French American International School 60 Years

Celebrating 60 Years of Thinking Internationally

We are San Francisco's oldest and largest bilingual school. We were the first school in the city to offer the International Baccalaureate, and the fourth school in the United States to do so. Around the world, we are known as innovators and leaders in education.;xNLx;;xNLx;

1962-02-14 00:00:00

Origin story

On Valentine's Day in 1962, the nine founders of San Francisco's first independent bilingual school gathered to map out how they were going to implement their radical vision. They believed that a bilingual education in French, beginning at a very early age, would imbue children with an international perspective and a set of rigorous academic skills that would prepare them to make a difference in the world.

1963-09-16 02:33:52

Opening Day

The French American Bilingual school (FABS) opened doors its two classrooms on 24 Homewood Terrace with a mixed aged class of 23 children aged 4-6.

1967-09-01 05:06:42

Move to Alamo Square

After five years of navigating growing pains and uncertainty, the French American Bilingual School relocated to 940 Grove Street, a spacious Victorian house off Alamo Square and opened with 126 students. The game was on!

1972-09-01 21:49:08

Formal Recognition by French Ministry of Education

Head of School Bernard Ivaldi had been working hard to consolidate the legitimacy of the school’s French program. Ivaldi had engineered initial recognition for the school by the French Ministry of Education as early as 1972. At first the French Baccalauréat was offered by correspondence. By 1980 his efforts finally paid off when FABS was authorized by the French Ministry of Education to offer the full French Baccalauréat program onsite.

1977-09-01 21:49:08

Head of School Bernard Ivaldi

In 1989 Bernard Ivaldi’s energetic twelve year Headship ended; but not before the French American International School school was granted accreditation for its full program – Maternelle à Terminale – by the French Ministry of Education.

1978-09-01 21:49:08

Move to UC Extension at 220 Buchanan

FABS moved to the University of California Extension at 220 Buchanan in the Lower Haight neighborhood. During the Buchanan years the extracurricular offerings at the school burgeoned. As well as Spanish style architecture, a flock of raucous parrots, and a 1934 New Deal social realist mural, the school now boasted a real gymnasium and small theater. Soon competitive Athletics and the Back-à-Dos theater ensemble became cherished aspects of student life, and helped define the spirit and soul of the school.

1978-09-01 21:49:08

IB Diploma Authorization

In 1978 the school formally established its high school, and the Board moved to adopt the International Baccalaureate. It would be only the fourth IB school in the United States and the first on the West Coast to do so. By offering the IB Diploma the school could now offer a high school program for non-bilingual students entering Grade 9.

1980-06-01 21:49:08

First High School Graduation

In 1980, the high school was proud to graduate its first class of 7 students in a ceremony at the Asian Art Museum.

1984-09-01 21:49:08

School name changed to FAIS

In 1984 the school changed its name from French American Bilingual School to French American International School (FAIS). The name in French was Lycée Franco-Américain International (LIFA).

1986-04-01 21:49:08

First Exchange Trip

Global Travel was to provide a unique opportunity for students to learn, and feel a sense of belonging, beyond the classroom. In April 1986 Grade 8 students took part in the school’s first Paris exchange program.

French American International School 60 Years

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