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SJS French Program Receives "Exemplary with Distinction" Award


March 25, 2024

The American Association of Teachers of French has conferred its highest award of Exemplary with Distinction on St. John’s School in March, 2024. This award recognizes the outstanding quality of the French program. St. John’s School is one of three in the nation to receive the Exemplary with Distinction award in 2024.

Thanks to its excellent program, St. John’s School has increased its enrollment in French throughout the past three years. The school offers early language learning starting in middle school with its innovative Carousel program that allows students to experience three different world languages and choose their path. The school also boasts several advanced courses, including AP French Language and Culture and post-AP literature and seminar classes.

The program makes use of innovative and creative methods in teaching, and goes beyond traditional tests to include proficiency-centered and project-based assessments. The program also offers numerous cultural activities beyond the classroom, including target-language field trips to the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, the Culinary Institute LeNotre and the Menil Drawing Institute. The School regularly participates in the AATF National French Contest at all levels as well as the Texas French Symposium, bringing home top trophies and many individual medals every year. Finally, the program frequently brings in local and international French speakers to engage with students and faculty in the target language.

The School’s teachers – Shelley Stein, Elizabeth Willcutt, Juliette Schlauder and Martha Escobar Vargas –show excellent preparation and enthusiastic dedication to their work. Administrators, parents, students, and graduates have all praised the program and its teachers in glowing terms. Graduates have continued to use the French skills they acquired at St. John’s in college and in their careers, such as teaching, business, law, publishing and advocacy.

The American Association of Teachers of French, founded in 1927, is the largest association of French teachers in the world, with close to 8,000 members. It offers enrichment and support to teachers, and recognizes high achievement in teachers and students.

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