Onalaska Middle & High School, Onalaska, WI
Exemplary Program with Honors
AATF members: Brian Wopat, Devin Pettys, Rebecca Chaouki
The School District of Onalaska is extremely proud and grateful to have been recognized for having an Exemplary French Program with Honors. Nestled in the bluffs on the Mississippi River in Wisconsin, Onalaska High School has 900 students and offers three languages, French, Hmong, and Spanish.
Students are given the opportunity to explore French in 8th grade and start their language learning journey as a Freshmen in high school. With 40% of Freshmen choosing to enroll in French each year, we have created a curriculum that focuses on student’s proficiency in real-world contexts. As a capstone class, students are able to choose Dual Credit through the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay during their 4th year of French. This allows them to earn up to 14 college credits and a pathway to continue learning French at the post-secondary level. All three teachers are vested in the La Crosse – Epinal Sister City Exchange. Each year, a group of our students travels to Epinal, France and stays for three weeks with a host family. The following summer, their host brother or sister comes and stays with them for three weeks. In addition, we offer students the opportunity to travel to France every other year in a tourist-style trip for twelve days.
To promote international travel and exchanges, we’ve partnered with English teachers in Epinal, France to offer our students penpals. This has resulted in classes writing to each other, communicating on social media, or connecting through Zoom as a whole class. This gives students an opportunity to use the language they are learning in meaningful and relevant ways.
We pride ourselves in ensuring our students have purpose behind their choice to learn French. We start early in 8th grade to have the high school teachers meet potential students. We constantly give them a framework for what their language learning may look like and how it can match the goals they have in their career or travel choices. We work closely with the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse to offer our seniors an opportunity to sit in one of their language classes. As a capstone of their learning, the level 4 dual credit students eat lunch at a local French restaurant where once again they put their French language skills to use in communicating with waitstaff and each other.
Our students participate in the Wisconsin Chapter of AATF’s Le Concours Oral Français. Each year we have between twenty and thirty students who earn a gold medal in memorized poetry, music, conversation and prose. Students also have an opportunity to achieve the Wisconsin Global Scholars Certificate and/or the Global Seal of Biliteracy. Our French Club and National French Honor Society Chapter involves around twenty to thirty students who meet twice a month for a variety of activities. We are excited to continue promoting the French language, growing our program, and affirming the value of learning French as a viable skill in our student’s future endeavors.
The Archer School for Girls, Los Angeles, CA
Exemplary Program with Distinction
AATF member: Travis Nesbitt
The French program at the Archer School for Girls offers numerous rich, authentic and purposeful opportunities for its students to engage with French-speaking peoples and cultures while building their language skills and developing global competencies.
These opportunities are spurred on by a team of dedicated, experienced and highly qualified teachers (Travis Nesbitt* – PhD (UCLA), MA (Sciences Po Paris); Laurence Clerfeuille – PhD (USC), MA (Tulane); Natalie Kang – BA (CSUN), Cavilam alum; Sara Gil Sáiz – PhD candidate (Sorbonne). Finally, the panoply of offerings has contributed to a significant rise in French enrollment at Archer. Students begin studying French in 7th grade and follow a curriculum that aligns with the European Common Framework of Reference for Language (CEFR) and prepares them for the DELF/DALF certifications. Coursework elicits student production in French and application to authentic tasks; it is interactive, rigorous, relevant and reflects the cultural diversity of the French-speaking world. It positions French studies as a gateway to global competence and equips students with the skills to understand, engage in and act upon the world. It culminates in an “Advanced Study” seminar in which students explore issues of environmental and social justice and use their voices and skills to promote positive and meaningful change.
From the beginning of their studies, students take advantage of abundant opportunities on and off campus to interact with and celebrate French. On campus, this includes National French Week and Journée Internationale de la Francophonie celebrations, Archer’s French Film Series (recently featuring “Cent kilos d’étoiles”), in-person and virtual guest speakers (recently including Haitian/Canadian author Marie-Célie Agnant in collaboration with the Centre de la Francophonie des Amériques), French Club and the National French Contest (33 medals and 36 honorable mentions in 2023). Off campus, students attend the American French Film Festival in Hollywood (formerly COLCOA) and concerts of touring artists (the last being Coeur de Pirate). Beyond our borders, interested students interact with French penpals studying at the American School of Paris, host French students in their homes through our partnership with “La Route des Langues,” and a group of 21 Archer students will soon participate in an 8-day course on “Environmental Sustainability in the European Context” in France and Belgium. Ultimately, Archer alums continue studying French in college and beyond. Recent alums have reported back on living in French houses on their campuses, participating in college study abroad programs, completing an internship in a Parisian neuroscience lab and earning masters degrees in French universities.
