The International School of Los Angeles (French: Lycée International de Los Angeles) is a nonprofit, private, dual immersion international French school for grades Preschool-12th in Greater Los Angeles. The school's corporate office is in Burbank, California, in the San Fernando Valley. It was previously known in English as the French American Schools of Southern California.
The International School of Los Angeles holds triple accreditation: by the French Ministry of Education, as well as the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), and the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO) in Geneva, Switzerland.
It was initially named College d'études françaises ("C.E.F.") and more recently the Lycée International de Los Angeles (LILA). In September 2015, the School officially changed its name to the International School of Los Angeles. The School was established in 1978. Since the original founders (Monique Mickus, Jacques & Pierrette Gaspart) had French backgrounds, they chose the proven French educational system as the foundation for the School's curriculum. Mme Christiane Bayet, mother of Monique Mickus, who was on the original Board of Trustees for the school and an educator herself, taught French, Latin and Philosophy when the school first opened in 1978. She used to quote a saying from Victor Hugo: "Open schools and you will close prisons."
Co-founder Monique Mickus came from a long line of educators and was one of the first teachers in 1978 when the school opened. Her great-grandfather, French historian and author Alphonse Aulard (1849-1928), held the chair of Professor of History of the French Revolution at the Sorbonne, succeeding Michelet. He was also a co-founder of the Ligue des droits de l'homme and was president of the Mission Laïque from 1906-1912. Her grandfather, Albert Bayet (1880-1961) was Professor of Sociology at the Sorbonne and at the École pratique des hautes études. He too was a member of the Ligue des droits de l'homme and was president of the Ligue de l'enseignement from 1949-1959. He was president of the Fédération nationale de la presse libre during World War II and president of the Fédération nationale de la presse française following the war.
Initially, the School had five students. They were the co-founders' children: Catherine Mickus, Elizabeth Mickus, Francis Mickus, Guylaine Gaspart, and Christelle Gaspart.
By 1990, the student body had increased to 225 on three campuses.
Today, there are close to 1,100 students on five campuses.
The school has five campuses: three Preschool-5 campuses, one in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles, one in Pasadena, and one in West Valley; a Preschool-8 campus in Orange; and a secondary 6-12 campus in Burbank. Upon graduation from elementary school, students from the Los Feliz, Pasadena and West Valley campuses are shuttled by school buses to the Burbank campus to continue their secondary program.
A central administrative office is located on the Burbank campus.
Opened in August 2013, the Burbank campus is located in the Rancho Equestrian district, perhaps the most famous neighborhood in Burbank due to its equestrian zoning, numerous parks, open space, connections to riding trails in Griffith Park, and proximity to Warner Brothers and Disney Studios. The campus is on Riverside Drive, the Rancho's main thoroughfare, lined with sycamore and oak trees. The one-story building was built in the 1960s by General Motors Corporation for training purposes. The campus houses 23 classrooms, four labs, an auditorium, an art room, an indoor sports room, two outdoor volleyball courts and basketball courts. School buses shuttle students between the Burbank campus and the three Los Angeles-area elementary campuses.
The largest campus in (Los Feliz ) is a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument and is the only school designed by noted architect John Lautner. Constructed in 1960 in the International Modern style, the four separate pavilion classrooms feature a low scale to suit children. The campus is located in the Franklin Hills section of Los Angeles, California. The campus is located on six acres. The permanent Lautner structures and other additions are used as offices, classrooms, science labs, art rooms, a multipurpose room, computer labs, and a teachers' lounge. The library sits in the middle of the largest building. Several modular classrooms have been added to the campus. There is a large field used for soccer and other sports, and several play areas.
The Orange County Campus is centrally located in Orange, CA. It moved to its current location in July 2015 and presently serves 134 students (preschool to 8th grade). It is on the grounds of Covenant Christian School, well-situated close to the 22, 55, 91, 57 and 5 freeways in a mixed-use neighborhood. The school has ten classrooms, a media lab, library, two playgrounds, and an administration office. A separate grassy field and gymnasium are used for physical activities such as soccer, kin-ball, badminton and street hockey. To accommodate guests at special events (e.g. WinterFest, Graduation Ceremony, Fête de la Musique), the International School of Los Angeles-OC community has access to an auditorium and a large party room.
