Académie à St-Martinville ?
In the coming year, pending the selection and commitment of a building, WSIL will submit a proposal to create a French language charter school that will serve a four parish area and eventually all parishes with established immersion or French as a second language programs. In 2007 a curriculum and plan was developed to create an academy serving 6th to 12th grades. This plan is now being revisited and adapted.
Portals & GLE’s
The plan’s curriculum is based around a computer portal system where students take Louisiana’s required courses, working at their own pace. Students are tested using the Pearson Nova Net computer program assuring that students reach state expectations and that no one is left behind. This test program allows teachers to determine into which Grade Level Expectation (GLE) each student belongs. Teachers can then group students and work with these small groups while the other students continue on computer assisted instruction or practice work. This allows for proper remediation of all students.
Concentrations, Projects and Community Service
While mornings focus on the required courses to graduate high school in Louisiana (GLEs), afternoons are used for student concentrations which include project-based learning, community service and apprenticeships. This part of the curriculum is a practical way for students to work and use their French and in some cases their third language.
The concentrations include apprenticeships that allow the students to work within the community (specifically in French). St. Martinville lends itself well to this model and to the concentrations being proposed. Most apprenticeships would be within walking or biking distance for students. These apprenticeships also serve as a place to work on projects. This is the way students become involved in the community and the effects of the academy go beyond the school building, inspiring a community to be proud of its heritage and to learn with the students.
Ideas for the concentrations offered in the new school include:
- Media & Theatre
- Cultural & Eco-Tourism
- Child Care & International Aid
- Agriculture & Energy Sciences
The new academy will focus on recruiting those students leaving French immersion programs at 5th and 8th grade levels in the following parishes with the possibility of more parishes in the future if a dormitory is added. Many of these students feed into private schools and none of them are offered an opportunity to continue classes in French other than French language courses.
- St. Martin
- St. Landry
Other Future Uses for the Building
After establishing the commuter high school, WSIL will explore the possibility of building dormitories by either converting other parts of the campus or new construction. This would open up possibilities of using the school campus for adult immersion classes (18 years or older) during summer and winter breaks. This model has already been well established in Canada and other countries. Thousands of people in Louisiana have attended the Université Ste-Anne in the past ten years so there is obviously interest in adult immersion. Students act like long term tourists, having an economic impact on the city. Because so many people still speak French in St. Martinville the city lends itself to this program.