* recipient, 2022 Outstanding Educator Award – AATF SoCal
Crespi Carmelite High School, Los Angeles, CA
Exemplary Program with Distinction
AATF member: Roxanne Lecrivain
“Food, you said ?!” is what I first hear my students, at Crespi Carmelite High School, say, with glee in their eyes, after I introduce the French program and the exciting discoveries in the years to come… Based on the NCES statistics (as cited by Wightman, 2020), “the higher percentage of female language degrees (69%) is quite striking compared to the percentage for males (31%)” and these numbers are only echoed by the College Board statistics, but in our all boy school, we push against the trend as more and more students choose to continue their study of French. In the last three years two went on to continue their studies in Universities in France and one is starting an internship there this summer! Furthermore, spring break 2023, 21 students flew to France, with many of them already planning for the time they can go back…
While I am the only French teacher, in our school of 454 students, the program has grown, giving the chance for each level to expand. The students have become the drivers of their own learning and promoters of the French language, and the many Francophone cultures in our community. For World Language Week students compiled presentations on Francophone countries in a video to be projected for the entire school. Last year, AP French students created commercials and coached non-French speaking students and faculty members to be actors in their French commercials! And this year again, staff and faculty are looking forward to our yearly treasure-hunt in which they play an important role holding French clues all over campus that may lead the students to… the school’s kitchen to make French omelets!
Students also have their own online French magazine, and they had the chance to write a testimony of their experience and share a message important to them in the French publication Le Monde des Ados.
Finally, the opportunities offered by the AATF both locally (ATTF So Cal) and nationally have been an inspiration both for me and for my students. “Le Grand Concours” has given students who were already excelling another chance to challenge themselves. In French 1, the students understand already that a B could mean they may not join the Société Honoraire de Français as early as they wished in their high school career; this idea and the chance to apply for the Francophone Study Stipend has pushed my students to continue having fun in class while giving the best of themselves, not just in French, but all around.
Furthermore, we attend every year The American French Film Festival, participate in the AATF SoCal Film critique, and this year, one of Crespi’s students got the chance to be a member of the Jury for the Student Award! He was interviewed, attended his first movie premiere, watched many incredible movies, but most importantly, had the experience of a lifetime shifting his perspectives and his range of opportunities. On my end, getting involved with the AATF SoCal and attending the AATF national webinars have offered me the opportunity to meet and learn from incredible French teachers with a wealth of experience that enhances my creativity and desire to always do more for my students.
So, for my students and myself, I would like to say MERCI to all French teachers and to the AATF community!
Clover High School, Clover, South Carolina
Exemplary Program with Honors
AATF Member: Jennifer Reschly
Jennifer Reschly – 13 Years Teaching High School French, 12 Years at Clover High, World Languages Department Chair
Elizabeth Catoe – 14 Years Teaching High School French, 6 Years at Clover High
Cristy Bohlen – 17 Years Teaching High School French, 7 Years at Clover High
Despite the challenges of teaching and learning during the Covid pandemic, our French program continued to thrive with opportunities to learn the language, beginning in 6th grade. In fact, learners can take exploratory French in 6th through 8th grade, and even earn high school credit in 8th grade. Levels 1 and 2 are offered at both the ninth grade and main campuses, along with level 3 and 4 college preparation or honors offerings. Because of the block scheduling format, we have the good fortune of offering the French 4 Honors course in the fall so that learners who would like to take the AP course can do so in the spring, immediately after the level 4 course.
Our curriculum is continuously updated through collaborative meetings with all French teachers in the district. Through integrated performance assessments and authentic resources, among other methodologies mixed in, we prepare learners to communicate on real-world, current topics through an exploration of the products, practices, and perspectives of people in France and Francophone countries around the world. Opportunities to connect and collaborate with native speakers of French have been offered to our learners for several years, with participation in collaborative projects on sites such as Wikispaces, EdModo, and Google Slides, along with visits with web-based guest speakers and video chats on a wide variety of curriculum supported topics.
