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BACK

Explore the Guide

PreK-12

https://nle.iberiaschools.org

Languages:

  • French
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Public | Iberia Parish School District

North Lewis Elementary School

New Iberia, Louisiana 70563

Description Institute Information

Upon first glance, a casual observer may not fully understand the importance of what is happening before them as they meander through the French Immersion Education classrooms at North Lewis Elementary School in New Iberia, Louisiana. However, we are awakening, deep within the DNA of our children, the hard-wired language of their not-so-distant ancestors. Once punished and forbidden to speak the native language of our grandparents and their ancestors who came into harsh, South Louisiana in the mid eighteenth century, this is no longer so. Our students are speaking French again.
Because it is so instinctively important to us, we have become a premier example of how immersion education should be. In 2016, we earned certification as a Louisiana World Language Immersion Site. We have earned the LabelFrancÉducation from the Agency for French Education Abroad (AEFE) and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Education. Our students have for the past eight years; have reached a 100% pass rate for the Diplôme d'Etudes en Langue Française, the only French foreign language diplomas issued by the French Ministry of Education.
Our teachers, over the years have traveled to us from nine francophone countries, and have brought with them their rich cultures to blend with our own rich culture of Creole, Spanish, and French heritage. They are the backbone of our efforts.
Lastly, through community partnerships with the likes of Centenary University, the University of Louisiana, the Council on the Development of French in Louisiana (CODOFIL) and the Louisiana Consortium of Immersion Schools, we have been able to provide our children with excellent learning opportunities outside of the confines of our campus’ corridors. Currently, we are working with Centenary University to have our students’ written work published. We are also in talks with a local newspaper to publish our students’ writings.

Languages Offered

  • Access
  • Excellence
  • Teaching
  • Partnership
Selected Theme

Improve access to language learning for all learners in more languages

To provide the maximum access to language learning for all students, we first establish no entry exam when students’ parents register them for French Immersion Education at North Lewis Elementary School. We are open and inclusive to all who wish to take the leap of faith into language immersion education. The only requirement is to have a commitment to keeping their children in the immersion setting for the next seven years, through the sixth grade.
We begin our day with the targeted French language, providing our students, in most cases with over 100 minutes of instruction in the French language before 10:30 a.m. We provide no less than 30 minutes of French language instruction in all immersion classes prior to 10:30 a.m. Where we schedule our immersion minutes in the latter format, the larger block of immersion minutes will come in the afternoon.
We limit the number of transitions from one language to another to less than six during the school day. For example moving from a class taught in French to a lunch period is a transition away from the target language. We move our students from French into French as much as possible during the school day, intentionally keeping their brains functioning within the target language.
The signage of the school took quite an investment on our part. Where you see English, you typically see the French equivalent. We post our PBIS rules and expectations, our Mission Statement, and our general messages, etc., in English and in French. Our classroom walls reflect the majority of the instruction. Seventy-five percent of the wall space is reserved for French messaging. Only twenty-five percent of the space is available for English Language Arts instructional materials.

Although, the target language of our school district's immersion setting is French, we do support the learning of Creole at North Lewis Elementary School. In recent years, three of our teachers have been fluent in Creole and came from the French Island of Guadeloupe and have taught our French Immersion students a daily thirty-minute enrichment session of Creole. Unfortunately, we do not currently have the teachers on staff, but we continue to work with Creole Incorporated, a local organization interested in maintaining the Creole language in South Louisiana.

  • Business internships
  • Summer programming
  • Active recruitment initiatives, local and/or national
  • Community outreach
  • Social media
  • In-school outreach across departments and student organizations
  • Parent outreach
  • Other
  • Targeted minority recruitment programs
  • Heritage community outreach
  • School visits
  • Social media
  • Print materials
  • Limited Number of Languages Offered
  • Transportation to our location is up to the parent

Increase language learning effectiveness to meet all learner needs

The Louisiana Department of Education has a strong relationship with organizations such as the Louisiana Foreign Language Teachers' Association, the Council on the Development of French in Louisiana (CODOFIL), the French Consulate General of New Orleans, LA, our various state universities, as well as numerous other important organizations dedicated to teaching world languages. The greatest asset that we have for us regarding our language curriculum is that Louisiana has clearly identified the standards to which we are held. With a clear target, we have an understood direction and set of goals to work towards.
The greatest challenge of our curricula is the fact that over the past ten years it has constantly changed. Our teachers have spent a large amount of time translating an ever changing delivery system. Fortunately, that has settled in the last four years and our curricula has been consistent. Unfortunately, the curricula is not available in the target language, which has meant a Herculean task of translating instructional materials. Much is still not available in the target language.
This leads to teachers having to understand the intent of the curricula very well, as they often have to find other materials that are already available in the French language. This takes an enormous effort and much of their professional time.
Regardless of the curricula used to deliver the standards to the students, the learning of the target language - in our case French - remains the underlying focus. The clear standards, mentioned earlier, and the fact that we focus on preparing our students to pass the French Government's DELF Exam help us to ensure that all students are learning to listen, speak, read, and write in the French language. This focus, we think, helps us to build strong language learners.

