French American School of Princeton Math & Science Middle School Teachers Nominated for Princeton Prize for Distinguished Secondary School Teaching
- Bilingual Education
- Middle School
French American School of Princeton (FASP) is proud to nominate Natalie Martin and Sonia Grare, Middle School teachers in Math and Science, for the Princeton Prize for Distinguished Secondary School Teaching awarded annually by Princeton University.
French American School of Princeton Bilingual Education
In FASP’s bilingual curriculum, Middle School students study Math and Science in English and French, utilizing both languages, as well as teaching methods from both countries. Natalie Martin and Sonia Grare co-teach: Natalie in English and Sonia in French. The method requires close collaboration between the teachers to ensure concepts, theory, and facts are thoroughly understood and students are able to demonstrate their knowledge in both subjects in two languages.
To nominate Natalie and Sonia for this prestigious award, students were asked to submit letters of recommendation. Their words beautifully illustrate the power of a bilingual education and what it means to be able to synthesize language and concepts to become independent thinkers and to be able to master math and science in new and exciting ways.
French American School of Princeton Student Nomination Excerpts“Ms. Natalie and Ms. Sonia provided an incredible academic foundation for my learning experience in math and science. I was able to build strong personal connections with both of them that I cherish to this day…. Every day, as I walked into the classroom, I felt a surge of excitement at the prospect of doing a new experiment in the laboratory with Ms. Sonia or participating in group work at the whiteboard with Ms. Natalie…. Science has always been a burning passion of mine and that fire only burned brighter through my classes with Ms. Natalie and Ms. Sonia. The long conversations on geology, astronomy and meteorology with Ms. Natalie spiked my interest, and the National Geographic “virtual field trips” my class did were a wonderful way of seeing how science applies outside of the classroom…. I will always remember the first experiment my class ever did with Ms. Sonia in our French chemistry class. Never before had I seen chemistry being applied somewhere outside of our textbooks, and Ms. Sonia’s funny questions and scenarios kindled my passion for it.... Ms. Natalie and Ms. Sonia instilled a love of math and science within me through their remarkable classes in both English and French. I still keep in touch with them today, over a year later, and I learned so much from my experiences with both of them. Mila – FASP Alumna “…I would like to show my empathic support on nominating Sonia Grare and Natalie Martin to the co-teaching award. Their coworking in a bilingual environment has shown me that the universality of both science and math transcend the language barrier which nurtured me not only to be more enthusiastic and engaged with the subject matter, but also to have a broader worldview…. I have been mentored by Ms. Sonia and Ms. Natalie since my first days of middle school at FASP. As learning with two bilingual curriculums has its own difficulties, I have learned during the past year that it can also diversify my knowledge. My teachers have taught me how contemplating different ways used in two very different countries with an entire ocean separating them while problem-solving and trying to provide a logical and scientific explanation to prove something can improve our ways of comprehending even a simple sentence and can develop our understanding of science and math. Even though the French and English method of studying these two subjects are very unlike each other, Ms. Sonia and Ms. Natalie have organized things so that the two classes and the things that we learn can complement each other in a way so that they create synergy…. Ms. Sonia and Ms. Natalie’s co-mentoring has helped me enjoy and understand the subject thoroughly and has shown me that the information which these two materials consist of are crucial and practical to our everyday lives, to communicate with other people, and to make our world a better place.” Karis – FASP Middle School Student “I have been attending FASP for nearly two years now, and throughout these two years, Natalie and Sonia have helped me progress through the math and science curriculums from both France and in the United States. They help me just enough to get the answer and grasp the concept, while still letting me figure it out on my own. In Sonia's classes, we mostly focus on geometry, physics, and chemistry. In Natalie's classes, we learn algebra and many areas of science, such as biology, geology, and meteorology. Natalie and Sonia are great at relating math and science to each other. For example, when we were learning Newton's laws of motion, we were able to apply the algebra we learned with Natalie and to the equations we were learning with Sonia…. Our class sizes are very small, so we can usually work as a class when we do complicated problems like this, which makes it easier for Sonia to help us. She is able to give us just the right amount of hints and help us figure it out on our own, while asking questions to help us find the answer and having everyone participate. Because of this, the entire class is able to solve problems that would be hard for most students who are grades ahead of us.… Sonia and Natalie made me feel welcome and part of the community.” Christian – FASP Middle School Student
The Princeton Prize for Distinguished Secondary School Teaching
FASP wishes both Natalie and Sonia well as the competition for the Princeton Prize continues and we thank our students and alumni for their thoughtful comments on the impact that these two teachers have had – and continue to have – on bilingual education.
The Princeton Prize for Distinguished Secondary School Teaching was established in 1959 and each year four honorees are chosen from applicants from public and private schools in New Jersey. Nominees must be exceptional teachers, or a team of two co-teachers, who have demonstrated highly effective engagement with their students in the teaching and learning process, dedicated service to their school and community, and significant commitment to their own professional growth as lifelong learners.
In today's globalized world, being bilingual is more important than ever. The ability to speak multiple languages not only opens up doors for communication but also provides numerous cognitive and academic benefits. Bilingual education is a proven and effective way to help students develop both language skills and a cultural understanding of the world around them.