Lyons Township Exemplary French Program

Lyons Township High School, LaGrange, IL
AATF member: Elizabeth Martinez


Lyons Township High School has two campuses located in the Chicago suburbs; freshmen and sophomores attend South Campus in Western Springs, while juniors and seniors attend North Campus in LaGrange. Students come from LaGrange, Western Springs, Burr Ridge, La Grange Park, Countryside, Indian Head Park, Hodgkins, and parts of Brookfield, Willow Springs and McCook.

The French program at Lyons Township High School supports approximately 390 students in ten different course options: French I Prep/Accel, French II Prep/Accel, French III Prep/Accel, French Language Prep/Accel (Level IV), AP French Language, and Advanced French Communication (Level V; seniors only). Our students succeed regularly on the AP exam, with 96-97% of students passing (achieving a score of 3 or greater), continue to take French courses in college or use French in their advanced education and careers, and remain passionate about their time spent at LT.

The four French teachers at LT (Emily Fellmann, Anna Maria Kostecki, Elizabeth Martinez, and Sam Robinson) believe that our students and strong academics make this French program wonderful, and that the myriad of Francophone extracurricular and optional activities keep our students passionate and engaged while encouraging them to become life-long learners of French.

Students participate in at least one, if not all, of the following activities at some point while in the French program at Lyons Township:

French Club (Le Cercle Français - http://www.lths.net/Domain/88) – The French club meets on a bi-weekly basis to discuss, celebrate and plan events related to the French language and French and francophone culture. Traditional yearly events include a field trip to a French restaurant and a fondue restaurant, sharing French traditions for Christmas at the school’s “Holiday Write Night” event, and celebrations for francophone holidays such as Mardi Gras. This year students had a “vous êtes super!” event to celebrate other students before the school day, and went with the school’s photo club to see Agnès Varda speak and view her works at the University of Chicago. We are adding a trip to Québec on years that alternate with our French exchange program; the first one will be summer 2017! (Note: students not enrolled in French also participate in our club).

French Exchange (http://www.lths.net/fex) - Lyons Township High School has been participating in exchanges since 2004 when master teacher Donna Czarnecki initiated the first one with Lyon, France. Since then LTHS has mounted exchanges every other year up to and including the present time.

LT has had a continuous exchange relationship with colleagues and students from Notre-Dame de Sion school in Marseille since 2010. Typically the French come to La Grange for a two week homestay and the Americans for a 10-day homestay, after which they journey to Paris for several more days.

We at LT are fortunate to have complete support on the part of all levels of our school administration. As a happy result, our students reap countless benefits of this life-changing experience. We plan to continue this exchange for the foreseeable future. Vive la France! Vive LTHS!

Lyons Township Exemplary French Program


French Honor Society – Every year Lyons Township inducts approximately 20-40 students into the French Honor Society. We have a special induction ceremony where students are commended, pass the “torch” and recite a message/proverb in French that is important to them. We conclude with the Marseillaise and a celebration with cake and lively discussion with students and parents.

Additionally, students participate in the following outside activities on an individual or class by class basis:

  • Cardz for Kidz – Cards are written in French to be given to children in hospitals in Canada and Haiti (http://cardzforkidz.org/participants/)

  • Discovery Center Tutoring - Students volunteer to help their peers with French before/after school or during free periods/lunch in our school’s computer labs

  • La Journée Intensive en Français Select students are chosen to participate in a full immersion day sponsored by the AATF and held off-campus; students from throughout the Chicagoland area participate

  • Le Grand Concours – All students, through the generous support of our school district and administration, take the French National Contest exam across all levels

Lyons Township Exemplary French Program

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

Created: October 16, 2016
Last Update: October 16, 2016