AATF EXEMPLARY PROGRAMS FOR 2019
- Amity Regional High School, Woodbridge, CT
- Clover HS, Clover, SC
- Glacier HS, Kalispell, MT
- Loyola Academy, Wilmette IL
- Ralston Valley HS, Arvada, CO
- St. Luke’s School, New Canaan, CT
Amity Regional High School, Woodbridge, CT
AATF member: Ashley Caron
Amity High is a first year recipient of the AATF Exemplary Program. The French Program at Amity High School seeks to provide a robust and comprehensive language learning experience, with instruction across all of the three modes of communication, leveraging ACTFL standards and World-Language-Learning community best practices. Instruction is via classes beginning with conversational and grammatical basics in French I and French II, followed by more advanced courses of study through French III (including an Honors class) and French IV (including opportunities to study for the AP Exam and to earn college credit at the University of Connecticut). The program has showed renewed strength and has flourished due to the enthusiasm and continued dedication to enriching the curriculum with authentic learning opportunities.
Students enrolled in French are presented with experiences outside of the classroom including a myriad of field trips to French restaurants and crêperies, in addition to visits to the Yale Art Gallery and Hill-Stead Museum, whereby the tours are conducted in French. Amity also offers bi-annual trips to Québec for Carnaval or to France, whereby students have the opportunity to be immersed in the French language and cultures of these regions, while applying their learning to a real-world setting.
The Amity chapter of the National French Honor Society is very active as well, taking part in a variety of community service programs with nearby schools, organizing a Crêpe and Croissant Night at our school as fundraisers, and making monetary donations to deserving charities
including: UNICEF, High-Five for Haiti, and organizing a book drive for Mauritania. The society also raises money as part of a scholarship fund for graduating seniors who plan to continue their studies of French.
Each year the French teachers, Ashely Caron (MA, UConn, La Sorbonne) and Mohamedou Moustapha (PhD) are inspired to continue the growth of the French program by integrating current culture, socio-political events, pop culture and art into their curriculum and extracurricular activities to bring relevancy and enthusiasm for the language thus demonstrating how the acquisition of French can bring a keener sense of global awareness an enlightenment.
Clover High School, Clover, SC
AATF member: Jennifer Reschly
Clover High School in Clover, SC is honored to receive the Exemplary Program award from the AATF. Over the past 5 years, we have been fortunate enough to grow our program, and currently have three full-time French teachers in our school, one of which teaches exclusively on our 9th grade campus. We collaborate frequently in order to provide our students with good articulation throughout each level, and consistent proficiency-based assessments. Our goal is to provide a communicative and culturally engaging environment for our students, including having the opportunity to connect and communicate with students around the world.
Our school offers an AP program in French, and honors credit in levels 3 and 4. We have recently participated in the National French Contest and plan to continue and build our participation in this nationwide event. In addition, our school offers membership to French Club and Société Honoraire de Français. These organizations are very active, and participate with daily events in National French Week and National Foreign Language Week. For example, we serve café au lait and croissants to staff, set up trivia and photo booths in the cafeteria for all students during lunches, host a Day of No English, and sell French desserts.
The French Club meets monthly and takes a trip to a French restaurant once a year, in addition to hosting a Bûche de Noël bake-off, chocolate-making, cheese-tasting, scavenger hunts, and Mardi Gras crafts. The French Honor Society has monthly French conversation hours at a nearby café and also interacts in the community through creating Impressionist paintings, tutoring other French students, and serving at school and community events, like the Back to School bash.
Exemplary Programs with Honors
Glacier High School, Kalispell, MT
Exemplary Program with Honors
AATF member: Stephanie Hill
Glacier High School’s presence on this list of prestigious French programs is unique. Although we are considered a large high school with a student population of over 1200 in a close knit rural community one hour from the Canadian border, we are also at least eight hours and four often snow covered mountain passes away from the closest museum or French restaurant. Schools in our state who have language programs at all are far and few between and even then, most are Spanish or German. In addition to these challenges, our high school and our state university system have no foreign language requirements for graduation or for admittance.
