I’m an anglophone from Alberta who grew all the way up to adulthood knowing nothing about the Canadian Francophonie, or the ensemble of this country’s francophone communities. I took French in school not because it interested me or because I found it easy (I didn’t), but because I had no choice.
But life has a habit of surprising us… A series of events eventually led me to Montreal, where I ended up meeting my francophone spouse and where both our daughters were born. Oh, and somewhere along the line I learned French. It’s amazing what love can do — my old French teachers would be astounded!
Several years later we moved to Calgary, where we’ve lived since 1996. I got involved in the world of francophone education in 1997 when my first child began kindergarten. I started out as a parent volunteer, then joined the school’s parent council. In 1999, I was appointed by the Minister of Education to a regional board whose mandate was to introduce school governance in southern Alberta. (At the time, francophone schools in Calgary were run by anglophone boards.) We succeeded, and the francophone community began governing its own schools in 2000.
I could have stopped there, but by then I was sold on the benefits of a francophone education for kids living in an anglophone setting. In 2002, I wrote I’m with you!, the first book about French-language education in Canada intended for mixed francophone/non-francophone couples. There was obviously a need for this kind of resource, since some 6,000 people bought the book. Thousands of copies of a shorter version published in 2003 were also sold.
Things really snowballed from there. I started working with francophone school boards, parent associations and other regional and national organizations to promote parents’ involvement in their kids’ education regardless of their French-language skills. I also created a radio series for Radio-Canada, was featured in the CBC national radio program C’est la vie, and produced the bilingual magazine ConnEXions, of which more than 10,000 copies were sold.
Over the years, I’ve given a great many presentations and workshops, in English and French, throughout Canada. I offer a variety of personalized services to a diverse and growing clientele.
All of these experiences have led me to publish Fusion, a book written in English intended for mixed francophone/non-francophone couples but containing relevant information for all parents in the francophone system. This new book replaces I’m with you! and is the only resource of its kind in Canada.
Lastly, recognizing the transformation that is sweeping through the Canadian Francophonie, I have developed a global approach that can help school boards tackle some of the most difficult challenges associated with minority francophone education.
Web : www.FrancophoneEducation.ca/en
Last Update : 2012-07-03