Start a French Immersion Program at Your School

Start a French Immersion Program at Your School

Bilingual education empowers students with the skills they need to thrive in an interconnected world.

Learn how to start a Dual Language Immersion Program (DLI)

Parental involvement and community engagement in initiating and supporting bilingual programs are essential.

Consult our guide below to discover how parents and educators can work together to create French dual language immersion programs through grassroots campaigns. By following the steps below, you can successfully usher in a new era of language learning and cultural appreciation at your school.

Step 1: Gather Information

The first step toward creating a bilingual education program at your school involves gathering and sharing information with your community.

Bilingual programs have been linked to numerous benefits for students: they boost academic performance on standardized tests; reduce high school dropout rates; improve cognitive functioning; make learning a new language easier; open up global opportunities for study and work; create marketable skills for higher salaries; and foster self-esteem. Read more about bilingual education research findings here.

Build a convincing argument for starting a French DLI. French is the language of international relations, trading partners, and the arts. Learn more about the benefits of learning French here. Visit existing French DLI programs in the US for inspiration.

Build interest in French DLI programs by reaching out to families in your community. The goal is to identify at least 18-30 students starting kindergarten in the upcoming school year who would enroll in the DLI program if it were created. Send out emails and distribute flyers to parents of prospective students, and identify an under-enrolled school that could host the program.

Step 2: Engage key players

Gather a team of advocates who are willing to put time and effort into planning and implementing a French DLI program. Set up committees for the following activities: event-planning, grant-writing, and proposal-writing. Learn about success stories from recently opened French DLI programs in the US here.

Garner school support by collecting data about the identified school’s mission, potential, and needs and identifying ways in which the DLI program could address needs and present solutions. Seek out the support of the principal, assistant principal, school board members, current teachers, parent coordinators and advocates.

Meet with city and district leaders. Research the names and role of your city’s council members, district world language specialists, and superintendents, using the information you have gathered and the community interest you have created.

Step 3: Plan implementation

Make pedagogical decisions about your French DLI program. Decide on the instructional model that best suits your program. Explore different successful models (Two-Way or One-Way; 50/50, 90/10) here. Research French books, magazines, and instructional material (available here) that may guide the creation of a DLI curriculum.

Familiarize yourself with educational grant cycles and funding opportunities to purchase pedagogical resources. You can also plan a fundraiser to involve your community.

Recruit teaching staff. Learn about local requirements for teaching staff as well as local universities with aspiring French teachers here. Advertise open positions in your community and on local job boards.