Every year the French Heritage Language Program helps hundreds of young Americans and new immigrants make the most of their French here in the United States.
In the US, French is spoken by hundreds of thousands of people, who come from Haiti, West Africa, Canada, and Europe. French is also spoken by Americans from New England and Louisiana. Yet for many of them, especially new immigrants and lower socio-economic status families, having the possibility to continue learning or keeping up their French is often a challenge.
The French Heritage Language Program is a program of the non-profit foundation FACE, in partnership with the French Embassy in the United States. Since 2005, it has helped over 1,300 children, students and adults from underserved communities of francophone background enrich their knowledge of the French language and maintain strong bonds with their respective cultures and identities.
"Making French an asset for new Americans"
The primary objectives of FHLP program are to help these students make the most of their French linguistic and cultural heritage here in the United States. By strengthening their knowledge of the French language and reinforcing their cultural identities, our students develop strong bilingual skills and so increase their opportunities for success in their new environment, both academically and professionally. They can take valuable examinations facilitating access to higher education and expand their perspectives for job careers in the US. In doing so, French becomes a strong asset not only for our students but also for educators, schools, families and communities.
Through university partnerships, our program also contributes to scholarly research in the field of heritage language learning. As a program embedded in schools and community centers, it is a place for pedagogical and methodological exploration, and a way to build new partnerships. We develop curriculum models that can be replicated and adapted in other cities in the United States.
The French Heritage Language Program works closely with the Internationals Network for Public Schools, which includes seventeen high schools for new immigrants in New York City, Washington DC and California, all working at the development of models for global education.
Our program is offered in New York, Florida, Maine and Boston and currently serves 700 students from elementary to high school levels.
There is high demand for French Heritage classes across the country and we are looking for new partners to help us set up new programs where there is need.