Sucessfully enroll your child in a French-American program

How to successfully enroll your child in a bilingual French program?

Posted by

If your child just turned 2, 3 or 4, here is an overview of French-American bilingual schools in NYC and tips to enroll him/her successfully to the school of your choice. As you know we are convinced of the benefits of a bilingual education. No matter whether they are French, American or from another country, usually by the time our friends’ first child blows her second candle, they will ask us for advice regarding bilingualism and schools. In this article, you will find a review of Bilingual, French-American Education options to make your mind and submit your applications in the best conditions.

  1. What are your options in term of bilingual school?
  2. Is French speaking a requirement to start a bilingual program?
  3. How and when should you apply?
  4. Is it possible to start a French-American program in first grade?
  5. What are the most important criteria considered for admission?
  6. The keys to success
  7. Overview of the schools offering a French Language Program
  8. Are the same criteria considered to enroll a student in a Public Secondary School?

1 What are your options in terms of bilingual education?

You have 2 main options for a bilingual French- American Education in New York and New Jersey:

1.1- Public and Charter Schools offering a Program in French

NYC’s French Dual Language Program (DLP) in Public Schools comes from an initiative of the Cultural Service of The French Embassy. Children enrolled in this program (starting in Kindergarten) follow the American curriculum while spending around half of their class time learning in French.

A Charter School, New York French American Charter School (NYFACS), is also offering a French Immersion Program, from Pre-Kindergarten to 5th grade.

NYC’s French Dual Language Program

1.2 Private Schools

All these schools are accredited by the French Ministry of Education for some or all classes. You can also find a list of schools that offer a French program but are non accredited on the website of the Consulate General of France in New York.

French-American private schools

2 Is French speaking a requirement to start a bilingual program?

It is not required that your child speaks French to enroll for a DLP in Kindergarten in a public or charter school. Most classes in the program are composed of 50% of French-speaking and 50% of English-speaking children.

In private schools, French-speaking is not required in nursery/pre-K but strongly recommended for an application in Kindergarten. French should be spoken and written at the grade level for children enrolling in first grade or later.

3 How and when should we apply?

3.1 Public Elementary Schools

If your child is born in 2013, you may apply through the Department of Education website (also possible by phone or in person at a Family Welcome Center), and select the DLP program of the school as one of your choices.  This choice is different from the all-English program of the same school. Your application must be submitted between November 28. 2017 and January 12. 2018.

Most schools are zoned (you can determine your school zone here) so applicants living in the school zone have a priority to be enrolled, but some of them offer seats to children living in their district outside the school zone.

If your child is Francophone, you should designate French as his/her native language on your application.

Most schools organize tours or open houses and it is highly recommended that you attend one if you are interested in enrolling your child.

Moreover, some schools ask you to complete a form or online application.

3.2 NYFACS

  • Contact the school directly to apply:  enrollment@nyfacs.net.
  • A randomized lottery will be organized to select the applicants who will be offered a seat.

