Parents meeting set for proposed immersion focus

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- A sign in front of Myrtle Place Elementary School in Lafayette announces it is a French Language Immersion School. A school district task force has proposed creating a French immersion-only campus at the school.
Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- A sign in front of Myrtle Place Elementary School in Lafayette announces it is a French Language Immersion School. A school district task force has proposed creating a French immersion-only campus at the school.

The school district’s foreign language immersion staff will meet with parents of Myrtle Place Elementary School students at 5 p.m. Tuesday to discuss a proposal that could transform the school into a French immersion-only campus.

A task force, organized to make recommendations related to foreign language immersion courses in the district, proposed creating a French immersion-only campus at the school. The plan calls for moving students in French immersion programs at Alice Boucher Elementary and S.J. Montgomery Elementary schools to Myrtle Place.

There are 304 students enrolled at Myrtle Place with 98 of them in the French immersion program, according to the task force’s proposal presented to the School Board in December.

The meeting Tuesday will provide a forum for parents of the 206 children not involved in the foreign language program at the school, said Nicole Boudreaux, foreign language immersion specialist for Lafayette Parish Schools.

Some of those students could be moved to S.J. Montgomery, though other options, such as priority placement in schools of choice programs or moving them to other elementary schools, are under review, Boudreaux said.

The task force recommendations were presented to the School Board as informational items and have not been presented to the board for any action.

Boudreaux said the meeting was organized to help dispel misconceptions and misinformation in the community about the task force’s proposals as well as for the district to get more feedback from parents.

She said input from parents who responded to surveys given by phone, online and at the district’s Fall Frenzy schools of choice fair in November helped shape the task force’s proposals.

The district offers immersion classes in French, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese to 1,183 students. The majority, 974 students, are enrolled in pre-kindergarten French immersion classes with older students taking advanced language courses at Lafayette High School.