The Norman Transcript


October 18, 2013

Students in French Immersion Program impress native French high schoolers



Principal Carol Burton said after the first year of the French Immersion Program, there wasn’t a lot of need for remediation at Reagan.

“We had very few students in the program in need of remediation,” Burton said. “And this isn’t because all the students are from Reagan. Half of the students are from other Norman Public Schools.”

In Europe, immersion programs are a newer idea, said Tatiana Viallaneix, assistant of Académie d’Amiens' Délégué Académique aux Relations Européennes Internationales et de Coopération.

Viallaneix, who brought the three Franco-American Fellows to the U.S., said Académie d’Amiens wants to develop immersion programs.

“We’re really happy to be with the kids and see the structure of an immersion program,” Viallaneix said. “Right now, we’re working on putting an immersion program for English together.”

The NPS French Immersion Program recruits 26 students for kindergarten each year. Students spend part of the day learning math and science in French and then learn reading and social studies in English.

Students who enter the program in kindergarten, which is currently taught by Claire Allison, will continue with the program through fifth grade.

Half of the program’s slots are reserved for students within the Reagan school district, and the other 13 slots are open to students from all other NPS districts. Students must go through an application process.

Gorton said if more than 26 students apply for the program, then a blind drawing determines program participants. Teachers in the French Immersion Program must have early childhood certification and be fluent in French.

Eventually, NPS would like to move the program to other schools, she said.

“I think that’s one of the best things (of the program) — equal access through the application and blind drawing process,” Gorton said. “The classrooms really represent the cross section of NPS.”

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