3.3 Private schools

  • Lycée Français de New York (LFNY)
    • The applicant should be born in 2014 to enroll in pre-K for September 2018, or in 2013 to enroll in Kindergarten
    • Open houses are organized
    • Online application to submit by December 15 for Preschool, or by January 15 for Elementary and Secondary School
    • Contact: admissions@lfny.org
  • Lyceum Kennedy
    • The applicant should be born in 2015 to enroll in Nursery for September 2018, in 2014 to enroll in pre-K, or in 2013 to enroll in Kindergarten,
    • Open houses are organized or you may schedule a private tour
    • Online application to submit, recommended date: December 1st
    • Contact: smegal@lyceumkennedy.org
  • United Nations International School (UNIS)
    • The applicant should be born in 2014 to enroll in preschool (preK) for September 2018, or  in 2013 to enroll in JA (Kindergarten),
    • Tours of the School are organized,
    • Online application to  submit by November 15
    • Contact: admissions@unis.org
  • Ecole Internationale de New York (EINY)
    • The applicant should be born in 2015 to enroll in Nursery for September 2018, in 2014 to enroll in pre-K, or in 2013 to enroll in Kindergarten
    • Open houses are organized, or you may contact the admission office for a private tour
    • Online application to submit by December 15 for Nursery to Kindergarten, January 8 for Elementary and Middle School
    • Contact: admissions@einy.org
  • French-American School of New York (FASNY)
    • The applicant  should be born in 2015 to enroll in Nursery for September 2018, in 2014 to enroll in pre-K, or in 2013 to enroll in Kindergarten
    • Open houses are organized
    • Online application to submit as early as possible
    • Contact: mheraud@fasny.org
  • International School of Brooklyn (ISB)
    • The applicant should be 3 years old by September 1 of the year they enter in nursery, 4 years old by September 1 of the year they enter in Pre-K, or 5 years old by September 1 of the year they enter in Kindergarten,
    • Tours of the school are organized
    • Online application to submit by December 1; school visits will be scheduled in the order applications arrive
  • French American Academy
    • The applicant should be born in 2015 to enroll in Pre-K2 for September 2018, in 2014 to enroll in pre-K, or in 2013 to enroll in Kindergarten. To enroll in Pre-K2, the child should be 2 or 2,5 years old by the first day of school (depending on the campus)
    • Open houses are organized
    • Online application to  submit as early as possible
    • Contact: cjoly@faacademy.org
  • Ecole Franco-Américaine de Princeton (FASP)
    • The applicant should be born in 2015 to enroll in preschool for September 2018, in 2014 to enroll in Pre-K, or in 2013 to enroll in Kindergarten,
    • Open house are organized,
    • Online application to submit  between November 1 and February 28
    • Contact: admissions@ecoleprinceton.org

4 Is it possible to start a French-American program in first grade?

It is sometimes possible to enroll a child in a Dual Language Program to start in first grade or later; in this case, French-speaking is a requirement and an assessment of your child’s French level will be conducted as part of the application process. Contact the school directly or visit your Family Welcome Center.

Children may be enrolled in private schools in any grade, depending on the seats available. French speaking and writing at the grade-level are required starting in first grade.

5 What are the most important criteria considered for admission?

5.1 Public schools with DLP

Most of the public schools with a DLP are zoned: living in the school zone gives you a priority. They usually also give a priority to applicants who have a sibling already enrolled in the school. You can find out your zoned school on the DOE website, as well as the districts’ map.

  • PS 84 The Lillian Weber School, Manhattan, district 3.
    • Zoned school
    • Tours of the school are organized (optional)
    • Application form (available on the school’s website) and report cards to submit to the school office.
  • PS20 The Clinton Hill School, Brooklyn, district 13.
    •  Zoned school
    • Tours are organized
    • Priority:
      • Zoned students with a sibling attending the school
      • All other zoned-students
      • Students living in district 13 but out of the PS20 zone with a sibling attending the school
      • Students living outside district 13 with a sibling attending the school
      • Student living in district 13 enrolled in pre-K at PS20
      • Student living outside district 13 enrolled in pre-K at PS20
      • All other students of district 13 outside of PS20 zone
      • All other students
  • PS58 The Carroll School, Brooklyn, district 15.
    • Open house and tours organized
    • All candidates must be zoned for the school to enroll.
    • Random selection process for applicants who do not speak French;
    • French-speaking applicants will be tested for French fluency, with a priority given to French-speaking children with limited English proficiency (English Language Learners)
  • PS 110 The Monitor School, Brooklyn, district 14.
    • Zoned school
    • Tours organized
  • PS 133 The William A. Butler School, Brooklyn, district 13.
    • Non-zoned school; offers seats for applicants from both districts 13 (⅓ of the seats offered) and 15 (⅔ of the seats offered).
    • Priority:
      • English Language Learners (35% of the children attending the program)
      • Students with free and reduced lunch
    • For each district and the prioritized applicant groups:
      • students living in the district with a sibling attending the school
      • students living outside the district with a sibling attending the school
      • students living in the district currently enrolled in pre-K in the school
      • students living outside the district currently enrolled in pre-K in the school
      • other applicants living in the district
  • PS3 The Bedford Village School, Brooklyn
    • Zoned school

