On of the best, if not the best, private school option in Portland. The academics are stellar, facilities fantastic and expanding, and a wonderful group of parents and teacher. We have two children at the school and there's no better educational opportunity anywhere in the metro area.
Our older son is in his 3rd yr at FAIS (kindergarten) and he loves it. Our younger son started in PS this year. He has learning disabilities (sensory issues and likely ADHD.) We ended up having to take him out today. However I just want to say that the teachers, administration, counselor, aids, etc were so wonderful throughout the process. They went above and beyond to try and help him be successful there. Meanwhile, our older son is getting so many wonderful experiences from field trips, older kids reading, dancing, singing for the class, library, obstacle course, PE, outdoor forest learning, and yes, the entire global experience. It's a bit expensive but WELL worth it!! The test scores over the years show that if you keep the child in the school over the long run, the scores are at and above both private/public schools in the area. Lastly, soon FAIS will be one of the only IB accredited french curriculum schools. Highly recommend this school for most children.
Our child started at PS level and first 2 years were great. Our opinion of the school changed from K and above. FAIS might be a good French school but it is not great academically, average at best. For our family learning a second language is not the primary concern and we have been frustrated with the level of math and science education in the school. They have hard time finding competent French speaking teachers and retaining them. Every year there is at least one new teacher. This is a lot if you consider there is only 3 classes at each grade. And parent body is cliquish, class assignments certainly reflect that. It is the French democracy, some people are more equal than others. For the amount of money we are paying, we are not really happy. We'd rather go to a public school but it is hard to pull your child out of the school once you start since their curriculum is different than other schools.
The French American School complies with the curriculum that is required by the French government. They do have a somewhat differing style, timing, and emphasis. This means that parents whose children are in the early grades may detect a difference in the pace of learning and the subject matter that is being taught. To judge the entire curriculum based on the math skills of an individual student is not necessarily a fair assessment. When speaking with teachers from rigorous high schools such as OES and Catlin Gabel, they give universal praise to the preparation of the students who matriculated at French American School, and the Gilkey International Middle School. We have often heard that the FAIS students are better prepared for high school that their own students. We have had excellent communication between ourselves and the teacher, and have always been welcomed by the teachers.
As an alumnus of FAIS and a college grad majoring in international political economy, I want to say what a great job FAIS did in preparing me for the challenges of high school and eventually college. FAIS strong academic program, coupled with its international curriculum, prepared me better than most of my peers for the challenges of an academically rigorous college-prep high school. As importantly, my ability to speak three languages fluently has opened up numerous career options for me in today s more global economy. In fact, I truly feel that the educational experience I received at FAIS has had a greater impact on my future than my high school and college experiences combined. Merci beaucoup, FAIS!
We were told this was an academic school taught in French. But, we are finding after several years that this is a French school, not an academic school. Academics are lacking in the early years (ps through K). The local public school is more advanced in math than my child is. I feel I need to do a lot of supplemental teaching at home. There is very little communication to the parents on what is going on in the classroom. This is an ongoing concern and the school is doing very little about it. Many parents have complained, but no action to resolve. This is very disappointing considering this is a private school.
We have had great success with our son at the school. He is thriving. Our motivation for placing him at the school has not been singularly focused on language immersion but also on the benefits associated with student teacher ratios that are less than half that in the Oregon Public School equivalent. The school does not prevent students from applying for academic or behavioral reasons. Instead, they are open to all children and work very hard to include everyone. Those who would make sweeping statements regarding who belongs or who does not belong reflect an ignorant and intolerant position that is not reflected by the school staff in my experience. We have found the teachers to be highly capable as well as highly motivated.
It is a trade-off: more French and less American. Here is an honest assessment. We had two children at FAS until 5th grade and found the teaching standards and quality vary within and between the grades. One child had a far better education than the other. When a student leaves FAS in 1st-5th grade only those with French proficiency can be enrolled. Some children do not belong at FAS for academic or behavioral reasons, making learning a challenge. The teachers are personable. The English curriculum does not meet the same standards as the public schools . There is a lack of flexibility to offer higher levels of work outside the French curriculum . Policy changes are made with little, if any, notice, irritating most. Students from FAS have an automatic acceptance into GIMS; outside students have to present grades and SSAT test scores to qualify. Most FAS students come into GIMS unprepared and not able to meet the new academic expectations; many will be successful at, thrive in, and enjoy GIMS. An immersion program is not for everyone, but both children have easily learned 2 add l languages. We enjoyed being active volunteers and making great friends!
