Lycee Rochambeau, the French International School, is the choice of many diplomats and international residents in Washington for their children. Children as young as two years old are able to start at the Lycee Rochambeau and continue through high school, receiving both a U.S. diploma and a French baccalaureate. Upon graduation, the Lycee Rochambeau alumni primarily attend colleges in France, the U.S., the U.K., and Canada but also around the world.
What Makes the Lycee Rochambeau Special?
The Lycee Rochambeau is the only school in the Washington area accredited by the French Ministry of Education which certifies that the teaching provided by the school complies with the demands, curricula, teaching objectives and organizational rules of the French education system. All students from accredited schools can pursue their education in any French school, either in France or abroad, without having to take an entry examination. In other words a student at the Lycee Rochambeau can transfer easily to another French school if his or her family moves to another country, and the process of applications and acceptance to European universities and colleges is facilitated with the French baccalaureate.
Rochambeau is one of 43 accredited French Schools in the US and every grade from PS to Terminale is accredited under this system.
This is not an immersion program such as is offered by the Montgomery County School system. Instead, this is a French school accredited by the French Government and located in the United States. The students are not merely bilingual but also bi-cultural.
Students at the Lycee Rochambeau study in French and English and must also take a third language. Many of the students are not just bilingual, but rather are multilingual, graduating with fluency in three or more languages. As early as 3rd grade, students can begin studying a third language. By middle school, all students study a third language (Spanish, German, Arabic) and in addition can choose Latin as an elective. Some students even choose to study a fourth language.
With students from around the world and from the Washington DC area, the school is truly an international exchange of cultures. With over 55 nationalities, Rochambeau is a truly multicultural and diverse community, one in which students no matter their backgrounds can find their place. Classrooms are full of lively discussion and students demonstrate the ability to understand the world from many different perspectives.
Rochambeau is part of the AEFE (Agency for French Education Overseas), a network of nearly 500 schools in 130 countries worldwide. Students within the network can move with ease from Washington DC to San Francisco, from Singapore to London, and enjoy the same quality of education.
Where is the Lycee Rochambeau?
The Lycee Rochambeau has three campuses in Bethesda/Chevy Chase. The Rochambeau Maternelle, located at 7108 Bradley Boulevard in Bethesda, is home to 150 children from two years old through kindergarten in seven classrooms. From the day children start their schooling in Maternelle, French is the language used for communication. The children tell stories, play outside, explore nature, sing songs, or talk over lunch, all in French.
The Rollingwood Campus, located at 3200 Woodbine St in Chevy Chase, has approximately 330 students in first grade through fourth grade in fifteen classrooms.
The Forest Road Campus is at 9600 Forest Road, just inside the Beltway between Old Georgetown Road and the Rockville Pike, near the YMCA. There are approximately 90 students in the 5th grade and more than 500 students in total on this campus from 5th grade through high school. In addition, the administrative staff for all three campuses is located here on Forest Road.
Academic Studies at the Lycee Rochambeau
The Lycee Rochambeau academic program is based on the French national curriculum. Not surprisingly, it has a strong emphasis on languages. The Lycee Rochambeau offers a comprehensive, world recognized educational program that follows a core of classes including languages, history (including US and French history), geography, the sciences, math, philosophy, the arts, music and technology.
Students taking the Option Internationale du Baccaluareat successfully demonstrate the strength of the bilingual program, mastering both French and English as native speakers and writers.
What is the French Baccalaureate?
The French Baccalaureate is the diploma that marks the completion of a French high school program and follows the curriculum guidelines established by the French Ministry of Education. This is a demanding pre-university program of study taught entirely in French.
Students must choose a specialized program of study (les 3 series or groups of subjects) within a core curriculum. The diploma, which is earned at the end of the 12th grade, after externally assessed examinations are taken, is the essential credential for entry into any university worldwide.
What are the 3 séries (groups of subjects)?
In the 11th grade, students choose from one of three series: L (literary), ES (economic and social) and S (scientific). Within the tracks, certain courses are considered to be more challenging than others and are weighted more heavily.
All students study take the common core subjects: French, two other languages, Sciences, History-Geography, Philosophy (T/12th ), Physical & Sports Education and, should they wish to do so, one or two elective subjects (see options below). The level of difficulty of some subjects will depend on the series chosen.
In 12th grade, the students must also select a “specialty or SPE.” In all subjects, a mastery of both written and spoken French is essential.
Extracurricular Activities at the Lycee Rochambeau
The Lycee Rochambeau offers many extracurricular activities for its students. Many students are engaged in the Rugby, Soccer, Volleyball, Basketball and Swimming teams. Other students participate on MSI Soccer teams. The Afterschool Clubs are comprised of artistic, social and athletic activities and are available to students after their regular school hours. Some clubs run throughout the entire year – one registration per year at the beginning of the year. Other clubs run on a semester basis – 2 registrations per year.
Admissions and Fees
Rochambeau admits qualified students of all nationalities, race, origin, or economic status to all the, programs and activities made available to the students by the school. The admissions office reviews applications on a rolling basis, beginning in January for the following school year. Priority is given to applicants applying before February. After that date, applications will be accepted on a rolling admissions basis, based on availability.
Acceptance decisions for applicants having applied before the February deadline will be communicated beginning in March.
As of age 2, non-French speaking children can enter directly into the 1st four years of preschool in the bilingual program, or starting in 1st grade and up to 3rd grade, student can integrate a specially adapted French Immersion program.
The tuition for the Lycee Rochambeau is very reasonable when compared with many other schools in the area. In 2017-2018, the five day program for two year olds is $17,150 and $10,360 for the three day program. Pre-k and Kindergarten are $19,360 while the 1st through 5th grades are $17,240. Tuition for 6th grades through 9th grades is $19,540 and grades 10 through 12 tuition is $23,000. Financial aid is available.