GENERAL LANGUAGE PROGRAM INFORMATION...
School District 20 recognizes that language programs benefit the cognitive and social development of students, as well as their opportunities for career advancement in later life. Research demonstrates that students who successfully complete a language program attain functional bilingualism while doing as well, or better than, their unilingual peers in the content areas of curriculum, including English Language Arts.
Of note is the historic local importance of the Russian culture and language. Community support for the Russian Language Programs is strong, and the local community is proud of its history and heritage. It is a unique opportunity for the children of our district to have this language learning opportunity.
RUSSIAN BILINGUAL (RB) PROGRAM
School District 20 offers an early partial-immersion English-Russian Bilingual program. This well-established program is offered for students entering school in Kindergarten as a language program option, and continues through grade 7. The K-3 program is housed at the Castlegar Primary Campus of Twin Rivers Elementary School in Castlegar, while the grades 4-7 program runs at Twin Rivers Elementary School. Recognition for the program is historic, and includes provincial, national and international acknowledgements.
The primary grades component of the program (K-3) provides students with 50% of classroom instruction in Russian and 50% in English. The intermediate grades component of the program (grades 4-7) provides students with up to 1 hour per week of language instruction in Russian, and builds on the strong Russian language foundation built in the primary years.
The Russian Bilingual Program provides students with an education equivalent to that which is available in the English of Early French Immersion language programs; in other words, students in the Russian Bilingual program will learn the same things as students who are not in the program, according to the Ministry of Education’s prescribed learning outcomes for each grade.
RUSSIAN AS A SECOND LANGUAGE (RSL) PROGRAM
The Russian as a Second Language Program is an option available to learning in district schools. This option allows students to enter the Russian Language Program in grade 5, and to potentially continue with Russian language instruction through grade 12. Should a student complete the Russian Language Program through grade 12, that credit has been recognized by the Ministry of Education as a post-secondary entrance qualifying credit for any high school language requirement in BC. The Russian as a Second Language Program is offered at Twin Rivers Elementary School in Castlegar.
Please note the following regarding these programs:
- These programs are currently offered at Twin Rivers Elementary School in Castlegar, including the Castlegar Primary campus of that school.
- These programs are offered to all students in the district; any family of a student entering Kindergarten (for the RB program), or of a student entering grade 5 (for the RSL program), is able to apply.
- Families of children entering Kindergarten that are interested in enrolling their child in the RB program must first register their child at their catchment area school. An application for the RB program should then be filled out and submitted by the due date; all information regarding the application process is on the application form. Application forms are available at every elementary school or on-line at https://sd20.link/student-registration.
- Families of children entering grade 5 that are interested in the RSL program must fill out and submit a student transfer form; all information regarding the application process is on the transfer form. Transfer forms are available at every elementary school or on-line at https://sd20.link/student-registration. Transfer approval will be based on space availability.
- Existing school bus routes may or may not work for families getting their child to and/or from Twin Rivers. If not, transportation for these programs will be the responsibility of the family. For transportation questions, please visit our district website at https://sd20.link/transportation, or call the Transportation Manager at 250-365-8331 ext. 804.
If you plan to apply for a seat in the RB program, please note the following:
- Application forms are available at every elementary school or on-line at https://sd20.link/student-registration.
- Application forms should be filled out fully and submitted to the School Board Office. Applications will not be accepted at any other location. Applications can be dropped off in person at 2001-3rd Avenue, Trail, BC; or, can be faxed to 250-364-2470; or, can be scanned and emailed to [email protected]
- There are 22 student placements available for the RB program. This is a legislated class size that cannot be exceeded. If there are more than 20 applicants, the 20 seats will be filled by a lottery “draw”. Children whose names are not in the 20 drawn names will be placed on a waitlist.
- The RB program is open to all learners; however, it may not be the right choice for all children. While there is no expectation that students or their parents have any Russian language skills prior to the beginning of the program, there are some qualities that help to make learners more successful in the program.
- To be successful in the RB program, students should ideally be:
- curious about language learning and be an eager learner of new things
- self-regulated (meaning able to follow directions, sit for age-appropriate periods of time, be an attentive listener, be proficient with oral language)
- resilient (not going to give up when faced with the challenges of learning in a new language)
- competent in their first language
- Parents of students enrolled in the RB program play a critical role in supporting their child in the program and in turn the level of success he or she experiences. Ideally, parents should be:
- supportive of the program
- honest about their child’s abilities, skills and competencies
- willing to support their child through the challenges of learning another language
- committed to supporting their child in the program through to graduation
Please do not hesitate to reach out:
- Twin Rivers Elementary School: 250-365-8465
- Castlegar Primary Elementary School: 250-365-5744
- Wendy Cutler, Principal, Twin Rivers Elementary School ([email protected])
- Kristen Gregory, Vice-Principal, Twin Rivers Elementary School ([email protected])
- Kim Desmarais, Vice-Principal, Castlegar Primary Campus ([email protected])
- Teresa Berdusco, Director of Instruction ([email protected])