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French school to start next week

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About 10 students will face a new educational experience when L’École Catholique de Fort Frances opens its doors here Aug. 31.

Operating out of a classroom at St. Francis School, Gilberte Poirer will teach the class of pupils ranging from JK to grade eight completely in French.

A teaching assistant also is in the process of being hired here.

The school will not operate under the Northwest Catholic District School Board but rather Le Conseil Scolaire de District Catholique des Aurores Boreales, which is based in Thunder Bay.

But having one school operating within another shouldn’t be a problem, noted executive assistant Jocelyne Belanger.

“Anything to do with the students will be negotiated with St. Francis, such the gymnasium, busing, and professional development days,” she said.

Due to the comparatively low number of students enrolled in the school, Belanger felt it just wouldn’t make sense to run things entirely separate.

“For instance, on PD days, having buses running for some students and not others isn’t possible,” she remarked.

The school also will be sharing its principal, Sylvianne Moreau, with another one in Nakina (north of Longlac).

Although L’École Catholique de Fort Frances is ready to go, one thing that may change before long is its name.

“The Ministry of Education requires any school to have a name when it is started up but it is possible student input may determine a new, more personal name,” Belanger said.

The decision to open the school was made April 10 when the Thunder Bay-based French language board took into consideration local parents’ interests in having their children enrolled in French as a first language program.

For students to attend, they must be the children of fluently French-speaking parents, or have parents or siblings who have received French as a first language instruction.

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