5.2 NYFACS

Admission preferences:

  • Sibling and staff priority
  • Students in district 3
  • Students in other NYC boroughs
  • Contact: enrollments@nyfacs.net

5.3 Private Schools

  • Lycée Français de New York (LFNY)
    • Child’s evaluation in small groups and parents’ interview for applications in Preschool
    • To start in 1st grade or later:
      • Children must be fluent in French,
      • Applications of children coming from France or a school accredited by the French Ministry of Education are considered on the basis of their school records,
      • Children coming from a non-accredited school will have to take an exam to assess their level at least in French and  Math.

“Children are at home in the world at the Lycée Français de New York. With students and families from over 50 nationalities in our community, the Lycée offers an extraordinary opportunity for children to learn in a student-centered, immersive environment that blends aspects of French and American teaching philosophies into one unique program. Over the past three years, we’ve expanded our facilities with new creative spaces for students of all ages for an even better school day. The Lycée’s own financial aid program is growing each year, and we encourage any family who feels their children will thrive in a bilingual environment to apply! You can find out more at our new website. We’re easy to find at lfny.org. M. Lala, Director of Admissions

  • Lyceum Kennedy
    • Report cards are considered (if available)
    • Student Evaluation form (available on the school’s website) to be completed by a current teacher of the child (if available)
    • Preschool and Elementary School applicants will be invited to attend a half or full Discovery Day
    • To start in Middle and High School:
      • Report cards from the last 2 years,
      • Motivation letter written by the applicant,
      • Two letters of recommendation from two different teachers
      • Fluency in French and ability to do grade level work in French,
      • Basic understanding of English.

We take care to enroll children with great adaptability and sociability as they will evolve in a multicultural environment. Speaking French is not mandatory for us so we don’t look at this criterion particularly.S. Megal, Admissions office

  • United Nations International School (UNIS)
    • Children whose parents transfer from abroad to work for the United Nations, Missions to the United Nations, and Consulates enjoy priority in terms of admission, but admission is not automatic.
    • Interview or assessment (video conference may be considered for students 5th grade and above living abroad)
    • Report cards of the 2 previous years required + Academic report and letters of recommendation to be sent by the current school and teachers,
    • Standardized tests in English from 2nd grade (students fluent in English).

UNIS continues to be the world’s most international school and our French language program enrolls children from the entire French-speaking world. As one of the only two schools accredited by the French Government in New York, UNIS has always put French-English fluency at the center of its mission, and welcomes applicants from all over the world.” J. Nichols, Director of Admissions

  • Ecole Internationale de New York (EINY)
    • Reports cards of the past two academic years and a recommendation letter from your child’s current teacher are considered.
    • Pre-Elementary:
      • Applicants will be invited to a Discovery Day: 1-hour group activity with fellow prospective students observed by French and American pre-elementary teachers.
    • Elementary and Middle School:
      • EINY French and American teachers will give an entry test to the student.

EINY empowers all students to adapt and succeed in a changing world: welcoming differences, exploring, recognizing opportunities, and embracing challenges. EINY promotes the success of each student through small class size setting and a diverse, international environment that combines the finest elements of French and American educational approaches. M. Desalm, Director of Admissions

  • French-American School of New York (FASNY)

    • To start in first grade or later:
    • Children must have the ability to perform in French language at grade level (French Ministry of National Education)
    • French is not required for IB program starting in 11th grade and International Track starting in 9th grade
    • Children coming from France or a school accredited by the French Ministry of Education have to provide report cards and confidential rating forms (available on the school’s website) from the student’s current teacher
    • Applicants applying from a non-accredited school have to take an entrance exam at least  in French and Math
    • Parent “Questionnaire” to be completed by the parents
    • Applicants will be invited to an interview (in January or February)

