I definitely agree with the reviewers who said to go to Ecole Bilingue until 5th grade. The curriculum during that time is great, good teachers, a one-on-one experience. In middle school, it's a whole other story. The teachers say, "Your child will be fully prepared when they go to high school. They'll be at the same level as other students at different schools." That's because they cram everything in the last years, especially 8th grade. Basically all of the students are weak in math, science, social studies, English, and more. They only start doing basic math i.e., adding fractions, in 6th grade. As well as that, their French program is poor. If you don't speak French at home, even after 9-10 years, it's difficult to have a conversation in French. Most teachers do not give enough support to the students, some give off a sort of apathetic vibe. Despite that, the laptop program is definitely beneficial. EB puts a lot of emphasis on community-building. There are great programs, sometimes even put together by students, to work together as a community. Overall, this school definitely does a poor job on preparing for high school. Below average.
I am writing this review, at least in part, in response to the reviews posted in October and June of 2011. Transition from middle-school to high school is difficult and I am sympathetic for the trials of the parents who wrote the negative comments. Our experience at EB has been entirely different and very positive. We have had two daughters at EB since "mid- kindergarten". One is still in middle school and the other is in high school. EB is a small school that our children absolutely love. As parents, we are very satisfied with the academic rigor and the social environment. My oldest daughter graduated from EB middle school last year and is now in the International Baccalaureate track at Berkeley High School. She is really thriving at BHS and has been doing very well in math (honors geometry) and her other subjects. She was well prepared for high school and has brought great learning skills (note-taking, writing, organizing, etc.) from EB to her new environment. My younger daughter is still in middle school and she is maturing into a well-rounded, well-educated young-adult. EB is really a very sophisticated and diverse environment. It is working great for our children!
We continue to have a wonderful experience at EB. We chose EB for its academics and to give our children the gift of true fluency in a foreign language. Though we are not French and do not speak the language, we feel very welcome at EB. It's a marvelous, gregarious community. We are all having a lot of fun. Our expectations have not only been met, but greatly exceeded. In our 10 year association with the school our children have never been bullied. Only a couple of times have we heard about bullying incidents involving other children and EB responded quickly and appropriately. Our oldest daughter is at the International High School in SF and doing very well. She was accepted at several great private high schools but chose IHS because she wants to get the French Baccalaureate. She is not a native French speaker and she still needs to work harder than many of the French students. She takes some subjects in French that most middle schools don't teach such as Physics and Chemistry. These subjects can be tough in any language! She is nevertheless very well prepared. Our other daughter just started in the middle school at EB. She is working hard and having a good time.
EB is a good school if your child only goes there until 5th grade. Now looking back, this is what I should have done, and is the reason I write this review to let other parents know. I 100% agree with the review posted on June 28, 2011. Unlike other middle schools, EB middle school students have 14 courses! Because of this load, they are weak on many core subjects, for example English, Math, Science or French grammar (I was so shocked to hear about difficulty with French from several EB graduates at a High School Information Night). They may be able to speak daily dialog in French well after many years at EB. It does not mean they really master the language adequately. I suggest you visit the middle school campus and other schools before making your decision. The campus is really small. The hall way is jammed between classes, and yard is crowded during recess. After a stressful test or learning a new challenging subject, some students, like my child, would prefer a peaceful corner to breath some fresh air. Because of the space limitation, conflicts or bullying occurs often in the middle school. From what I hear, not everyone enjoys spending 11 years with a same group of kids.
This schools supposed "strength" is it's exact weakness. The bilingual aspect of the school is alright until the child enters middle school. The children who attend Ecole Bilinge are usually on par with the other private schools UNTIL they reach middle school. My child attended from grades 5-8. When she reached higschool, she was quite unprepared as were other children from her class who attended challenging high schools. I greatly regret my sending her to this school. As I said before, the French focus is fine until middle school. The children fall behind! I sincerely pray that no other teacher makes the same mistake I did when I sent my child to this school. I feel guilty that I have taken something from her, her middle school education.
This school embodies everything that a great school should be! Teachers and support staff who know and care about each student, Rigorous academics, with a well rounded curriculum that is carefully taught so that the children can optimally learn. Teachers are supported by the administration and the parents, and concerns of parents are addressed appropriately. Ultimately, it leads to a wonderful school/community experience for everyone.
EB has been the best choice of a private, bilingual school for our son, who is now 7 and in the 2nd grade. He is in his fourth year and his French & English reading and writing skills are exemplary. Teachers are involved, dedicated, prepared & attentive. They have fostered his 'boy energy" well. Field trips, art projects and class curriculum are creative, thoughtful and effective. The faculty & staff have been focused on growing the stature of the school campus and the depth of the education. They do a good job of hearing and acting on parental input without being patronizing. Their 30 years of success has been well deserved. I am also pleased with the ethnic & cultural diversity of the school. Although due to the tough economic climate attrition has increased. California needs to support school choice to make quality education more affordable to middle class families.
This is a great school. It is a small community and all of the students are together starting from 3 years old until 8th grade! It is very diverse and my child who comes from a non-French background was able to pick up the language in three years!
In middle school, we all become so close like brothers and sisters. It's such a great community, and I am so greatful to my parents for enrolling me here.
Good school with rigorous academic program. The program incorporates extracurricular activities, including music, dance, fine art, and sports. High level of parent involvement.
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