Charter Pulse

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ALASKA: French school a possibility

french-immersion-charter-schoolFAIRBANKS — A local effort to form a French dual immersion charter school will hold its first meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Watershed Charter School gym, 4975 Decathlon, off Davis Road en route to the Riverboat Discovery.

The impetus for the charter school began with Magali Philip, who was born and raised in France.

When she began looking around for a language immersion school for her 4-year-old son, Florian, and found there weren’t any in Fairbanks, she started asking questions.

As she talked with others, and began researching charter schools through the school district, she found there definitely is local interest by parents to have their young children learn a second language.

The purpose of this first meeting Tuesday, Philip said, is to see how many people are really interested in such a school, answer questions and take suggestions.

Presently, the plan is to start with a full-day kindergarten and first grade that would require approximately 40 to 50 students, or 20 to 25 students per class.

French would be the language spoken in the mornings and English in the afternoon.

“It’s so easy for them to learn at a young age,” Philip said. “They not only learn a another language, they learn a culture.”

Tricia Bates, a French lecturer at UAF, agrees.

“I think its a great idea. It’s something I’ve been wishing and dreaming about.”

Bates didn’t begin studying languages until high school and continued in college, earning a degree in French and Spanish.

“For younger children, it is so much less of a struggle to learn a language,” she said.

“They do it so effortlessly. I think a language immersion school would be an awesome opportunity for kids to acquire another language.”

More information about the cognitive advantages of learning another language is available on the organizing group’s Facebook page: French Immersion Public School for Fairbanks.

Source: – by Mary Beth Smetzer

View more articles on Alaska charter schools


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This entry was posted on March 24, 2013 by in Alaska, Charter Schools, School choice and tagged , .


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