Q and A with Juliette Lange, Admissions Director of Lycee International de Los Angeles (LILA)

Juliette Lange, LILA's admissions director

Juliette Lange, LILA’s admissions director

 

I’m thrilled to welcome one of my favorite admissions directors, Juliette Lange, M.Ed., of Lycée International de Los Angeles (LILA), to the blog today! Juliette graciously agreed to answer my questions about LILA admissions. I first met Juliette when I wrote a school profile about LILA.

 

1.  How would you describe the educational philosophy of LILA?

LILA teaches a bilingual program from preschool through 12th grade culminating in the French Baccalauréat or the International Baccalaureate. Students are taught to read, write, and speak both languages by the end of their elementary education. Satisfying both the Common Core State Standards and the French Ministry of Education’s requirements, necessitates a rigorous schedule; the percentage of each language of instruction varies at each grade level.

 

2.   LILA is a dual immersion language school. Does this mean if students enter at kindergarten they will speak French when they graduate at 12th grade?

LILA aims to offer more than the mere knowledge of at least two languages. Our ultimate goal is to form fully bi-literate students capable of functioning in two linguistic worlds. To achieve this goal, LILA specifically avoids dividing students based upon their dominant language. At the very foundation of the educational program is a policy of integration: young Americans must be integrated into French classes and French children must study English along with their American classmates. Thus, by getting to know one another, students are able to appreciate both the French and American cultures; they are able to compete in both systems; they are able to feel at home in an American living room and à l’aise at a French dinner table.

 

3.   What do you look for in prospective families for kindergarten? What about for 6th or 7th grade?

Ultimately we look for enthusiasm and an understanding of what a bilingual education means – for commitment to the project.   At 6th grade, it takes a very special family and a very different kind of student to be able to integrate and follow a program that is designed for French native speakers.   This is usually only possible for those already coming from France, another Lycee or school teaching the same curriculum or a student who is already speaking French at home.

 

4.   Do you have to be French to be part of the school’s community?

Absolutely not.  In fact most of our students are not French.   What is paramount is an openness to the French culture and to the French philosophy of education.

Lycée International de Los Angeles, Los Feliz

Lycée International de Los Angeles, Los Feliz

5.    Applying for kindergarten in L.A. can be very stressful for parents and kids. Can you give our readers some tips for surviving the application process?

You need to be yourself and to be ready to convince us of why you want this for your family and your child.  Often this is about showing us that you understand different cultures and what it means to be immersed in another language.  Sometimes, it’s a sheer commitment to offering this to your child because you would have so wished it for yourself.

 

6.    In your opinion, what are some common mistakes parents make when applying to LILA?

Parents are often not prepared for the work involved and the cultural understanding required in having their child educated in a language and an educational system that is not their own.

 

7.   Does LILA offer financial aid?

Yes.   Financial aid is offered from the second year onward. In past years, up to 25% of LILA’s student body has received some degree of financial aid, either from France (15%) or directly from LILA (10%).

 

 8.   What are some of LILA’s qualities that you’re most proud of?

At LILA we adopt ways of thinking and expression that reflect an appreciation for cultural differences and multiple world views. Diverse groups learn more from each other when exchanging different points of view, introducing new pieces of information, and confronting alternative ideas. LILA’s small and nurturing classes facilitate the sharing of different viewpoints.

 

Being immersed in a truly multicultural environment helps develop the ability to better understand one’s own culture – what makes it different, but also in which ways it is similar.  This, in turn, helps maintain a strong sense of one’s own background. 
Teachers, staff and students come from all over the world, each bringing their own experiences and perspectives.  
Our students study and live in a world community every day.

LILA's new secondary school in Burbank

LILA’s new secondary school in Burbank

LILA just opened its new secondary school in Burbank. Congratulations!

For more information, please visit, www.lilaschool.com

 

The World Meets France in Los Feliz: Lycée International de Los Angeles (Pre-K-12)

Parlez-Vous Francais? Oui! At Lycee International de Los Angeles 

Lycée International de Los Angeles, Los Feliz

“Bringing Up Bebe”, the bestselling book by Pamela Druckerman was the topic of a fabulous luncheon I attended recently, hosted by Lycee International de Los Angeles (LILA) and Launch Education Group at The Little Door. Before the event, I toured LILA, a wonderful, developmental Pre-K-12 in Los Feliz.

