I would highly advise against sending your kid to this school unless for some reason you desperately need to. The school is a total mess. There are some very good teachers but plenty of bad ones who stay for years and for whom nothing is ever done. The directors and many of the teachers and administration come from the French public school system where they really should have stayed because they understand nothing about what it means to teach in a private school where standards are high and parents expect an above average level of teaching skills and service. Please spare yourself the time and go visit the excellent public schools in the greater DC area or a private school that really knows what it is doing.
From the reviews I've read, a few things are clear coming from the dissatisfied parents: either your kid doesn't have what it takes to excel in this rigorous milieu that surely doesn't hand out medals to every kid, or you have a problem with management because they repeatedly ignore your pleas. The former is frequent and a lot of kids end up in american school not because the curriculum is lacking (on the contrary, it is top notch - just compare it to any american school) but because their kid could not keep up. The latter is unfortunately encountered in virtually every establishment - good luck getting your voice heard in an american school with 2932093 students and parents in it. This is just my two cents but I am continually impressed with the quality of the students and teachers that this school consistently churns out. My daughter went to McGill, and is now accepted to medical school. My son got an offer from Georgetown coming from 1ere. Although they've begged me to be transferred to American school when the going got rough, today they frequently mention how this french system helped them blossom into the people they are today: smart, driven, competitive and highly educated.
Before you select this school, request that they send you the annual report that is sent to all parents, which summarizes the school's performance over the past year. It contains the # of graduating students who were accepted by various universities, the percent of students passing the Bac (100%), and the number who took the SAT (very low - only a handful of students) as well as their average score (disappointing - not high enough to get in to University of MD). I have 2 sons who attended the Lycee Rochambeau from 1st grade until graduation. Both earned grades that either met the class average or exceeded it every year, and both did very well on the Bac. But their low scores on the SAT limited their college options to universities in the French school system. Their scores may be due to a language barrier (hard to quickly interpret complex English sentences when you read only French text books and literature), a lack of adequate teaching of math skills and analytical reasoning, or an overly lax and forgiving grading environment. English is the universal language of science and business, and US universities are excellent - and they are now out of reach for my sons.
I'm French and my son is now at the local elementary school. We are in the BEST school district in the country and why would anyone put up with their "holier than thou" attitude for 20k/yr is absolutely beyond my comprehension... and I'm French! This school should be called "World Bank/IMF school" because that's their bus. model. Cater to people who are only staying a couple of years will go back to a Francophone country and need a continuum in the curriculum (notice I didn't say France). If that's you, knock yourself out. Teacher turnout is high as is admins, this is the worst. My son was utterly miserable there and got tortured, bullied daily with no one caring whatsoever. Horrible place especially for any kid needing an IEP/504!!!! These kids get put down by teachers and admins and peers on a daily basis among general indifference because "it's their own fault". The difference once I left was life-changing!
One thing that's clear from reading these reviews, you either really love this school or really hate it. I really love it. I am American and my 3 kids have attended the school for 5 years. I have never seen or heard of anything resembling the negative experiences below.
I just discovered this website, and can't agree more with the disatisfied parents. Management, teachers, admin staff are the worst you can imagine. End of school year will be a relief for our children. And our decision is made : they will go to a local high school and they will pass their "bac" as "candidat libre". Good luck if you decide to enrol your child here, you will pay a fortune for an average education. Not worth.
I have been thrilled with the quality of education provided by this school. All of the teachers that my daughter has had have been outstanding. I have had no issues with the administration; they have been supportive in all cases. I think what I find most amazing is the level of rigor and student behavior at the middle and high school levels. Before making any decision, I'd highly recommend touring the school. The contrast between this school and an American one is dramatic. We are driving everyday for an hour to go to this school and it's worth it.
Teachers are good. School management is incompetent possibly due to the fact that they are politically appointed French civil servants sent to the US under 2-3 year contracts without any prior knowledge of or experience in the US. In the end, decisions are arbitrary, depend on who the children or the parents while management decision process is largely opaque. Also, as already pointed out by other parents, this school is much too conflictual to represent a good learning environment. I would not recommend this school. An unsatisfied parent.
The Lyc e Rochambeau is unfortunately not the best option in the area. Nope. And, as a parent it is so much difficult to engage with the management and the teachers. Forget the PTA. Curriculum is good indeed, but teachers here do not empower your children, do not help them to build up their self confidence which they will need in our competitive world. Still wondering if I did the right choice for my children.Day after day, doubt is bigger. Especially when I compare within my neighborhood in Chevy Chase.
