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Quebec Government 'Adopts' French Dual-Language School

By Emily Frost | June 17, 2015 4:44pm
 The government office in New York City is "adopting" the local school in order to help grow and sustain its dual language program. 
Quebec Government Office Adopts P.S. 84
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UPPER WEST SIDE — The Quebec government's New York City office has "adopted" a local school with a French dual-language program to create engagement opportunities between students and the Canadian province.

The office, which is celebrating 75 years of representing and promoting Quebecois interests in the Big Apple, will work with P.S. 84. by connecting it with other schools and institutions in the predominantly French-speaking province.

The adoption will mean increased collaboration with Quebec, as well as help from the government's NYC office, though the specifics have not been finalized. French and Canadian dignitaries and school leaders will officially launch the adoption Thursday at the school. 

The West 92nd Street elementary school caught the eye of the Quebec Government Office after a teacher there, a former resident of the province, reached out to the office for help finding French books, said Annie Le, a public affairs official for the office.

This past year, the office donated hundreds of books to the school's French library, she explained. 

From there, Quebec officials suggested formalizing the relationship, so that "they can call us and it’s not a cold call," Le said.

While the province of Quebec is small and the New York office doesn't have many financial resources to give to P.S. 84, it does have a lot of connections, she added. 

The adoption could take the form of digitally connecting a Quebecois class with a P.S. 84 class for a shared lesson plan over Skype, through organizing and facilitating a field trip for P.S. 84 students to Quebec, or by sending a Quebecois student teacher to P.S. 84, Le said. 

The Quebec Government Office can also connect PTA leaders with Quebecois businesses that can donate gift baskets and local food for the annual PTA auction, she said.

Officials are also interested in helping with a "Quebec Food Day," featuring maple goods, as well as cheeses and breads the region is known for, Le explained.

Dual-language programs and preschools have grown in popularity since the first one opened in 2007 at P.S. 58 in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. 

Currently, there are 12 public schools with French dual-language programs in the city, serving 1,300 students, according to the Quebec Government Office. 

As an extension of its work with P.S. 84, the office wants to facilitate a day that brings together leaders from all of the schools to build curricula together and share best practices, Le said.

The Quebec government wants to help grow the public school's French-language offerings because ultimately it ignites curiosity and engagement with the province, she said. 

"By learning another language, it makes you want to learn more about the people who speak that language," Le said.

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