With globalization a fact, and cultural diversity an ever-increasing reality, New York’s public schools have opened themselves up to the learning of foreign languages but also to the teaching of traditional core content areas in a language other than English. According to the New York Department of Education, students who will speak a second language will be better prepared to succeed in a multicultural world and will be able to preserve their cultural heritage. Since 2005, new programs in the French language have emerged en force in the public schools. The impetus that created the rapid success of these programs is a result of the synergy between multiple partners—French, Francophone, and Francophile. These actors have offered an alternative to parents who seek not only to offer an economically feasible solution for a dual English-French education, but also a more diverse choice in their children’s education.
The French Government, through its Embassy, American foundations such as FACE (French-American Cultural Exchange) and the Alfred & Jane Ross Foundation, Grand Marnier Foundation, as well as the parent association Education Française à New York (EFNY) and the Friends of New York French-American Bilingual and Multicultural Education are amongst those institutions that have grasped the importance of dual language education and have consolidated their efforts to work with the city’s public schools.
The Cultural Services provides the text books and offers trainings and workshops for the professors; additionally, the Cultural Services contributes logistical and financial aid to the schools. The parent association EFNY serves as both the go-between between the schools, the parents and the Cultural Services and the spokesperson for the Francophone families in New York. EFNY’s numerous initiatives facilitated the relationship between the Department of Education and the Francophone families. The Alfred & Jane Ross Foundation has brought its financial support and expertise in the development of innovative programming and pedagogy. New partners are also joining us in this initiative: the Québec Government Office, the Association catholique des Sénégalais d’Amérique (ASA) and multiple active members of the Haitian community. Almost 700 students are enrolled in one of these programs in New York. Over 1,000 students are expected for the 2009-2010 school year. The curriculum and pedagogy of each program varies from school to school: dual-language classes, after-school classes, heritage classes and preparations for the GED exam.
A – Twenty dual-language classes – The students are between 5 and 10 years old.
In September 2009, six New York public schools opened their doors to bilingual classes (French-
English). The schools are PS125 (Harlem), PS58 (Caroll Gardens - Brooklyn), PS73 (Bronx), CIS22 (Bronx),
PS84 (Upper West Side)., and PS151
in Woodside (Queens). In the Fall of 2009, these schools opened a total of 20 classes, serving more than 500 students. In just two year’s time the programs increased enrolment nine-
fold! These immersion classes in French and English are geared toward Francophones, Anglophones and bilingual students, as well as students who speak little or no English. Each individual school assures its own individual enrolment. These classes join more than 70 other dual language programs (Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Haitian Creole and Korean) financed by the city of New York. A new public school will offer a French program in September 2010: PS84 in Williamsburg
(Brooklyn). For information and donations, visit http://www.newyorkinfrench.net/page/french-goes-public
or join the Create a French Program
B – Eight after-school French programs – The students are between 5 and 13 years old.
The parents of the students of EFNY (Education Française à New York) propose after-school and extra-curricular French programs in multiple public schools. Following the initiative of a small group of Francophone and Francophile parents dedicated to the French language and Francophone cultures, the EFNY became an official entity in 2005. EFNY’s goal is to share the French language with their children and to offer financially feasible options of educating their children in French. The after-school classes take place in the public schools under the supervision of volunteers taking part in the FLAM committee. These programs benefit from funding from the French government (FLAM, Français Langue Maternelle), which the EFNY obtained of its own accord. The public schools contribute the classroom spaces to EFNY. These factors (the organization of EFNY parents and volunteers, free classroom space, FLAM funds) allow the after-school program to keep their operational costs relatively low. There exist seven locations for the after-school programs: PS234 (Tribeca), PS41 (Greenwich Village), PS363 (East Village), PS58 (Carroll Gardens), PS10 (Park Slope), PS59 (Midtown East), PS 84 (Upper West Side) and PS 183 (Upper East Side).
This program serves about 200 students, who are for the most part French. For information and donations, visit www.efny.net
or join their group
on this website.
C - Six French Heritage Language Programs– The students are between 5 and 18 years old.
