Francophone Education

Francophone Education in North West Alberta

The Northwest Francophone School Authority (Conseil scolaire du Nord-Ouest No 1 – CSNO) governs three francophone schools :

  • École des Quatre-Vents (preschool to Grade 12) in Peace River,
  • École Héritage (preschool to Grade 12) in Falher and
  • École Nouvelle Frontière (preschool to Grade 12) in Grande Prairie.

To find out more about francophone education in Alberta: Francophone Education in Alberta

CSNO provides…

  • Safe and caring schools where the well-being of students is paramount;
  • Qualified and professional staff available to meet students’ needs;
  • Transportation;
  • Student services such as special needs, psychologist, speech and language and educational assistants;
  • Opportunities for community involvement and extracurricular activities;
  • Cultural programming;
  • Field trips and celebrations;
  • French and English second language support;
  • Full time kindergarten;
  • Secondary students (Grades 10 – 12) with:
    • Distance education
    • Work experience
    • Individualized programming
    • Career and Technology Studies
    • Knowledge and Employability Courses
    • Green Certificate Program
  • Opportunities for parents to be involved in the School Council; and
  • A warm welcome and support for English speaking parents.

Did you know?

  • Students begin English instruction in Grade 3 and follow the same English Language Arts curriculum as students enrolled in all schools in Alberta.
  • Francophone schools make it possible for students to pursue post secondary studies in French or English and to live and work in both official languages.
  • Our schools have a low student dropout rate, well below provincial average.
  • Our rate of postsecondary enrolment is above provincial average.

Why Francophone Education?

We often get the questions: What’s up with francophone education? Why are there francophone schools? What’s different about it? This short article inspired by Alberta Learning’s AFFIRMING FRANCOPHONE EDUCATION: FOUNDATIONS AND DIRECTIONS, A Framework for French First Language Education, hopes to answer these questions.

WHY Francophone Education? 1

The Right to francophone education falls under Section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms which stipulates: “all Canadian citizens—francophone and anglophone alike—who live in a minority linguistic setting are entitled to have their children educated in the official language of the minority, everywhere in Canada. Members of the French or English minority in a Canadian province or territory thus possess the right to have their children receive their primary and secondary education in the language and facilities of the minority […].”

What is francophone education?

In the spirit of Section 23, francophone education […] should be a linguistic, cultural and community enterprise that meets the needs of both students and the community through a school program that helps:

  • affirm children’s identification with and sense of belonging to the francophone culture and community;
  • correct linguistic and cultural erosion, or assimilation;
  • change and create structures to reflect the intent of section 23 of the Charter.

The mandate of francophone education is rooted in the constitutional framework, the School Act, historical contexts, social and legal considerations, and scientific research.

There are two aspects to the mandate.

  • One is to provide a schooling experience built around francophone language, culture and community […]. Within this context francophone students gain the knowledge and skills they need to become autonomous, responsible citizens who care about others and are able to contribute to both the renewal of the francophone community and the well-being of society in general.
  • The other aspect of the mandate is to help correct the linguistic and cultural erosion suffered by students and the community in a predominantly English milieu. To counter assimilation, instruction must be provided in a rich linguistic and cultural environment that enables students to integrate into the francophone culture and community locally, nationally and globally […and nurture their] francophone identity and sense of belonging.

In light of research findings and the raison d’être of francophone education, [Alberta Francophone students’ specific educational needs arise from the dynamics of their milieu] that can be summed up as follows.

To learn and maintain French as a first language, to acquire additive bilingualism 2, and to realize their cognitive potential and achieve academic success, francophone students must:

  • maintain their self-esteem as francophones;
  • reach a high threshold of French and English linguistic competence;
  • create a positive cultural identity;
  • integrate into an authentic francophone community;
  • gain the literacies central to developing language, cognition, identity, culture and community.

For more information please contact the Conseil scolaire du Nord-Ouest at 780-624-8855 or visit

  1. This information is taken from Alberta Learning’s AFFIRMING FRANCOPHONE EDUCATION: FOUNDATIONS AND DIRECTIONS, A Framework for French First Language Education produced in 2000.
  2. Additive bilingualism: type of bilingualism where the acquisition of a second language does not lead to diminished or inadequate first language development.