By Jason and Eric Stone, LFSF parents
Eric and I met in New York City in 2001 and moved to San Francisco in 2005. After taking some time to get settled in to new careers, we started to talk about expanding our family. After a lot of consideration, we decided we wanted to pursue adoption. We added to our family with the adoption of Stella in 2011. We followed that with the adoption of Xavier in 2013.
When our kids reached school age, finding a school where our kids would be exposed to the French language and culture was important to us. My husband Eric was born in San Francisco to an American dad and a French mom. We wanted both of our kids to have the gift of being bilingual and bicultural. We also thought it wouldn't hurt if they could grow up being able to speak to their French relatives in their native language.
As we began exploring our options, we found there were a few schools in the Bay Area that taught in the French language. But only one school really focused on French culture as well. At that point, we realized our choice was an easy one. We applied to the Lycée and hoped for the best. And we felt really lucky when we got in.
And five years in, we're still feeling lucky. Our children have had amazing teachers and assistants in all of their classes so far. We've been impressed by how much they care about our kids—and adapt to their different learning styles.
Our daughter Stella started in Petite Section (Pre-K) and now is in CE1 (second grade). Our son Xavier also began in Petite Section and is now in Grande Section (Kindergarten). Stella fell in love with the school immediately—and has loved all of her teachers. Xavier took a little while to adjust to the school, but he now gives most of his days a “thumbs up.”
Our kids take advantage of many of the after-school activities that the school provides. Since we both work, it would have been difficult to coordinate activities outside of the school. Having activities onsite is a big benefit and has exposed our children to art, music, dance, judo, Spanish and intro to coding, among other activities.
One of the best parts about being an LFSF family is becoming friends with lots of interesting families from around the world.
Over the years, our kids have developed strong friendships with their classmates as we've gotten to know their classmates' parents. It's a tight-knit community—we go skiing together, we go camping together and we just help each other out, whether it's with carpooling or childcare. We feel so grateful to be surrounded by such supportive and interesting families.
One of the things we did not consider when looking at schools was whether there would be other alternative (non-traditional) families at the school. As our kids have progressed through the school, we have realized there are few other families with same-sex parents and/or adopted kids. San Francisco is filled with an incredible amount of diversity and we have realized we would love see more of that diversity visible in the school.
We're committed to doing our part to make sure that people realize that LFSF Lycée is a school where all families feel welcome. Over a year ago, I joined a Diversity task force created by a School Board Member. The task force work began during the last year of the prior Head of Schools’ tenure, who was working on the AEFE LFSF 5 year Plan d’Etablissement. After meeting with members of the community and receiving their input regarding goals and objectives (and hearing a lot of varied concerns and experiences), I was happy to see that the task force successfully advocated for diversity and inclusion to be one of the pillars of this 5 year Plan d’Etablissement.
The Board approved the following diversity statement in 2018:
“Diversity, equity, and inclusion are core values at the Lycée Français de San Francisco. By joining the LFSF, members commit to embrace and respect the diversity of our students, teachers, and families. Our community is made up of people of many ancestries, races, colors, religions, gender identities, family structures, disabilities, sexual orientations, learning differences and socioeconomic backgrounds. Actively embracing these differences makes our school vibrant and inclusive.”
We're so glad to have discovered this little jewel of a school in San Francisco's dizzying list of educational options. We're looking forward to welcoming more families like ours to the Lycée.