However, in the shadow of Glacier National Park’s soaring peaks (no joke, our library’s windows have a panoramic view!), incredibly passionate students, a wonderfully supportive community, and dedicated staff have helped create a program that earned the Exemplary with Honors designation this year. Our goal is to serve as a model for other small schools who want to share with their students the importance of global citizenry for the future of our country and our world.
In a small school, our greatest asset is collaboration. We realized early on that teaming up with our Spanish colleagues to promote the idea that all languages were a way to achieve global citizenry has helped our students and school community support us and, in turn, promote our program. In our program, language isn’t viewed as a skill that can be separated out but a single piece of a puzzle that is a part of their education as young adults. Gone are the slide shows where I show them the professions that await them if they study French (Most would just tell me “I don’t need to speak French for my career so why learn it?” anyway!) as they are replaced with discussions of what it means to be a global citizen and why this is important in our world. We focus on providing our students with somewhere to fit in, a place of acceptance, open-mindedness, and tolerance. Who wouldn’t want our future citizens to embody these attributes?
Exchange programs, travel opportunities, International Education Week, National French Week, French Club, le Grand Concours, Global Seal of Biliteracy, local conversation groups, a Dual Enrollment program, proficiency based grading, Comprehensible Input lessons, French movie nights, la Société Nationale de Francais, la Soiree d’Immersion…our offerings are incredibly rare for our state but not for most programs around the nation. What makes us special is that somehow, in this cold little corner of Montana, we have students who over the years develop an amazing passion for the global message our teachers continually share. Over half of the student population is enrolled in languages with double the number of French students eight years ago. They not only take two years of language, but sometimes three and even four years. In fact, 75% of students who start French complete four full years of study. Some even take all four years of both French and Spanish!
Over the years, we have worked tirelessly to make sure that our program was not simply important but necessary. In our small community, convincing everyone that they would need French for the rest of their lives was impossible. But showing our students, school, and community that language study provides the awareness and understanding of the world around them and prepares them for whatever their future holds, we secured their support to help our program grow and flourish.
As for our future, as we say in Montana, the Big Sky is the limit! If you need more specific information about activities or events or other ways that we’ve developed our program feel free and contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out our program website at https://ghsfrenchprogram.weebly.com/.
Parker High School, Janesville, WI
Exemplary Program with Honors
AATF member: Andrea Behn
Ralston Valley High School, Arvada, CO
Exemplary Program with Honors
AATF member: Andrea Leslie
Ralston Valley High School is a Professional Learning Community where we focus on the whole student. Our entire staff collaborates on the best classroom practices to maximize student learning. Our World Language Department offers Spanish, French and German, levels one through AP. For the first time in many years, two of our feeder middle schools are offering French 1. How exciting to see interest in French growing here in our Denver-area community!
Our French department has one full-time teacher – me, Andrea Leslie, and one part-time teacher, Dr. Christian Roche. I am National Board Certified and have been teaching here for 15 years. Dr. Roche, a native French speaker, has a PhD in French literature and shares his time teaching between our school and Metro State University in Denver.
Our entire department strives to meet the goal of 90% instruction in the target language. As we move toward more project-based assessments and IPAs, we are introducing more and more authentic sources–articles, videos, infographics, songs. We are fortunate to have one-to-one technology allowing us to weave technology tools into the daily curriculum is easy. Students watch videos or listen to a podcast or song as often as they like and at their own pace. Research becomes easier–we can simply let students loose to explore topics on their own, then share what they learn through online platforms which also allows for interpersonal written exchanges.
As we design lesson plans, we are always asking the question: How does this relate to a real-life situation? Using the Integrated Performance Assessment model, we set a series of tasks in a real-world setting. As our Spanish-teaching colleagues also use IPAs, we collaborate on cross-language activities. We also have a new approach to end-of-unit assessment–no more large tests. Instead, students do a cumulative project that brings together all elements of the unit. Along the way, we will give small check-point assessments to determine if students are learning the key elements they need to succeed. These projects are designed to be culturally relevant and include choice.
