Spanish Bilingual Program FAQ

When can my child start in the Spanish bilingual program?

Kindergarten and grade 1 are entry points for students with no previous Spanish. Please contact administration for further information regarding placement in grades other than k & 1. Children who are still 4 years old on January 1, 2021 are ineligible for kindergarten.

Who can apply for the Spanish bilingual program?

Children who reside in the designated W.O. Mitchell Spanish bilingual communities may apply to the Spanish bilingual program. Out of bound students may be considered, depending on space and resources.

What do I do to enroll/register my child?

Come into the school and drop-off/complete an application form; don't forget to bring documentation confirming your child’s birthdate (this will be photocopied for the cumulative file as per Alberta Education requirements). Appropriate documents include birth certificate, passport, Canadian citizenship certificate, court order, and baptismal certificate. Please also bring proof of address (ex. utility bill, driver’s license); this will not be photocopied, however we need to verify that you live in one of our designated areas. You are also required to complete and submit the ‘Parent Acknowledgement of Understanding for Alternative Program Registration’ form. We are happy to help build understandings regarding the questions on that form.

Can I fill out the application form at home?

Yes, but it must be brought into the school, in person. The application can be printed from the following link:

Can I register my child at two CBE Schools until I decide which program I want for my child?

You may apply to any number of CBE schools when registration opens on January 20, 2020 (e.g., your community school, an alternate program school, etc.). You can only be registered at one school, though. Application to the Spanish bilingual program does not guarantee registration; if we have more applications than we have space and resources to accommodate, a lottery will be held. We will contact you on or shortly after Tuesday, February 11, 2020 as to whether or not your application has been successful (applications are accepted up to 12 noon on Tuesday, Feb 11, 2020). We will be notifying parents shortly after this date to offer your child a place at our school/ provide information as to the status of your application. At that point, if you choose to have your child enrolled at WO Mitchell, your child will be registered. If you are unsure when we contact you, you will have 10 business days to consider our offer. If you have registered your child in another school, and want your child at WOM, we will help facilitate the transfer.

Is W.O. Mitchell School a private charter school, or public?

W.O. Mitchell School is a Calgary Board of Education school which offers an alternative Spanish bilingual program. We are a public school, and are pleased to be able to support the personalized learning ethos of the CBE through offering students opportunities to learn in Spanish.

Will busing be available?

Busing will be provided to children who reside in W.O. Mitchell Spanish bilingual program designated communities that are not within the W.O. Mitchell Spanish bilingual walk zone.

Where will my child's bus stop be?

The bus maps are designed over the summer months based on the children who have registered for busing by the established deadline (usually in June). It is important that bus registrations are submitted as soon as possible in order for transportation to develop the maps. The bus maps are usually available at the end of July. They should also be posted on our website. Please watch our website for availability date.

Do parents need to speak Spanish in order for a child to be in the bilingual program?

No. Parents do not need to speak Spanish. If parents wish to learn Spanish, Chinook Learning Services offers classes to parents during the evening. Most students come from English speaking families! If interest warrants, Chinook Learning Services might even offer classes here at W.O. Mitchell.

Is the program Spanish Immersion?

No, the program is Spanish Bilingual. 50% of a student’s course work is taught in Spanish and 50% of a student’s course work is taught in English. Generally:

  • science, social studies, and English language arts are taught in English
  • math, Spanish language arts, and physical education are taught in Spanish
  • other subjects (ex. music, art) may be taught in either or both languages, and are often vehicles through which the Spanish cultural component of the program is enhanced
  • while these points are guidelines, in keeping with current research regarding bilingual education, teachers will use either language/both languages to support learner acquisition of language as well as other curricular concepts, regardless of subject discipline.

The Spanish cultural component is also supported through small groups and school presentations, assemblies, residencies, activities, and celebrations, in addition to classroom focuses.

If my child did not attend kindergarten in the bilingual program, will they have problems in Spanish bilingual Grade 1?

