AATF Exemplary French Program with Distinction

Waring School, Beverly, MA
AATF member: Christiane Jedryka-Taylor

Video presentation of Waring School

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At Waring School, French is more than an academic subject.  The language is real, alive, and very present in our school since its foundation in 1972 by Franco-American couple, Philip and Josée Waring.  Our approach is unique in that all our classes, from beginners through advanced, are conducted entirely in French by native or near-native speakers.  Students can spend up to seven years studying the language, traveling to French speaking countries, thus becoming nearly fluent by the end of their Waring career.  French classes are small and grouped by level and not by age.

Our program, started in its present form in the 1990s, begins with partial immersion in 6th and 7th grades. At that level, the focus is on developing quick comprehension and acquiring authentic French pronunciation.  Early on, our students are comfortable improvising basic conversations naturally.  In a typical class, meeting four times a week, you can see older and younger students gossiping in French, singing pop songs, watching excerpts of the news, playing games or roles or discussing French literature in depth. Every year, our Waring students rank at the top on the national French contest, Le grand concours . Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors excel on the SATII French test and French AP exam.  When and if students reach a very sophisticated command of the language, before their Senior year, they often choose to continue to study French enrolling in a post AP course when we offer such a challenge. Only at Waring can the most competent Juniors and Seniors choose to be French TA’s in various classes when possible.

In 9th grade, students participate in a four-week exchange program in Angers, France. Every February, all students participate in a French poetry recitation contest judged by members of the French Consulate and teachers from the North Shore area.  Under the guidance of their teachers, each class prepares original skits that they present to all-school meeting in French, thus challenging the performers as well as the audience. 

Travel is very much part of the Waring experience, to the province of Québec, to Angers, Paris, and also Provence because we want students to be curious about the Francophone worlds. Waring often inspires graduates to pursue language studies abroad in college and beyond while fostering global awareness.

Here are examples of the unique features our program offers:

  1. An immersion program for Core (6th and 7th grades), with an annual trip to Montréal, in addition to French classes
  2. A three-week long exchange program for group 2 students (9th grade) with Lycée David d’Angers in Angers, France.
  3. For all students, annual mandatory participation in Le Grand Concours
  4. Annual participation in the French poetry contest for all students
  5. Endterm for 6th through 9th grades to Québec.
  6. Student travel to France and some European countries for Juniors (11th grade)
  7. French TAs (Juniors and Seniors)
  8. Waring French address at the Commencement Ceremony  (12th grade)

The Waring French address is given by one, occasionally two students, who have reached a strong command of French, at the commencement ceremony to graduating students, their family and guests, and the entire school community. All throughout their career at Waring these learners have excelled in both spoken and written French and it is an honor to be selected to be such a speaker.

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

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