News de Nous – 7/31/20

July 31, 2020
Ready Position
 Bonjour – Plenty to chew on in this edition of News de Nous. We look back and ahead with our summer letter from Head of School, Willy LeBihan, and introduce you to two new members of our staff. Plus, enrollment news & links and some national awards roll in for our FASTB students…
Summer Greetings From Head of School Willy LeBihan
Bonjour FASTB Families,
I hope this message finds you well and that you join me in my enthusiasm for
another year at The French American School of Tampa Bay.
There has been a lot to plan and a lot to consider, but we have set our
coordinates, lifted anchor, and are ready to sail! The waters ahead may be
rough, but we have plotted our course carefully and are ready to embark. We
are thankful for our crew of talented teachers, eager students, devoted
administrators, and supportive families. With some new additions on board,
Audrey and Cécile, we strengthen our forces as we sail into the 2020-2021 school year. Please see their bios below and join me in welcoming them warmly into the FASTB family.
Since breaking for the summer, a lot has happened. We are so proud of the
entire school community, our staff, and students, for all of the milestones we’ve
reached and the accomplishments we have made together! In just two short
years of operation, we have achieved full accreditation from AEFE, The French
Ministry of Education, and this is no small feat! Additionally, we are now a fully
licensed Florida Childcare Center, and, as you will read in this edition of NdN,
our students have ranked nationally for their performance in a national French
Starting out is never easy, and along the way, challenges can be expected and
we have weathered our share, not the least of which we currently face –
navigating a pandemic. But we are ready, and we are looking forward to
getting started.
You can click here to access the Reopening Plan. We are extremely thankful
to Dr. Gaetaene Michaud for her expert contributions to this plan – our goal is to offer a safe school experience for all and she certainly has the knowledge to
guide us. We will be opening August 28th with these protocols in place. Our
revised calendar for the school year can be found here.
I am extremely grateful for the support of our families throughout this journey.
The creation of FASTB is now behind us and we venture on, always setting
new goals for growth and development with our students’ best interests in
mind. It is with great pleasure that I announce we are now an approved IB
candidate school. Our next goal is to become an IB World School offering the
PYP (primary years programme) and eventually MYP (middle years
programme). FASTB is now officially an International Baccalaureate IB PYP
candidate and a member of the Florida Association of IB World Schools.
We look forward to continuing this FASTB adventure together, to watching
your children grow and learn, to nurturing them in their development in
partnership with you. This is not a task we take lightly and we thank you for the
trust you place in us.
I take this opportunity to welcome our new families aboard and to welcome back our returning families. Our ship set to sail !
Sincerely yours,
Willy LeBihan
Head of School
Upcoming Communications
Friday, August 7: Teacher Assignments, School Forms, Medical Requirements
We have staff meetings this coming week and will finalize teaching assignments for the upcoming year. Some of our school forms will be revised and medical requirements adjusted due to COVID-19 and this communication will have all of the details. We will also be including the 2020-21 edition of the Parent-Student Handbook.
Introducing Cécile Rocher, Classroom Teacher
Cécile joins the FASTB staff for the 2020-21 school year as a certified French Ministry of Education teacher with over 15 years of classroom experience in the preschool through elementary grades, both here in the US and in France. Teaching most recently at a French Immersion school in Kansas City, Cécile’s other US stops include five years at Ecole Bilingue in New Orleans and three years at the prestigious Rochambeau French International School in Washington D.C. The combination of her teaching versatility and international experience make her an ideal fit at FASTB.
Raised on the island of Molène, off the coast of Brittany in France, Cécile earned a biology degree at Universite Bretagne Occidental in Brest and became a certified Professeur des ecoles in 2003. It was during her time in New Orleans that she met her husband, Tom, an American, and they are the proud parents of twins. Cécile grew up by the sea and loves nature, sports, travel and food. “The Tampa Bay area is a great destination for us,” she says, “and I am very excited to join the FASTB team!”
Introducing Audrey Talarico, Director of Admissions
Audrey Talarico is joining the team as Director of Admissions with 19 years of teaching and leadership experience in bilingual environments.
After finishing her studies in France, she acted on her dream to travel and live abroad. She started her career as a French and English teacher, teaching all grade levels in independent, public, and private school settings. Passionate about new experiences and discovering new cultures and ways of life, Audrey taught in the UK as well as in several states in the US (Minnesota, Florida and Rhode Island) before continuing her career in leadership roles as Director of the Lower School in Rhode Island and Lower School Principal in Texas.
She enjoys working in collaborative environments and her experience in bilingual education, management, and event planning prepared her well for an Admissions Director’s role in a multilingual education setting.
Audrey holds two master’s degrees, one in consulting and training, concentrating on adult education and management, and the other in education. Her undergraduate degree focused on sociology, psychology and anthropology. She advocates for students to become lifelong global citizens and independent and active learners through collaboration, hands-on activities and differentiated instruction. She believes that children are change-makers in the world.
Audrey is passionate about nutrition and started her own business as a Health and Wellness Coach. She also enjoys traveling and exploring new places and foods, photography, live music, reading, baking and spending time with friends and family. She travels to France every year to visit her family and friends and expose her son to the French culture.
Audrey is very excited about joining FASTB as Director of Admissions and looks forward to working with the FASTB community.
Enrollment 2020-21
Speaking of admissions, thanks to all of you who have persevered through these difficult months and have either renewed your enrollments or have enrolled as new families. If you have not enrolled for 2020-21 and wish to do so, please visit our Admissions page and contact us as soon as possible. With the protocols we will have in place requiring proper spacing, classes will be small, so now is the time to secure a spot for this year.
Remember also that Step Up for Students is still accepting scholarship applications for grades K & up, for both the Florida Tax Credit and Family Empowerment scholarships. The state of Florida recently expanded these offerings so it is definitely worth checking out!
Award Winners: FASTB Impresses in Le Grand Concours !
Congratulations to our students who ranked nationally in the 85th annual Le Grand Concours national French competition sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of French. Seven FASTB students placed in the top 90th percentile in Florida, and three ranked nationally with three platinum, one silver, and two bronze medals!
Students (FLES division grade 1-6) were evaluated last February for their written, oral, and listening comprehension skills in French. Nearly 70,000 students in all 50 states competed in the 2020 events. Willy LeBihan, former president of the American Association of Teachers of French – Maine Chapter, coordinated the participation of our students in the contest.
An amazing accomplishment for our FASTB students, all of whom participated for the first time in this contest.  Medals and Certificates were mailed earlier this month. Bravo !!
Bon week-end à tous !!
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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