There are about 2 million French speakers in the United States, and yet for many of them, having the possibility to maintain their language and cultural heritage is often a challenge today.
The French Heritage Language Program is a program of FACE (French American Cultural Exchange), a non-profit organization working in partnership with the French Embassy in the United States. Created in 2005, it is the first program of its kind to directly address the needs of French-speaking new immigrants in underserved public schools and communities across the United States.
Most of our students hail from West Africa and Haiti and live in areas where no French language instruction is available or accessible to them. By providing them with free French classes, our program gives these students the possibility to keep strong bonds with their cultures and identity within their own schools and communities.
"Making French an asset for new Americans"
Our goal is to help these students make the most of their French in the United States. Through our classes, they can reinforce their literacy in the home language to speed up their acquisition of English, get academic support to better understand other subjects at school, and take examinations that will facilitate their access to college. Our students work with dedicated teachers and artists to conduct empowering projects and can also find internship and job opportunities that will make the most of their bilingual and multicultural skills. In a nutshell, we are making French an asset to them.
Our program offers its own signature pedagogy, with teaching resources designed and regularly updated by professionals, and made freely available on our website for teachers, schools and other similar initiatives in the United States. Our French courses are directly inspired by the method successfully used in the Internationals Network for Public Schools, a network comprising 18 schools working for the development of global education models.
The FHLP regularly collaborates with major research centers and has been recognized by the National Heritage Language Resource Center at UCLA as one of the most advanced heritage language programs in the United States.
We have already served more than 3,000 children K-12 as well as expanded and inspired the creation of similar programs in Florida, Maine and Massachusetts. More than 700 students benefit from our classes today.