Uny Chan/The Oklahoma Daily

Ronald Reagan Elementary School, which will open next year on 24th Avenue Southeast, will split a school day in half to immerse students in a new language. Kindergarten and first grade students will study mathematics and science in French for half a day and learn language and social studies in English.

The idea is modeled after the Canadian and continental European system. Students will have a chance to study some subjects in a non-English language instead of typically learning new languages in a separate class.

“We choose to teach math and science in French because they are concrete facts,” said Janet Gorton, Norman Public Schools world language director. “Hence, it will cause less confusion among our young students.”

Oklahoma signed an educational partnership with the Académie d’Amiens in France in 2007. The OU College of Education and the Université de Picardie Jules Verne in Amiens, France have developed an exchange for pre-service teachers.

“The exchange between the [college of education] and the [French university] offers non-native speakers an opportunity not only to work on their French language skills, but to learn how French classrooms work from the inside, observe classroom management and learn specialized vocabulary,” said Jennifer Robinson, adviser for the college’s Global Educations program.

Teachers interested in the program will have to be fluent in French and must hold an Oklahoma teaching certificate in early childhood or elementary education, Robinson said. The requirement applies to native English and French speakers.

Former Honorary Consul of France to Oklahoma Barbara Thompson approached Norman Public Schools about starting an immersion school last year. The public schools may receive more languages thanks to support from French Consul General Pierre Grandjouan, who pledged to add more languages using the immersion model.

The first graduating class will take 50 students in from the Reagan district. Norman Public Schools is currently working on the application process. The immersion courses will begin when Ronald Reagan Elementary School opens next year.


Additional Information

An information session will take place from 3 to 4:30pm, on Sept. 6, Tuesday, during the International Education week at JRCoE for those who are interested in this program.


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