets the prescribed criteria set out in the regulations to the School Act.
- The Board will receive requests for any new Specialty Academy by way of the Education Directions Committee and as outlined in the Administrative Procedure for Specialty Academies.
- Prior to May 31 of each school year, the Board must approve each new Specialty Academy and approve a schedule of fees for each one offered and must make the schedule of fees available to the public. An approved schedule of fees for a Specialty Academy is required annually. Information on financial hardship can be found in Administrative Procedure 506 (Financial Hardship).
- Once the Board has granted approval for a Specialty Academy, subsequent Board approval is not required unless the Specialty Academy has not been offered for three consecutive school terms.