Frequently Asked Questions

Normandale is a K-5 elementary school and one of the choice programs in the Edina Public School system.

Approximately 645 students are enrolled at Normandale. Every year we accept 108 kindergarteners.

Normandale follows the same curriculum as that of the other elementary schools in Edina. Our students, however, study the curricular content in French.

Our kindergarten curriculum looks much like that of a non-immersion school: colors, numbers, beginning literacy, basic math, social skills. Our kindergarteners adapt very quickly to the "linguistic bath" of French immersion. Learning in French becomes the norm, and young children accept the fact that when they ask a question in English, their teacher will respond in French.

Beginning in kindergarten and continuing throughout the grades, teachers rely heavily on visual aids, gestures and hands-on activities to communicate ideas. By the middle of first grade, students have already achieved a high level of comprehension and are beginning to express themselves in their new language as well.

Formal English instruction begins in third grade. However, parents are encouraged to read to their children in English as much as possible throughout the primary years. A solid background in this kind of shared reading, in addition to the literacy skills acquired in French, pave the way for a smooth transition to formal English reading and writing instruction.

There may be a lag initially, however this is typically eliminated by the end of third grade. Normandale's English reading scores on the state-mandated Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments and the Edina School District standardized achievement tests have consistently been at or above average.

The most important support you can offer is a firm belief in the value of learning a second language and to share that belief with your child. Your child will face challenges as he or she grapples with learning concepts in two languages. Encouragement and praise are important tools to keep your child motivated to put forth that extra effort.

Second, it is very important that parents read to their children in English throughout the primary years. This contact with written English will provide a solid foundation for the more formal reading and writing instruction later on. Once students begin reading on their own, either in French or in English, parents need to establish a consistent reading routine. Dual literacy is a gift few Americans ever attain, but it does demand time and effort at home as well as at school.

Third, take advantage of technology tools and the Internet to bring French into your home. These resources provide extra practice and enrichment in the target language, and there is a growing wealth of applications being developed for hand-held devices.

Finally, parents are encouraged to ask the classroom teacher for guidance in dealing with specific assignments or tasks.

Assessment is an integral part of classroom instruction. Content taught in French is assessed in French on an ongoing basis. In addition, the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments and the district's achievement tests are used to assess our students' progress in English literacy and math.

We believe that all children are capable of learning a second language. We know, however, that certain academic tasks are more difficult for some children than for others, just as they would be in a traditional setting. To help meet the needs of all of our students, Normandale provides the same services as those in the other Edina elementary schools: Response to Intervention, Special Education, Speech and Language and Gifted Education. While no program is perfect for every child, we believe, and research supports, that children can succeed here at Normandale as well as they would succeed at a non-immersion school.

Our students continue in the Extended French Program at Valley View Middle School, where they take 2 - 3 courses in French, and the rest of the day are integrated into the wider school population. Students at Edina High School have the opportunity to enroll in Advanced Placement French as well as courses based on French cultural topics.

Edina residents have preference in registering, but if there are remaining slots, out-of-district families can apply for admission through Open Enrollment.

Contact Edina Public Schools to receive information about kindergarten registration. Parents wishing to enroll their child after kindergarten should contact our school office. Such transfers are sometimes possible but are decided on an individual basis.