Admission to FASNY is strongly guided by our mission and values: FASNY holds its students to the highest standards of academic excellence while supporting them in their personal development. We believe that embracing diversity, and inclusiveness shapes better people. We believe that an international education, built on bilingualism and multiple approaches to learning, opens minds, teaches adaptability and prepares children for tomorrow. Empathy, integrity and responsibility are at the core of global citizenship. A complete education goes well beyond academics.” M. Heraud, Director of Admissions

  • International School of Brooklyn (ISB)
    • From 2nd to 5th grade, students need to speak, read and write French at grade level,
      From 6th to 8th grade, students with all language levels are welcome to apply and will be placed in an appropriate language class (from beginner to bilingual)
    • Confidential Report from the child’s daycare or nursery school/schools reports and Teacher Evaluation Form completed by current teachers, to be returned directly to ISB
    • Applicants invited to a Play-Based Assessment  (nursery to 1st grade) or  Classroom Visit and Language Assessment (2nd to 8th grade)
    • Parents’ interview (K to 8th grade)

ISB’s innovative and robust Nursery to 8th Grade program is a multilingual educational journey that develops students into driven explorers and passionate communicators. We develop adventurers. Creamos representantes. Nous formons des leaders”. R. Suy, Admission Associate

  • French American Academy
    • Knowledge of French language  required starting in first grade (assessment of the level of the applicant)
    • Applicants should provide report cards and a letter of recommendation from a current teacher (available on the school’s website),
    • Applicants and their parents will be invited to a private interview

The French American Academy is proud of its close-knit community fostering an atmosphere that promotes critical thinking, curiosity, enthusiasm and a strong work ethic. We cultivate individual talents and aspire to see our students become well-rounded, lifelong learners, who are respectful, confident, positive, open-minded, and globally literate. Students with no prior French knowledge can enter our school in Pre-K, K or in Middle school joining the “English with Accelerated French”  track. C. Joly, Admissions office

  • Ecole Franco-Américaine de Princeton (FASP)
    • Meeting organized with the child and his/her family
    • Academic records considered
    • No language competency requirement for children entering preschool to kindergarten
    • Language proficiency test to be taken before admission to Elementary or Middle School

6 The keys to success

  • Show commitment and engagement toward your future community
    • Schools are building a community of students and parents. Show them you want to be a proactive part of it. Give examples of what you could do, bring or create. Giving is receiving.
    • Try to be both parents at the school interview to underline your commitment
  • Demonstrate your interest for French language and French culture
    • Especially if there is no French speaker at home explain why you relate to French language
    • Explain how you will support your child through his/her entire scholarship to learn French, especially if the language is not spoken at home
  • Define your strategy: some families use French-speaking nannies, babysitters or tutors to support their children along the way. Some go to France or Canada each year. Some send their kids to French-speaking summer camps in the US. There are many ways!
  • Start the process as early as possible to spread the interviews on your calendar
    • You will probably apply to many schools to keep your options open so your child and you will go through many interviews. It’s exhausting, so make the most of your planning
  • Do not panic if you think your child totally screwed up the interview
    • I know so many families who made it and we can’t stop laughing when they tell me how their kid’s interview went (crying, hiding, refusing to talk, pooping and much worst)
  • Do NOT stress out your kids
    • They are too young to be stressed but they will feel your anxiety. Relax, take a deep breath and think positive.

7 Overview of the schools offering a French Language Program

7.1 Public Schools (Kindergarten to 5th grade)

7.2 NYFACS (Charter School)

From Kindergarten to second grade, 75-80% of classes are taught in French and 20-25% in English; starting in 3rd grade, 50% of classes are taught in French and 50% in English.

