With the launch of their long-planned French-immersion high school now only two years away, educators at Lycée Français de la Nouvelle-Orléans are now taking steps to plan the curriculum and degrees their students will learn, officials said.
The school currently serves 723 students in preschool through sixth grade. It will add a seventh grade in the coming school year, and an eighth grade the following year, leading to the creation of the ninth grade in the fall of 2019 and thus launching the area’s first French-curriculum high school, said academic director Marina Schoen.
The school plans to place the high school on the Priestley campus site on Leonidas Street in Carrollton that it is currently in the process of renovating, Schoen said. With a facility plan underway, school officials are now working on the curriculum for the school with “a sense of urgency,” Schoen told the Lycee Francais governing board on Monday night.
The high school students will satisfy both the Louisiana state requirements to graduate as well as the standards set by the French government, Schoen says. Ninth grade is considered the last year of middle school in France, and 10th grade is the first year of high school, and both of those focus on “core curriculum,” she said.
Lycee high school students will choose between two tracks, either math and science or economics and social science, similar to two tracks offered to students in France. By 11th grade, they will begin focusing on preparations for the battery of tests they will take as seniors, Schoen said.
Students will have the opportunity to receive as many as five types of degrees and certifications through the Lycee high school, in addition to their regular graduation diploma:
- The state of Louisiana offers a seal of bilingual education.
- The Diplôme d’études en langue française is a certificate from the French Ministry of Education.
- All students will take the AP French exam, and are expected to receive top marks, Schoen said.
- The French-American Baccalaureate is a degree developed by the French Ministry of Education and the College Board, intended to show universities that the students have achieved mastery of their subjects even though they are taught in French. Some subjects are tested in English, Schoen noted.
- Finally, students who take five AP exams including a foreign language will be eligible for the AP International Diploma. The French-American Baccalaureate requires three AP exams, plus the French they’ll already be taking, so Schoen said she expects most students to take a fifth class for the International Diploma as well.
Ultimately, the Lycee high school program is designed to offer paths forward for all kinds of students, said board member Allyson Mills.
“Kids who may not want to take all the fancy classes don’t have to,” Mills said.
In a brief meeting Monday night, the board also heard updates on the annual L’Extravagance fundraiser, which generated less money than last year. To read our live coverage, see below.