News de Nous – 11/5/19

November 5, 2019
All Dressed Up
 Some great looks on display at the FASTB Halloween Parade last week – enhanced by superb face painting by our own Emmy Decker! Plenty of photos below, plus we introduce you to three new teachers, prepare you for an astronomical event next Monday, preview our first Suzuki Recital and more in this week’s News de Nous !
FASTB Welcomes Teachers
This week, we are pleased to welcome three teachers to the FASTB team – Magali and Olivier Guilhem, and Erika Ruhlmann are on board and there will be a reception after the Suzuki concert on Thursday to welcome them. You can learn more about them below:
Magali Guilhem
Teacher & Art Program Coordinator
Magali comes to FASTB with a varied background, both as a classroom teacher and as an art teacher, to go with many years of international experience. The opportunities to teach in AEFE network schools in Bali for 3 years, Vanuatu for 1 year, Mauritius for 3 years and Qatar for 4 years, have been an amazing experience of discovery for her, her husband Olivier and their two children. During her time at these schools, she has served as lead teacher at both the kindergarten and preschool levels.
Born in Montpellier in the South of France, Magali grew up with a love of nature and fine arts, attending the School of Fine Arts of Nimes, and eventually earning her Master’s degree in Visual Arts and Art History at the University of Paul Valéry in Montpellier. At FASTB, Magali will tap into her experiences in the classroom and teaching art, adapting the curriculum to students of all ages and levels, and serving as the coordinator of our art program throughout the school.
Olivier Guilhem
Elementary Classroom Teacher
Pedagogical Coordinator
Olivier earned his teacher certification in the French Ministry of Education in 2005 and brings to FASTB a wealth of international teaching experience in AEFE schools. Beginning with his initial 3-year abroad experience in Bali in 2007, Olivier and his wife, Magali, have also taught on Mauritius Island, where he also served as Pedagogical Coordinator, in the South Pacific at the French School of Vanuatu, and most recently in Doha, Qatar, where he taught 5th grade and physical education and served as the assistant campus director overseeing 33 primary classes.
Olivier has taught at multiple elementary grade levels and his experience also includes work as a special education teacher in France and as a middle school teacher in SEGPA, with students who have learning disabilities and come from difficult socio-cultural backgrounds.
Born in Carcassonne, in the South of France, Olivier grew up playing many sports and playing the trumpet. While he earned a black belt in judo, his biggest success was in track & field – as recently as 2016, he has competed at an elite level, winning the World Cup Decathlon title in the Masters age 35-40 category. In addition to his teaching and pedagogical duties at FASTB, Olivier will lead our physical education program.
Erika Ruhlmann
Preschool Classroom Teacher
A certified French Ministry of Education teacher with many years of experience as a lead teacher at the preschool and elementary levels, Erika brings a wealth of experience to FASTB as lead preschool teacher. Teaching in multi-age classroom settings in the South of France for the past 8 years – 3 in Pre-K/K (TPS, PS, MS, GS) and 5 in K-2 (GS, CP, CE1), Erika uses hands-on and Montessori style activities, and enjoys incorporating children’s literature into her lessons.
Additionally, Erika has served as an elementary school director and has experience teaching children with learning disabilities. Born in Dijon in northern France, Erika knew from a young age that she wanted to work with children, going on to earn her bachelor’s degree with a double major in psychology and education sciences, and eventually her certification in 2006. Erika loves running, hiking, reading and traveling, and is very excited to be part of the FASTB team.
Suzuki Students In Concert Thursday
Jennifer Diedrich’s violinists and pianists will put on their first Suzuki concert Thursday afternoon at 2pm – all are invited and we will have a small reception afterward to congratulate our students for their hard work and also introduce our new teachers. See you Thursday!
Mercury On The Move
We are in for a treat next Monday, November 11, as FASTB parent and amateur astronomer, Joe Barry, will bring his telescope to school to view the planet Mercury as it passes in front of the sun. Joe’s reflector telescope (above) automatically tracks with the Earth’s rotation and he will use a filter to safely view the sun.
This event will help students gain perspective on just how big our sun (the nearest star to us) is compared to the planets, and how fast Mercury is traveling in its orbit – an average of 105,947 miles per hour! Mercury will begin to cross the sun’s disk at 7:35am EST and will exit at 1:04pm EST. Weather permitting, students and interested parents will have two viewings – at the beginning of school and around noon to observe the planet’s progress over time.
Don’t miss it – the next time you can see a Mercury transit event will be 2032! Big thanks to Joe Barry for providing this educational opportunity to our students!
Photo Orders Due
Order forms and payments for school photos are due Tomorrow, November 6th, in the envelope provided – you can bring them to the office and we will deliver to Moorman Photographics. On Thursday, November 21, we will have a re-take/class photo day: any students who would like to re-do the photos, or who were absent on photo day, will have the opportunity to do individual portraits. We will also be doing class photos that day.
