Florimont is a coeducational private school that offers a comprehensive educational program from Kindergarten through the end of secondary education.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the way the school operates. How do you see the school after COVID?
Above all Covid-19 has required schools to adapt their approaches to teaching and learning. Students have been learning from home using, amongst other things, technology and programmes of blended learning. It has been a wonderful opportunity to develop student autonomy and improve digital skills beyond what we already work on when students are in school. This unique situation has encouraged teachers and students to explore the potential of these tools and approaches to teaching and learning even further, to “push the boundaries”, to experiment and take risks that they perhaps wouldn’t normally have taken. It has encouraged creativity and resulted in people finding new ways to work as a team from a distance.
The challenge post Covid-19 will be to capitalize on this experience, to take what we have learnt and see how we can enrich teaching and learning once we are back in a classroom situation.
It has also provided a unique opportunity to reflect on the true meaning and practice of the fundamental values at the heart of our school communities, such as solidarity or respect for others and the world around us. This will provide a deeper understanding of why we engage in community and citizen-based projects, and what it really takes to “live these values”.
How do you differentiate yourself from other international schools in Geneva and its surroundings?
To start with, our roots! We were founded by the Missionaries of St Francis de Sales in 1905 and have been under secular leadership since 1995. Our heritage is still very strong, and we remain firmly committed to our traditional core values and standards, such as solidarity, tolerance, respect for differences and service towards others. This heritage is the bedrock on which we also develop today’s skills and competencies which enable our students to become well rounded and ethically conscious 21st century citizens.
We are also very much a local school with an international outlook. The vast majority of our families are at home here and our students stay with us for many years; some from the age of 3 to 18! We are proud of our francophone culture, but the majority of our students follow bilingual programmes (French / English), in a multilingual setting. We also offer German, Italian, Spanish and Mandarin in the different sections of the school.
Children of international civil servants represent a large percentage of the students enrolled in your school. The rules for the reimbursement of school fees have changed, putting a strain on the budget of some families. Do you plan to take measures to remain competitive with other schools?
Florimont’s range of academic programmes and holistic development experiences are amongst the most competitive in the canton. We do all we can to ensure that this remains the case, whist seeking to provide the standards of quality and excellence that our students deserve. As a not-for-profit organization, any surplus that we generate is ploughed back into developing our educational mission and ensuring the best possible opportunities for our school community. Clear evidence of this is the finalization of the 10-year renovation plan of our campus to provide a fantastic learning and teaching environment for our community.
Next year, we will have new Arts and STEM blocks, a new theatre, a third gymnasium and a new ‘Coeur de l’école.’ This central space has been designed to be the focal gathering point of the school, a place to live, to think and to meet together as a community. Investing in our physical offline infrastructure is an important way to address 21st century learning and teaching challenges whilst recognizing the online benefits we have learnt from Covid-19 !
We are proud to say that we have met the challenge of accomplishing this without adding to school fees, imposing a capital expenditure fee on top of tuition fees, or calling on extra funding from the school community.
Speaking of evolution, we are also deepening our bilingual offer by extending it to our youngest ones (as of 12th grade). This is a very strong demand amongst our community, and we are happy to be able to address it as of September 2020 with minimal impact on tuition.
We want all members of the Florimont family to pay the fairest price possible for the very best service. It is as simple as that!