How it all began
In 2005, the president and founder of the program, Jane Ross, who had recently retired from a long career at the Lycée Français de new York, began a collaboration with the French Cultural Services in New York to explore ways to offer French courses to some of the many African and Haitian immigrants who had no access to French courses in New York City.
Walking by the Manhattan International High School where she had been told there were no French speakers Jane Ross encountered a group of African teenagers chatting about what to do afterschool …in French! A rapid return to the school and a conversation with the principal convinced all parties to launch the first free French afterschool program in Manhattan.
The Manhattan International High School, as a member of the Internationals Network for Public Schools, became the first of many partnership school that have served over 1500 students over the past 11 years since the creation of the program.
Today, the program is present in 4 of the city’s 5 boroughs, and offers workshops in 10 schools within the Internationals Network for Public Schools, in the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan. More than 200 NYC students now partake in the FHLP activities every year. Moreover, the program’s success in New York has led to expanding classes in other states and including Boston, Maine, Miami and Philadelphia.