AATF Exemplary French Program with Distinction

Parker High School (WI)
AATF member: Andrea Behn


Serving the Parker High School has been a lot of work, but an honor! This is the second time that our program has been recognized as an Exemplary French Program with Distinction!

This is my tenth year with the district and I see many challenges and changes. Our Spanish program is holding its own, our Chinese program increases every year, and French grew for next year! We have managed to maintain one full-time teacher and one part-time teachers who works at both high schools in town. This has done wonders for both programs, since collaboration is a necessity!

Parker French has a lot going on. We added AP French Language and Culture three years ago and though the French 5 and AP classes are combined, numbers are there and a fair amount of students take the exam each year. We have a strong French Club and SHF. The members plan events for the entire school, usually with a focus on food. This year we brought back the French Lock-In and we even collaborated with other clubs! Each year we participate in the Grand Concours and we are lucky to have the Concours Oral in the state of Wisconsin. (All of our participants who went to regionals qualified for state this year!) Students from Parker travel every other year and this year 6 students will be going to France and spending a week with host families in Caen, France.

Our focus on Global Competency has increased interest in languages and hopefully will prove useful in maintaining and increasing enrollment. In the future, as we add Academic and Career Planning to our curriculum, it is our hope to see languages and global education play a large role in students’ lives.

What Did We Implement to Increase Enrollment?

Proficiency-Based Instruction: In the last several years I have moved beyond the vocabulary sheets and verb conjugation and concentrated more on my students speaking the language. Students have been very receptive to this approach and I’m find that they are growing in their language use and cultural knowledge. I have student perform self-assessments. in addition to their performance assessments, throughout the year to assess where they believe they are on the ACTFL Proficiency Levels and I’ve been seeing a lot of growth! Additionally, our district is going toward this model for all languages at all levels. It’s a lot of work, but in the end it will benefit all Janesville students!

Club Activities: This year the French Club and SHF have offered at least one activity a month. However, we teamed up with Parker’s Culture Club for a Mardi Gras party where students watched The Princess and the Frog in French, and I made beignets for the group. We found that after doing this students who are not in a French class came to more French Club activities. Some of them signed up for French next year too!

BreakOut Edu Activities: So far, at my school, I’m the only one doing BreakOut Edu activities and my students love them. They like the mystery and problem-solving behind them. To get more students involved in this sort of activity, this year for National Foreign Language Week I put together a giant BreakOut activity for all World Language classes at Parker. Classes competed against other classes. Sadly, not a single class broke into the box containing the prize, but the students had a blast. When I’m out in public many of the students from other classes say “bonjour” to me; it’s very cute. I know that the BreakOut are keeping students in my program!

Global Education Achievement Certificate (GEAC): Parker High School was approved by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction for the GEAC last year and this year we have our first student graduating with the distinction-- and she’s a French student! The students are required to take four years of a world language at the high school level, complete several credits of globally focused classes, read books and watch films, write reflections, and complete 20 hours of a service learning project. It takes a lot of dedication and students are very interested in the GEAC. I think that over time it will help keep our program strong and encourage proficiency in French!

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

Created: May 29, 2017
Last Update: May 29, 2017