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Exemplary With Honors

Boiling Spring High School, Boiling Springs PA
AATF member: Michael Bogdan

Mrs. Cindy Bailey, Mr. Michael Bogdan, and Mrs. Emily Mater are the South Middleton School District French teachers.We work collaboratively with our Spanish teacher colleagues for a dynamic, innovative, and highly-respected World Language Department. Two of the three French teachers are National Board certified and are the first and only two staff members in the entire district with that distinction. All have studied abroad in Francophone nations. All are members of and participate in local, state, and regional professional development conferences as well as the AATF Susquehanna Valley Chapter.

All seventh graders take an introductory French course as part of their creative arts cycle; this graded course meets for one trimester. Eighth graders choose between French I, Spanish I, or are placed in a remedial reading course. Most students who complete the first level at the middle school are able to begin in the second level at the high school. Due to semester block scheduling, some students take two credits in one year. Language is considered a core subject. 17-18 is the largest AP French enrollment since it began in 2011.

While many French programs are showing enrollment declines or are under attack, we have found a resurgence in interest in our program, realizing that it is the result of the faculty providing strong lessons and unique opportunities to our students. These opportunities include biennial trips to France, participation in the Grand Concours, French Club activities, the Société Honoraire de Français, National French Week, National Foreign Language Week, an international dinner, pen pals in the Toulouse area, local competitions, internships, and service opportunities with our Special Education Department.

All French teachers follow best practices for language teaching. Through stations, our 1-1 laptop program, flipped lessons, and collaborative learning, we work to put the learner at the center of instruction. We teach 90% to 100% in the target language and provide students with the skills to progress to that goal as well. Through regular and honors classes, and sometimes courses with a special education professional, we strive to meet the needs of diverse learners. Our goals moving forward are to revamp our curriculum to focus on IPA assessments and culturally-based units. We plan to move our grade books and assessments to Interpersonal, Interpretive, and Presentational modes of communication, as reflected by the ACTFL World-Readiness Standards. While we are doing that currently to some extent, we know that the next level is to focus on cultural themes by providing vocabulary and structures as needed to complete communicative tasks.

All three of us are proud to be French teachers. We hope to continue providing our students the opportunities to discover other cultures as they learn about themselves and their place in our connected world. Recognition by AATF has been a significant honor, one that we have fully publicized to our school and community so that all are aware of the strength of our program and the strength of the students with whom we have the pleasure to work each day.




Montville Township High School, Montville NJ
AATF member: Julia Koch

Onalaska High School, Onalaska WI
AATF member: Brian Wopat

Watauga High School, Boone NC
AATF member: Heather Tedder

Bonjour! My name is Heather Tedder, and I am the French teacher at Watauga High School. Boone, NC. I have had a tremendously good time crafting the French program at Watauga over the past 11 years! I came to Watauga via Louisiana State University, where I did a year of PhD coursework and previously Vanderbilt University for my Master’s in French. After Katrina blew through southeastern Louisiana in 2005, my husband and I came home to Wilkesboro, NC!

When I came to Watauga in 2007, there were only three levels of French, no Société Honoraire Française, or participation in the Grand Concours. My focus was on adding more levels and activities, student travel, and possibly a partnership with another school. At this point, I have added French 4 Honors and AP French Language and Culture, and we have done two trips to Québec (2014) and France and Spain (2016). Here are some pictures from those two trips!

Last year, we added the Société Honoraire de Français and did the Grand Concours for the first time in 7 years. We have a score release party and induction ceremony coming up at the end of May! It is a fun way to close out the school year and celebrate new SHF members and add some excitement to the Grand Concours score release.

Here is last year’s picture with inductees :

I feel so fortunate to have had so many wonderful students and such supportive colleagues, administrators and parents along the way! During my time at Watauga, three students have been invited to attend the North Carolina Governor’s School in French, and two students have chosen to study abroad in France; one during her junior year of high school, the other the summer before her junior year. Countless students have continued French language and culture classes at the college level, and one student completed AP French Language and Culture her junior year and studied French conversation and French literature as a senior at our local university, Appalachian State. As I write these words, an alumna of the French program is preparing to fly to Nice, where she will spend four weeks in an immersion setting before taking off for an international business internship in Bruxelles and Paris. I am so proud of my students!

My approach to language acquisition is very hands-on and content-driven. I strive to teach at least 90% in French. Many of my students have said in the past that they did not realize I had a Southern accent in English until mid-way through September! With my Spanish colleagues, we have streamlined our curriculum across the first two levels with common learning targets. We grade according to the modes of communication and use IPAs to assess student growth. I incorporate a variety of activities and units that target different ideas and Francophone cultures. Every week, we analyze a song across the levels. Students LOVE this! We actually just did Manie Musicale with brackets and voted “Papaoutai” de Stromae the winner of Manie Musicale 2018. We read three books during the three more advanced levels of French- Paul a un travail d’été de Michel Rabagliati, Aya de Yopougon de Marguerite Abouet, and the grand classique, Le petit princed’Antoine de St. Exupéry. Every level watches at least two movies and discusses them in French (gotta put my film minor from NC State to work!), but one of the biggest draws for the program is the food!

