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École La Mission: Consider the Many Possibilities of French Education

Principal Nancy Belanger has more than 21 years as an educator and leader in the school district. She’s excited about the many possibilities that La Mission provides students and their families.

Located in St. Albert, École La Mission provides a local French education option from preschool to grade 4.

The doors to La Mission opened in 1995. There were just 33 students on day one and the location was inside the Protestant school. By 2003 the student body grew to 78 and additional grades were added. Parents from Spruce Grove, Stony Plain and the surrounding communities started sending their children to La Mission. The growth of the school was recognized by the Government of Alberta; construction on La Mission as a standalone location began in 2002. Growth continued, spurring the reconfiguration of school levels between La Mission and Alexandre-Taché. Since 2020, Alexandre-Taché accommodates grades 5 and 6, while La Mission serves pre-kindergarten to grade 4. September 2024 grade 5 will return to La Mission.

Principal Nancy Belanger has more than 20 years as an educator and leader in the school district. She’s excited about the many possibilities that La Mission provides students and their families.

“French education is empowering for families to help retain their cultural roots and for their children to grow up bilingual,” says Principal Belanger. “Being bilingual opens more opportunities across the board in post-secondary education, careers and even in one’s social life. More languages mean more options.”

She continues, clearing up some misconceptions about French education.

“Many people wonder about learning English if they start their education with francophone schools. Our students start English classes in grade three. A lot of our former students are in the University of Alberta or other Canadian post secondary institutions and have no issues at all with speaking or writing in English. In fact, standardized grade 6 achievement tests show that our students have comparable – sometimes even higher – results than other schools in the province. Too many people overlook francophone schools because they think their children won’t be taught English, but English is part of the curriculum.”


Principal Belanger is one of many advocating for, and raising awareness of, the benefits of French education.

“The purpose of The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, section 23, is to help preserve and promote Canada’s official languages. If French is the primary language at home or a sibling has received French education, this means all the children in the home are eligible for francophone schools – and that is just two examples. Lots of students are eligible; it is important for parents to know about this option and to know that in francophone schools, their children will also learn English.”

At La Mission, the priority is the well-being of every student and staff member.

“We ensure everyone feels safe and welcome,” assures principal Belanger. We teach our students more than the core courses. We help them develop social skills so they can thrive as community citizens. We understand that each student learns differently, so we provide intervention as needed to ensure continual success – in ways that mean success to each child. Our school’s motto is, ‘we are beautiful as individuals but together we are a masterpiece.’

“I greatly enjoy watching out students grow academically, socially and emotionally. On the administration side I am the leader, but we work as a team to accomplish the goals of the school. The instructors and administrators and I talk and work together to find solutions and to celebrate achievements.”

Learn more online, and on Facebook.

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