In New York, School: The Success Story of Lawrence and Philip Rocks

Success stories, a set of two words that spread with the United States. In partnership with USAFrance Financials, a private management company specializing in the heritage of the French community in the United States, we invite you to read the wonderful journey of women and men living in New York. Today, we have an appointment with Lawrence and Philip Rocks, the benefactor of The Ecole.

Two decades after settling in the United States, Lawrence and Philip Rox took over The School, a school of bilingual excellence in central Manhattan. In five years, including two years under the sign of Covid, the couple has revolutionized their school of interest. Although the couple had no preconceived notions about starting this adventure, they told us their success story, an educational project on a human scale that was put under the mark of agility, openness and achievement.

Schools, bilingual schools and success stories

Lawrence and Philip Rox landed in the United States in 1994. It was in New York that Philip began a promising career in financing. Over time, and for Philip’s work, the couple moved to Long Island, where Lawrence gave birth to their two children. When the time came and the question of schooling for their children came up, the couple returned to Manhattan to enroll their children in school, then called International School where bilingual education matched their family project. At the time, the couple had no plans to return to school, “said David Cook, chief of The Christian Science Monitor’s Washington bureau. We were happy then only to be able to pay our tuition Philip Rocks laughs. Schools growing, developing at full speed. A little too fast, probably. ” The founders have failed to manage growth and the school has lost its way on many levels “, Explains Beneficial. And to add Lawrence ” Three years later, as parents began to ask themselves many questions, the school was financially fragile

The problem of running the school, with the departure of a frustrated family, overwhelms itself due to lack of transparency, but also, ” As the number of families increased and increased, the original and family consciousness was lost “, Sorry for the couple. What the school’s DNA has created and identified its differences is slowly disappearing. A disappointment for the family whose children have been in school for years and who have been tempted by this family attitude. On a human scale. ” We talked less about programs, less about pedagogy, bilingualism was less powerful than it is now, Note Philip Roux.

In 2016, three years after the arrival of Roux children at school, a group of parents formed with a desire to take matters into their own hands. The couple then decided to return to school as a couple. That’s when the International School became the School, a board was formed, that transparency was imposed. The Roux couple tailored the school according to their expectations, but also according to the family’s expectations. The school became a family school, a community. Officially, the Roux couple owned The Ecole in 2017. We took it back to save the school and bring this community of families back Philip explains. Since then, the Rocks couple have been called, Beneficiaries By school ” The owner has a business and financial means. It’s more than a business for us, “said the couple. If the school is a “for-profit business” and the families pay annual tuition fees, it is operated as a “non-profit organization” “Such a” Generosity “The central idea, even the state of mind in the United States. And so important for the gracious couple.

A rebirth and building a community

As soon as they take the reins, the school is reborn from its ashes. A rebranding committee was formed. The school sets new standards, develops as a brand, especially with the help of Christophe Atert, then a parent of the students. The image of the school is strengthened, a new name is found, new values ​​are established, new resources are established, especially thanks to the work of real human resources. Families restore a central place and reform this community that is so dear to the benefactors. Many more events mark the end of school life, strengthening the school family and the friendly spirit. Together they celebrate school year milestones. It is not uncommon to see Lawrence roaming the halls. A small thing for everyone. Be careful. He ensured the smooth running of the school every day. A benefactor, but a mother among all others. He’s watching! With constant attention to detail. He and Jean-Yves Vesseau know each student’s first name.

Curriculum is central to this school of excellence. In 2020, Jean-Yves Vesseau joined the school as director. It rebuilds a new team, always more efficient, always stronger. Among its skills, education of excellence and an international opportunity.

Skills. An idea specific to Philip Rocks’ career as a businessman. He brought this personal and professional experience to the heart of the school. He, who has been evolving over the years into a human-sized company that only hires the best, copies the scheme at his school. “ You need to hire the right people who will contribute to the school. The goal is to be the best. We do not compare ourselves with other schools, we want to do our best without trying to imitate the things that already exist“He said.

Innovation. How to be the best? A central question in school. “ You will never stop. Don’t be afraid to try new things. We have a boutique spirit, which means we want to be on a human scale, with two classes at each level. This allows us to grow up to 360 students. Not out of it because we will lose our “community” outlook as well as we will lose agility “In The Ecole, innovation is achieved through on-premises renovations and furniture choices. In consultation with teachers. Reconfigure a class with specific furniture that will fit group or solo work or with a specific program. During renovations to the main building, some walls are movable. Becomes, which allows one class to open up to another class, which invites solidarity. Walls you can write. There is no limit to innovation and agility. In Ecole, they push walls.

At the beginning of the 2022/2023 school year, 300 students – almost double that of 2017, and despite Covid having two years – are expected. The number of teachers and administrative staff has also doubled as per the budget. ” Make it and it will come“Philip explains,” We have made ten years of development in five years “Under the three values ​​of school, agility, openness and accomplishment. And of course, under the sign of bilingual education.” Bilingualism means treating both languages ​​equally. In our school, we speak both languages ​​equally, there is no concept of ‘target language’ Couple explained. Students learn English and French, they learn about the world through the prism of two cultures without one dominant language.

Beneficial to school

We do not measure success by money because it is not our purpose, but the number of students and families identified with our project, “Explain Roux. Listening is part of success. The couple put a lot of energy into meeting all the families interested in school. Learning from them. Success in terms of people. Even if it has a cost. In addition, the school offers a budget six times larger than the French scholarship to accommodate students whose families cannot afford tuition fees, according to the charity. Will represent 15% of Ecole’s total budget. ” Our school’s own scholarship helps a large number of families, especially those without access to French government scholarships. The couple rejoiced. School benefactors are always ready to help families when their priority is educating their children. A major criterion. Central. ” Since we are limited in size, we have this vision of what The Ecole is all about and we reject families who do not share the same vision and who do not adhere to the project. Philip Rocks explains. You have to be in the soul. The state of mind of the community, of the diversity – anchored in the DNA of the school – where education is a priority for humanity, including the involvement of parents with their children. The community is involved.

The last stone of the building? A high school. ” Everyone was waiting for us to open a high school Philip explains. It’s done! Léman Manhattan Preparatory School and The School combine their strengths, their skills and their desire to provide the best possible support for their students and jointly launch a new bilingual English-French high school program at the beginning of the 2022/2023 academic year. Born out of The School’s ambition, the project will allow bilingual students to excel and pursue their secondary studies in a bilingual environment. Thanks to bilingual international graduates, especially for the purpose of accessing the best universities. In this future program of excellence, international graduation will not only be the focus of education, but also an undeniable force for future students. And he is one of the strengths of the prestigious Lehman Manhattan Preparatory School. Lehman High School, along with The Ecole, thus responds effectively to the growing demand for language skills among students; And gives them the best opportunity to enter the best school and for their future careers. Lehmann, who has extensive knowledge of international graduation, already offers a bilingual IB Diploma in Mandarin and eventually plans to offer it to Spanish-speaking students.

Schools, students, families from different backgrounds but with the same values, their children were gathered around the same educational involvement, around bilingualism. They form a community that they love to celebrate. This is the success story of The Ecole, Lawrence and Philip Rocks.

Replicating the school’s mentality elsewhere? Another idea.

Article written by Rachel Brunett, Editor-in-Chief of Le Petit Journal

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