Sponsored article – published in partnership with French-American International School

A year after celebrating its 60th anniversary, French-American and International School reflects on its extraordinary heritage and achievements as San Francisco’s most established and largest bilingual school and looks to the future with a new strategic plan that paves the way for continued excellence in global education with a central focus on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and Environmental Sustainability.

Rooted in San Francisco and informed by a global perspective, French-American and International School is the intellectual home for those seeking a world-class education and an inclusive, multicultural community. The school inspires students to discover themselves, pursue their passions, and think internationally.

Leading Bilingual, International Education in San Francisco since 1962

The most established and largest bilingual school in San Francisco, French-American and International School was the first school west of the Mississippi to offer the highly-coveted International Baccalaureate (IB), and the fourth school in the United States to do so.

Global education has been at the heart of the school’s mission since its founding 60 years ago. The school benefits from a multilingual, multinational school community and from bilingual, French, and International Baccalaureate programs.

Students are prepared to navigate the world with confidence and command, empathy and joy. They are equipped with the skills they need to become global citizens who make a positive impact on the world around them, through rigorous bilingual, French and International Baccalaureate education programs, and a vibrant school culture strengthened by multilingual, multinational educators and families.

The core of their internationally-minded education is cross-cultural cognition — the ability to think, feel, and act across cultures.

The school community includes French-American International School (Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 8) and International High School (Grade 9 through Grade 12).

The Best of Both Worlds

The school provides a rigorous bilingual academic curriculum that blends the best practices of the U.S. education system with the high standards of the French national curriculum.

Guided by the principles of academic rigor and diversity, the French-American International School and International High School offer programs of study in French and English to prepare its graduates for a world in which the ability to think critically and to communicate across cultures is of paramount importance.

While warmly encouraging critical thinking, active exchange, and cooperation, teachers take special care of each child’s linguistic and social-emotional development. The school’s differentiated approach to learning is rooted in emotional well-being and kindness.

“Through our social-emotional learning program, our students become empathetic listeners, cooperative partners, and responsible individuals.” -Pauline Dides, Maternelle, and Lower School Principal.

The school stands out with its world-class bilingual, international curriculum, strong Social Emotional Learning (SEL) program, as well as extensive arts, athletics and global travel programs.


A Robust French-English Bilingual Program

The Curriculum offered at French-American (Maternelle, Lower School and Middle School) is French-English bilingual and fully accredited by the French Department of Education (Homologation du ministère français chargé de l’éducation).

From PK3 to Grade 2, more than 80% of the curriculum is taught in French, by a team of native French-speaking teachers from France and around the world. By Grade 8, students are fluent in both French and English.

It is another testament to the exemplary standards in French education that Head of School Melinda Bihn has been acknowledged by the French government for her significant contributions to French education and culture. In 2023, she was honored with the prestigious Ordre des Palmes Académiques (Order of Academic Palms) for her outstanding achievements.


A World-Class IB Program

At International High School, students can choose to pursue a bilingual curriculum or an English curriculum (as bilingual abilities are not required). No matter the path, students learn from multicultural peers and educators and embark on international expeditions that teach through first-hand experience.

Students earn world-renowned credentials through either the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma or French Baccalauréat (Le Bac) Diploma, in addition to a U.S. high school degree. Whether they choose the “IB” track or the “French” track, students are prepared to go on to thrive at the best universities, anywhere in the world.

This year, FAIS is proud to announce the launch of the International Baccalaureate’s Middle Years Program (MYP) for Grades 6-10. This teaching and learning framework will enhance students’ experience of the school’s rigorous, dynamic bilingual curriculum in the Middle School and provide a unifying structure for Grades 9 and 10 students in both the French and international tracks.

Highly selective institutions like Stanford perceive IB students as strongly prepared, capable, and ready to take on the challenges of the curriculum that we offer. When we see an IB student’s application, we light up.” -Assistant Dean of Admission at Stanford University, Debra Von Bargen.

A Close-Knit International Community

The warm and welcoming international community of the school brings together people from many backgrounds, cultures, and countries.

The community invites engagement, offers support, and fosters partnership with the school and, equally important, with each other. The vibrant school culture is as much about smart, interesting people and their values as the renowned curriculum itself.

From the outset, parents meet kindred spirits and, like their children, build lifelong friendships around the French American + International experience.

The school is committed to advancing equity and social justice in its diverse, urban community, fulfilling this promise through their programs and practices, and inspiring and equipping their students to live this commitment locally and internationally. Moreover, the school is engaged in substantive action to address biases and to foster a sense of belonging among their students.

The annual back-to-school picnic, the community salon series, the Spring art show, the movie nights, the annual gala, and the “Fan Jam” athletics game nights, are some examples of the vibrant community-building events that bring French American and International’s community together in cheerful spirit throughout the year.

It’s also a community that gives back. Through the Urban Engagement Program, the school-wide days of service, they invite parents, students, faculty, staff, and alumni to share in service towards the wider urban community with events such as food and book drives to support local communities.

Save the save for the school’s next Open Houses :

High School Open House – Sunday, October 22 | 10 am – 1:00 pm
High School Open House and International Showcase – Wednesday, December 6 | 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
PreK-Kindergarten Open House at Page Campus – Saturday, October 28 | 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
PreK-Kindergarten Open House at Oak Campus – Wednesday, November 15 | 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm

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