This has not been a difficulty for most students.

Do you offer full day kindergarten classes?

No, we offer half day kindergarten classes (AM and PM), four days per week. On Fridays we will alternate between AM & PM. Whether a Friday is an AM or PM Kindergarten day will be communicated on our school calendar.

What are the hours for the kindergarten classes? Other grades?

Currently, the hours for kindergarten are 9:10AM-11:56AM (AM classes), and 1:04PM-3:50PM. The hours for all other grades are 9:10AM- 3:50PM. These times may change for the 2020-2021 school year, as our operational hours are largely dependent on busing. There is a lunch program for children in Grades 1-5.

How are AM and PM kindergarten designations determined?

Your address will determine whether your child has an AM or a PM placement. The CBE transportation department decides whether your community will receive AM or PM busing, thus determining which communities have AM placement and which communities have PM placement. All applicants will have the opportunity to express a preference morning or afternoon placement, and should your family not be dependent on busing, we will try our best to accommodate your request, pending space and resources.

At what age is a child eligible to attend kindergarten for the 2020-2021 school year?

A child who turns 5 on or before December 31, 2020 can start kindergarten in the fall of 2020.

What are the designated schools for children who start the Spanish bilingual program at WO Mitchell?

We currently are a k-5 school that offers one program only. The designated junior high school is Senator Patrick Burns (6-9) and the designated high school is William Aberhart (10-12). Every community in Calgary has a designated CBE Spanish bilingual elementary, middle/jr high, and high school, so should you move within Calgary during your child’s school years, they will be able to access the Spanish bilingual program.

What will the class size be for the Spanish bilingual classes?

This is unknown at this time. Class sizes will depend on the numbers at the completion of the registration period and may be approximately 20-22 students per class.

Where will the new classrooms be located within the school?

This is unknown at this time. There are several spaces that are easily made ready for a classroom, but we will first have to know how many classes will be created (this is dependent on enrollment numbers).

May we have a tour of the school and observe the classrooms during a regular school day?

Unfortunately, due to the large number of requests, we cannot fulfill individual requests for school tours/observing classrooms in session. We must respect the classroom teaching environment and allow as few interruptions as possible. There will be a W.O. Mitchell parent evening for new families on May 21, 2020 at 7:00 PM and this meeting will be an orientation to our school, highlighting W.O. Mitchell specific information for our new families. New students may visit classrooms, while students are in their classes on June 3, 2020 at 2:00 PM or on June 4, 2020 at 9:30 AM, during our new student orientation.

What are some of the benefits of the bilingual program for students?

  • May improve academic achievement.
  • May enhance communication skills.
  • May promote exploration, understanding and appreciation of the cultures of the Spanish speaking world and contributes to multiculturalism.
  • May prepare students for future post-secondary education in an international setting.
  • Allows for learning in a second language during childhood, the best time to develop fluency, pronunciation and ease of expression
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RT @RoyaloakCBE: On dress like your favourite book character day, there were princesses in the wetlands, living alphabets, and creativity found throughout the school. What a fun way to embrace the energy that fills June! #wearecbe #getoutside

RT @WesternRedhawks: This past year, a committee of students has been hard at work gathering student voice and consulting with Elders and Knowledge Keepers in the planning of a garden in the courtyard area off of the main foyer. #wearecbe

LAST CHANCE to register for yellow school bus transportation. If you do not register by the June 11 deadline you will not be included in route planning for the fall and may be responsible for transportation for the first six weeks of school. #WeAreCBE

Friday, June 9 is a system-wide non-instructional day so there are no classes for CBE students. Have a safe long weekend and stay cool! #WeAreCBE

RT @Miskanawah: A huge THANK YOU to the students of Forest Lawn High School for supporting our Indigenous children, youth and families to have FUN and POSITIVE learning experiences by donating 50 new backpacks. #miskanawah #YYC #ForestLawnHighSchool