  • Council of Europe Framework of Reference (CEFR)
  • Other test based on nationally or internationally recognized proficiency scale (International Standards Organization (ISO) 29991:2013) (list)
  • D.E.L.F. A2
  • Council of Europe Framework of Reference (CEFR)
  • Other test based on nationally or internationally recognized proficiency scale (International Standards Organization (ISO) 29991:2013) (list)
  • D.E.L.F. A2

Promote teaching excellence through professional development and recruitment

  • National advertising
  • State and CODOFIL recruit in Europe and Canada
  • Background in language acquisition and foreign language teaching methods
  • Language proficiency (native or near native proficiency in the target language or ACTFL scores if applicable)

Must have at least three years of successful teaching experience. Must be certified to teach at the instructional level that they are applying to teach in Louisiana and must provide a certificate or attestation of satisfactory English Proficiency.

  • Inter-state credentialing coordination

100 %

100 %

  • Yes
  • Yes
  • bi-annual
  • Yes
  • Annual
  • Complete courses organized by the school/school district/state
  • Complete courses offered by professional organizations (e.g. ACTFL)
  • Complete courses offered by universities/schools of education
  • Complete courses offered by the Louisiana Department of Education
  • Instructional techniques
  • Materials development
  • Use of authentic materials
  • Incorporation of cultural learning in the language classroom
  • Incorporation of technology into the classroom, virtual learning tools
  • Other
  • Immersion learning
  • Online and & blended instruction
  • Language acquisition of minorities
  • Advanced language study

Our average teacher to student ratio is 1 : 17.

100 %

18 %

Create and maintain partnership with private and public entities

  • Heritage communities
  • State humanities councils
  • State government-sponsored language education programs or initiatives
  • Local schools or districts
  • Local colleges and universities
  • University-school collaborations
  • One-way language immersion
  • Curriculum sharing and development
  • Materials sharing and development
  • Testing
  • Access to linguistic and cultural resources
  • Faculty development
  • Faculty recruitment
  • Curriculum sharing and development
  • Materials sharing and development
  • Student recruitment programs
  • Testing
  • Access to linguistic and cultural resources
  • Event sponsorships
  • Faculty development
  • Faculty recruitment
  • Curriculum sharing and development
  • Materials sharing and development
  • Student recruitment programs
  • Access to linguistic and cultural resources
  • Event sponsorships
  • School/college credit recognition agreements
  • Faculty development
  • Curriculum sharing and development
  • Materials sharing and development
  • Teacher exchange
  • Faculty development
  • Faculty recruitment
  • Materials sharing and development
  • Student recruitment programs
  • Access to linguistic and cultural resources
  • Event sponsorships

Heritage community partnerships have helped us with cross-cultural exchanges with our teachers from various parts of the francophone world. They provide us with opportunities to speak French in social settings and to transfer the students' knowledge and use of the French language from the classroom and into the community.
Our Heritage communities partnerships fully support our French Immersion Education setting. More importantly, they provide personal support for our teachers, regularly purchasing wish-lists of additional educational supplies and supplemental French text books. This community partnership also provides the teachers with social connections within the community that support their well being and ensure that life after the classroom is good.
Upon arrival in country, this partnership ensures that teachers are able to have the comforts of home by loaning them simple things like silverware, pots/pans, bedding, furniture, etc. Volunteers assist our incoming international associate teachers to find automobiles, apartments or houses, to secure social security cards, drivers' licenses, a bank, etc. They even open their homes for as long as the incoming teachers need to be able to establish themselves in their new locales.

The Council on the Development of French in Louisiana or CODOFIL is a grassroots, state agency that partners with all French Immersion schools. It is through this agency that we have developed partnerships with other schools within the state, honed our own skills, acquired our excellent faculty members, and learned of various other professional organizations. CODOFIL provides our teachers with opportunities to acclimate to our culture, showcase their individuality, and to further develop professionally. CODOFIL provides ample opportunities for program administrators to network and develop their programs to maximize the positive instructional outcomes for their students.
CODOFIL in partnership with the State-government-sponsored personnel and in coordination with us at the school level, interview hundreds of candidates applying to work in Louisiana as international associate teachers in our immersion education settings.

It is through the State-government-sponsored language education programs that we have become Louisiana World Language Certified. It is also through our partnership with this agency that we continue to develop our students into linguists. Our teachers receive critical training in their first days in country through this partnership. The teachers have a one-stop shop available for curriculum resources, often using them online prior to entry into the United States.

It is the local school district that drives all decisions related to our curricula. The local district provides ample training and support for our teachers to learn the standards that they are to deliver to our students. The commitment of the district allows for us to keep our teacher to student ratios slightly lower than that of our non-immersion colleagues. The support of the local education agency allows us to have the technology available, enabling our faculty and students to have state-of-the art instruction with the latest educational tools available.
The teachers have access to supervisors that are ready and willing to assist with curriculum questions, technology issues, and best practices.
We enjoy great local support.

