Great Concept, Poor Implementation
Dallas International School is the only school in Dallas that offers children a bi-lingual education. However, the school is poorly organized, the communication between the administration and the parents is virtually non-existent, and there is, to a large degree, some anti-American sentiment that goes with the environment.
The French culture is the prevailing influence in this school, meaning that any American influence is taught within the confines of the limited hours of the English class.
As the school is largely supported financially via the French Government and the French company Mission Laique, the primary goal is to educate the French nationals located in Dallas.
Either the child can easily grasp the curriculum set out by the French government or they will be behind in the class and there is no extra help for them to catch up.
The school does not offer a summer course for non-french speakers other than a beginners French camp, the school does not offer a list of tutors to use for a supplement to the grade specific curriculum, and the teachers are non-compliant with furnishing you with extra work to help your child keep up.
Any supplement to aid your child to keep up with their coursework will have to be sought on your own.
There are various social issues that are handled in a different method as compared to the American culture. One such issue is bullying and children using physical force against one another. The French do not see this as an issue, however, the school is trying to make feeble attempts to blend into the American school's stand of not tolerating physical abuse between children.
The French teachers have a different outlook on treatment of the children in relation to the non-French teachers. The French teachers do not believe in nurturing the children, nor giving much positive feedback to the children,and this sometimes borders on verbal abuse.
There is a lack of information sharing between the school and the families concerning all issues. Do not expect any replies to your concerns or suggestions. There are replies when they are accompanied with a donation though. You can send them an email or leave them a message, but they normally will not reply.
The administration does not seem all too concerned with keeping the families at the school as there is a mass exit of families on a yearly basis. Most families have had the same reasons for this exodus; non communication, disorganization, and the inability to get their children help with the French as the course work becomes more difficult.
While the school has started an International Baccalaureate program for 10th grade and up, taught in English, in the hopes of attracting more non-French into the high-school, there is great difficulty for children already at the school to make it that far if they do not pass all French requirements.
So, the high-school has maybe 6 students in a graduating class, with one or two possibly completing the International program.
All in all, the school is primarily focused on the French students and the French culture, and makes a poor attempt at being an International school.
The school may be a good experience for children in the pre-kindergarten level, however, after the first grade, it becomes a ""risk at your own will"" education. Once they try to go further, if they fail, they will have to have further English help to be able to go back into an English speaking educational system.
If you are prepared to have both English and French tutors on your budget, to help your child succeed at this school then you may be fine. Alternatively, if your child can grasp languages easily and quickly, then this school may be good for them.
Otherwise, the risks are great for your child to be able to get very far at the school.