A World of Learning
In 1969, Calgary French & International School (CFIS) pioneered French Immersion education in Calgary. In fact, CFIS established its French language programme prior to the Royal Commission that led to the federal policy of official bilingualism. CFIS’s founding parents were confident that children in an English speaking community could become fluent in the French language. They planted the seed which has today grown to be one of Alberta's top five independent schools. Today CFIS offers quality French Immersion and Intensive Spanish education from Preschool to Grade 12 for more than 700 students.
CFIS celebrated 40 years in the 2009/2010 school year. In addition to celebrating the past, we celebrated the future with our first Grade 12 graduating class.
This was a period of great change for the school. What began as an eviction notice in late 1999 led to a $20-million capital campaign for a new facility and expanded programs. CFIS achieved several significant milestones under Donna Finley's leadership from 1999 to 2004:
Highlights during 2000-2008 include:
Click on images for bios
Ms. Margaret Dorrance
Head of School,
April 2012 to present
They each had their reasons, they each had a passion and a vision...together they created the "Calgary French School", the seed that grew up to what we are today! We present to you the founding parents of Calgary French & International School.
In 1969, lacking an opportunity to provide young children with a French immersion experience, Louise joined Mary and Jane in a search to resolve this problem through the very simple and direct approach of creating their own school. Their reasoning for this initiative was along the lines of "if we open such a school, the students will come!" and their vision gave birth to the Calgary French School. For 5 years she and the founding mothers developed and directed the school and its programs during a time when educational and neurological research validated the benefits of early second language development. In later years, Louise resumed teaching in Immersion programs at the Junior and Senior High levels. Having left the school in the hands of very committed parents and professional staff, the last 40 years has brought great change and evolution for the school into a Centre of Excellence. Observing CFIS as a leader and a model in educational excellence, Louise is very satisfied to have been part of the initial idea to establish such a school. Now retired from the classroom, she continues to hold an interest in following the exciting plans for further growth and expansion at CFIS.
Jane has a life-long passion for education and languages. In the early 1970s, she served as a commissioner on the Bilingual Districts Advisory Board, which took her all over Canada and made her an expert on the state of French language communities across the country. As an active participant in Canada’s movement towards official bilingualism and with a view to her own children’s education, she helped establish French Immersion programs in London (ON), Calgary, Montreal and Vancouver. In the late 1970s, in response to the influx of Vietnamese refugees, she retrained to teach adults English as a Second Language. In this capacity she worked with all kinds of second language learners, including refugees, immigrants and Canadian-born French speakers, most notably as a teacher with the House of Commons. In 1999 (at the age of 70), she took many years of volunteer service through the Anglican Church one step further when she spent a year in Madagascar teaching ESL in a remote theological college. Jane continues to believe in the power of language and education to broaden horizons, particularly in the context of the Canadian mosaic.
Mary Stapleton is currently a Research Associate at the Arctic Institute of North America, University of Calgary. She is the Founder and Managing Director of the Arctic Circumpolar Route and has been President of InterFacts Consulting Ltd. for over 25 years. Mary has a Bachelor’s Degree in Art History and Secondary Teaching, graduate study in Museum Management from Harvard University, and a Master’s Degree in Architecture from the Faculty of Environmental Design, University of Calgary. She conducted research on collections of the Glenbow Museum in Calgary prior to the establishment of the present museum. She has lived in Alberta and British Columbia since 1964, and has consulted in the northern areas of both provinces as well as the Yukon and Northwest Territories. She has been involved in community service work throughout her career, in English, French, and aboriginal language communities. She is the mother of two children who attended the Calgary French School, Adela Galloway Cosijn and Hannah Galloway; and the grandmother of Danae Cosijn, who attended the school for four years.