Charlemagne is about as good as it gets for 4J elementary schools, which isn't saying much. They don't follow the national French curriculum and your kid could easily leave here after 6 years knowing little French. The principal has no language immersion experience, and a surprising number of teachers don't even speak French (blame the union for that). When we realized that 4J schools really don't have an actual curriculum that you can put your finger on we decided to move to this school; so at least our kids could walk away with something. Certain grades at Charlemagne are "lost years." There are a few very effective teachers, many mediocre teachers and some totally ineffective teachers that without union protection would have been gone years ago.
Wealthy families have school choice in the form of buying into wealthy neighborhoods with relatively good schools or sending their kids to private schools. It is nice that working class families like ours who can't afford the University area or private schools have school choice as well. Amazingly, there is a pretty strong movement in the name of equity to get rid of what little school choice there is in 4J. Crazy! So, Charlemagne could be so much better in so many ways but if you are stuck in the failing 4J system, the French tract is the least-worst way through the mess.
Charlemagne is a great school with a real carying and loving teachers, the only school in Eugene that provides children with the french immersion program at no cost to students or their parents. Children are working hard growing organic vegetables at the Charlemagne garden, fully funded and operated by parents-volunteers. The school has a great cheering spirit of doing things the right way, giving back to the community, getting a high-quality education.
As a former teacher for 12 years at Charlemagne, I was honored to be able to spend time here in a different capacity in the year 2013-2014. I met dedicated teachers committed to the welfare of these children, a warm and welcoming secretary, and parents who nurtured the children of the larger community thoughtfully as well as caring for their own. The interim principal is bright and kind and works hard at supporting the French character of the school. I only wish that more of Eugene's children had the kind of support that Charlemagne's children receive.
As a French citizen I was delighted to be able to enroll my daughters in a French immersion school. They have spent 2 years there and love it. I am very impressed by our amazing teachers, in all grades, by our new principal, our secretary who knows all the students and by the great sense of community. The parents have been helpful and welcoming, the teachers are always available and manage to meet every student's need. The school is in an idyllic location. Daycare is also available on site. There are programs such as ice cream socials, picnics... to welcome new families. We love the school and feel very lucky to be part of this community and reassured about our daughters academic and social education.
Because we are getting a new principal next year (Yeah!!) I think that most of the concerns voiced here will be taken care of by her departure. I know the incoming principal from the school he was at formally and I can say I have high hopes that things will start to look up.
The best thing about Fox Hollow is the community of parents. The worst thing about it is the academic mediocrity, but this could be said about all schools in the area. A part of the problem is that the teachers have to teach almost 50 kids each term, because they each get 25 in the AM, and 25 others in the PM. Resources are scant. There is a lot of staff turnover. The kids love being 'Frenchies', but any parent who is well-educated knows how academically weak the education is, and how uneducated their kids will be , as compared to peers, after 6 years of Fox Hollow. The problem is, this is as good as it gets in Eugene. If you can't afford private school, be prepared to tutor your kids in English, math, and science.
Charlemagne is academically strong, the school community is close knit, and as opposed to what one other reviewer stated, my family has never felt unaccepted due to our lower income status. The principal is wonderful, and she is so well informed of what is going on in the school, in the district, as well as in the greater community, and she keeps all families informed through regular emails and newsletters. The secretary is wonderful, knows each kid and their circumstances, and keeps everything running way better than just smoothly. The school is a wonderful part of a great school district, and I couldn't be happier that my child attends. Every school district should have the school choice system so that parents can choose what works best for their children and their family in general. Some people prefer language immersion, or arts or tech based curriculum, or Waldorf, Montessori or co-op, etc.
Our family has attended Fox Hollow for many years and the only peaceful year we had was our first. The principal at this school does not seem to care at all about the children. It has been a constant struggle to stay in the program, but I believe in what learning a second language can do for the mind. If only people cared about all of the children and there needs, not just there own. What ever happened to community. I give it one star for for the language