French American International School
Do you want your child to develop a deeper understanding of other cultures and empathy for different perspectives? Discover why immersion is so much more than learning another language.
and why families believe their child's future begins at FAIS: the longest-established language immersion in Portland, and the only school in Portland authorized by the International Baccalaureate (IB) for preschool-8th grade.
- Top Ranked OR School
- Grades: Nursery/Preschool-8
- Students: 533 students
- Yearly Tuition: $19,411
- Average class size: 15 students
- Application Deadline: Feb. 1 / rolling
Summer School Offered
Summer Program Cost
Summer Program Cost Notes
activity/materials fees apply
Summer Program Details
Student Body Type
% Students of Color
State avg.: 25%
Students by Grade
Academics and Faculty
Total Classroom Teachers
Student : Teacher Ratio
National avg.: 13:1
% Faculty w/Advanced Degree
Average Class Size
List of Courses Offered
Classroom Dress Code
Tuition and Acceptance Rate
Feb. 1 / rolling
Yearly Tuition Cost
TPS-PK half day: $16,084 / PS-K full day: $19,411 / 1st-5th: $19,866 / 6th-8th: $22,780
Total ExtracurricularsTotal Extra-curric.
Art, Ceramics, Chess, Coding, Cooking, Dance, Drama, Fencing, Game Design, Gymnastics, Homework Help, Math, Music, Parkour, Photography, Robotics, Science, Speech and Debate, Writing, Yoga
- Portland's longest-established language immersion school, and the only IB School in Portland for Preschool-8th Grade!
- FAIS promotes appreciation of diverse cultures and experiences through its Four Guiding Principles: develop global citizens, foster multi-language ability, shape active learners, and deliver academic excellence. Situated on a 15-acre, nature-filled campus and home to a globally diverse community from more than 70 countries, this diverse learning environment provides students with the lifelong skills to succeed in a global, interconnected world by harnessing the benefits of the IB, French curriculum, and language immersion.
- Long-Term Benefits of Language Immersion
- Language immersion is more than learning an additional language. It uses language as a lens for understanding other cultures, providing students with a global perspective through which (as the IB mission articulates) "other people, with their differences, can also be right." Beyond the academic benefits, language immersion also enhances a number of cognitive, creative, and social abilities- from focus, critical thinking, and problem solving to open-mindedness, empathy, and interpersonal skills. By establishing this foundation early in the Lower School (French immersion) and building upon it in the Middle School (multiple language immersion tracks), FAIS develops global citizens with core values to better understand and navigate the world around them.
- IB + French Immersion: French American Lower School
- With an emphasis on play-based inquiry and connection to nature, the French American Lower School follows the IB Primary Years Programme in a French immersion setting. The IB is used as a framework for teaching the five pillars of the French curriculum: language to think and communicate; methods and tools for learning; personal development and citizenship; natural systems and technology; and understanding the world. From early preschool for 2 year olds through 5th grade, all teachers are native speakers with Master`s degrees. They collaborate with specialists across all subject areas to introduce children to a wide variety of experiences to develop strong relationships with others; build communication skills in both French and English; and prepare them for more structured, systematic learning in middle school.
- IB + Multiple Language Tracks: Gilkey International Middle School
- Focusing on collaboration and interdisciplinary learning, the Gilkey International Middle School follows the IB Middle Years Programme in five different language tracks. Students with high-level second-language skills enter immersion tracks in French, German, Mandarin, or Spanish. Capable students who are not already bilingual enter an English-focused track and begin a second language of their choice. All middle school students learn a new language from native-speaking teachers, who collaborate to deliver one core curriculum in every language track. After graduating from middle school, students leave FAIS well-prepared for high school and beyond with solid grounding in the traditional disciplines, the ability to communicate in multiple languages, and an appreciation for the diversity of world cultures.
- Building for the Future: The Next 40 Years
- FAIS is fully accredited by the French Ministry of Education, the Northwest Association of Independent Schools (NWAIS), and is authorized as an IB World School. Founded in 1979, it has grown to become one of the three largest independent schools as well as the longest-established and most-recognized language immersion school in the Portland area. FAIS opened its new middle school building in September 2019, with planning underway for continued campus improvements. These key initiatives will help ensure students continue to receive an unparalleled education in a state-of-the-art learning environment well into the future.
Profile last updated: 07/30/2021
Our son entered FAIS in 6th grade for Middle School and is currently a 7th grader. From the Open House we first attended and thereafter, we've been nothing but impressed. At the Open House, teachers were present and shared with us about their courses and teaching approach. They then got so excited talking to each other about how they collaborate on the IB curriculum they eventually had to be light-heartedly "shushed" so the presentations could continue! It was awesome. And we quickly saw the teachers truly walked their talk as our son went through 6th grade. The curriculum is challenging, global and engaging. Class sizes are small and the teachers really get to know your kid and support them. Administration is open and receptive and the school does a great job of providing opportunities for FAIS families to get to know each other. Our son is socially and academically engaged and loves being on the school soccer, basketball and track teams. He's happy. We parents are happy. We all wish it went through high school!
My husband and I feel so reassured that our children (enrolled in both elementary and middle school) are well prepared for future academic success. Nothing equals foreign language immersion taught by native speakers, within the IB framework, from Pre-School through Grade 8. Individuation and small group enquiry based learning permeate everything from PE to Music, Art, Language classes and Math and Science. The dedicated teaching staff definitely guide the students towards becoming passionate worldly life long learners!
Every time I'm on the school campus and see and hear about the projects that the kids have done, in all grades, I'm astounded. The way the teachers link the curriculum through all subjects including math, science, PE, English, French, music, art, etc... makes me wish I could attend school here. I feel lucky that my kids go to FAIS and I know they do too. They actually tell me how much they like their school on a regular basis!
FAIS has a great learning and social environment. Our son started in middle school (Gilkey) and is challenged by the IB program. The global community of students is also very positive for him. There are many extracurricular activities, sports, and social activities offered and the community is very welcoming. If you are looking for smaller class sizes, fantastic language program, and highly engaged teachers - FAIS is it.
As a private school with a great student teacher ratio, this school isn't as expensive as others in its class. It also has a fantastic teacher retention history and they all are quite happy to stay and teach until they retire. My daughter graduated from both the lower school and the middle school and went on to get easy A's in public school. Now my son is loving being in classes that are small and well structured with no one getting out of hand to ruin the learning experience for every one else! Oh, and my daughter is fluent in French and Spanish as a result of attending the best language school in Oregon.
FAIS is an outstanding school in Portland. Our experience at the elementary school and middle school have been beyond our expectations. Our two boys have embarked on projects in GIS, the human body, architecture, art, theatre, climbing, and mathematics that have stimulated learning that has extended beyond the school environment. The teachers are excellent. The International Baccalaureate (IB) program empowers them to be well-rounded students of life. The community is welcoming and supportive.
Our daughter attended FAIS and Gilkey from fourth through eighth grades, coming from a French immersion school in Maryland. At FAIS the rigorous International Baccalaureate (IB) program prepared her for the IB program at the International School of Geneva (ECOLINT), where she earned an IB Diploma with top grades. Her studies in French and Chinese at Gilkey paved the way for Spanish, Latin and Greek at ECOLINT and at the University of California, Santa Cruz. I would send her to FAIS/Gilkey again in a heartbeat.
This is an exceptional school that produces remarkably well-rounded students. My son is still in grade school, and can read and write English and French fluently. But perhaps less expected, the science program is stellar as well. My child surprised our pediatrician with his knowledge of how the human body works. All this without sacrificing art, music, or P.E. A really great school!
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