High-Quality French and English Curriculum

At FASDenver, our curriculum combines aspects of the two core academic traditions of France and the United States to create a stimulating bilingual learning environment that focuses on student learning and well-being and supports the full intellectual development of each student. Our educational programming will draw inspiration from established French immersion school from across the US while meeting Colorado State Standards.

Two-Way Language Immersion Model

FASDenver utilizes a two-way immersion (TWI) model, a specific type of dual language education that allows students to learn a second language while continuing to develop their first language. While TWI programs vary in implementation, fidelity to the model includes the following characteristics: instruction in two languages, one language at a time, and peer-to-peer facilitated language sharing.

Approximate Share of Instruction in French and English by Subject Area:

Grades% of Instruction in FrenchSubjects Taught in FrenchSubjects Taught in English
K-290%Math, Science, World History, French Language Arts, Music, Art, Physical Education English Language Arts, Social Studies 
3-570%Math, Science, World History, French Language Arts, Music, Art, Physical Education English Language Arts, Social Studies
6-850%Math, World History, French Language Arts, Music, Art, Physical Education English Language Arts, Social Studies, Science

Sample Student Weekly Schedules (Click to Enlarge)

Language Arts

The language arts curriculum will focus on the acquisition and application of oral, reading, writing and aural comprehension skills in both English and French. In this context, we will provide materials and instruction to increase the complexity of vocabulary and content as methods of preparing students for challenging academic and career environments. 

English Language Arts: FASDenver will adopt a reading and writing curriculum that is aligned to the Common Core State Standards, state priorities and the mission and goals of our school. The curriculum will be developed by the Executive Director, Director of Curriculum and members of the FASDenver curriculum design team prior to June 2020. When selecting materials, careful attention will be paid to include varied perspectives, diverse cultures, and topics the speak to the cultures represented in the student body. Likely curriculum materials could include Wit & Wisdom by Great Minds, materials from EngageNY and materials from the Vermont Writing Collaborative.

French Language Arts: Curriculum elements in French will align with the educational standards of the Ministry of Education in France and authentic materials will be brought in from Francophone countries to support student learning. Research shows that in addition to Integrated Content and Language Development and second-language (subsequently referred to as L2)  instruction in multiple subjects, there remains a need for formal L2 instruction to achieve native-like fluency and grammatical precision. FASDenver plans to use leveled books that are available in French from Reading A-Z. Leveled books are a component of differentiated instruction and can be used in guided reading and small-group instruction. FASDenver also plans to use materials such as Alpha-Jeunes: Trousse d’Evaluation de Lecture (“Alpha-Youth: Kit for Reading Evaluation”) as reading resources in grades one and two. For literacy building curricula, FASDenver plans to employ materials such as Envol en littératie (“Literacy in Flight”) for grades K-2 and L’île aux Mots (“The Island of Words”) for grades 3-5.

Mathematics

FASDenver will use Singapore Math curriculum, which aligns with the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics and centers on problem-solving and a three-step learning process (concrete, pictorial and abstract), to help students master mathematical concepts and apply those concepts to complex math problems. Singapore Math emphasizes word problems, rather than repetitive math drills, and is used by many leading schools in the US and abroad. FASDenver intends to teach all of its math content in elementary school in French; it will use Singapore Math materials from La Librairie des Écoles (The School Bookstore). This will be supplemented with interactive online games developed by the French Ministry of Education and other entities including, “J’apprends les Maths! (I Learn Math!), IXL.com, and https://www.tablesdemultiplication.fr/contact/, etc. that provide opportunities to incorporate technology and differentiated instruction into the math curriculum. 

Singapore consistently ranks at the top in international math testing. The intentional progression of concepts in the Singapore math approach instills a deep understanding of mathematics. Singapore math programs aim to raise U.S. student performance internationally and at home on standardized and state assessments. Image: Singaporemath.com

Science

FASDenver will use the inquiry-based Full Option Science System (FOSS), or similar program to inform the science curriculum. FOSS is a research-based program designed for grades K-8, developed at the University of California, Berkeley. FOSS curriculum aligns well with FASDenver’s focus on technology and with the CDE’s 2020 Educational Standards and Essential Skills Directive. FOSS Science Kits are used across Colorado and around the country. One of the hallmarks of this program is its interactive site which provides students and their families with opportunities to participate in instructional games and interactive simulations. Each module includes tips on how to connect the concepts in the lesson with activities at home, providing parents additional ways to participate in their child’s learning experience. 

