The attrition of their students as well as many of their teachers says a lot about the learning and working environment at EB. The administration is dishonest to the families that spend good money there and deserve accurate assessments of the students' achievements. Instead, they are told only nice things that are pleasant to hear and left unaware of learning deficiencies. In other cases, very bright children are bored and unchallenged. If you choose this school for your child, you are doing them a disservice.
They spend a lot of money on image; but when it comes to academics, they pinch pennies and the students suffer. The staff is overworked. The facilities are dirty and rodent infested. As someone with a background in child development, I can attest that there are too many shameful examples of undiagnosed children whose disabilities are not being addressed because there are no staff members with enough training to recognize their challenges or intervene.
Ecole Bilingue was established originally as a feeder preschool for the French immersion K-8 at Audubon. It has tried to become instead a private alternative to the city's excellent public French schools, but this ambition has outpaced EB's ability to establish a solid elementary. There is steady attrition from Pre-K3 on as the school fails to meet basic academic needs for all but the youngest and/or most average children, and families move on to Audubon or Lycée. It's easy to keep parents, especially those who are non-French-speaking, enchanted with French songs and dances, videos, pastries and costumes in the early years. But eventually, the kids actually have to learn something to keep apace of their contemporaries at other schools, both French and American. My personal wake-up call was watching a recent presentation by the oldest EB children. The fourth and fifth graders were reading, not reciting, from books in both French and English, at what seemed to me first or second grade level in both languages. Only two or three students had what I would consider to be fluent French, and the lack of proficiency in English was positively alarming. The school is quite different from what it was several years ago; it appears EB was more academically focused in the past. In response, attrition has reached a peak with 1/3 of the school population, including 1/2 of its largest, flagship class (the current second grade) leaving, most of them to Lycée and Audubon. My child is now at Lycée, where we have found a much more rigorous, more intensely French academic program, as well as a fantastic, efficient, beautifully imagined and expertly executed English curriculum. Perhaps the best role for EB would be to return to its original purpose, now that there are so many other fabulous French immersion elementary schools in the city. There are long waiting lists to get into both Audubon and Lycée in grades Pre-K4 & K (100 children+). If EB could focus on dispatching superbly the five grades from Crèche through Kindergarten, it would fill a genuine need in the city as a feeder preschool to those schools. Incidentally, regarding the marketing that makes it sound like a tony little private school: both campuses were infested with rats last year, and the 'small class size' is nothing but the unintended result of many of its formerly most dedicated families giving up and leaving.
Sadly this school is a shade of its former self. Note that the positive reviews date back to 2011, the last time there was a campaign by the school to write positive reviews in order to prevent it from going under. There has now been a second mass exodus from Ecole Bilingue with a third of the elementary school students leaving in the last year, most of them to competing French immersion programs at Lycee Francais and Audubon. The last time this happened was four years ago. At least then the school's troubles were limited to things like communication, shabby facilities, and the inexperience of the school leadership as well as an internal theft by a school employee. Now the school is in an altogether different level of crisis because the academics have suffered, the school is in financial trouble after putting all its money into a middle school building it did not need, and many families have moved on in frustration only to discover at the new schools that their children are far behind academically. It is a great shame. Ecole Bilingue is failing and will not be around much longer in a city with multiple superior French immersion options.
This school is a train wreck. My children were excellent students at this school for 3 years but we finally had to leave. The education is sub par and It is a miserable place full of meanness run by a less than competent administration and Board . The school's most recent advertising campaign is a perfect example. The school is advertising everywhere in print that they are the "only private, only accredited" French immersion school in New Orleans (see NOLA Baby publication, October issue). Not true. The truth is they are the only "private" French immersion school in New Orleans (that's a joke too!) but NOT the only accredited. There are two other FAR superior accredited French immersion schools in the city (Audubon and Lycee). Ecole Bilingue is aware of their false advertising but they are so desperate for students they have resorted to lying in print. This small school of what used to be about 200 students had over FIFTY students leave for this current school year because of the problems and subpar education... AND more have left since school has begun in August 2015! EB marketing spin will tell you these students left to attend American schools or for monetary reasons but this is also an untruth. Until the Board and administration are wiped clean EB will remain a train wreck. I feel terribly sorry for the poor new Vice Principal they cajoled into taking the job - I think he is powerless and had no idea what he was getting himself into. Trust me when I say EB is not worth a dime - there are many other GREAT immersion options in New Orleans. Consider yourself warned....
We have been at the school for 5 years and love it. It has provided a challenging and loving environment for our child. He has made lots of friends, his French is excellent and he is thriving in both art and music. We especially like the fact that this school is fully accredited by the France educational system. Ecole Bilingue is also on the verge of expanding its footprint and adding a middle school. We cannot say enough about this cool little school, the wonderful teachers, the caring admin and its deciated parents.
We really wanted to love this school; but I am just not impressed. The public schools have much more to offer in terms of cleaner and better equipped campuses, more staff on hand to assist the children, and more challenging curriculums. EB is more focused on expansion than the needs of its students and they don't address the concerns of the parents at all.