[lg policy] French Immersion School named a Maryland Blue Ribbon School

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at GMAIL.COM
Mon Dec 16 18:21:48 UTC 2013

Prince George’s French Immersion School named a Maryland Blue Ribbon School

Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post - Third grade teacher Iolna Horchler
teaches a class at Robert Goddard French Immersion School in Prince
George's. The school was recognized last week by the Maryland State
Education Department with the state’s Blue Ribbon award for exemplary
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   By Ovetta Wiggins<http://www.washingtonpost.com/ovetta-wiggins/2011/03/08/ABKF0BP_page.html>,
Published: December 13 E-mail the
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Florence Fomuso, a kindergarten teacher at Robert Goddard French Immersion
Lanham, ran around the desks and chairs in Room 117 before she asked
students, “Comment Papa Tortue court? Lentement ou rapide?”

Sydney Patterson, 5, quickly raised her hand. She knew how Papa Turtle
runs. She shouted “Lentement!” Translation: “Slowly.”

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 [image: Click here to

Then Sydney was told (in French) to demonstrate how the turtle would run.
She leisurely made her way around the desks.

In kindergarten classes at Robert Goddard, children are answering in French
to their French-speaking teachers. Seventh-graders are learning
­college-level words in French that will appear on college-entrance exams
in English.

Many students and staff members believe it is the school’s unique
programming that led to Robert Goddard being recognized last week by the
Maryland State Education Department with the state’s Blue Ribbon
exemplary performance.

Many of the 578 students at Robert Goddard receive top honors in numerous
programs, including ones run by the French Education Ministry and the
National Science Bowl. More than 94 percent of the students were proficient
in math and 95 percent were proficient in reading in 2013.

Principal Nasser Abi said he was happy to see the school, which has
consistently been a top performer in the county, getting recognition.

“I was very excited, because at one point I thought we were forgotten,”
said Abi, who started working at the school 16 years ago as a first-grade

The students were thrilled to hear the news when Abi announced it over the
loudspeaker Wednesday.

“Everybody was jumping up and down,” said Jodi Evans, 10, a fifth-
grader from Bowie. “Our teachers push us so hard so we can have a good
education. . . . I knew our school would be in the top.”

Robert Goddard and the five other schools that received the Maryland
distinction are now eligible to compete for the National Blue Ribbon award,
given by the federal Education Department.

“I am extremely proud of the students and staff at Robert Goddard French
Immersion for their achievement and the hard work they have done to earn
it,” Kevin M. Maxwell<http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/kevin-maxwell-pr-georges-new-schools-chief-sees-magic-moment-for-county-system/2013/07/27/ebf243f0-ef3c-11e2-a1f9-ea873b7e0424_story.html>,
chief executive of Prince George’s County Public Schools, said in a
statement. “The Blue Ribbon Award is one of the highest honors a school can
receive, and it indicates that everything is in place to ensure student
achievement: outstanding leadership, effective instruction, ongoing
professional development and strong partnerships with parents and the

Montgomery County’s Cashell Elementary
in Rockville, was the only other Washington area school to receive the
Maryland distinction.

“It’s rare that I’m left speechless,” Maureen Ahern-Stamoulis, Cashell’s
principal, said. “To be one of six schools chosen is an honor.”

The other winners were Frost Elementary in Allegany County, Linthicum
Elementary in Anne Arundel County, Western School of Technology and
Environmental Science in Baltimore County and Northern Garrett High in
Garrett County.

Robert Goddard’s French immersion program began in 1985. The school, which
shares a building with a Montessori school with the same name, is the
second-oldest total immersion school in the country.

Walk into a kindergarten class, and the only language spoken by the teacher
is French. Fomuso might use real objects or pantomime, but she does not
speak in English, said Martha Kristy, the school’s instructional program

Students might whisper in English, but by the middle of their first-grade
year, students are not supposed to speak in English at all during class,
Kristy said.

from washingtonpost.com


 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com

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