The Pasadena campus is located across from Pasadena City College. It consists of a two-story building with 11 classrooms, a dual-language library, a computer lab used for student research and didactic exercises, and dedicated outside dining and play areas. A separate multipurpose room serves as a versatile venue for music classes, indoor extra-curricular activities and special meetings, while an auditorium invites larger group activities, such as student performances, workshops, etc.
LILA previously served San Gabriel Valley families with a Kindergarten through grade 6 campus on the property of the United Methodist Church in Monrovia. This campus, using classrooms formerly used by a church daycare, opened was scheduled to open on September 11, 1990. It moved to Pasadena in July 2006.
The West Valley Campus is an offshoot of the International School of Los Angeles' original Tarzana San Fernando Valley home. It consists of three permanent buildings and two additional modular buildings, one of which houses a well-stocked library overseen by a full-time librarian. The other modular building is home to a computer lab with 22 computers and a small, indoor gymnasium. The permanent buildings have high ceilings and ample space for the small class sizes of 17-20 students. All elementary classrooms have their own library and computer areas, and all West Valley classrooms are fitted with interactive whiteboards and projectors, enabling teachers to utilize the very latest educational technologies to complement their pedagogical techniques. The elementary playground is very spacious and includes a shaded eating area, a field for sports games, a basketball court, a set of swings, and a jungle gym. There is also a small pool which is used mainly during summer months. The preschoolers have their own separate building that houses two large classrooms, as well as an attractive playground with a shaded lunch area.
The School previously had a Woodland Hills campus, which had over 140 students as of 2001. This was in a public school building, rented from the Los Angeles Unified School District. In 2001 LAUSD announced that it would not renew the lease.
The International School of Los Angeles follows the French Ministry of Education's academic program in a bilingual context. Besides the scientifically proven benefits of bilingualism, the School aims to gift students with the value of a constructivist education where students are actively involved in a process of meaning and knowledge construction. The International School of Los Angeles teaches a bilingual program from preschool through 12th grade culminating in the French Baccalauréat or the International Baccalaureate Diploma. Students are taught to read, write, and speak both languages by the end of their elementary education. Satisfying both the Core 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.
The school 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.
The academic program from pre-school into high school is based on a bicultural program which results in a French Baccalaureate and/or an International Baccalaureate IB Diploma Programme. Students are taught to speak, read, and write both French and English. The School's results for 2014: from the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program: 100% success rate, the French Baccalaureate Program: 100% success rate, and 100% American high school diploma. The school also offers the French Brevet des collèges to their 9th graders (100% success rate). In addition to the baccalaureate credentials, the majority of LILA high school students take Advanced Placement tests and have earned national recognition for their high scores on the SAT and ACT tests. The School further requires all its high school students to fulfill 150 hours of community service as part of their roles as world citizens.
Because the school's students, teachers and staff come from many nations (50 nationalities are represented on the five campuses, with 39 languages spoken at home), social studies and the concept that we are all citizens of one world are emphasized. Small, nurturing classes and small student-to-teacher ratios facilitate this.
Graduates of the International School of Los Angeles are accepted to universities internationally, among them: Princeton University, Columbia University, Stanford University, University of Oxford, University of Edinburgh, McGill University, UC Berkeley, UCLA, Dartmouth College, Brown University, and Sciences Po.
In 2007, student Chloé Grison created a short film called "My LILA", which she narrates in both French and English, showing images of the student body, faculty, staff, and parents to emphasize her message of a successful multicultural school community. The film was selected among several student film entries to be shown on Newsweek.com. At a Los Angeles City Council meeting at Los Angeles City Hall in late June 2007, Councilman Tom LaBonge presented Chloé with a certificate of recognition (from Antonio Villaraigosa, Mayor of Los Angeles) for the creative interpretation of the school. To view the movie "My LILA" .