Our partnering universities, Louisiana State University, the University of Louisiana, and Centenary University all provide opportunities for professional growth for all involved with French Immersion Education in Iberia Parish. Our latest ventures into publishing our students' writing have us partnering with Centenary University. We will be publishing two eight-page newspapers during this school year. We also are currently challenging our brightest students to submit French literary works to Centenary University to be published in a book to made available nationwide.
Centenary University is also responsible for sending Louisiana teachers who study French at Centenary University to French schools to teach English (and become more fluent in French while there) and then return as Escadrille teachers to teach French in Louisiana schools. We currently have two such Escadrille teachers that do a fantastic job for us.
We will also be working with Centenary to expand the learning opportunities for our students in the future and to provide our students with school-to-work avenues.

Partnerships with Heritage communities, like our local tourism department and our local French-speaking organizations have been the catalysts for our French Immersion Education to maintain a healthy enrollment within our small community and to move our efforts outside of the confines of our campus.
It is through these partnerships that we have made musical presentations throughout our community and have been invited to participate in television programs, cultural events, provide tours to visitors from around the world, have been host to musicians and royalty, have made professional music videos, and read from rare copies of French poetry.

It is through agencies like the Louisiana Consortium of Immersion Schools, CODOFIL, and the state organization of parents of immersion students that we have taken up a reflective practice. We see the examples of others and measure ourselves against the very best that Louisiana and the nation has to offer to improve our trade. Likewise, our teachers do not operate in the vacuum of themselves, they look to the example of others, including their past schools. We share our successes through these partnerships and listen to lessons learned from others and together become better and stronger.

We move forward with our friends and partners.

Our partnership with the World Languages Department of the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) have been the starting point for our Certification as a Louisiana World Languages Site and our subsequent certifications with the French Government. The support from the LDOE is great and provides us with a clear blueprint for success. The guidance from the World Languages Department pushes us toward continued professional growth and pathways to individual growth for all of our students and faculty members including our non-French-speaking English Language Arts teachers.
Louisiana's World Languages staff have been innovative in their approach to improving language immersion education in our state and have often been the springboard for our own, local innovations.

The support of the local school district allows for us to have the flexibility to put our innovations into play. Our successes are very often spun from the ideas of our parents, students, teachers, and partnerships mentioned earlier. Our district has often invited us to its district board meetings to share our successes and to congratulate us in person. Of course, this encourages us to do more and to reset even loftier goals, which eventually we will meet.
In short the support of the district enables us to thrive and continue to grow our staff, students, and to engage our larger community.

This partnership has given a long-held goal and objective the wings necessary to take flight. Through this partnership, our students will begin to write with a higher purpose; to have their work published. Through this partnership our students' voices will be heard. Their ideas can be expressed to a larger audience. Their writing in the targeted French language will improve as a result of this partnership.

Scheduling classes in Creole as a result of our increased partnership with Creole Inc. was problematic because it stretched our international associate teachers in ways that they were not accustomed to. We had to be careful not to spread our staff too thin and to confuse our students with the sudden learning of a third language. We were able to find a balance and improve our schedule with the addition of new thirty-minute enrichment language classes for both immersion and non-immersion students. Of course, as teachers rotate in and out on three-year J1 - Visas, we are not guaranteed to have Creole speakers available. We are unable to currently have these classes.W

While we did, through our partnership with CODOFIL, look within and find our own shortcomings, mainly our students were not using the French that we were teaching them; the challenge was clear. We needed to move off of our own campus and make ourselves known within our community and then within the state.

Next stop, national notoriety. On the way there, we will be improving our work and the successes of our students.

Through our partnership with the State-government-sponsored language education programs, we realized the drastic improvements that were needed to our schedule. We had too many transitions into and out of French. We were not putting the targeted language first. The French language was being interrupted with announcements that were made publicly in English. The school did not appear to be anything but a regular school, the French language was not easily spotted. There were inconsistencies from one grade level to the next in the curriculum, making for uneven transitions from year to year. Additionally, our transitions from outgoing international associate teachers to new, first-year international associate teachers was less than smooth.

By applying for certification as a Louisiana World Languages Site and then going through the lengthy application process and team walk through, we made the improvements and have been getting better each year since.

One of the greatest challenges comes from keeping up with the technological and academic innovations that come from our local school district. Not only do we need to help our new international associate teachers acclimate to our culture and learning climate each year, but we need to do so at a breakneck speed as we keep up with a forward thinking and everchanging school district.

Local Colleges and universities can tightly wrapped in red tape and bureaucracy this is what we have found on occasion, when we sought ways to improve our immersion education setting. Recently, we learned, as we should have known, that these partnerships can be extremely rewarding. The trick is to find endeavors that are mutually beneficial to both the university and the school. We have been learning to be able to offer a fair exchange of benefits. What can we do for you?

Institution Information

Urbanicity

A small city or town

Levels

Pre-K

Elementary

Minority Students

Total

32 %

Accreditation

Unaccredited

Free & Reduced Lunch

72 %

Authorized IB World School

No

Advanced Classes & Exams

DELF A2 Exams to fifth graders

Second Language Requirement

For those enrolled in Immersion classes, yes.

Type of Classes Offered

In-person

Contact

Tim Rosamond

tirosamond@iberiaschools.org

https://nle.iberiaschools.org