Lycée Français de Washington
|9600 Forest Road
Bethesda, Maryland, MD
|Gender||Girls and boys|
|Campus||Suburban, 500 acres (2 km2)|
|Rival||Lycée Français de New York|
School and community
Lycée Rochambeau was founded in 1955,  and has a current total enrollment of approximately 1100 students, the largest of the nine French schools in the United States. Lycée Rochambeau is a non-denominational, coeducational, day school serving students from pre-kindergarten (age 3, petite section) through high school and the last year of the French secondary system (Terminale) on three campuses located just outside the city of Washington, D.C.
The Lycée's secondary school accommodates approximately 309 students on a 11-acre (45,000 m2) campus in Bethesda, Maryland, 10 miles (16 km) from downtown Washington, D.C. Approximately forty-nine percent (48.996%) of students hold French citizenship (with a large percentage of those holding a second citizenship), fourteen percent (14%) are U.S. citizens, and thirty-seven percent (37%) come from fifty-five (55) other nations. Many Lycée students come from families who are in Washington, D.C. on postings with embassies, foreign-owned corporations and multilateral organizations.
To receive the high school diploma accredited by the State of Maryland, Lycée Rochambeau students must complete a minimum of 21 Carnegie units. Twenty of these units must be in specified areas:
- 4 units in English
- 4 units in French
- 4 units in Social studies to include 1 credit in U.S. History
- 3 units in Science
- 3 units in Mathematics
- 2 units in a third foreign language
The French Baccalauréat degree is awarded only when a student has completed a fifth year of study and has passed the Baccalauréat examinations.
Because the Maryland-accredited high school diploma is usually awarded to students before their last year of study at the Lycée, students who have earned the diploma and who plan to attend U.S. colleges and universities have the option of leaving the Lycée without completing the Terminale year and without sitting for the Baccalauréat examinations. More than ninety-five percent (95%) of students at the Lycée, however, choose to stay for the Terminale year in order to sit for the Baccalauréat examinations.
Structure and curriculum
All French lycées follow the academic curriculum established by the French National Ministry of Education. Rochambeau's faculty members are certified by the same French ministry. The Lycée’s student-faculty ratio is 10 to 1, with all courses being taught in French. However, English and U.S civilization classes are taught in English, along with History classes in the International Baccalauréat section (see OIB section of this article). Beginning in the third year of Middle School (4ème), Spanish, Italian and German are offered as a second language, with each student having to choose one of those languages. English language instruction is offered at four levels with placement depending on a student’s level of proficiency: Group 1 – ESL; Group 2 - standard English; Group 3 – Honors English; and Group 4—OIB English. During the Terminale year, Groups 1 and 2 and Groups 3 and 4 are combined, and a separate Group is created for the OIB section. in addition, students may enroll in a Latin class, which is made available to them at the beginning of the second year of Middle School and continues on until the final year of High School. Theater and Cinema may be chosen separately as optional classes during the first year of High School. An Arts class is also available at that time, giving students artistic classes which may prove useful later on in their professional lives.
During the final three years of secondary education, Lycée students often carry a course load of 37 to 40 hours per week, with a corresponding amount of homework. School hours are 8:30 a.m. to 3:20 p.m. or 5:30 p.m for upperclassmen., depending on each academic student's schedule. Given the long school day and heavy academic load, students have little time to pursue extracurricular activities common to U.S. high school cultures. However, various activities are organized by different student groups, including a talent show, which takes place before December break and features students presenting particular talents. Movies are also screened at multiple times during the school year. Sports, such as swimming, rugby, basketball, volleyball or soccer, are accessible to students of different grades. The lycée also celebrates the Fête de la francophonie," emphasizing the diverse and unique francophone cultures from which the various students hail.
The Lycée does not calculate GPAs or assign class rank due to the fact that courses in the French system are not quantified with equal credit units as they are in the U.S. Because Lycée courses vary in number of contact hours and difficulty, a student’s performance in individual courses cannot be accurately averaged, nor can a class ranking be accurately determined.
During the last two years of French secondary education (Première and Términale), students choose concentrations in one of the following specialized academic tracks (Séries du Baccalauréat):
- Série L (Languages, Literature and Humanities)
- Série ES (Economics and Social Sciences)
- Série S (Mathematics and Sciences)
In addition to their concentration courses, all Lycée Rochambeau students are required to enroll in English, a second modern foreign language in addition to English (Spanish, German, Italian, Arabic, etc.), history and geography, and philosophy.
Baccalauréat examinations are developed at the French national level, with the same examinations being given at lycées worldwide at the end of the Première and Términale years. Each section of the Baccalauréat examinations consists of a series of essays requiring in-depth analysis and a well-reasoned response. The written section of the Baccalauréat is scheduled over a two-week period, encompassing 17–32 hours of testing. Students also present two to four oral examinations. Over the past ten years, the success rate on the Baccalauréat examination at the Lycée Rochambeau has averaged approximately 96.2%, with over 66% of the students receiving honors, compared with the annual pass rate at 90.95% at other French lycées in the U.S.
International Option of the French Baccalauréat (OIB)
Within the context of the Baccalauréat's international options (the option internationale du baccalauréat, or OIB) the Lycée offers the American Option. The Lycée’s OIB American Option, which is taught by French and American faculty, is an optional three-year program that offers students advanced level studies in English language and literature and an integrated curriculum in world history and geography. The OIB is not a separate diploma, but rather an additional specialization within the framework of any of the three Séries of the Baccalauréat. The concept, curriculum, and evaluation standards of the OIB American Option have been developed by the French Ministry of Education and the Advanced Placement Division of the College Board. To meet the requirements of the Lycée’s OIB specialization, students must pass rigorous written and oral examinations given in English and evaluated by external examiners provided by the Advanced Placement Division of the College Board.
Universities attended by alumni
Rochambeau's graduates have gone on to attend some of the most prestigious universities in France, the United States and the rest of the world. As of the 2015-2016 school year, students have gone on to attend Yale University, Georgetown University, McGill University, Harvard University, the University of British Columbia, University of Toronto, University of Pennsylvania, Johns Hopkins University, Princeton University, Sciences Po Paris, Stanford University, USC, University of Michigan, University College London, Universita Bocconi, various faculties at the University of Paris and elsewhere. Practically all Rochambeau graduates go on to complete some form of higher education and a majority of the colleges and universities they attend are ranked among the world's top 500 by the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU).
- American School of Paris - An American international school in France
- Histoire du lycée (retrieved August 30, 2013)
- Great Schools: Lycee Rochambeau French International School (Retrieved August 30, 2013)
- School Digger: Lycee Rochambeau (retrieved on August 30, 2013)
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- "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-12-20. Retrieved 2013-04-07.
- Public vs. Private, Bethesda Magazine, October 2008
- "Academic Ranking of World Universities - 2012 | Top 500 universities | Shanghai Ranking - 2012 | World University Ranking - 2012". Shanghai Ranking. Retrieved 2016-09-06.
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