Regarding extra-curricular activities, we stay busy promoting French throughout the entire year. Beginning in August, our French Club and National
French Honor Society hit the ground running with planning and activity implementation that often includes all students in our community at both the main and ninth grade campuses. We offer food and beverage tastings, both in class and during club and campus activity times, to name one of the exciting activities that helps us advertise all that our program has to offer. In addition to the many entertaining and delicious French and Francophone cultural offerings we have, our learners also have the opportunity to showcase their learning by participating in Le Grand Concours, the Seal of Biliteracy test, and other competitive contests when they are available in the state. Our students have been awarded top honors for their efforts. We are thrilled to offer a rich French program to our school community!
Lewis Mills High School, Burlington, Connecticut
Exemplary Program with Honors
AATF Member: Laura Faga
The French program at Lewis S. Mills High School is a small but impactful program with 2 teachers and 7 different classes offered (French 1 up to college level classes). Our teachers are highly qualified with advanced de
grees. Our department coordinator has worked at the state level to provide workshops to Connecticut teachers on language development. She also has a strong background in curriculum development and has focused on revising our curriculum with a focus on comprehensible input as well as diversity, equity, and inclusion. Our full-time French teacher serves on the AATF-CT Board as Directrice du Grand Concours. She regularly presents at and participates in all AATF-CT activities.
Our program has evolved over the past few years. In 2017, we added 2 University of Connecticut Early College Experience (UCONN ECE) courses. Our school regularly participates in the UCONN ECE French High School Immersion Day and Quiz Bowl each fall. In 2021, we expanded our offerings to include French 1.
Qualified students can apply to become members of the Société Honoraire de Français. Honor Society students offer tutoring, assist teachers, create lessons for after school enrichment classes for 5th graders, organize a Senior Citizen Prom, and organize our annual World Language Extravaganza which incorporates performances, food, contests, and more!
French Club (new in 2021) is a popular afterschool club. French Club members watch movies, play board games, listen and dance to music, make crepes, fondue, bûche de Noël, and more. French Week is always a big celebration. A special event that has been offered since 2019 is the French Night. It has grown and changed each year, but the premise
remains the same – come to speak French for 3-4 hours in fun ways. We have done cheese tastings, arts and crafts, dancing, small group conversations over dessert, board games, trivia contests and more.
Students can participate in the Grand Concours each year and winners are celebrated at our schoolwide awards ceremony. In 2023, we began offering the Avant STAMP proficiency test to students to earn the Connecticut Seal of Biliteracy. Eleven students earned the CT Seal of Biliteracy this year.
We have many students who have gone on to study French in college, some have majored and/or minored, and others have studied abroad. Graduates speak at our Induction ceremony and also have recorded videos of how they are still using the language for us to share with current students during National World Language Week.
Goose Creek Memorial High School, Baytown, Texas
Exemplary Program with Honors
AATF Member: Manuela Langlois
Bonjour! My name is Manuela Langlois, and I am the French teacher at Goose Creek Memorial High School, in Baytown, Texas. in 2008, I started the French program in my school and in the past 15 years I have been teaching all levels of French: I, II, Honors and AP.
Goose Creek Memorial’s enrollment in the French classes stayed strong and has remained steady throughout the years. The retention for the French classes is around 50%. Most of the students continue all 4 years, despite the challenges in scheduling (French AP is only offered once a day, as I am the only teacher).
My approach to language acquisition is to encourage students to use the target language as much as possible. I teach 90% to 100% in the target language. I strive to create lessons that put my students at the center of instruction by focusing on a communicative-based curriculum. I keep them motivated by engaging them in centered activities and through stations, our 1-1 I-Pad program, and collaborative learning.
Students participate in several competition throw out the year such as the Gran Concours, the National French week, the Texas French Symposium, la Semaine de la Francophonie at UTSA, and the Farrington Contest in Houston.
