In New York, The School: The Success Story of Laurence and Philippe Roux

Success Story, a set of two words that rhyme with United States. In partnership with USAFrance Financials, a private management firm specializing in the heritage issues of the French community in the United States, we invite you to read the extraordinary journey of women and men living in New York. Today we have an appointment with Laurence and Philippe Roux, benefactors of The École.

Two decades after settling in the United States, Laurence and Philippe Roux took over The School, a top bilingual school in the heart of Manhattan. In five years, two of which were under the sign of the Covid, the benefactors have revolutionized their school. Although nothing predestined the couple to embark on this adventure, they tell us their success story, that of a human-scale educational project placed under the sign of agility, openness and achievement.

The school, bilingual school and success story

Laurence and Philippe Roux landed in the United States in 1994. In New York, Philippe started a promising career in the financial world. Over time, and for Philippe’s work, the couple moved to Long Island, where Laurence gave birth to their two children. When the time came and the issue of schooling for their offspring arose, the couple returned to Manhattan to enroll their children in The School, then called the International School, where the bilingual education offered matched their family project. At the time, nothing was destined for the couple to go back to school,” we were happy then that we only had to pay for our lessons smiles Philippe Roux. The school is growing and developing at full speed. Maybe a little too soon. † The founders failed to manage the growth and the school lost its way on many levels ‘ explains the benefactor. And Laurence to add” after three years the parents started asking themselves a lot of questions, the school was financially vulnerable

The school is inundated with management problems, with the departure of disappointed families, with a blatant lack of transparency, but also with: the original and family spirit had been lost with the growth and increase of the number of families ‘, the couple laments. What made the DNA of the school and made the difference is gradually being lost. A disappointment for families whose children have been in school for a few years and who have just been seduced by this family spirit. On a human scale. † We talked less about programs, less about pedagogy, bilingualism was less strong than now, notes Philippe Roux.

In 2016, three years after the Roux children arrived at the school, a group of parents formed with a desire to take matters into their own hands. The couple then decides to go back to school as a duo. It was then that the International School became The School, that a board was established, that transparency was imposed. The Roux couple tailors The School to their expectations, but also to the expectations of families. The school becomes a family school, a community. The Roux couple officially became owners of The École in 2017. We took it back to save the school and take back this community of families explains Philip. Since then, the Roux couple is called, the benefactors by The School. † Owner has a business and financial connotation. It’s anything but a business for us,” the couple says. However, if the school is a “for-profit corporation” and families pay annual tuition, it is managed as a “not-for-profit organization.” “. Such as a ” charity “. Central concept, even state of mind in the United States. And so important for the couple of benefactors.

A New Birth and Community Building

Once they’re in control, The School is reborn from the ashes. A rebranding committee is formed. The school establishes new values, develops as a brand, especially with the help of Christophe Attard, then a parent of pupils. The image of the school is strengthened, a new name is found, new values ​​are established, new resources are mobilized, especially thanks to real staff work. Families are once again taking center stage and are reshaping this community so dear to benefactors. More and more events accentuate the life of the school and reinforce the family and friendly spirit of The School. Together they celebrate the milestones of the school year. It is not uncommon to see Laurence wandering the halls. A word for everyone. Watchful. She ensures the smooth running of the school on a daily basis. A benefactor, but also a mother among all others. She looks! With constant attention to detail. She and Jean-Yves Vesseau know each student’s first name.

The curriculum is central to this school of excellence. In 2020 Jean-Yves Vesseau will join the school as director. It creates a new team, always more efficient, always stronger. Among his skills, an education of excellence and an international scope.

efficiency. An idea specific to Philippe Roux’s career as a trader. He brings this personal and professional experience to the heart of The School. He, who has been evolving for years into a human-sized company that only recruits the best, copies this scheme at his school. † You need to hire the right people to contribute to The School. The goal is to be the best. We don’t compare ourselves to other schools, we want to do the best without trying to duplicate things that already exist,” he says.

Innovation. How to be the best? A central question at The School. † You must never stop. Don’t be afraid to try new things. We have a boutique spirit, which means that we want to stay on a human scale, with two lessons per level. This allows us to grow to 360 students. No further because we would lose our “community” aspect and we would also lose agility “. At The École, innovation is carried through to the renovation of buildings and the choice of furniture. In consultation with teachers. Reconfigure a class with specific furniture that can adapt to group or solo work, or to a specific program. During the renovation of the main building, some walls became movable, opening one classroom to another, an invitation to cohesion.Walls you can write on.Innovation and agility know no bounds.At The École, they push against the walls.

At the start of the 2022/2023 school year, 300 students – almost double compared to 2017, and despite two years of Covid – are expected. The number of teaching and administrative staff has also doubled, as have budgets. † Build it and it will come”, explains Philippe, “ we have done ten years development in five years “. Under the three values ​​of The School, agility, openness and achievement. And of course under the sign of bilingual education. ” Bilingualism means treating both languages ​​equally. At our school we speak both languages ​​equally, without any notion of ‘target language’ explains the couple. Students learn in English and French, they learn about the world through the prism of two cultures, without a dominant language.

Benefactors of the school

We do not measure success in terms of finances as that is not our goal, but in the number of students and families who identify with our project, “explain de Roux. Listening is also part of success. The couple has put a lot of effort into meeting all families interested in The School. To learn from them. Success is in human terms. Even if it comes at a price Hiring the best students in the heart of Manhattan is expensive, and with it tuition. Also, in a logic of charity – so dear to the couple – the school spends a budget six times greater than French scholarships to accommodate students whose families cannot afford tuition fees. Next year, The École’s financial support to less affluent families will represent 15% of The École’s total budget.” Our school’s own scholarships help a large number of families, especially those who cannot access French government scholarships the couple rejoices. The School’s benefactors are always ready to help families when their children’s education is their priority. A main criterion. Central. † Because we are limited in size, we have this vision of what The École is, and we reject families who don’t have the same vision and who don’t adhere to the project. explains Philippe Roux. You must be in spirit. A state of mind of community, of diversity – anchored in the DNA of The School – of humanity where education is a priority, with the involvement of parents with their children. Community involvement.

The last brick in the building? A secondary school. † Everyone was waiting for us to open a high school explains Philip. It’s finished ! Léman Manhattan Preparatory School and The School are joining forces, skills and desire to provide students with the best possible support and will jointly open a new bilingual English-French secondary school program at the start of the 2022/2023 school year. Born out of The School’s ambition, this project will enable bilingual students to continue their secondary education in an environment of excellence and bilingualism. With the aim of accessing the best universities, in particular thanks to the Bilingual International Baccalaureate. In this future program of excellence, the International Baccalaureate will not only be at the center of education, but also an undeniable strength for future students. And he is one of the strong points of the prestigious Léman Manhattan Preparatory School. Léman High School with The École thus effectively responds to the growing demand for language skills among students; and gives them the best chance of attending the best schools and for their future careers. Léman, who has extensive knowledge of the International Baccalaureate, already offers a bilingual IB diploma in Mandarin and plans to offer this to Spanish-speaking students in due course.

The school, students, families from different backgrounds, but gathered around the same values, around the same educational involvement of their children, around bilingualism. They form a community that they love to celebrate. This is the success story of the couple of benefactors from The École, Laurence and Philippe Roux.

Repeating The School’s mentality elsewhere? Another idea…

Article written by Rachel Brunet, editor-in-chief of Le Petit Journal

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