Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Meeting in San Diego

Beth just returned from San Diego, where she participated in this year’s final meeting of the curriculum directors in French schools of America who are members of the MLF (Mission Laique Française). Over the past two years, since becoming members, we have been consolidating our efforts towards the completion of a number of projects to benefit all of our schools.

First, we selected a theme of utmost importance in all of our schools- teaching oral language. Next, we planned how we would best work to improve on that theme, putting heads and resources together and planning for staff development concentrated in this area over the next few years. This year, we completed our training for Cycle 1 (Preschool). As you have been reading in past blog posts, our staff has been attending workshops at other schools throughout the past 2 years (in Rhode Island, Boston, Houston and again in Boston). The training created by the MLF and received by our faculty members continues to build in our schools, with practical classroom activities being implemented in our classrooms each day.

Our next step is to continue this work in Cycle 2 (K-2). At this meeting, a plan for the next phase of training was set forth. We created a calendar and decided on where and when each “stage”/ workshop, would take place. It was agreed schools would partner together with schools in geographic proximity. L’Ecole Française du Maine will work with the International School of Boston again next year. There will be a two-part training offered to the teachers in Cycle 2, and we also will be visited by the new Pedagogical Director of the MLF, Soizic Bonnet, in the fall. She is stepping up to replace Philippe Vanhille, who has left her big shoes to fill, but she is ready for the challenge of constantly traveling across the country to fill this important role of Educational Coordinator, MLF-Amérique.

Another of our projects has proven very successful. We worked collaboratively to create a training workshop for newly recruited teachers arriving from France, to help with their adjustment and successful acclamation into a new country. This training takes place in Paris- before the teachers head for the states. At the workshop, the teachers receive a wealth of practical information, as well as advice on what to expect in America; (ie, Cheerios instead of a croissant for breakfast...). The reality of culture shock, and cultural differences in day-to-day life and work are discussed in depth, giving the teachers a chance to ask specific questions as they prepare mentally for their new life experience. We wrote a brochure that is distributed as well, covering the contents of the workshop for later reference. It was a pleasure to learn in San Diego from a colleague who attended the meeting in Paris last year, that it was helpful to him. This year, we have already made arrangements for our newly hired teachers for the fall, Clarisse Bizot and Didier Carribou, to be in attendance.