An Interview with Jean-François, Center Director, The French American Academy, Jersey City, NJ
The French American Academy, Jersey City, NJ, is located in downtown Jersey City and within walking distance from Grove Street Path Station. The French American Academy opened in the former St Mary High School. Their charming 3-story building offers 30 classrooms with bright light, warm colors, and ample space. We were warmly greeted by their faculty and students. Thank you to their center director, Jean-François, for giving us his time.
When did The French American Academy of Jersey City open it’s doors:
This school is part of a group of schools called the French American Academy founded 10 years ago. The French American Academy first opened three Pre-K classes in September 2007 in Dumont, NJ. The school has grown ever since.
We moved to a bigger campus in New Milford in Bergen County in July 2010 and shortly after opened a second campus in Morris Plains in Morris County in September 2010. The Jersey City campus opened its doors in 2012.
What kind of curriculum do you follow & how is it different from other schools in the area:
The French American Academy of Jersey City is a private bilingual school. We offer an early-start, gradual immersion, dual language (French and English) education to Pre-K2 through 4th-grade students. From Sep 2017, we are expanding to 5th grade.
In Sep 2018 we will open the Middle school in Jersey City with 6th, 7th, and 8th grades with French, American & Spanish tracks. We will be accepting students from various international backgrounds and communities.
There is more emphasis on the French language in the early years (Pre-K-Kindergarten) to set up the foundations. From 1st grade, instruction in English gradually increases, and by 5th grade, children spend about 60% in French and 40% in English.
Bilingualism is at the core of our curriculum and in some classes like in science, students are taught in both languages with both an American and a French teacher present in the classrooms. It’s a demanding bilingual curriculum with an emphasis on projects and investigation. In our community, we welcome children from families whether these families speak French at home, or English or another language.
Our school is accredited by both, the Middle School Association on College and Schools, and the National French Ministry of Education, and is a member of New Jersey Association of Independent Schools.
What is the student/teacher ratio in your school:
5:1 in Pre-K (the legal requirement is 6:1)
8:1 in Pre-K for three year old (the legal requirement is 10:1)
10:1 in Pre-K for four year old (the legal requirement is 12:1)
12:1 in Kindergarten (the legal requirement is 15:1)
16:1 in First Grade (there is no more legal obligation but the public school ratio is usually 25:1)
18:1 in Second Grade and up (there is no more legal obligation but the public school ratio is usually 25:1)
Do you have early drop-off and aftercare options available: The French American Academy, Jersey City, NJ, school day runs from 8.30 am -3.15pm. Before-school-care opens at 7:30am.
After-school-care starts at 3.15pm and ends at 6:30pm.
A bus from Bus4us company brings the students from Weehawken / Hoboken to Jersey City in the morning and take them back in the afternoon.
Do you provide an option for catered lunch:
In Jersey City, we partner with Simply Gourmet. You can easily order your child’s lunch online with them or send your child with a lunch box. Their meals are nutritious, delicious, and kid-friendly. Our other campuses have their own catering company. We have this planned for Jersey City too, in the future.
What extracurricular activities do you offer:
Enrichment classes typically run from 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm. Offerings may include:
Art, Sports (Soccer, Tennis, and Team Games), Hip-Hop, Music (Guitar and Piano private lessons), Chess, Cooking, Woodworking, Programming
Our Enrichment Program offers every day at least two different classes every year: one for older children and one for younger children.
Students also enjoy a huge inhouse gymnasium for physical education or indoor recess.
Do you offer Summer Camp programs:
The French American Academy, Jersey City’s Summer Camp program runs for 8 weeks (end June – mid-August)
We also offer mini-camps in February and over Spring break.
What would you like to say to our families:
Everyone is welcome in The French American Academy, Jersey City, NJ! We also have Financial Aid budgets for qualifying families.
The French American Academy is a school of excellence, and we hope you will give this gift to your child.