The Alliance Française Educational Outreach Program

The Educational Outreach Programs at the Alliance Française de Chicago are 100% funded by private donations. View the complete list of donors.


The Award Towards Excellence

In 1998, the Alliance Française entered into a partnership with the Chicago Public Schools to offer motivated students from diverse neighborhood high schools an after-school enrichment program at the Alliance.

The “Award Towards Excellence” Scholarship Program consists of a two-year, after-school, course. Classes meet once a week throughout the school year and are taught by native French speakers who are professionally trained to teach French to foreign students. At the end of the second year in the program, qualifying students can compete for a scholarship trip to France or an intensive immersion stay at the Concordia Language Villages.

This program enables students to refine their French language speaking skills and exposes them to broad cultural experiences. This program empowers the students by opening their minds to global thinking, building their tolerance of diversity, and strengthening their educational endeavors.

It has received considerable acclaim from the administration of the Chicago Public Schools, participating teachers, students and their parents. Former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, also former Chief Executive Officer of the Chicago Public Schools, has written, ‘this program enriches what the students learn at school by offering a ‘beyond the classroom’ experience, increasing their mastery of French and positively impacting their overall academic achievement.’

The program is at the heart of the Alliance Francaise de Chicago’s mission by reaching out to the youth in our community

Benefits for students who participate in the Alliance Française Award Towards Excellence Program:

  • demonstrated overall academic improvement
  • cultural awakening based on enhancing exposure to a foreign language and culture
  • appreciation for cultural diversity and tolerance
  • increased student self-esteem
  • prospect of becoming envoys with the responsibility of sharing their experiences and enthusiasm with their classmates at their home school.
  • 90% of the students who attend the Alliance program go on to college, often the first in their families to pursue higher education.