Cuisine fits seamlessly into the curriculum- when we study café culture, French 1 makes crêpes. When we talk about regional French cuisine, French 2 reads instructions in French and puts together a dégustation de fromage. Paired with our study of Francophone communities in the United States, French 3 Honors does a Cajun/ Créole / Franco-American potluck complete with cooking videos. French 4 Honors does two- a cake competition for Louis XIV’s court, as well as a dégustation de chocolat to go with our reading of Aya de Yopougon. Finally AP French Language and Culture tastes water to go with our Science and Technologie unit, and students do a Chopped-style cooking project at the holidays. This year, the mystery ingredient was ginger!

I love teaching French because there is so much to learn and so many different ways to engage students! As a Future Leader this summer, I look forward to bringing home many ideas from Martinique. I am truly humbled and delighted to have been recognized as an Exemplary French Program!


Wausau West High School, Wausau WI
AATF member: Kara Torkelson


If you take a look at a map of Wisconsin, the city of Wausau is located almost in the middle of the state. It has a population of approximately 40,000 people and about 135,000 including the surrounding metro area. There are two high schools, Wausau West and Wausau East. There are two middle schools and thirteen elementary schools and 4 charter schools. Wausau’s history is connected to Native American cultures, German immigration in the mid-
19th century, and more recently the Hmong refugee relocation program. About 45% of the students in the district are on free or reduced lunch. I started my career teaching French at John Muir Middle School in 1994. The class at the middle school was a trimester class and I developed all of the curriculum myself. When a position at Wausau West High School opened due to a retirement, I decided to interview for the position and got the job. Since that time I have seen a reduction in 4 full time foreign language teacher positions, but this has not stopped me from creating a French program worthy of this award.

The French program at Wausau West offers French levels 1, 2, 3, 4 and AP. The middle schools used to have French, German and Spanish as a requirement, but two years ago the district decided to offer the three languages as an elective modifying the schedule from more of a middle school concept to a junior high concept. Since this change the French numbers have remained steady, but it has caused French 1 numbers at the high school to decrease due to the fact that most students will take French 1 in eighth grade and then take French 2 at the high school, causing the district to typically cut the French 1 class at Wausau West. Many French teachers I think can relate to this struggle as districts continue to cut classes or combine classes to justify staffing.

These problems are real and many, but this did not stop me from digging my heals in even deeper to build the French program at Wausau West. Since teaching at the high school I offer a France trip every year. I traveled to France for the first time when I was a junior in high school and it it changed my life forever. I thought that offering this cultural experience to all my students was important since it played such a major importance in my own life. I have always been a nerd when it comes to French pronunciation, so having my students participate in le Concours Oral has been an importance not only for the students who compete, but also for the students who help me run the Region 2 competition. Seeing my students involvement outside the school day is so important for building relationships and French related experiences. This is the same for when I added the participation with le Grand Concours.

The French Club at West is very active and visits a minimum of 3 elementary schools per year to promote the French language and francophone cultures. I have Spanish students join French Club because of the interactive activities it offers. Once again, actively engaging all students outside the classroom with activities like movie nights and fondue feasts keep many students coming back for more. During National French Week my students sell Bon bons, have trivia contests and scavenger hunts that involve the whole school. The West French Club also has a booth at the Portage County Cultural Festival in Steven’s Point where my students answer questions and pass out information about francophone cultures. It is a very rewarding experience. Most recently I inducted 4 students into la Société Honoraire de Français and I only anticipate with more involvement these numbers will increase.

Since the introduction of the Wisconsin GEAC (Global Education Achievement Certificate) I was actively involved with Wausau West’s application and approval. So far I have awarded 3 French students this prestigious award and proud to say that they have gone on use their French in different ways. In the future I hope to offer the Seal of Biliteracy and the doors it can open for my students beyond high school.

This year the AP French class was granted dual credit with the University of Wisconsin Green Bay with the AP French curriculum standards. I know that this helped some of my students decide to continue with their French studies and I am looking forward to offering this option for my students for years to come.

I have always been one to strive for more and this shows when it comes to involvement with organizations like ACTFL, WAFLT and AATF. Being a part of group of professionals has helped me advance and have a successful program. Being asked to serve as President-Elect Wisconsin chapter helps me create a network of people who support you and the teaching of French which is so important to remaining current with teaching practices of today’s language learner.
In the end, like many French teachers, I have faced many obstacles with the French program in the Wausau School District. It all comes down to commitment to your students and the hard work you put into each and every activity and lesson that will make a difference in the lives of every student that you teach. I plan on continuing to grow the French program at Wausau West by offering new opportunities for my students to enrich their global views and perspectives in a world that still needs cultural competence in tomorrow’s workforce.

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