SDFAS is a great school. We are a French family living in San Diego and our teenager has just spend two wonderful years in the middle school. There are only 15 students per class and the teachers are very understandable, helpful in many ways and know so well our children. Since his first day at the SDFAS when he arrives in 6th Grade, our son enjoyed this school right away. Every student is welcoming the new students so easily, it was amazing to see how fast they all become friends. The school also organizes many after school activities that my son didn't know which to choose, several potlucks for Halloween, Christmas or other fun events. It's always a plesaure for the parents to meet the other parents. When you are new in the area, administrative people and parents are always here and ready to help you to make you feel good. This school is like a big family atmosphere where everbody is happy to be part of it. Now we are going back to France and our son is able to enter any school he wants to in France, even in International Section. So great experience, too bad it doesn't last!
This is my son's forth year here, he started in the two year old preschool. We love it. The classes are small, the teachers are great and the administration awesome. I love that my son is learning two languages and is exposed to a very international culture. His vocabulary in both languages is amazing. More important, he loves going to school every day!
We love the San Diego French American School (SDFAS)! I have two kids who came from a much-touted small charter school where they went from being far ahead in reading to way below their peer group. Then we came to SDFAS. The teachers and staff are superb! Friendly yet professional, they seem to gently exhort the children to do their very best work. The turnaround in my children is nothing short of stunning. Writing in cursive, in both English and French, and being eager to do homework! The math curriculum is the same as used in the French schools and is very intuitive and fun for my kids. Worth every cent!
As a former student of San Diego French American School I can say that I look back at my time with the fondest of memories to include the beautiful friendships I made, the diversity in my learning experiences, and the opportunities it opened up for me as a young adult. I attended SDFAS in 3rd grade, and then again from 6th - 8th grade but I did not realize the value of my time spent there until I graduated from the middle school program and went on to a larger school system. I immediately noticed differences in my level of knowledge, my sense of responsibility with my school work, my ability to think outside of the box and especially my problem solving skills when comparing to other students in my 9th grade classes. Now at 25, working as a director of marketing for a statewide pediatric home healthcare company in Texas, I still practice the work methods I was taught at SDFAS. I would love to be able to give my children future children the same opportunity I had by attending SDFAS as I know I would not be where I am today had I attended any other school in San Diego.
My kids have been in the SDFAS since preschool, one of them has graduated last year and is now at La Jolla High. Not only has it been a nurturing and highly academic environment but we also felt supported at every step (we are not french speakers). As a result of my children are very aware about other cultures, have inquisitive minds and are good kids. The classes are small so their relationships are very close and they feel like they matter (and are not only a number). My son had no problem transitioning to La Jolla High, was placed on some advance classes and has no problem getting A's. Best decision we made!!
My daughter went to the San Diego French American School for the 2nd half of 8th grade last year. This was one of the best experiences of her life, and had a major positive impact on her confidence and preparation for high school. She had been taking French from a tutor for several years, but we had no immersion school available in our home town. We had to temporarily move to San Diego for work, and thought this would be a great opportunity for her to gain greater expertise in French. The school was extremely accommodating, and all of the students and teachers worked very hard to make her feel welcome and to integrate her into the curriculum. They were very willing to work extra with her when needed, and were very clearly concerned about her specific needs and skills. It was truly a wonderful experience for our daughter, and we have only positive things to say about this school and the way in which it enhanced both her skills and her confidence in her own abilities.
We have three children that have attended SDFAS for 5 years. Our eldest graduated after attending for four years. He transitioned easily to a college prep private school in the area. His french and spanish levels were exceptional and required him to take a different language as he needed to have three years of a foreign language. His math level was exceptional as well and he easily moved into honors algebra II as a freshman. Our two younger children continue to grow academically at SDFAS. I agree with several other posts that the turn over of teachers especially in middle school is an issue with the program. The English program in middle school has been less than optimal for several years. The administration has been slow in responding to this issue. It is inevitable that as small schools grow they must suffer some growing pains. That being said we feel fortunate that our children are receiving a more global education than would be taught in a traditional public school in the US. They also have friends now from all over the world. Learning in a dual curriculum environment helps mold the brain differently than learning in a traditional educations system.
My child attended SDFAS for PK0 and PK1. We do not speak French at home, and she had no experience with French prior to her joining the two-year-old class. We were thrilled at the learning environment SDFAS provided her, and all of the teachers she had (leads and assistants) were outstanding. Becoming comfortable conversing in another language takes time - every child goes at their own pace. Our daughter picked up English words quite easily, so we guessed that a multi-lingual curriculum would be a good fit. She thrived at SDFAS in all areas and could speak in simple sentences by the second year. We especially liked the option of choosing between additional math and science preparation, which is all presented in a fun, interesting format, and adding Mandarin to her weekly plan. The student population is culturally diverse, and the school does a good job of bringing many different cultural traditions to life within the curriculum. School administrators are exceptionally qualified, responsive and forward-thinking, and an active parent community organizes special events, etc. If we hadn't moved, we would have kept our daughter at the school. It is part of San Diego that we miss most!
San Diego French American School is a Wonderful concept IF it were more organized & had facts to support the $your investing -prepares your child for college for $16k+/ year. The facility is very poor for children - the school looks like a trailer park. The preschool curriculum was amazing and great, however the preschool facility was poor. The tuition has increased every year - It is rumored they want their tuition to reach nearer $20k and that would be fine if the school was in the "league" of other schools in that market. There are Superior schools in the San Diego region both public & private with tuitions ><16k where they have proven track records with student performance and where they end up graduating college. This information is not given by SDFAS like other Top performing schools. If the school was managed more like the schools in that tuition league, had similar environment, sports teams then we would stay and pay. It is not worth the money to us , with other options.
