AMERICAN CURRICULUM (20% of the school week)
Literature: Five hours per week: Beginning in Première, the literature program is shaped by the guidelines for the Option Internationale du Baccalauréat (OIB). At this level, we expect students to have acquired the full gamut of skills associated with the study of language and literature as we begin, in earnest, the preparation for the requirements of a four-hour written examination and a half-hour oral examination on the literary texts studied over the next two years. Authors studied have included: Aeschyllus, Dante, Shakespeare, Hawthorne, Tolstoy, Gabriel Garcia-Lorca, Virginai Woolf, Arthur Miller, Flannery O’Connor, James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Wole Soyinka and Rita Dove. Students will prepare for any of the three kinds of writing on the bac: essay, commentary (prose or poetry) and creative writing. The general level of this two-year honors OIB Program and the quality of the work demanded of the students in the OIB is at least equivalent to an Advanced Placement or honors level college preparatory program.
History: Three hours per week: The Première History/Geography Program follows the guidelines of the French system and prepares students for the following year’s Option International du Baccalauréat. The course is essentially a survey of European history from the Age of Imperialism through the Cold War. Students customarily write a research paper on some aspect of colonization or decolonization at the start of the year and later read Arthur Koestler’s Darkness At Noon to accompany the history of the Soviet Union. Throughout the year, students are given two-hour essay exams (in preparation for the bac exams) and written exams resembling those they may see in lower-level courses in American university. The textbook for the class, Lowe’s Mastering Modern World History, is often supplemented with recent historiography and primary source documents. Students meet with American Section History teachers three hours-per-week and our French colleagues for two ensuring that they will not miss out on the broad scope of this very important year.
Standardized Testing: In the fall, all American Section Première students are required to take the PSAT. Over the years, a number of our students have received recognition from the College Board’s National Merit Scholarship program based on the results of the exam. In addition, those students who plan on pursuing higher education in the United States are strongly encouraged to take the AP English Literature exam in the spring, as well as the SATs. In 2014, many American Section students who took the AP Literature exam received the top mark of 5.
Field Trip: An overnight fieldtrip to Normandy is taken in the spring of the Première year. Tied into the curriculum, students visit the Peace Memorial Museum in Caen, Omaha Beach and the American Cemetery. The following day, we visit the Bayeux Tapestry. This trip reinforces themes taught in ENH about World War II and the Cold War, while the Literature teachers expose students to the study and traditions of war poetry.
FRENCH CURRICULUM (80% of the school week)
As of Première, all students are pursuing their chosen course of study (L., ES, or S) and are fully integrated into the French national lycée system. In addition, they take two foreign languages. At this level, a student may actually be in class as much as 39 hours each week and can expect at least two hours of homework a night. For more information on the content and skills developed in French during the year, go to the website of the French Ministry of Education: