This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
French International School1
Posted April 29, 2014
- a parent
I'm French. I was born and raised in Paris and I went through the French school system through the Bac. So naturally when I moved to Bethesda I enrolled my then 3 year old since I wanted him to learn to read and write in French. OMG had I known what a mistake it was and what school district I was in I'd gone with another strategy but hindsight is 20/20... my son was at LR for 5 years and that was 2 years too long. I told them as I left that if they were in France they'd be closed. Horrible school. Horrible teachers, horrible leadership... just BAD all around. Targets IMF and WB who stay 2 yrs and need the continuity. Everyone else is a disturbance. Expensive for what it is. Amateurish teachers (missed a case of dyslexia in my son's class) and VERY high turnover. No help for any kind of situations, arrogance runs rampant. Horrible environment. Don't send your kids here, there are too many exceptional schools in that disctrict!
We have had children in the school for over a decade. Teaching methods are fairly strict, which may not always be understood by parents who do not know the French system. The breadth of knowledge that our kids have acquired is great. In recent years we have seen the school promote arts through cinema, music and theater activities by students and faculty, which to us is a real plus. In the past parents were not invited much in the life of the school, but this is changing. Faculty and staff range from excellent to okay (with a few bad apples, but probaby not more than in any other school).
If your family is not French-speaking, this would not be a school for your child(-ren). Just look at their website. I have sent both my children to the "maternelle" school for 4 years now and am quite disappointed when I realize that both my children neither speak Fremch well after being at the school since they were 3 years old. Even though, the curriculum is based on the French Ministry of Education, the teachers have the ultimate say in what they wish to cover. For example, the theme of my daughter's preschool curriculum at 4 years old, was mainly based on recycling and being green. That's great and everything, but for $16,000 tuition, I would have wanted the focus to be more on speaking French, learning English at the level of the surrounding international schools and allow some parental say in what is taught. Walking in, especially to the preschool campus on Bradley Blvd, you can really sense how it would be, if you decide to send your child to the school. A very abrupt and far from friendly, receptionist and teachers who are too strict with the children. Very French.
My family has been in this school from elementary to secondary school and we love it. We are a bilingual (French-English) family and there is no other school in the Washington area that would enable our children to remain truly bilingual (spoken/written French & English). The local Mont Co. immersion programs aren't rigorous enough and few families can successfully complete an American education in parallel with the CNED (French correspondence course). This school has a unique niche for bilingual education that doesn't exist elsewhere. The student body is international and most students speak at least 3 languages. Strong emphasis on math, science & English. The baccalaureate results are excellent - 80+% earning "mention" or honors. The graduates go on to Ivy League , Canadian universities (in-Provence tuition for French nationals) and European universities. Most of the teachers have been there for years & have lots of experience and passion. The school has been recently refurbished with the latest classroom technology and a beautiful new soccer field. A new track and field area will soon be completed. If you want your children to be truly bilingual, this is the school for you.
Great International school with strong french curriculum and english language program from kindergarten to 12th grade. Strong leadership, Staff and teachers are really dedicated and involved. Outstanding exams results in french Baccalaureate and in International option. Admission in the best ranked universities in US, Canada, UK and also in Classes preparatoires in France or Sciences Po. We Had a truelly nice and effeicient experience for our 3 children in this real international school and Community.
This school is not service oriented. Actually, parents are largely considered as a nuisance by school managers and their assistants. This is too bad as teachers are good and dedicated. A dissatified parent.
I agree with the previous comment. Lots of conflicts within the school and between the school and parents. Not a nice environment to educate your kids. Also, costs are much too high for the service provided.
Lycee Rochambeau would rank above average in France, albeit far from the top of the range. Reason lies more in the absence of selection (which would hit revenues...) and the difficult task of integrating non-French students into a strictly French curriculum. Efforts are made in this respect though. A good (and very French) school overall that lacks a bit of discipline. A satisfied parent.