Bienvenue! San Diego French-American School is an independent, co-educational bilingual school counting approximately 380 students age 2–13. One of over fifty French government (AEFE/MEN)-accredited international schools in the United States (and over 500 worldwide), our school also holds accreditation from the California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS) and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). As such, we are held accountable to the highest standards of both the French national education system and the best of what American independent schools have to offer. We are proud of our unwavering commitment to excellence.
Isabelle David, Head of School (2024)
Our Campus in La Jolla
Since 2006, the school has been located atop Mount Soledad in a suburban area of La Jolla. The campus is secure and just minutes from the beautiful Pacific Coast. Students take advantage of a spacious campus with facilities that include a large sports field, multiple playgrounds and recess spaces, a library, an auditorium, a state-of-the-art STEAM classroom for coding and robotics, and a large fully-equipped science lab. Within 20 minutes of the school, students enjoy field trips to tide pools at the local beaches, Balboa Park and the San Diego Zoo, art and science museums, and other local cultural venues and natural landscapes of San Diego County. In 2018, the school finalized a 60-year lease deal with the San Diego Unified School District. And, as part of the school’s decisive response to COVID-19 in the summer of 2020, San Diego French-American School expanded its campus footprint through the acquisition and total renovation of additional classroom buildings and outdoor spaces.
Our Multi-Cultural School
San Diego French-American School is more than just a bilingual school. It is a diverse international community of students, parents, teachers and administrators all of whom share the same vision and values. We all want our children grow into confident, worldly individuals who are comfortable articulating their ideas and expressing a full range of emotions. The school’s well-established curriculum promotes personal growth and excellence in education with a global perspective through:
- Theme-based language arts and literature programs.
- History and geography taught from multiple perspectives.
- Dual language math and science streams.
- Language acquisition and learning support programs.
- Coding and robotics integrated into the core curriculum.
- Student-centered teaching and a school wide social-emotional learning program.
Small classes within spacious classrooms allow for differentiation and a high degree of individualized attention. We ensure student success by closely monitoring academic progress and through varied types of assessment. For students who require additional support or challenge, student-specific educational plans are put in place through the school’s learning center model. Overall, SDFAS students perform as well or better than their French or U.S. peers on standardized tests. And, after 8th grade, our students are assuredly well-prepared for success in sought after American, French, or international high schools.
Our Responsive Classrooms
All teachers at San Diego French-American School receive core training in Responsive Classroom, a school wide approach to education that prioritizes the integration of activities targeting social and emotional skill building into academic lessons and unit design. As an all school program implemented in PK–8th grade, it allows for students, teachers, administrators and parents to benefit from shared language and processes, as well as from the same agreed-upon norms for behavior, desired academic and SEL outcomes, and strategies for solving problems and working to resolve conflict.
The school’s present vision and direction are defined to a significant degree by Responsive Classroom ideals. At San Diego French-American School we strive each day to further the never ending work of building and deepening a school culture in which respect, dignity and self-awareness are at the forefront. We prize a climate in which both teachers and students understand and embrace modern educational practices and a focused effort to cultivate the skills and mindset of true global citizens. The school values the development of grit and a growth mindset. It encourages mindfulness, centering and self-regulation. It encourages active listening and validation of the ideas, feelings, perspectives and lived experiences of others. It values exploration of one’s own identity and passions as well as embracing of one’s own strengths as well as one’s areas of challenge. It aims to model for students (and adults) ways to respond in healthy ways to difficult emotions and challenging circumstances. And so much more.
It takes a number of years of ongoing training and commitment to transform a school’s culture in the above described fashion. In the case of San Diego French-American School, we launched our Responsive Classroom program during the 2019–2020 school year. While there is still much work to do (there always is…), we are proud of our progress so far!
Our Faculty and Staff
San Diego French-American School employs and retains highly qualified teachers from France, the United States and around the world. Passionate about their areas of expertise, adhering to and modeling core values, and building caring relationships with students and parents, our fifty-five teachers (faculty:student ratio of 6:1) all hold advanced degrees and prior experience. We uphold a steadfast commitment to professional development and believes in the critical importance of ongoing training, coaching and support for all faculty and staff. Thanks to the school’s membership in established French networks and American independent school associations (state and national), our teachers and staff benefit from a wide array of in-person and on-screen workshops that focus on research-based best practices, cutting edge pedagogy, new innovations and emerging trends in the field of education.
Our families speak over 30 home languages and comprise over 55 different nationalities. Our community is international, diverse and united behind a belief in the value of a multilingual education for our children. San Diego French-American School families work with the school and in collaboration with their children’s teachers to raise ethical, open-minded young people who are confident, poised and well prepared for the future. Our parents are also highly supportive and engaged in the life of the school. They contribute significantly to the school’s warm, nurturing, safe environment. Students at SDFAS are engaged in school life too. They are happy. They smile. They take great pride in their unique bilingual identities. Alumni return frequently, still feel a part of the community and often comment on how easy it was for them to succeed in 9th grade in their high schools of choice. As we like to say around campus and on-screen, our students are “multi-lingual, multi-talented, and world ready!”
Even though the French language is not fluently spoken in our home, we can confidently say that she has not only developed the ability to speak and understand the French language, but she has developed her ability to express herself verbally and artistically through frequent performances involving song and dance. Zorana and Justin, parents of Lola