Italian language program cancelled for 2022-23 school year at Catholic school

Kids at St. Alphonsus elementary and junior high won't be able to continue in the school's long standing Italian language and culture program in September.

The longstanding program has been cancelled for the coming year. Calgary Catholic School District says just 27 per cent of kids at the school continue in the Italian program after it stops being mandatory after grade three. According to CCSD, the other 73 per cent switch to French.

"Maybe a month ago we just got an email on a Friday just to say more or less 'FYI it's not going to be offered anymore in September,'" said Belinda Mendes, who has two children in the program.

Parents said the program helps keep family traditions alive and they want a fuller explanation from CCSD and a chance to search for alternative solutions.

"In an ideal world, come together to brainstorm ideas for how some part of a program could still function. But we weren't given an opportunity to even have that conversation," Mendes said.

"I feel like having the Italian program at our school really helped with continuing the traditions that I grew up with," said Julia Colvin, whose daughter Carmelina is in grade three at the school.

CCSD said in a statement that Italian culture will still be a big part of the curriculum at St Alphonsus but language lessons won't be a part of that.

Calgary Catholic does still offer another Italian Language and Culture program at St. Maria Goretti elementary in the Northwest.