This is a great school but the cirriculum is very demanding with significant homework in the higher grades that is the reason why it is not a school for everybody. The level of english is excellent and my children know English sometimes better than their friends in American school! Also the school started teaching Spanish to 3rd graders. But even more telling, most students get their high school degree with honor ( which is quite difficult in French schools) and get admitted to the most prestigious colleges in the Us and worldwide. Most of them can even start college directly in 2nd year because the level of education is so high. My children had none of the experiences described by certain parents, on the contrary, the teachers are great and it is well rounded education and they have not been bullied at school.
In this school, my child learned how to curse thanks to his Kindergarden teacher that was shouting the whole day. And this year, I'm trying to alert the management of the Rollingwood campus on a bullying case. But they do not react, respond, to the concerns of the family. I'm not paying 17 grant per year to get that kind of teaching. Looking forward to be at the end of the school year. I will register him in another school within the area (they are not more expensive than this low quality institution).
We are a blended family with one francophone and one american parent. We have two kids in the maternelle school and have been pleased so far. The teachers for both of our kids are very thoughtful and have dynamic lesson plans. The school is much more diverse than most area private schools and significantly less expensive. An added benefit is the IB track. It has been a very good choice for us thus far.
Why pay a private education for a service that is much below that provided by some public schools in the area? Although some teachers are good, management is problematic, unresponsive to parents' needs and internal conflicts abound. The number of school days is much below average while the classes are overcrowded. This school provides an average French public service at a cost of a private American education. You do not want your kids to be there. A dissatisfied parent.
The worst experience ever. I'm currently looking for another option in the middle of the year. My 3.5yo child has a crazy teacher. The management does not want to listen to me or find a solution, the parents association rep. is of any help... A nightmare. For such a fortune!
Interesting to see how people are starting to talk about this school which on the paper sounds good but in practice is a nightmare. Especially in Kindergarden. Message pour les parents fran ais : si vous venez pour 1 ou 2 ans, et que vos enfants sont jeunes, mettez les a l'ecole US, ils auront une vraie initiation a la langue anglaise. C'est un autre point noir de Rochambeau. Vous venez a DC pour du long terme, mettez vos enfants dans le systeme US, ils seront mieux integres. Public schools in MD or in VA are among the best of the country. Why would you want to pay for a low-level education system?
I can only agree with the previous review. Coming from Europe I was expecting a top high quality from this French school in the USA. But our kids got the worst. This is now enough, and after a few years we decided to enroll them in another school.
A French school in the USA, close to the Nation's capital... That sounded great. We were expecting to get the best of the two worlds for our kids. But we just got the worst. Especially when it comes to the Management team and the way they address bullying cases or any concern you could have with the way your kids are being treated by their teachers... The administration and faculty would prefer to bury their heads in the sand, turning a blind eye on you and your kids, just expecting to get to the end of the school year without having to address your concerns. So If you're considering enrolling your kids there... don't. This is a French school, where even some administrative staff do NOT speak English, behaving like they are extraterritorial... This school is for French people that do not want to be part of the US melting pot. This school does not welcome or know how to respond to Americans that want to introduce their kids to another culture. Arrogant and unprofessional, that's what they are. A very disatisfied parent!
It's a great school. They have high standards and expectations of the students and don't follow the philosophy of 'every child gets a medal' which is ruining our country and making us non-competitive in the rest of the world. It also has great English teachers. My son reads and writes better than his counterparts in other private schools even though he only takes English three times per week.
The curriculum at Lycee Rochambeau is good, and some teachers are excellent. In my experience (and my child went there for 13 years), most teachers are fair to good, and some are not very good, and there isn't much that can be done about it. When my son first started kindergarten, there was open opposition from many parents and even some (although just a few, but nonetheless) teachers to the presense of non-French children in the school. This sentiment continued to be felt throughout the middle and highschool years and was even reflected in the way some teachers graded non-French students. The English program was very problematic in my experience. English simply was not given enough priority. Despite all the problems, the gift of a second language is priceless. It is sad that the students had to acquire it in a less desirable atmosphere.
Excellent school. Great teaching methods that make kids learn while having so much fun.
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