Nearly 80 new students begin French Immersion Program in Evangeline Parish [fr]
With the support of local authorities (CODOFIL, LDOE, State Deputies, Senateurs, and Parish administrators) and the Consulate, in May 2017, Evangeline Parish inaugurated two new French immersion programs in elementary schools in Ville Platte, the parish seat, and Mamou.
Well before classes began, the Parish did everything to ensure the four new CODOFIL] teachers who willingly came to bring this program to life felt welcome. Three have arrived from France (Academies of Nantes, Bordeaux, and Montpellier), and will join a CODOFIL veteran who previously taught at the renowned immersion program at North Lewis Elementary School in New Iberia.
Arriving around July 20th, the teachers were invited by the community to take their time to settle in to their new home. They were greeted with open arms by Superintendent Darwan Lazard, the Evangeline Parish School Board, and members of each school’s administration. Assistant Superintendent Mike Lombas helped greatly before their arrival, finding a home for each teachers in the town of Chataigner, located between Ville Platte and Mamou. Once they arrived, their apartments were already fully furnished thanks to generous donations from the community. All members of the educational team were early awaiting the teachers. The also received assistance and support to purchase their vehicles to travel to Baton Rouge for orientation, and to complete the necessary administrative work. Evangeline Parish truly demonstrated the spirit of Louisiana’s hospitality.
Each school has one kindergarten and one first grade class of approximately 20 students beginning the immersion program, meaning that the students will follow the Louisiana school program taught in French. We welcome this challenge as the students and their parents show their excitement for this great project. As they grow older and advance to the next grade, the program grows with them. Consequently, with each school year the number of students learning in French in Louisiana grows exponentially. More teachers are able to participate in the CODOFIL program, and invest in the teaching of and in French in Louisiana. Principles Mr. Try Fonthenot of Mamou and Mrs. Sally Moreaux of Ville Platte, members of the administration, parents, and of course the four new teachers are all very happy and excited to see students in Evangeline Parish, where the French language is still strong, learning in French again for the first time in decades.
Implementing a new immersion program requires hard work and dedication, especially from the immersion teachers themselves. The first visits by our ETI, who directs the program, have shown that the support brought to these new programs is exemplary in the Parish, and that everything is in place for their success. We wish everyone on the team in Ville Platte and Mamou a fantastic school year!