Social Studies

Social studies content will be based on the Colorado Department of Education Standards and will develop student knowledge and understanding of local and global communities, including those of the Francophone world. The curriculum will include United States history, geography, civics, economics, and support the development of essential skills including critical thinking, information literacy and collaboration.

World Civilizations

World civilization education is an important hallmark of the French curriculum. Starting in first grade, students at FASDenver will learn about ancient civilizations, prehistory, African and Asian civilizations, the Middle Ages up to modern day. We believe that understanding world history and civilizations is essential to global citizenship. History of the Francophone diaspora will also be incorporated. This curriculum will be taught in French and we will use textbooks in compliance with the French Ministry of Education. 

Visual Arts and Music

A Visiting Artist from La Napoule Art Foundation works with elementary students. Image courtesy: LNAF

An exploration of visual arts and music is essential to the full development of a child and as such, these topics will be incorporated throughout the curriculum. To enhance our offerings, FASDenver has partnered with the Visiting Artist Program at La Napoule Art Foundation and with Opera Colorado.

Integrated Approach to Global Citizenship

In alignment with our mission and vision, an exploration of what it means to be a global citizen will be integrated throughout the curriculum. An example of integrating global citizenship and science is Teach UNICEF’s four lessons related to water and sanitation for transitional kindergarten through second grade. These lessons guide students through understanding the problems facing children with inadequate access to clean water or sanitation facilities and the global water crisis; then invite students to explore how organizations, agencies, and individuals are working to address the problems; and finally encourage students to take their own steps in addressing the local and global issues of water and sanitation.

Life Skills and Social Emotional Learning

For students to be well-rounded and most successful, they need to develop more than academic knowledge and skills. The French American School of Denver’s teaching of life skills will center on social-emotional skills (self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and social decision making); collaboration; and personal integrity (including personal accountability and responsibility). Teachers will explicitly guide students in learning how to use these life skills every day, and reinforce this behavior through norms, incentives, and other classroom management practices. For the younger grades, teachers may build these skills during the morning meeting and may also have other time dedicated to guided skill development.

English Language Development

FASDenver will offer all students in its ELA program classroom supports for all required content-based courses and additionally a 45-minute block ELD session each day. FASDenver’s ELD program will be based upon the National Geographic REACH curriculum.  The REACH curriculum was selected because it conducts sessions in small groups with students of similar grades and English language level.

French Language Development: Newcomers to French in the Upper Grades

In France and across the Francophone world, students new to French are offered a Classe D’Accueil (Welcome Class). The class provides supports for students so they can learn and master the basics for understanding spoken and written French, and also have the ability to write and speak in French. 

After Grade 2, all incoming students to FASDenver will be evaluated for French language proficiency. FASDenver’s enrollment packets will provide an opportunity for parents to request placement in the Welcome Class to accelerate the French Language Development (FLD) of their child(ren). Similar to ELD, students in FLD may be pulled out (or in) of a non-core class and given 45-minute French-language instruction with peers of similar language level. FASDenver will use the Alliance Française French Language Learner curriculum from Editions Didier, a program that has been used worldwide and has been shown to help learners achieve native-like fluency in French. 

To integrate the new French language learners and to deliver grade-level-appropriate content in English as necessary, FASDenver has budgeted for an additional bilingual French teacher each year to work exclusively with FLD students after Grade 2. These students will have the opportunity to take core classes Mathematics and Science in English (ELA and Social Studies are already offered in English after Grade 2) as they transition into the French immersion classroom. If at anytime during the school year a student is having difficulty in French language as evidenced by classroom observations or a French language assessment, either the classroom teacher or Director of French Studies will notify the student’s parents, and they can elect to place their child in FLD. Students’ performance and achievement will be measured at least once each trimester. After parental consultation, parents may decide either to continue or discontinue FLD. 

Throughout the day, teachers at FASDenver will use instructional supports, including scaffolding and differentiated education, to supplement FLLs and ELLs. The San Diego French American School, which has been in operation since 1988, continues to accept new students, even in upper grades with no previous French background. The New York French American School also accepts students with no French background. Both programs have had tremendous success with using language-acquisition techniques similar to those used with ELL students. 