Goose Creek Memorial is also the only high school in the dsitrict sponsoring a French Honor Society. I brought it back to the district after more than 30 years. Annually, I sponsor an induction ceremony with a small reception for its members, their family, and friends. The French Honor Society have steadily increased since we founded the Chapter, and it can now count on 25 members.
The GCM French Honor Society sponsors an annual French Week (la Semaine de la Francohonie) on our campus to celebrate and promote the French language and culture which generally takes place during Mardi Gras week or in March. During this week: we play French music during passing periods, we offer several activities after school and during lunch (pétanque, movie afternoon, mini soccer tournaments, games, and more). We have dress up days for both students and teachers with prizes for those who participate. We also organize a themed breakfast for all the faculty with the help of the jazz class and the culinary art students who prepare the crêpes and provide the entertainment.
We also work hard to get the community involved (adopt-a -spot trail cleaning, a picnic at the park, a masquerade ball, and an end of the year dinner and get together) and organize different activities to draw the attention of the entire campus.
During the spring and summer breaks, I organized educational travels to Europe and Asia with my students and parents. I’ve also had former students come and talk about their experiences with studying abroad. During COVID, we were not able to travel abroad, however, to continue connecting the students with the francophone community, I we organized a virtual partnership by videoconferencing with Lycée Saint-Joseph Machecoul, in France.
It has been a great honor to have been recognized as an Exemplary French Program by the AATF and my students and I are very grateful to receive this award.
Saints John and Paul School, Larchmont, NY
Exemplary Program with Honors
AATF Member: Elsa Douineau
Saints John and Paul School started its French program in September 2011 with 5 students who spoke French at home. We offered them to follow the official French national curriculum, which would allow them move back to France with the same level as they would have achieved there and feel comfortable in a French school. One year later, we created a French curriculum for students who were new to French language, and expanded it over the years. Today in our 400 students school, we have 108 students enrolled in the Fluent French track, and 95 students enrolled in the French track. We also offer a Spanish track to our students. Saints John and Paul school highly values the study of foreign languages, and all students take foreign language classes in our school starting in PreK or Kindergarten. In 8th grade, most of our Fluent French students enroll in the AP class and take the AP French and Culture Collegeboard examination. They consistently score a 5.
- Elsa Douineau– 12 years teaching French, 12 years at Saints John and Paul school • Creator and Director of Foreign language program. Currently teaching grades 1, 2, 5, and AP French to bilingual students.
- Sonia Bernard– 21 years teaching French, 4 years at Saints John and Paul school • PreK-K, 6th to 8th grade Bilingual students.
- Fanny Pietri – 3 years teaching French, 1 year at Saints John and Paul school • Currently teaching 3rd and 4th grade bilingual students.
- Pauline Appert – 3 years teaching French, 2 years at Saints John and Paul school • Grades 5th-8th.
- Anne Duclos– 1 year teaching French, 1 year at Saints John and Paul school • Grades K-4th.
All teachers are committed to a full-immersion, French-only environment, from PreK to AP French. We have a very good teacher-to-student ratio, with one teacher for every 11 students on average.
The school administration is highly supportive of both French programs, regular and bilingual, as are the parents and the students. The school attracts French-speaking families from all over the world, which prompted us to create and ESL program to welcome these families.
Upon leaving the school, our alumni are equipped with a good level of French. Students taking regular French usually get placed in French 2 or Honors; Fluent French students either attend French schools in France or abroad, and are very successful, or attend an American school and start the study of a third or fourth language. After graduating from high school, some of them attend colleges in France.
Our school is committed to service learning, and our Fluent French program is partnering with the French association Les Petits Frères des Pauvres, which serves elderly people in need in France. We also started a twinning programme with L’école Privée Belge de Lubumbashi, based in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Our aim is to open our students to the francophone world, develop intercultural citizenship, and build empathy, through authentic exchanges among students from very different countries.
Our students have the opportunity to participate in Le Grand Concours. Each year, they receive medals, and in three years, eight students qualified as platinum winners. Our FLES students also participated in the National FiES Commission Poster contest. In 2022, two students placed 1st in the 4th-6th division, and one student place 3rd in the K-1st grade division.