7.3 Private schools

Pre-school classes are taught by both one American and one French teachers. The school also offers an immersion pre-K designed for children with very little or no knowledge of French. In elementary school, 80% of the curriculum is conducted in French and 20% in English. In Middle School, the students will spend between 30 and 50% of their day in English, and in High School, they will choose between the French Baccalaureate, the American Option of the “Option Internationale du Baccalauréat” and the Franco-American Baccalaureate. LFNY is accredited by the French Ministry of Education.

The Lyceum Kenndy is a bilingual school that follows the National French guidelines and is accredited by the French Ministry of Education through 9th grade.  The school also offers an international track to students in 11th and 12th grades with the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme.

In preschool, classes are taught by both one French and one American teachers: 3 days are conducted in French and 2 days in English.

In Elementary and Middle school, lessons are taught approximately 58% in French, 34% in English and 8% in a foreign language. Various subjects are co-taught during bilingual classes. The school is accredited by the French Ministry of Education through 5th grade.

In preschool, classes are taught in French and in English, with more of one or the other language depending on each child’s needs. In Elementary and Middle schools, some classes are taught in French and others in English.

In High School, students may choose between the French Baccalaureate (taught in French) and the International Baccalaureate (taught in English). FASNY is accredited by the French Ministry of Education.

The bilingual school offers an early-start, gradual immersion, dual language education to students from Pre-K2 through 8th grade. In Preschool, 90% of the classes are taught in French and 10% in English. In Elementary School, there will be more time spent learning in English. Preschool and Elementary levels are accredited by the French Ministry of Education.

United Nations affiliated families represent about 55% of the student body of the school with the 45% coming from other families living in the New York City Area.

The French International Section of UNIS offers a program to French-speaking children, from Kindergarten to 12th grade in French language arts, history and geography, mathematics and theory of knowledge. Language Learners classes are available.

The school also offers the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme to the students in 11th and 12th grades. English The program is accredited by the French Ministry of Education from 2nd through 5th grades.

ISB offers a French immersion program following the objectives outlined in the French National Curriculum. Preschool is accredited by the French Ministry of Education.

Classes are taught 90% in French and 10% in English in Preschool and Pre-K, 80% in French and 20% in English in Kindergarten, 70% in French and 30% in English from 1st to 3rd grade and 50% in French-50% in English from 4th through 8th grade. It is accredited by the French Ministry of Education through 5th grade.

8 Are the same criteria considered to enroll a student in a Public Secondary School?

To apply for a Public Middle School, you have to submit your Middle School Application to your school counselor or Family Welcome center by December 1. However, the admission criteria are specific and may  depend on the school

  • The Boerum school for international studies, k497, Brooklyn, district 15
    • The school considers the following when reviewing applicants:
      • Presence, lateness and behavior (20%)
      • 4th-grade Report card (40%), ELA and Math State Exams (30%)
      • Interview/Assessment for French proficiency (10%)
    • Priority:
      • All districts of Brooklyn
      • Students with free or reduces lunch
  • MS51 William Alexander, district 15 Brooklyn
    • Uses the available SEMS (Student Enrollment Management System) data only which includes:
    • 4th-grade final report card scores (45%)
    • Test scores (20%)
    • Attendance and punctuality (10%)
    • Academic and personal behavior (25%)
  • MS256, Lafayette Academy, Manhattan, district 3
    • Open to all students and residents of Manhattan
    • Priority:
      • English Language Learners,
      • Heritage Language Speakers,
      • Participants of Elementary School-level Dual Language Program and Transitional Bilingual Education Program
    • Other criteria:
      • Academic and personal behavior
      • Attendance
      • Course work in dual Language French course (assessment in French)

All the information provided has been found on the schools’ websites or DOE website. Please check these resources for more detailed and/or updated information.

My Tutor speaks French

Photo credit: stylephotographs@123RF

Cliquez ici pour la version française

Leave a Reply