Francophone Charter School of OaklandCommunity Subscriber
The Francophone Charter School of Oakland is a tuition-free French immersion public charter elementary school, located in the Toler Heights neighborhood of Oakland. The school uses the French language and the many interwoven cultures associated with it to develop bilingual and bi-literate global citizens who are open-minded and value intellectual curiosity, personal integrity and creativity. The school opened in 2015 and is growing one grade at a time each year, to reach 8th grade in the 2020-21 school year. Our enrollment period for the 2020-21 school year is November 5, 2019 - February 7, 2020 to apply for grades Transitional Kindergarten (TK) through 8th grade. Students can enter Kindergarten with no previous exposure to the French language. Students entering grades 1-8 will need to show grade-level proficiency in French. Detailed enrollment available at http://francophoneschool.org/enroll-now/
Don’t have any firsthand experience with immersion preschools, but if you’re able to develop/maintain her French she'd likely get a spot at FCSO for kindergarten. The school is getting more and more popular, apparently a huge waitlist for next year. But they strive for dual immersion so kids who live in Oakland and can demonstrate age-appropriate French proficiency are pretty much guaranteed a spot. We attend the school and the community of families is really exceptional.
My son goes to the East Bay Francophone Charter School. It is a start-up, so you have to be okay with that environment, which has its pluses and minuses. For example, the location is gritty, and while we are actively looking for a larger space, it's hard to say what will happen, or when. Everyone can get involved with shaping the school's identity, which (for me) is exciting and worthwhile. The educational experience is top-notch, and that's why we will stay. It is full immersion: 80% of the day is in French for the younger students. Without a doubt, your child will become bilingual. This is very good for the brain, no matter what the second language. On top of that, teachers trained in the French educational system receive superb pedagogical preparation--significantly better, in general, than teacher prep programs here in the US. The English teacher last year was terrific too. The school is very diverse socio-economically, ethnically, racially. There is an active, friendly, inclusive parent community, both native speakers and non-French speakers. Come to an open house and see for yourself!
Our family is French-speaking, multiracial, and part working class/low income background, so we have a lot in common. We know families who have been involved with both Les Petits Francophones and Ecole Bilingue, but since we haven't personally attended either school I would not want to make some sort of public comment about either as it's all secondhand. However, we are currently enrolled at Francophone Charter School in Oakland and I can't say enough positive things about this wonderful, diverse gem of a school. We are counting our lucky stars every day that our children can attend this school for free, become truly fluent in French, and still spend their days in an environment that reflects the world around them. That means a sustained focus on global Francophone culture (vs. a France-centric approach) as well as learning alongside children from a full spectrum of neighborhoods, cultures, and backgrounds in Oakland and the East Bay. The school is still new, so that brings with it lots of challenges, but the staff and parents are so creative and resourceful, the teachers have been uniformly excellent, and we love the families who are invested in making the school grow. So if French is important to you, take heart: even if you go to a non-French-speaking preschool this is a unique opportunity for language immersion in a truly diverse environment later on.
Regarding Francophone Charter School of Oakland, there was a TK wait list for this year. There was also a change in school leadership from last year. If you do decide to consider the school, I suggest finding out as much as you can about plans for next year, faculty retention, potential site changes, and the hiring/recruitment process for teachers.
If you're open to dual immersion in French, don't forget about Francophone Charter School of Oakland. The school is in its second year of operation, and there was a lottery for K this year but it's certainly possible to get in. Not sure if there will be a lottery for TK but I know they offer a TK program.
We put our Kindergartener in Francophone Charter School of Oakland in August of this year (2015). Her teacher is kind, disciplined, and great at communicating with me when I have questions. I feel so lucky that my daughter has her as a teacher and am worried we are spoiled for future years! I also really love that she (and all the other teachers at FCSO) are native French speakers. My daughter has a really great accent already.
I have started to learn some basic French phrases but I have overwhelmingly felt accepted despite my general lack of French skills. My husband and I are both monolingual. The school has such a mix of families and I love to see the blend of community that could only be made in the Bay Area, and I think it's an especially great place because it pools from all over the Bay Area, not just Oakland.
My daughter is on the more extroverted and high energy side of the personality profile. Though she had a time of adjusting to the demands of a school day, she has done well. I feel confident that we will remain at FCSO with all of our children. I am so excited that it will eventually go through 8th grade!
Archived Q&A and Reviews
Early reviews of Francophone Charter School?
Anyone have any feedback on Francophone Charter School in Oakland? We realize the school just opened this year and will inevitably go through some growing pains, but we're curious about the facility, community atmosphere, level of parent involvement, experiences with faculty and school leadership. etc. We're considering sending our child there for TK next year and he hasn't had any previous exposure to French, but we'd love for him to grow up bilingual. French curious
Hello French curious mom:
My daughter entered Francophone Charter school as a Kindergartener this fall. I am happy to talk to you personally if you wish. In short, we have been very happy. Yes there are growing pains as would be expected for a brand new school. We like the administration and have found a very diverse group of involved parents. My daughter, who tends to be a little sensitive and reserved has done very well and is quite happy to go to school. . Her french is superb for only being in an immersion situation for 3 months. The facility right now is good although not in a central location. The school may be moving next year, depending on enrollment, but the goal is to be in a central Oakland location. siobhan
Our son started Kindergarten at Francophone Charter School this year and we are so happy we decided to send him there. It being the first year, honestly my expectations were not that high because I know it takes time for new schools to get established. But so far Francophone has far exceeded my expectations. The leadership, teachers, staff, and parent community are all so dedicated and invested in the success of this school. It has a really tight-knit family community feel and you can tell the children love it there.
And let me tell you, the immersion model really works. My son had no French speaking background, and in just these 3 short months he has learned so much. He comes home rattling off new sentences in French every day and I often catch him singing French songs to himself while he's playing.
The only challenge for us has been the location since it's a little far for us. But we've worked out carpooling with other families and that has been working out well. I know many other families are doing the same to help each other out. It has not been a deal breaker for us because we know the current location is most likely temporary. For us all the extra commuting has been a small price to pay to be part of such a great school. Happy Francophone parent
Does anyone have any info on the new French immersion charter school opening this fall in Oakland? I kind of stumbled upon it, we're very interested in putting our son in a language immersion school, but can't afford any of the private ones. We just found out about it, so we've missed some of the info sessions. Has anyone already applied/enrolled their child? What are your thoughts about the school and staff? Curious parent
Hi-- I attended an information session, and was impressed enough to apply.
What I liked about it is the immersion, of course, but also that they are not trying to be a french-american school, but truly Francophone -- i.e. teaching the language and culture of all the francophone countries. The parents who have started the school are very motivated and have the background skills to put the school together. They've been talking a lot with Yu-Ming, the other very successful Mandarin charter school in Oakland, as well as the Santa Rosa French immersion charter school. They also seem to have some consideration for other developmental things outside of learning a new language, such as socio-emotional issues. I feel like a lot of immersion schools focus too much on just teaching the new language.
I am mildly concerned that it is brand new and developing, so is somewhat of an unknown. And they don't have a location yet.
Check out their website -- I think they have a meet and greet scheduled with the principal as well as a potluck celebration this Saturday.