French American International High School
San Francisco, CA
Anyone interested in the IB (Int'l Baccalaureate), French bilingual education or just a good college prep school with an international atmosphere should look into FAIS IHS (International High School) in San Francisco. While some of the students are French bilingual, the majority are not. There are 2 tracks in high school: French track which follows a French-gov't approved bilingual curriculum) and the IB track, where courses are taught in English. In the IB track, 11th and 12th grade courses are two years with the same instructor. Students must take minimum 3 Higher Level (HL), max 4 HL--HL is like AP. Many colleges give credit for the courses taken at higher level if you pass the IB test in 12th grade. The centerpiece of the junior year is the Theory of Knowledge class which is a sort of a philosophy seminar where students and teacher discuss how we know what we know.
There are 75-80 students per grade level; about 5 to 10 students of recent graduating classes have opted to attend college in France or England. Sports, theatre and music programs, tho fairly new and small, are offered.
Pluses: Small classes; enthusiastic teachers; very involved parent council, responsive administration; college counselor gets to know each student and stays involved to extent requested; exposure to bright, college-bound peers. Minuses: Expensive ($22K this year, financial aid available). Less racial and income-level diversity than in large city public schools (probably about the same as most private schools). I like the fact that my child has learned about other cultures--some of closest friends have non- American backgrounds (Russian, French, Iranian); principal is British, school secy, other adm'rs are French; teachers come from US and Europe. All in all, I think this was a good school for him to grow academically, gain independence and broaden his perspective of the world. joy '