Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the school’s position on the language programs?
A: From the School’s Principal Sharon Broatch

The First Nations language program at Signal Hill is a locally developed school based course approved by the School Board.  Every district in the province is required to have an Aboriginal Enhancement Agreement that commits us to improving the educational opportunities for First Nations children.  Part of the way the goals of this agreement are being met in our school is through language exposure.  Other schools in the district also offer Squamish language classes to their students.

To clarify some of your misunderstandings, every class in the school participates in the language classes including the Late French Immersion classes. Sessions are 20 minutes long twice a week and focus on building vocabulary as well as awareness of the St’at’imc culture.  The lessons are taught by a teacher who has graduated from an approved language teaching program and are supported by the regular classroom teacher at all times.

In response to your question about whether it is a good use of “valuable time” – yes it is.  Teaching our students about local history and culture will develop understanding, critical thinking, empathy and allow them to build relationships. Also, 100 years of FN people’s “valuable time” was used to systematically eliminate their language and culture as well as deteriorate their family systems.  It is up to the younger generation to be a part of re-establishing this lost heritage which affects all Canadians.  It is in everyone’s best interest that a long overdue understanding and respect for Aboriginal culture be developed if we wish to have a functional society. This is especially relevant in a town like Pemberton.  It is important that we teach our children to respect and value their First Nations neighbors and language is critical to that process.

As all language learning enhances children’s brain development,  I agree that to offer French as well would be ideal. However at this time we do not have the resources to make that happen as the Ministry of Education does not support French instruction prior to Grade Five.

Q: Why aren’t all classes receiving Music Instruction?
A: From the School’s Principal Sharon Broatch

After this concern was raised last year, I did address it at a PAC meeting as it was indicated to me that there were several parents who were concerned.  Simply put, as the school has grown over the past 5 years there have been increasing demands on all of our specialized services and space availability. We have 18 classes but we only have one music room and Mrs. Van Spronsen who is our qualified music teacher only teaches 4 days a week. Therefore we need to make the decision as to whether it is better for every class to have one block of music a week or for the younger classes to have 2 blocks while the older classes have French language or Library Research as their elective. I must defer to my knowledgeable music teacher who believes that a firm grounding with 2 blocks a week of music in the early grades is the most effective method to build music skills. She does make every effort to encourage the older students to participate in our yearly musical, choirs and recorder club. She would be happy, I know, to discuss this further with you or any other parent who is concerned. Although I realize this is not a perfect solution for everyone, I hope the reasons behind it are understandable

Do you have any questions you would like to see here? Email us at info@signalhillpac.com and we’d be happy to try and answer them!