Gifted and Talented Instruction

FASDenver will identify students possessing high performing capabilities in specific academic, intellectual, leadership, creative and visual/performing arts talent areas. FASDenver will follow the guidelines set forth in the Exceptional Child Education Act (ECEA). We will support students achieving above grade-level so that they continue to be challenged and supported in the classroom. 

The Director of Student Services will be responsible for identifying G&T and academically advanced students and com- pleting ECEA required Advanced Learning Plans for all students identified as G&T. To ensure that all students are given access to an equitable screening process for gifted services, beginning in Kindergarten, all students will be evaluated on these 4 criteria every year: teacher checklist, parent checklist, exceptional work products, and reading level. Also, because of the under-representation of minority students in Gifted Education, we will the administer the CoGAT 7 online beginning in 1st Grade and a creativity test beginning in Grade 2 to all students.  

Any student entering the school after 1st or Grade 2 will take these tests upon entry. Any measure we use must be able to be equivalently administered in English, French, Spanish and to students that speak languages other than English, French, and Spanish. 

Formal Factors:

  • To qualify for gifted services, a child must have at least 3 formal indicators or 1 informal indicator and 2 formal indicators which support that the student is gifted. 
  • Gifted on Creativity Test Gifted on IQ test 
  • 2 years above reading level as shown by DRA/DELF 
  • Score as Gifted or above on any of the 3 CoGAT evaluation areas (Verbal, Non-Verbal, Quantitative) 

Informal Indicators: 

  • Parent Checklist Teacher Checklist 
  • Exceptional Work Product 

About French Curriculum Cycles

Cycle 1 (Age 3 – Kindergarten)

The 3-year cycle that constitutes the Early Learning Program, referred to as “Maternelle” in French, plays a key role in the development of children and is an important first step that will enable them to develop into thriving students. FASDenver will offer the last year of Cycle 1, la Grande Section (Kindergarten). Early education establishes the foundations children will later use for their entire schooling. Its main mission is to inspire them by igniting the desire to learn while allowing them to affirm and develop their personality. 

All children are capable of learning and progressing. By conveying confidence in each child, the Maternelle years teach children to trust their own power to act and think responsibly, while they develop their ability to learn and to succeed in school and beyond.

Cycle 2 (1st Grade – 3rd Grade)

Cycle 2 is a time to learn at school, to interact with, and ask questions of the world at large. It is also a time to interact in specific languages, and these must be acquired through means more involved than simply being exposed to them in childhood. From this point forward, cycle 2 will cover the period from CP (US first grade) to CE2 (US third grade), providing the time and consistency necessary for a challenging and progressive education. In cycle 2, all the lessons serve as an interaction with the world. The focus here is on mastering languages, especially French.

In cycle 2, FASDenver students build a solid foundation in English language arts, French and mathematics. They develop their intelligence, artistic sensibility, and their physical and athletic abilities. Students build upon their awareness of time and space, their knowledge of the world and discover fundamental computer skills. They will construct cultural and historical awareness in art history, develop fundamental skills in technology in computer science, and develop healthy habits through sports and exercise in physical education.

Cycle 3 (4th Grade – 6th Grade)

Cycle 3 links the last two years of elementary school and the first year of middle school, in an effort to ensure pedagogic continuity and coherency in learning; and to continue laying the shared foundation that unites us in knowledge, competence and culture. There are two main goals for this cycle: to strengthen the fundamental learning introduced in cycle 2 that lays the groundwork for what’s to come; and to allow a better transition between elementary school and middle school by creating a feeling of continuity and progression throughout the three years of the cycle. In Grades 3 through 5 (cycle 3), the academic disciplines become more precise: literature, history, geography, mathematics, experimental science, and technology. Information and communication technologies are tools used in the teaching of students. FASDenver will offer 6th Grade during the 2021 – 2022 school year.

Français Langue Étrangère(FLE)/French as a Foreign Language

FLEclasses are designed to teach French to students who do not use French as their native language.FLEinstruction provides students with the basic verbal language skills that to reinforce their spoken and written mastery of the French language. A tailored plan for each student is created based on his or her level and needs.