Cannon School, Concord, NC
AATF Member: Sylvia Simard-Newman


Cannon School’s Upper School faculty includes Dr. Michelle Donah, Mrs. Sarah Miller, and Dr. Simard-Newman who received the North Carolina AATF Teacher of the Year and AATF Bourse d'été in 2001. She received the AATF Dorothy S. Ludwig Excellence in Teaching Award and North Carolina AATF Concours Pédagogique in 2013.  

Dr. Simard-Newman, Dr. Michelle Donah, and Mrs. Sarah Miller believe that teaching is one of the most honorable and powerful professions in the world. Teachers are in a position of great influence over young minds. Not only do they teach French, but also open the world to students. They teach them tolerance, diversity, globalization, and self-confidence in traveling the world. Cannon School is very proud of its students graduating from a strong program and being able to travel to a foreign country with the confidence of being able to speak the language. Students had the opportunity to take a class on Cajun culture and history and immerse themselves into the culture with a trip to Lafayette, LA. Students have also learned about a Francophone culture in Valdese, NC. They explored the small city, learned about their French heritage, and created a video to enter the contest sponsored by the Centre de la francophonie des Amériques. Cannon School also offers a current exchange program with a sister school in China and is developing a relationship with a sister school in France, the Institut Saint-Louis near La Rochelle. Next year will be the first year welcoming students from La Rochelle and visiting them in June 2016. Students are involved in penpal exchanges with schools in France. They also have the opportunity to travel to France or Canada every year. They attend a language school and use their language skills to immerse themselves into French culture. It also enables students to have the self-confidence to manage in a foreign setting. Many decide to continue learning French in their college education.

 Cannon School offers beginner, intermediate, and advanced courses in French. Students study Francophone literature such as Une si longue lettre de Miriama Bâ, Un Papillon dans la cité de Gisèle Pineau, and Québécois short stories by Roch Carrier ou Gabrielle Roy. Students are also taught French and Francophone culture through films such as les Intouchables, Monsieur Lazhar, ou Welcome. Students view, analyze, and write assignments pertaining to AP French themes, including topics such as les défis mondiaux, la quête de soi, la famille et la communauté, la technologie et les sciences, l’esthétique, and la vie contemporaine. Students in advanced classes participate in the ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview. It is important to evaluate students’ oral proficiency levels and expect intermediate and advanced levels after four years of French studies.

Cannon School offers French I, II, III, IV, V, and AP. Cannon School is a laptop school where teachers can use computers and Smart boards, latest technology, software, and on-line textbooks.  When Cannon School started the French program in high school, it included a small number of students. Today, it is a very strong discipline within the World Language Department. Cannon School hosted the North Carolina AATF spring conference on several occasions, which can be considered a great accomplishment and honor for the upper school.

Teachers are encouraged to participate in continuing professional education and share their knowledge with fellow teachers in the region. They also highly interested in teaching interdisciplinary courses with other departments such as history or arts. Cannon School offers a Winterm during which teachers can collaborate and teach world cultures. Cannon School is developing a global education program including ways to help students learn and immerse themselves into French and Francophone cultures. They participate in events organized by the World View Program in Chapel Hill or the World Affairs Council of Charlotte.

Cannon School has had a chapter of the AATF French Honor Society since 2001. An active group of students demonstrate passion and excellence in learning French language and culture. They help welcome new members during the annual induction ceremony and lead the French club. All French classes participate in the Grand Concours annually and receive excellent results. For National French Week, all classes decorate the World Language hall with French posters which they created on topics such as French-speaking regions, flags, Impressionist and Surrealist artists. Students also learn to make crêpes in the classroom and are encouraged to bring in French food. Students are very excited about the possibility of hosting a French student next year when they visit us in the spring 2016. Many are interested in visiting the Institut Saint-Louis in June 2016. This exchange program demonstrates Cannon School’s commitment to immerse students into French language and culture.

For more information: http://www.cannonschool.org/internationalprograms

 For full information on applying for Exemplary Program status, click here.  

Created: July 20, 2015
Last Update: July 21, 2015