Philanthropy fuels investment in foreign language education

Adirondack Foreign Language Enhancement Fund awards nearly $50K in grants

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Indian Lake Central School Students in Montreal
Students from Indian Lake Central School visit Montreal with support from the Adirondack Foreign Language Enhancement Fund.


LAKE PLACID — The Adirondack Foreign Language Enhancement Fund (AFLEF) at Adirondack Foundation has awarded $48,242 in grants to 21 classrooms across the Adirondack region.

AFLEF awards grants annually to support innovation in French and Spanish classrooms and elevate the status of language educators in the teaching community. This year, funding supported everything from technology upgrades and the purchase of foreign language books to professional development and immersive cultural experiences.

“Our schools and communities are home to so many dynamic foreign language teachers, and it’s a privilege to help them provide the best education possible,” said Mark Luthringshauser, a member of the AFLEF selection committee. “The benefits of high quality foreign language instruction range from better understanding of other cultures and broadened perspectives of our world to improved listening and memorization skills and, ultimately, a better grasp of primary languages.”

This year, AFLEF grants are helping send several teachers from the Adirondack region to the New York State Association For Language Teachers annual conference, including Kathryn Inhelder, a French teacher at AuSable Valley Central School District.

“This conference is a tremendous professional development opportunity,” said Inhelder, whose classroom also received support for new learning materials. “There is no discipline that I would rather teach. As educators, we try to prepare students to be global citizens and build empathy. This year, we have taken a more global approach to the Francophone world, including countries other than France and Canada that speak French. The students have been learning about UNESCO World Heritage sites in Francophone countries and are planning virtual trips to visit. The support from AFLEF will have a lasting impact on our school.”

The Lake George Central School District received funding to purchase a set of noise-canceling headphones for students to practice and record conversations in French and Spanish classroom settings. Emily Cooper, a teacher in the World Languages Department, noted that this new technology will help the school as it implements newly revised state standards, specifically those standards that aim to improve presentational speaking. 

“The most difficult area to plan for and progress in, in terms of practice and assessment, is the mode of presentational speaking,” Cooper said. “It is tricky because of time and space constraints in a typical 40-minute class period and a typically-sized classroom. We are fortunate to have access to tech platforms on which our students can record. The use of noise-canceling headphones lets our students record their speaking in the same space and at the same time. While some students do have access to their own headphones, having the support to purchase a complete set means a level playing field for all students.”

Schools and school districts that received AFLEF grants this year include AuSable Valley, Beekmantown, Boquet Valley, Indian Lake, Lake George, Lake Placid, Malone, Northwood School, Remsen, Saranac, Saranac Lake, Schroon Lake, St. Bernard's School, Ticonderoga, Webb and Tupper Lake.

To learn more about the Adirondack Foreign Language Enhancement Fund at Adirondack Foundation, contact Leslee Mounger at