Following an extensive national and international search, the International School of Orange County Board of Trustees is delighted to announce the appointment of Pascal Stricher as our new Head of School, effective July 1, 2021. Pascal will be our Founding Head of School as we embark on the exciting adventure of our independence from the International School of Los Angeles.

Currently Elementary School Principal at Lycée Albert Camus in Egypt, Pascal has over 20 years of experience directing and founding international schools in the United States, Canada and Egypt. Pascal is no stranger to the Orange County community as he previously led our campus for 10 years, until 2010, before moving to Toronto to assume the position of Junior School Principal at the International School of Canada. Not afraid of challenges, Pascal later moved to Northern California where he initiated the creation of the Santa Rosa French-American Charter School. His success there led to the institution becoming the first American Public School on the West Coast to be accredited by the French Ministry of Education. Over the years, Pascal has proven to be an innovative and visionary school leader with a keen sense of community and an extraordinary dedication to the advancement of bilingualism, and more specifically, French immersion schools around the world.

“Our community is thrilled to welcome Pascal back at our school in his new position as Founding Head of School. After interviewing many highly qualified candidates, our Search Committee came to the decision that Pascal’s strong leadership experience, familiarity with our community as well as deep commitment to bilingual education made him the ideal choice,” said Sharyn Kerr, Chair of the Board.

Pascal is a qualified French Ministry of Education elementary teacher who received his Diplôme de professeur des écoles (B.A in Education) in France, in 1986. In 2015, he was awarded the prestigious distinction of Chevalier de l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques, a French order of merit distinguishing individuals for their exceptional service to the advancement of education. In 2016, Pascal also received the Outstanding Administrator Award from the American Association of Teachers of French.

Updated: Sep 30, 2020

After welcoming our preschoolers and pre-K students back on campus on August 26th, it was a happy surprise to see our school waiver approved by the county, allowing us to open the campus to the rest of our students for in-person learning as early as September 16.

It was certainly a second “First Day of School” for our students who were extremely happy to be back on campus and be reunited with their classmates and friends. Although they came back to a different school environment, and new routines, the most important thing that binds us all together was still there: our sense of community.

We are grateful for our families who adjusted with ease to our modified school drop-off and pick-up procedure. Each student is now welcomed by one of our staff members who checks their temperature, and ensures they sanitize their hands. They are then escorted to their classroom to start their day. Everyone’s hard work but also our families’ collaboration definitely helped establish the new procedures seamlessly.

While some of the students were a bit nervous after so many weeks out of school, all nervousness seemed to have gone away by first recess. Just like it was the case for our preschoolers and pre-Kindergarten students, it was surprising to see how well all of them adjusted to the new rules. Assisted by our staff and faculty, they were all understanding and eager to follow the new procedures. Staggered lunch and recess time have allowed us to maintain our students’ schedules and time spent outdoors. With our large classrooms, and small number of students per class, we were able to welcome our students while maintaining social distancing and all safety guidelines.

To accommodate our families who wish to remain at home, all our classrooms are equipped with 360 cameras that follow the voice of the teachers for an immersive and interactive experience. Our students enjoy live streaming of all of their classes and are able to still connect with their teachers and classmates on a daily basis.

Once again, we are so grateful to our community for making our return to in-person learning so easy. We look forward to seeing what this school year has to offer and watch our students learn and grow.

Updated: Sep 11, 2020

Last Wednesday, August 26, was a special and unique first day of school for our entire campus. While our Kindergarten through 8th grade students started the 2020-21 school year with remote learning, our preschoolers and pre-Kindergarten students were able to safely return to campus. With a very low student to teacher ratio, large classrooms and an extensive re-opening plan to address safety on campus, everyone from families to staff and faculty felt safe and at-ease returning to in-person learning, and most importantly at this age, in-person socializing!

It was, for some of our little ones, their very first encounter with school, which always means a few tears along the way. However, it was without a doubt a happy sight to witness our preschool playground filled with laughter and noise again. Not to mention finally seeing our families back on campus after such a peculiar Spring and Summer. Our pre-Kindergarten students coming back for a second year at our campus were all smiles and particularly excited to see their friends and teachers after such a long time outside of school.

While the routines may be a little different for our youngest students in the time of covid-19, our caring and dedicated staff and faculty were there to help them get used to a modified school environment, and also educate them on the importance of handwashing, and wearing a face covering. Despite their young age, all of them adjusted quite well to their new classroom organization and new routine. Having a consistent schedule of activities, same recess time, and the opportunity to enjoy their favorite subjects certainly helped tremendously.

As for our Kindergarten through 8th grade students, they benefited from the relentless work of our pedagogical team across all of the LILA campuses, as well as our Orange County Director and OC teachers. After receiving detailed information regarding the new format, and their homebase sites with meeting links and schedules, all students in Kindergarten through 8th grade were ready to start the school year strong. Although our very first e-Learning Plan in the history of our campus back in March was a success, it also taught us some important aspects about making it work even better this year, to make our students and families' lives easier. Our Team unveiled a modified 2020-21 remote learning plan shortly before back to school. To ensure students could all progress at the same pace and reduce the amount of independent work needing assistance from parents, the current e-Learning Plan includes lengthier and more frequent online sessions. Most of the school work is now done live with the presence of the teachers on-screen, similar to what is done in a regular classroom.

We are proud to see how much work our faculty and staff have put into the preparation of this very unusual first day of school. We are also proud of the support received from our families. We hope you enjoy this gallery of photos from our back-to-school!