AATF Exemplary French Program with Distinction (renewal)

St. Luke's School (CT)
AATF member: Jon Shee




Jon Shee, Adja Dramé, Susan Sarrazin, Evan Downey, Beth Yavenditti, Amber Berry


Please see our Media Gallery for photos and video clips of our work.


St. Luke’s is a private country day school in New Canaan, CT that has no religious affiliation.  St. Luke’s has 549 students in grades 5-12.  As we are a small school, it is a wonderful thing that there are 3 full-time plus 2 part-time French teachers.  Please consider visiting our school website at www.stlukesct.org.  Our 201 French students represent 39% of ALL students grades 6-12.*  Other languages offered are Spanish, Latin, Mandarin (grades 9-12) and Ancient Greek (every other year).   *Our 37 5th graders only have Latin as an option.


At St. Luke’s School, all teachers have a commitment to a full-immersion, French-only environment, from the Middle School through to the Upper School.  Students ask their questions in French, and English is not permitted in our classes.  Our teacher-to-student ratio is excellent, with about one teacher for every 9 students on average for each section.  All St. Luke’s French teachers engage in at least two professional conferences/events per year, and most attend and/or even organize many more Three of the St. Luke’s French teachers (Jon Shee, Amber Berry, and Evan Downey) are active Executive Board members of the AATF Connecticut.  Jon Shee serves as Président, Evan Downey is Trésorier, and Amber Berry is the Directrice du Grand Concours.  All three help organize many statewide AATF events each year.  


Fortunately for our French program, we have always had plenty of resources at our disposal.  Our budget has exceeded our demands every year.  Technology items are always provided by the school without any difficulty and we can update textbook series whenever we like.  The school administration is highly supportive of the French program, as are the parents and the students.   See our program schematic below:



6th grade

6th grade French (½ year, daily study)

7th grade

French A

French MS1 = accelerated

8th grade

French B

French MS2 = accelerated

9th grade

French 2

French 2 Honors

10th grade

French 3

French 3 Honors

11th grade

French 4

French 4 Honors

12th grade

French 5

AP French Language & Culture


Given the fact that we are a smaller school, we are proud to be able to offer such a wide range of options with

15 separate sections of French (Note: This year, we even have two sections of 7th grade regular.).


St. Luke’s Students in Montmartre, June 2016


We are quite proud of the results for our top-level programs, as reflected by excellent AP scores and SAT 2 scores, as well as by students’ comfort with speaking only in the target language at all times and their regular willingness to take risks with the language.  Last year, at the first annual Olympics of World Languages at Southern CT State University, the St. Luke’s’s French team earned First Place, so we were very proud of our students for their success.  See image below.


St. Luke’s French Team wins First Place at Olympics of World Languages


In addition to Le Grand Concours, we present the AATF Outstanding Senior in French award each year and we also send a nominee for the Connecticut-based “AATF Senior Prize.” In 2016, the candidate from St. Luke’s won the CT AATF Senior Prize, so we were thrilled.  Our French students participate in the Connecticut-based COLT Poetry Competition as well.  Beyond seeing our students’ results through simple test and contest scores, we have excellent success in terms of our alumni continuing on with French after graduation, either at college or at work.  


St. Luke’s is an innovator in terms of blended learning in World Languages, and now all level 1 language classes (French, Spanish, Latin, and Mandarin) are offered as blended courses, and it all started with our French 1 program.


Our teachers follow a highly student-centered model of teaching in which students can speak French as much as possible.  For six years now, regular one-on-one videoconferencing sessions with students abroad are part of many courses’ curricula, and provide students with the ultimate authentic experience in which to communicate with peers in the target language.  


French students videoconferencing one-on-one in our language lab.


Our Upper School has a long-standing partnership with a private school in Paris, St. Michel de Picpus, and this year marked the 10th anniversary of our relationship.  Every other year, we do a full exchange program with St. Michel de Picpus in which their students come to our campus for 2 weeks and then ours go to Paris in June for 2 weeks.    Our Middle School program offers a bi-annual trip to Québec that is incredibly popular.  

St. Luke’s students in Monaco last June, as part of our decade-old partnership French exchange program.

St. Luke’s Students working with visiting French students from St. Michel de Picpus on a game of Kahoot!



French 5 students lively debating the concept of “Mai 1968: Révolution ou Rêve?”


A major language-based celebration at our school is called World Language Week. Though our students also get quite involved in National French Week activities (like this year, when we brought 200 students to the official AATF CT National French Week event concert by French-Togolese performer Brice Kapel) the French program puts a huge amount of effort into our involvement in World Language Week, as well.  Please see our Media Gallery for images and videos of National French Week activities.







A 400-person Lip Dub video during World Language Week, led by the French teachers.  See Media Gallery for the full video.



Guest speaker and author of French texbook series “Ensemble” M. Normand Lamoureux teaches French students.

This is a yearly tradition at St. Luke’s.



Every week, students present a “World Language Dept. Expression of the Week” to the entire student body at an assembly.

In this picture, a French 1 student shares the French translation of “I love you” and has everyone in the audience repeat it after her.



St. Luke’s School main entrance

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

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