"We love this school. Not only has our son developed the ability to read, speak, and write in French, but he is also acquiring all the other benefits of second-language instruction: tolerance, respect, and love of other cultures; the aptitude to acquire even more languages with greater ease; the ability to easily access the higher executive function of the brain, which multi-linguals possess, and which sharpens problem-solving across various disciplines; and the advantage of linguistic and cultural fluency that is crucial to the next generation's success in the global economy. He also benefits from the small, intimate nature of the school and the extra attention the teachers can give to all students in their small-sized classes."
My daughter went to SDFAS for 8 years and my son for 6. We have moved to France a year ago. When we arrived, my daughter had a little catching up to do in French (which makes sense), but in maths she was far ahead from the lot as she had already covered most of the topics at SDFAS, thanks to an amazing maths teacher. My son was quite surprised to have a more advanced French level than his new French classmates. Both kids ended the year top of the class in their new French schools. SDFAS is not only about learning another language, it is about mixing two different (and sometimes common) cultures, values, and ways of thinking. The math approach in French is very different to the american way of problem solving. In languages, the American curriculum requires a lot of writing, which makes up for the lack of in the French curriculum. The French culture gives great importance to art and cooking, while the American culture develps a good sense of business early on. After a bit more than a year in France, we miss the many opportunities SDFAS offered to perform in front of an audience, be it the weekly "forum" or the yearly Talent show which was a very enriching experience.
I have one child that graduated from SDFAS and just started public high school and we both are so impressed at how well he adjusted. He is in the most advanced classes and he and a fellow alumn are the top two students in their English class. The middle school has great teachers now and my second child is now benefitting from this. She had a great experience so far since Kindergarden. The best part of the school is the environment. They are good kids and the administration is responsive. My kids are perfectly bilingual, biliterate, and advanced in math, not mention they are learning Spanish. Putting them in the school was the best decision.
I rate this school poorly in teaching French as a second language, poorly in teaching technology and science, poorly in American History, and overall poorly in preparing Americans for an American curriculum beyond elementary school. This curriculum best suits a niche population of French students who are temporarily living in San Diego.
Staying at SDFAS was the worst mistake we could have done! There is not a curriculum in place and each new year feels like arriving to a new school since each teacher has her own methodology and expectations which conflict with the previous teacher you just had. Teachers do not stay for long so there is constant transition! The students get confused and there is not a systematic curriculum to follow. We had a terrible English teacher in 3rd grade and the administration did not do anything about it even with numerous complaints from parents. This was a total lost year for us. The middle school is even worse and this is why very few children (mostly the French who need to go back to France) stay in the school. This school will not prepare your children for a competitive Lycee, and even less for a good american middle or high school. It is all based on constant testing, but no reflection. The English department needs a curriculum coordinator to train incoming inexperienced teachers. It is a hit and miss depending on how qualified is the new teacher. Some, I would never recommend. I cannot say that students learned effectively in this kind of environment.
My child began attending this school in in preschool. I kept her in this school till the sixth grade. This was a HUGE mistake. To be honest she has a very limited understanding of French. What a pity! The teachers may have Master's degrees, but believe me they do not have the education in how to teach an English speaker French. I know this now because I have sent my youngest daughter to another bilingual school to learn Chinese. (I still believe it is an asset to be bilingual). My youngest daughter is in the first grade and she understands Chinese at a deeper level then my oldest understood French by third grade!. This is because the foundations of the language at the Chinese school were so clearly and competently taught to my youngest while my oldest was put in a very confusing incompetent plan to teach a second language.This realization fills me with remorse that my older daughter had to suffer with the inadequacy of San Diego French American school for so long! This is a poor school. Do not waste your money or your precious child's time. Education is the greatest gift you can give your child and there are alternative bilingual schools in San Diego that are much better!
This school is amazing in its Pre school education starting with the 2 yr old PKO! It was the best decision we made to let our little one start at age 2 -5 days a week - he is surrounded by diverse - well rounded children - You should request a tour to see the environment that your child would learn.
My two children have attended the SDFAS for 6 years. The first four years were great but as they entered middle school, we found the education to be poor. My son graduated from SDFAS in June 2008 and continued his studies in French at the Lycee. SDFAS does not properly prepare kids for either French or English High Schools like they say they do. We found out the hard way. While my son was an 'A' student at SDFAS, he has been struggling the entire first semester to reach the Lycee level. We kindly made the school aware of these findings so they can look into this ... but the French are too proud. I recently transferred my daughter to the American middle school and are dealing with the same problem. She is behind in English math and US history. I do not recommend this school at the higher grades.
My children have been going to the SDFAS for 5yrs. We are an English speaking family. Both of my children are completely bi-lingual. The school is growing which is fantastic. The current Kindergarten class is at a record breaking high. My children really look forward to going to school in the morning to see there friends. We love the fact that they know each of their class mates so well and have know them for a long time. We love having such a close knit community of people for our kids to grow up with. The teachers are always willing to help. If you are looking to give your child an bi-lingual education, this is a great school to do it at.
This school is really for two types of people. The first type is for people who already know french. The second type is for people who don't know french but are willing to pay tutors and go to a french speaking country so their children can learn the language. This school does not have a comprehensive program to help English speaking only families, you're on your own. Around 3rd grade is when many English speaking only parents leave because they discover their children will not become fluent in french by just going to this school.
I have two children at the school and have been part of the community of the school for four years now. My experience has been that the quality of the teachers is exceptional. They are well educated, they care about the kids, and they are easy to communicate with. The school is growing, and has some minor growing pains, but the community of the school is rich. Parents often stay to talk after dropping off the kids - an added bonus is that school events that are pot luck are often conucopias of exciting French and ethnic foods from around the world (and not re-heats from cost-co). We love the school and wish it great success.
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