What is more culturally appealing and relevant to hungry teenagers than food? Typical culinary events include making crêpes for La Chandeleur and reenacting Paris’ contest for the best baguette as the Grand Prix de la Baguette d’Arvada. Outside the classroom, we participate in the Denver area’s annual Festinéma Junior sponsored by the Alliance Française de Denver and in the variety of activities and competitions at the University of Northern Colorado multi-state World Language Day. As we know the best ways for students to experience French is to actually be in French-speaking country, our program has offered a trip to France or Quebec every year; often these include a homestay.
We have a very active Société Honoraire de Français; we celebrate National French Week with a chocolate mousse eating contest, a French Top Chef competition and a French Waiter’s Race. We celebrate la Saint Catherine by making fancy hats and gingerbread pigs. Students also learn to make such culinary creations as a croquembouche or a croque monsieur. French movie afternoons happen regularly. Every French student participates in the Grand Concours.
Looking forward, our goal is to graduate students who are work-force ready with important language skills. We have just learned that our school district will be offering a diploma endorsement in biliteracy to any student who demonstrates proficiency in English and at least one foreign language. We are embracing this and will continue to develop and refine our instruction so that it is rigorous, relevant and useful to students are they look forward to a global work environment.
University Prep High School, Seattle, WA
Exemplary Program with Honors
AATF member: Holly Woodson
Exemplary Programs with Distinction
Loyola Academy, Wilmette IL
Exemplary Program with Distinction
AATF member: Thomas Sapp
Loyola Academy is a coeducational, private, Catholic, Jesuit, college preparatory high school located in Wilmette, Illinois, a suburb north of Chicago. With an enrollment of 2000 students, Loyola Academy is the largest Jesuit high school in the United States and one of the largest Catholic high schools in the country. The school has a thriving and robust French program that has been recognized by the AATF as Exemplary with Distinction.
French at Loyola Academy is strong in terms of faculty preparation and teaching, student enrollment and engagement, and administrative and parental support. The French teaching team consists of three experienced and tenured teachers at the school: Mme Inna McNally, Mme Cathy Kendrigan, and M. Thomas Sapp. All have earned master’s degrees, all regularly participate in professional development opportunities in the Chicagoland area and abroad, and all share with students their love of the French language and Francophone cultures, including offering students travel abroad opportunities. In addition, they often attend conferences together. For example, the three teachers attended the AATF National Convention in Martinique in July 2018, as well as the Guadeloupe extension. M. Sapp currently serves as president of the Chicago and Northern Illinois AATF chapter, the country’s largest, and was an AATF Future Leader. Mme Kendrigan has received the Dorothy S. Ludwig Excellence in Teaching Award (Secondary).
Enrollment in French courses at Loyola Academy has been very strong and steady the past several years. The school currently has 260 French students in fifteen sections of French. Students in French I-IV are in either Honors French or College Prep (regular-track) French to best meet their learning needs. AP French Language and Culture is offered as the fifth-year French course at the school.
The French teachers at Loyola Academy believe that the purpose of learning French is to be able to communicate and interact in the language with cultural understanding and awareness (often called interculturality). French classes at all levels emphasize meaningful communication in French. From the moment students enter our classrooms, they are immersed in a Francophone environment that exposes them to authentic materials from a variety of Francophone cultures and perspectives. Each French teacher has colorful signs posted in their classrooms: «Vous êtes dans le territoire français» and «Langue officielle: le français». We are a 1:1 iPad school, allowing students easy access to the Francophone world.
The French teachers are very collaborative, and we readily share materials and ideas with each other, including what we have learned from attendance at different conferences. In the World Languages office, our three desks are located next to each other, and we work together on vertical curriculum. In addition, the school provides the three French teachers with a common planning period two out of every three class days that allows us to collaborate, share resources, and learn from each other. When French students seek our help in the office, we readily help them, even if they are not our own students.
