Estelle De Oliveira works educating children using French immersion.
French School of San Antonio co-founder Estelle De Oliveira works with children using French language immersion. Credit: Courtesy / Judy McCarter

The French School of San Antonio, originally set to open this fall, delayed its start date because of challenges securing a facility.

Co-founder Katia Edrenkina told the Rivard Report that she and her business partner, Estelle De Oliveira, had to “make a tough call” to not open the school this year when Northeast Baptist Church backed out of a leasing agreement before it was signed.

The school originally intended to locate in the educational building of the church. When the church said it couldn’t house the school, the French School had no physical facility a month before the school’s scheduled start. At the time, the school had commitments from 15 students to attend the school during its first year.

Edrenkina and De Oliveira searched for alternatives, looking at houses and other facilities.

“The location options that we found over the last month would be acceptable for the short-term but would not satisfy the school’s needs in the long run,” Edrenkina said.

The school’s co-founders are still searching for a long-term location and reviewing their financial plan to ensure the sustainability of the project. They said they hope to open in Summer 2019 for camp and then start the academic year in Fall 2019.

This summer, Edrenkina described the school’s proposed structure and curriculum to the Rivard Report. She and De Oliveira planned to use lessons based on curriculum from the French Ministry of Education that had been adapted to meet Texas state standards.

A student’s day at the private elementary school would be split between five subjects including language arts, mathematics, physical education, arts, and exploring the world.

Students would learn in both English and French to develop comfort with French immersion.

Emily Donaldson

Emily Donaldson reports on education for the San Antonio Report.