North Allegheny School District, Pittsburgh, PA
Exemplary Program with Honors
AATF member: Kylene Butler
The North Allegheny School District is proud to be recognized as an exemplary program with honors. We are a public school district outside of Pittsburgh, PA serving over 8,000 students. Our World Language department offers French, German, Latin, and Spanish, with French being the second most popular language choice among students. We currently have five full time French teachers teaching 10 different levels of French, from exploratory through AP.
Our district offers three college in high school courses through a partnership with a local university: the honors French IV and honors French V courses are offered as the equivalent of French 102 (2nd semester French) and AP French is the equivalent of French 201 (3rd semester French). The world language department was the pilot for our district in its implementation of the college in high school program, which has now spread to all other departments at the high school level due to its initial success within our department. Students also have the option to take the AP exam to earn college credit through the College Board’s AP exam process. Our district has offered AP French since 2001 and our students have achieved much success through this program. Our students consistently perform above both the state and global average on the exam.
NA’s high school buildings have active French clubs and qualified students are invited to join our chapter of the Société honoraire de français at the senior high school. Our SHF chapter has translated pen pal letters to help a local elementary school communicate with their pen pals in Burkina Faso, has started a letter-writing campaign to reach out to French patients in hospitals over the holidays, and looks forward to growing our partnership with a local charity that works to make education more accessible in Burkina Faso. Students in honors French IV and V are invited to participate in the Grand concours every year, and typically earn high honors both in our chapter and nationally.
Our French teachers are all certified teachers who have experience taking advanced courses in education and language studies. We seek out opportunities to continue our professional development and to further network with French teachers in the area and around the world. We develop engaging lessons for students that incorporate technology and authentic resources. Our department looks forward to growing our enrollment and celebrating this incredible distinction.
Fall Mountain Regional High School, Langdon, New Hampshire
Exemplary Program with Distinction
AATF Member: Rebecca Fortgang
Written by: Student Kaleb Houle-Lawrence – Secretary of SHF
The French program at Fall Mountain Regional High School has provided dozens of children with immense access to opportunity. Studying the language of French, or any language in general, is a truly transformative experience for students. By educating the mind in another language, one is opened up to new experiences and ideas. For each student, their reason for studying French is different; they each hold their own unique passions that inspire them to continue their further study of the language. At Fall Mountain, the most important aspect of our program is ensuring that every student maximizes their own individual potential and is surrounded by a community of support where they can fall in love with a language.
With the support of the local community, our school’s admin team, and students alike, Fall Mountain has been able to develop a program that actively fosters that community. Our school has worked in tandem with organizations such as the Franco-Américan Centre (a non-profit in Manchester, NH) to provide students with a superior language education. Several students have worked with the Franco-Américan Centre (FAC) as interns, in positions such as blog writing and social media management. Students throughout all levels of French (French I – French V AP) have participated in conversation groups run by the FAC. Many students have also participated in the online variant designed to support student learning, which is designed for teens learning French.
Culturally, the French program provides dozens of field trips throughout the year, from attending concerts (most recently Le Vent du Nord) to going to public events such as NH Poutinefest. The largest trips are, of course, traveling to Francophone nations such as Canada and France. Through these experiences, students are able to live within the culture of a place and expand their own cultural awareness. In February of 2021, the French program traveled to Québec City for a weekend and maneuvered life in a second language as a community of comrades and friends. Most importantly, though, they were exposed to a culture that may not align directly with their own, thereby pushing them towards becoming global citizens.
Academically, our program has flourished in its continued growth. Recently, we initiated an AP-level course in our French program. Within the past few years, we also launched our chapter of the Société Honoraire de Français, which recognizes high-achieving students within our program and our school. This group of students has helped ameliorate our program by allowing students to lead activities in our French Club. This further develops the community of our program as well as the leadership skills of the students. Our program has also produced five students that have been certified as biliterate in both English and French via either the AAPPL or Avant STAMP assessments. Current and former students have also received gold, silver, and bronze medals from the Grand Concours, the National French Contest, as of spring 2023.
As we continue to expand our French program in the coming years, we will foster deeper connections with the community and augment the number of opportunities our students are able to take advantage of. From widening student cultural competence to honoring and encouraging high-achieving students who have a desire to give back to their communities, the French program at Fall Mountain will continue to implement the values for which it was awarded this honor.
Edited September 18th, 2023