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OFALycée, the French Online School for American High Schoolers

The first online French-American high school, OFALycée, will open its virtual doors in September. To assist students whose education was disrupted by the pandemic, its founders will offer online French and math classes for ninth, tenth and eleventh-graders starting on April 27.
© Charles DeLoye

“Do you know about the drama of French-American education in the United States? Thousands of French and Francophile students are attending high school, but only 400 of them take the French Baccalaureate exams, with around thirty taking it independently.” Géraldine Guillermin, the head of OFALycée, the first online French-American high school, which was started in November 2019 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is confident. “We could without a doubt multiply this figure by two, three, or four.”

With the help of four experts in French-American education, Géraldine Guillermin found a way to give students the opportunity to successfully study for the French Baccalaureate exams, one of the most respected exams in the world. But what method does OFALycée use to accomplish this?

“Our secret is not to teach our classes in French through a computer to students in the American education system, nor is it to pile classes from the French lycée on top of the usual high school classes,” explains Olivier Saint-Vincent, a former professor of philosophy and director of the language and literature department at OFALycée. “This goes beyond that: We are the instigators of a revolution in 21st-century education. In the world we live in, an education system only gains strength and value if it is strengthened by another. Therein lies our innovation!”

Students of OFALycée, whether French or American, continue to take classes at their local high school. The educational team helps the student determine the additional classes they will need to take in order to prepare for the Baccalaureate exams in the best conditions possible. “It is a job that requires great precision,” remarks Thomas Renault, the director of the mathematics department. “OFALycée relies on the strengths of the American system’s mathematics curriculum to offer a level of excellence that has yet to be achieved in this subject.”

Thanks to over twenty years of expertise and to new technologies, OFALycée enables students to follow two education systems simultaneously. “We are in a marriage, a union, a fusion of two systems,” notes Géraldine Guillermin. “Much like two organisms nourishing one another and strengthening one another.” The results? This saves time and offers a balance for students to fully enjoy their American high school experience while still preserving their French culture through online courses. Moreover, OFALycée offers electives for students to choose from: philosophy (a subject with a reputation in French high schools), physics, or even the history of the French Revolution.

The Baccalaureate has become increasingly popular with colleges as it completes the American high school diploma. “It is this excellence that all universities look for nowadays,” explains Géraldine Guillermin, a guidance counselor and admissions expert. “At OFALycée, our students will be able to pursue their education in the best schools in the world. From the Sorbonne to Harvard, every door will be open to them. The choice will be theirs!”


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