Elizabeth Chaponot, LILA head of school and Christina Simon (photo: www.miajphoto.com)

As we ate the Little Door’s superb food, Elizabeth Chaponot, the French/American head of school at LILA, spoke about the differences between French and American education and how LILA achieves the delicate balance of blending the two educational influences and cultures.

 

Elizabeth is an experienced educator and a mom, with impressive credentials and a passion for education. Her family founded LILA, she’s a graduate of the school and now she’s continuing the tradition. Elizabeth pointed out that at the school, she approaches French parents differently than she does their American counterparts. With American parents, she told us, she often begins with talking about the child’s unique qualities like their sense of humor or other characteristics. French parents, she said, want to know how their child is doing in school, but don’t expect continual feedback on their child’s attributes. American parents also place a premium on extracurricular actives like sports to a greater extent than many French parents. So, part of her job at LILA is to unify the distinct parenting and educational values of these two very different cultures.

Author Sarah Maizes at The Little Door (photo: Mia J. Photography)

Giving a quintessentially American perspective on the bestselling book, “Bringing Up Bebe,” Sarah Maizes, author of Got Milf? The Modern Mom’s Guide To Feeling Fabulous, Looking Great and Rocking a Minivan, is a triple threat: mom of three, author and comedian. She writes the parenting humor site, Mommy Lite Online. Sarah talked about writing the review of the book for the Today Show Moms and what she learned by reading it. She also talked about her own kids and the unique parenting challenges that come with twins and a daughter with Asperberger’s, who became the inspiration for her new children’s book, On My Way To The Bath due out in June.

Juliette Lange, LILA admissions coordinator, Matt Steiner, Launch Education Group and Christina Simon at The Little Door (photo: Mia J. Photography)

Although my two years of college French are long forgotten, touring LILA with Juliette Lange, the charming and friendly admissions coordinator, I was pleasantly surprised that I recognized a few familiar phrases from days gone by, as ridiculously cute children darted by speaking the most adorable French.

Mia Johnstone (LA Private School Guide/photographer) and Christina Simon at The Little Door

Noelle Orsini, The Kelter Center and Christina Simon at The Little Door (photo: Mia J. Photography)

LILA is a great option for families who are looking for a developmental dual immersion school. Students are taught to read, write and speak both French and English by the end of elementary school. However, the goal is to offer more than “mere knowledge of two languages. The ultimate goal is to form bi-literate students capable of functioning in two linguistic worlds, according to LILA. Families at LILA truly embrace French language, culture and diverse cultures at the school. A quarter of the school is comprised of French nationals and there are students from 48 nationalities.

 

Founded by Progressive educators in 1979, the school has grown to four campuses (Los Feliz, Pasadena, Orange County and West Valley). The school is accredited by the French Ministry of Education, The Western Association of Schools and Colleges and The International Bacculaurate.

In a Kindergarten classroom

LILA is a Pre-K-12,  private school nestled on six acres in Los Feliz. The campus is instantly welcoming and low-key. It buzzes with with student excitement. The one-story buildings contain large, bright classrooms containing with smart boards. Teacher’s assignments and the student’s work decorate the walls. When I arrived, the school day was in full swing.

The garden at LILA serves as a place of learning and inspiration

Sitting a the edge of the campus is a huge, vibrant school garden that’s part of a bigger community garden. This glorious greenery lends the school nature’s greenery. Students help grow a wide assortment of fruit, vegetables and flowers. It’s a magical place where seedlings and plump, ready-to-pick fruit are examples of the kids’ efforts.

Earthly Delight!

Here are a few things to know about LILA:
  • Learning is project based at LILA
  • There are 2 grades per class, 450 students
  • A new secondary campus is in the works in Burbank, to move the secondary campus to a new location
  • The point of entry is Pre-K or K unless fluent in French
  • Tuition is approximately $14K per year for Kindergarten. Financial aid is available for up to 50% of tuition
  • LILA is more than a language immersion program, it’s a cultural immersion program
  • Graduates from the school attend top U.S. and international colleges and universities, including Columbia, Stanford, NYU, Berkeley, UCLA, USC, Brown, McGill University, Oxford University, Sorbonne, Universite Paris and more
  • LILA emphasizes community and the sharing of cultures

Oh, so pretty!

If you are considering a dual-immersion French-English school, visit LILA and see for yourself this unique, sprawling school on a gently sloping hill in Los Feliz. LILA puts a worldly spin on education!  C’est magnifique!

 

For more information, visit, Lycée International De Los Angeles

Photos: Mia J. Photography and Christina Simon