Costumes On Parade
Students of all ages (and teachers & parents too) had the Halloween spirit last Thursday at our Halloween Parade – everyone looked great! From the moment preparation began early in the afternoon, through the event itself, everyone was all-in as you can see below! Thank you to all who were able to participate!
French Culture Corner: Brittany
Our Head of School, Willy LeBihan, recently spent some time with our upper elementary and middle school students introducing them to the region where he grew up in France, Brittany. He spoke about the geography, history and culture of the area, using a slide presentation, and also performed the music of Brittany on his guitar (below).
French Culture: Brittany
Upcoming Open House Dates: November 19 & 20
Save the dates for two November open houses – an evening session from 5pm to 7pm on Tuesday, November 19, and a morning session from 8:45 to 10:45 on November 20. All are welcome – please pass the word!
FASTB Calendar A Click Away
You can click on the image below to download our school calendar and, as always, be sure to check the Events tab on periodically for more specific information on certain events. Merci !
Enrollment How To
Whether you are looking ahead to the 2020-21 school year or still considering 2019-20, please contact us so we can help you through the enrollment process. You can give us a call at (727) 800-2159 or email
Below is the sequence of steps to apply and enroll at FASTB:
  1. Inquiry: Submit the Application Inquiry Form on our web site and we will contact you to set up a school visit to give you more information about FASTB and answer questions
  2. Apply: Click here for our online Enrollment Application which offers the convenience of applying and paying the fee entirely online
  3. Interview: After receiving the completed application we set up a parent or guardian and child interview to assess readiness and ability to benefit from our program
  4. Acceptance & Enrollment: Upon acceptance, an Enrollment Contract must be signed and deposit paid to secure a spot for the upcoming year
Please visit and click on the Admission tab for more on the process, tuition, financial aid and more – we look forward to hearing from you!
Apply for Florida Scholarships, Grades K & Up
FASTB accepts Florida state scholarships and we are now listed as a participating school on the Step Up for Students, AAA Scholarships and McKay Scholarship websites, so if you have already applied and have been awarded a scholarship, you can opt for our school there.
Please note, too, that there is now a second income based scholarship offered by the state of Florida: the Family Empowerment Scholarship, which will also be administered by Step Up for Students. Key points for this scholarship are:
  1. For students currently in public schools OR students entering Kindergarten
  2. Income thresholds are higher than those in the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship
If you meet the criteria in the first item above, it is definitely worth filling out the free online application to see if you qualify.
This brings the number of scholarships that we will accept in 2019-20 to five:
  1. Florida Tax Credit
  2. Family Empowerment
  3. McKay
  4. Gardiner
  5. Hope
Here are the links:
Step Up For Students (Florida Tax Credit, Family Empowerment, Gardiner, Hope Scholarships):
AAA Scholarships (Florida Tax Credit, Family Empowerment, Gardiner, Hope Scholarships):
L’Ecole des loisirs – FASTB’s French Book Club
Thank you to all of the families who signed up for our school book club, l’école des loisirs, to enjoy the wonderful offerings from this long-time publisher of children’s books in France. These books feature lively illustrations and text, and have accompanying audio as well. We will notify you when the first books arrive !
Calling All High School French Scholars
We are offering after school advanced French classes for high school students, who wish to pursue a greater proficiency in the language. The Diplôme d’Etudes de Langue Française (DELF) is a certification of French language abilities for non-native speakers, administered by the International Centre for French Studies for the French Ministry of Education.
The program includes six different units (A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2), with each leading to an exam and, if passed, a French diploma. The last levels of the program can give access to French universities without having to take another proficiency test before enrolling. US colleges also recognize the value of these diplomas and they are also be very valuable professionally as proof of fluency in French.
If you or someone you know might be interested in this program, please contact the school. You can visit our DELF page for more information or click here to view the brochure pdf. Merci !
Nouvelle Bibliothèque – Donations Accepted
If you haven’t had a chance yet, please stop by and see our beautiful new library! Over the summer, we acquired over 2,000 books that reside on our brand new shelves and we are very pleased to be able to provide both French & English books for our students to utilize in school or borrow to take home.
Even with that many books, we still have some room to add on – if you have any children’s books, in French or English, that you would like to donate, we would gladly accept them for our library. Please contact us at the school (727-800-2159) to arrange to drop them off. Thank you in advance for your help!
French Education Thrives In The US
In case you missed it, click the image above and check out a terrific article in France-Amérique about the success of French schools in the US. If you’re especially ambitious, there is also a link within the story to another fascinating article by Fabrice Jaumont about the benefits and relevance of being bilingual. Many of the points in these articles reinforce the foundation of our mission here at FASTB.
Merci – passez une bonne semaine !
2100 62nd Ave N, St. Petersburg, FL 33702
Telephone: (727) 800-2159
Dan Hannigan: School Director
Elizabeth LeBihan: Founder and Admission Director
Willy LeBihan: Founder and Head of School
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