It is not hyperbolic for the French teachers to assert that we offer EVERY possible AATF national and chapter opportunity to our students. First, we are fortunate to be a part of the Chicago and Northern Illinois chapter that sponsors many of its own programs. Our students are regular participants in ALL of these programs and are often recognized as chapter award winners. These include the chapter trivia contest and meme contest for National French Week, the High School Immersion Day, and the Concours oral. At the national level, our students participate in the National French Week video and Kahoot! contests, the National French Contest, and the Société Honoraire de Français. Our students have been recognized with travel awards from the SHF, creative writing awards, and video contest prizes. We also offer the AATF Outstanding Senior in French Award and the AATF Award for Excellence in French each year to deserving graduates.
In addition to the AATF chapter and national programs, we offer many unique Loyola Academy activities and opportunities for students to gain confidence with their French linguistic abilities. These include a French Mass during National French Week, which we invite middle school students to attend, “French Week” in the cafeteria, Croissants et Conversation (a before school program), French Club (an after school program), and travel abroad opportunities to Francophone countries every two years. Each year, we arrange opportunities for our students to dine at a local French restaurant, visit the Art Institute of Chicago for special French-themed exhibits, attend theatrical performances of French plays, and participate in the school’s “Language Olympics” and “French waiter” relay contests.
St. Luke’s School, New Canaan, CT
Exemplary Program with Distinction
AATF member: Jon Shee
All teachers have a commitment to a full-immersion, French-only environment, from the Middle School through to the Upper School. Students ask their questions in French, and English is not permitted in our classes.
Our teacher-to-student ratio is excellent, with about one teacher for every 9 students on average for each section.
The school administration is highly supportive of the French program, as are the parents and the students.
Our 182 French students represent approximately 36% of ALL students studying language in grades 6-12. Other languages offered are Spanish, Latin, Mandarin (grades 9-12) and Ancient Greek (every other year). Given the fact that we are a smaller school, we are proud to be able to offer such a wide range of options with 13 separate sections of French in grades 7-12 plus 4 sections of 6th grade French.
Beyond seeing our students’ results through simple test scores, we have excellent success in terms of our alumni continuing on with French after graduation, either at college or at work.
For 8 years now, regular one-on-one videoconferencing sessions with students abroad are part of many courses’ curricula, and provide students with the ultimate authentic experience in which to communicate with peers in the target language.
Our Upper School has a long-standing partnership with a private school in Paris, Saint Michel de Picpus, and this year marked the 12th anniversary of our relationship, making it our longest running exchange program.
St. Luke’s is an innovator in terms of blended learning in World Languages, and now all level 1 language classes (French, Spanish, Latin, and Mandarin) are offered as blended courses, and it all started with our French 1 program. As part of expansion efforts, we created and launched a program called “World Language Learning Online” or “W.L.L.O.”, in which students may cover the content of a full level one French course at their own pace, anytime.
In addition to Le Grand Concours, we present the AATF Outstanding Senior in French award each year and we also send nominees for the Connecticut-based “AATF CT Tom Betts Senior Prize” and the “AATF CT Alberta Conte Junior Prize.” In 2018, the candidate from St. Luke’s won the CT AATF Senior Prize, so we were thrilled. Our French students participate in the Connecticut-based COLT Poetry Competition as well.
Our French team gets very excited about National French Week each year. We do special classroom activities, but also work hard to get the community involved. In particular, we decorate many of the public spaces, offer fun activities during the three lunch periods, and do presentations in front of the entire student body. Another major language-based celebration at our school is called World Language Week and it is a yearly event that usually takes place in late April. The French program puts a huge amount of effort into World Language Week, as well.
Outside of World Language Week, our French program offers other events for students that involve leaving campus. For example, French 4 students read Gaston Leroux’s novel “Le fantôme de l’opéra” every year, so Jon Shee takes students to New York each spring to see the melodramatic masterpiece live.
All teachers are active members of the AATF and attend at least one AATF event per year, though most of us attend most or all local AATF events. Please visit www.aatfct.org/aatf-ct-events to see pictures of our AATF involvement.
To see many pictures and videos of our many French-related programs, please visit: tinyurl.com/stlukesexemplarypics2019
Last update: August 25, 2020