The French Heritage Language Program (FHLP) is piloted by the French Embassy in partnership with the Alfred & Jane Ross Foundation. The generous support of several other foundations as well as individuals throughout New York also enables the FHLP to offer French classes to children of Francophone families, who are recently immigrated to the United States. FHLP was created to promote and enrich heritage language learning of French and to encourage the learning of French and Francophone cultures by students of Francophone origin in the New York public schools. The primary objective is to promote bilingualism by helping students maintain and develop solid competency in French in order to perpetuate the connections with their countries of origin, while improving their chances of success and integration into American culture and society. The goal is to develop and affirm the linguistic, professional and personal development of each student so as to affirm the student’s identity and encourage the confidence of the immigrant students as they transition into their new environment. In New York, 110 students currently participate in this program in six locations: Brooklyn International HS, Bronx International HS, International HS at Prospect Heights (Brooklyn), International HS at Lafayette (Brooklyn), International Community HS (Bronx) and PS125 (Harlem). An intensive summer camp, offered in July, is also associated with the program. Fun pedagogical activities enable the students to improve their reading, writing, speaking and listening skills. Field trips to art museums, Francophone institutions, guest speakers, films, dance and theater workshops, as well as a one-week trip to Québec, almost fully financed by philanthropists, also renders this program exceptional. The French Heritage Language Program also has as its objective to create pedagogical materials specially adapted to the teaching of French as a heritage language, implemented in the New York classrooms, and also available online for programs throughout the country to adapt to their own needs. For information and donations, visit http://facecouncil.org/fhlp
D – A new charter school will open in September 2010: The New York French-American Charter School - NYFACS
PRINCIPLES: Open to everyone, Free, Charter School, Open to the world, Bilingual / biliterate, Teaching from multiple points of view, Focused on the individual, Small classes, Flexible learning environment, Designed for excellence, High academic standards. The Best of Two Educational Systems: NYFACS incorporates both the American and French approaches toward learning by taking the best from each and creating an educational system that is better than its parts. From the French system we take: Rigor, Structure, Inductive reasoning approach to teaching, A deeper approach to topics studied, In-depth study of grammar and analysis of language, Emphasis on method, organization, and neatness. From the American system we take: Flexibility, Constructivist approach to student-oriented learning, Broader approach to topics studied, Emphasis on individual thought and creativity, Attention to individual learning styles as well as learning disabilities, Large opportunity for participation in student affairs and activities. Teachers teach in their native language and thus teach their culture. History class becomes a true vehicle in teaching a world view. Students study the history of their countries with a native viewpoint, thus not only reinforcing their own identity but also inviting all students to analyze and compare points of view. NYFACS is not only a combination of these two systems, it is a living, breathing, multicultural environment in which students grow up free from the prejudices that often bind people who have been raised in an insular environment with only one world view and approach to education. Our students become well-educated, true citizens of the world. For information and donations, visit http://www.nyfacschool.org or join their group on this website.
E - Two GED programs in French – The students are between 17 and 21 years old.
The GED (General Educational Development) is an exam enabling students who do not have a high school diploma or a French Baccalauréat to validate their studies so as to earn an equivalency of these degrees.
The preparation for this exam may be prepared at two centers: the Linden Learning Center in Brooklyn and the Jamaica Learning Center in Queens. Almost 250 students enroll in the GED French language preparation courses each year.
E – An increased need for teachers of French.
The need for French teachers has already increased and will continue to do so as new programs open up. In the case of Francophone teachers wanting to teach in these programs, the New York certification and a B.A. diploma of at least four years is often required. For teachers certified outside of the state of New York, it is possible to obtain an equivalency through a strict evaluation administered on a case by case basis by the Department of Education. For more information,visit the Certification
group on this website and join the For Teachers
F – French Goes Public, a Franco-American fundraising campaign to support these programs.
Since 2007, at the initiative of Kareen Rispal, Cultural Counselor of the French Embassy in New York, the campaign to raise funds for French Goes Public was launched to support the various French language teaching programs in New York. In France, the Senate, the Ministère de l’Education nationale and the Ministère des Affaires étrangères et européennes quickly contributed their support. The donations of foundations and individual are allowing us to match the contributions coming from France. The website Network for Good enables individuals to safely and efficiently make their donation online. These donations, contributed to the non-profit FACE, are tax-deductible. These donations are used to purchase textbooks and to fund teacher training and workshops. Book banks such as Adiflor and Biblionef, and Canadian book companies and libraries, as well as book donations from Francophile New York friends also assure that the classrooms meet their needs. Donate here
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