This is truly one of the premiere foreign language immersion programs in the Country. It provides unparalleled immersion benefits to the children fortunate enough to attend. As such, admission is competitive. Educational opportunities like this are not easily established nor maintained without significant financial support of the families involved. This is especially true in challenging economic times. Enrollment is stable at pre-recession levels and the school is actively investing in its future. Regarding claims of excessive requests for funds: What is telling is the percentage of total yearly budget actually supplied by fund raising less than 10%. The primary source of funding, by far, comes from tuition payments. This is one reason sibling discounts have been eliminated as has become common in most top tier programs nationally in recent years. The school recently completed major expansion of its facilities and appears poised to further expand its IB curriculum.
Our 2 kids have been at the school for over 5 years from PS on. Even though we have been satisfied with the education and values they have received we are very disappointed with the administration of the school. From the elimination of siblings discounts, the constant requests for funds to the unclear or misleading communications on how the funds are spent; have taken their toll on our patience and trust in the school administration.
This school is amazing; teachers are all native speakers, academic rigor is the norm, and it is a truly mind-expanding experience for children.
FAIS' middle school, Gilkey International is truly a great school. Our daughter entered 6th grade at Gilkey from public elementary. Language, humanities, science and math are all top notch. Writing is stressed by amazing teachers, especially in the social sciences and english. Teaching is excellent in all subjects. My daughter discovered the joys of math with the mentoring of remarkable women teachers. Math in particular is helped by the the French approach to academic excellence, but the entire educational model at Gilkey is made better by its influence. Making it the best middle school in the city as far as I'm concerned. I've heard it said that Gilkey kids are often the best prepared for high school, both public and private and that the skills they learn serve as a strong foundation throughout high school and college. Given my daughter's experience this will certainly prove to be true.
I am currently a student in the 8th grade. Even though the school may not be as big as schools like OES and Catlin it's academics are the same or better for half the price. I love it here and hope that it only becomes better
This is a school where our first two kids were. One for 1st and second grade, the second for just 1st grade. The french classes were great and one of the two teachers we delt with was excellent. Unfortunately we moved our kids out after she left because the overall athmosphere and cost/quality level of FAIS seemed below par with other alternatives. The facilities are not great and partly cheap pre-fab. The administration solicitated constantly with requests for more donations but rarely with clear information about the programs. Careful FAIS, an interesting international school in danger of never catching up to the quality level of alternative.
Our two oldest children attend, with our third child going next year for PS. We chose the school for the academics, which are amazing. Be prepared for lots of structure and discipline, but all the teachers are loving and the classes are small, so the kids get amazing one-on-one support and challenges. Our two kids currently enrolled are very different children, and both are thriving academically and socially because of the techers at this school.
The French American School is incredible. Our child has attended since Pre-K and is now in 7th grade. The diversity and culture the school and middle school introduce to children is irreplaceable - especially in today's political climate. Our daughter speaks English, French and is now learning Spanish. Her 5th grade graduation trip was to France and for 8th grade they will most likely go to Spain or Costa Rica. The tuition is reasonable. I would like to see more economic diversity in the student body...but that is why the French American School is in our will. This is an education that should bee available to all children.
Great education. I'm fluent in English, French and extremely profficient in Spanish. On the other hand, about 25% of my class lacked solid social skills after graduating. It really showed in high school.
Love, love this school. We have 2 children attending - the teachers are amazing, the curriculum is outstanding and we cannot even think of one negative comments about this school.
This is a very excellent school that offers a french program. we speak french every minute except when we have an hour of english class a day.i just graduated and went on a trip to france with my classmates and i am now in their Gilkey middle school!
I just graduated from the French American School, in 2002, and it's the best thing that's ever happenned to me. It is small and sometimes you feel a little suffocated, but the friendships you make are irreplaceable. The languages are taught by native speakers and that makes all the difference, they know all the idioms and can express themselves more articulately than someone who's teaching it that's not a native speaker. The teachers are passionate about what they do and they really care about the students. It's a strong community. They teach you how to be tolerant, something that becomes increasingly important the older you get. Like all schools there are a few exceptions, but all in all I had a great time and I was very well prepared for high school. It's a great school.
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