Issues in education today
As stated earlier, the urban school context to be explored is the Lycée Français de New York (LFNY) located in the New York City, which is a growing and fast changing urban area. Having studied at LFNY for middle school and high school, as a French person, there are many diversity issues I encountered. It is a single campus building that is located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. The New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS), the French Ministry of National Education, as well as the Association of French Schools in America, accredited it. The school is committed to bilingual and bicultural instructional methods. The school, currently has around 1,372 students in grades Pre-K through to 12. 51% of the student population are girls while 49% are boys. In regards to the population, 30% of the students are French, 30% are of French dual citizens, and in particular, American or other countries. 20% are US citizens while 5% come from other countries other than France and the U.S. The school has a wide range of diverse individuals characterized by 50 nationalities by which 166 students received a need-based LFNY financial aid between 2014 and 2015.
Pertaining to the academic program, the teachers are primarily dedicated to individualized learning and thus, they take into account the diversity of each of the student. The program is designed to allow the students to earn a French Baccalaureate in Grade 12. Also, the learners qualify for the New York State High School Diploma in Grade 11. The OIB Option of the French Baccalaureate, as well as the French-American Baccalaureates are present on the program. The institution has 148 members of the teaching faculty by which 130 have advanced degrees. The learning is designed to be a trimester system, and students are often graded on a 0-20 French scale. Most of the courses offered at the institution are in French.
Problems in schools today
In regards to the curriculum, the school follows an academic curriculum established by the French National Ministry of Education and incorporates aspects of the American education system. The curriculum focuses centers itself on various methods and processes in teaching Mathematic and French in addition to literature teachings in geography, history, technology, art, music, and experimental science. Furthermore, the school offers a French Baccalaureate International Option, as well as selected Advanced Placement courses. From first grade onwards, the pupils receive instructions only in French, except Art and English, and some History and Geography courses. The French education system requires that pupils at the end of grade 10 be required to select a major, which is called a “serie”. The major follows a curriculum sequence that dictates the program of studies, and the result in an area of specialization once they graduate from the school. The series offered include Serie L for language and literature, Serie ES for Economics and Social Science, and Series S for Sciences and Mathematics. In addition, grading within the French system is distinctive in its structure and philosophy. The American grades are often calculated on a percentage basis, but the French use a numerical scale based on the philosophical ideal of 20 for perfection. A 20/20 score is almost impossible, 18/20 rare, and 12/20 good. Essay are considered main antics for evaluating the students. Besides, all aspect including form and presentation, written expression and reasoning are considered in assigning grades.
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The French Education system is well-known for the curriculum it encompasses, which highlights a rigorous study courses, such that Americans consider a high school student in his final year to be taking something compared to U.S. post-secondary education. Also, the school ensures that the pupils acquire what is best from both French and American cultures. The curriculum parallels program laid by the French education ministry and is used in most Francophone schools globally. Nonetheless, the pedagogy is supported by private institution elements. The dual strategy produces students who are competent academically and bilingually, as well as having French and English proficiency. The blending is what distinguishes the school and the graduates as having a deep comprehension with both European and American culture. The school also has three main objectives: responsible citizenship, academic excellence, emotional, intellectual, and physical balance.
According to Devedec (2015), the school leaders in the community have implemented the French Language Heritage Program (FHLP), which intends to enrich and promote the French language, as well as Francophone cultures to students of Francophone origin in the U.S. The objective is to promote bilingualism by which students get help to develop and maintain strong French skills that can sustain their bonds with Francophone culture, while allowing for an increase in the success chances and integration in the U.S. The coordinator of the program is recruited and compensated by France, and has various responsibilities, including strategic development of the program, planning, recruitment, training, and management of teaching staff for each course, with 8 French teachers and five teaching assistants in New York. The program also provides educational resources with the program’s team, as well as coordinating with the partnerships, such as LFNY. The school implemented the change by joining the program and becoming a strategic partner. The school organizes for famous theaters, as well as short film contests. It also supports the program by organizing joint cultural events and conferences in addition to providing teaching resources and support to the instructors. The program has served over 4000 students since its inception in 2005, 535 students in 2015, K-12 across four states, as well as facilitating 22 partner sites I 18 public school and four community centers.