The French American International School Raises Over $200,000 at Virtual Gala

The French American International School Raises Over $200,000 at Virtual Gala

Portland, OR. Learning at home with a laptop is likely to become “de rigueur.” The French American International School (FAIS), which recently raised over $200,000 at its virtual fundraising event, will be starting the school year with a comprehensive distance learning model. 

According to Shawna Foster, Director of Development at FAIS, the distance learning model will prioritize goals such as: Supporting the FAIS mission of cultivating intellect and character through rigorous multilingual academic programs in an environment that promotes appreciation of diverse cultures and experiences; fostering a learning experience of connection and interpersonal relationships where people feel safe, seen, and valued; enhancing predictability for students, families, and teachers by using consistent timeframes, platforms, and tools; optimizing teacher instruction and interaction time with students while respecting the developmental needs and sustainable patterns for teachers and families; and designing schedules and instruction times around the well-being of students.

“None of this would be possible without our wonderful teachers and staff who have worked tirelessly to provide stability and continuity for our students and develop meaningful learning experiences,” Foster said. 

In addition to planning for distance learning, FAIS has also prepared schedules and student cohorts to transition to a hybrid or on-campus learning model. For those interested in exploring educational opportunities for their children at FAIS, you can visit the Virtual Admissions Center to watch a virtual open-house recording, browse a photo tour of the campus and schedule a one on one Zoom meeting with the admissions team. 

FAIS held a Virtual Community Gathering on May 29th to raise funds for the FAIS community. 

“Last spring, FAIS friends and family came together to celebrate our student art and raise important funds to support our community during this time of financial uncertainty,” Foster said. “The FAIS Virtual Community Gathering, which replaced the annual gala due to COVID-19, drew over 180 families to participate and support the school. This community event was an opportunity to join together in a spirit of celebration and appreciation for the French American International School.” 

French American International School Virtual Community Gathering fundraiser

In the week leading up to the event, families drove through campus to see all of the student art projects from the comfort of their car at a Drive-Thru Art Gallery. 

“This was a celebration of the hard work that all of our students put into the art projects throughout the year, and was a wonderful reminder of what we can create together,” Foster said. 

The virtual event was hosted by Johnna Wells of Benefit Auction 360. Families bid on art projects, entered the raffle to win a designated parking spot on FAIS campus, and gave generously during the moment of giving. The event raised over $200,000 for FAIS.

About the French American International School: 

The French American International School cultivates intellect and character through rigorous multilingual academic programs in an environment that promotes appreciation of diverse cultures and experiences. Whether students join our community in preschool, kindergarten, or middle school, our goal is the same. By the time students graduate from FAIS, they will have established a foundation of lifelong skills to prepare them for high school and to succeed in a global, interconnected world. 

French American International School’s Fête du Vin Celebrates Community

French American International School’s Fête du Vin Celebrates Community

Portland, OR. Fête du Vin on November 4th brought together some of Oregon’s best wineries and restaurants, uniting the diverse and progressive community that surrounds the French American International School. FAIS Parent & Alumni relations Manager, KaDo Gorman posed for a photo with Fete Committee members Raphaelle Robert, Julia Bannon, Michelle Reeves, and Paul Willenberg. (Photo credit, Jason DeSomer)

FAIS Parent and Fete Chair Michelle Reeves pours a glass of David Wine to Fete Committee Member Julia Bannon while Verdigris Restaurant representatives Johnny Nunn explains his fine food.

350 guest enjoy the flavors of some of Oregon’s best wineries and restaurants.

FAIS Board members Kim Patterson, Patti Schafner Jordan, Andrea Vloon, Matt Littwin, Pamela Neferkara, Steve Lesnard, Christine Chang, Mat Birchard, Bonnie Stewart and Scott Shaw celebrate at Fete du Vin.

From French American School:

Established in 1979, FAIS has since built one of Portland’s most respected and forward-thinking schools. Known for its high-quality academic program, FAIS is committed to growing a global community of international thinkers and innovators. All proceeds from this event go towards supporting FAIS and its mission to foster open-mindedness, integrity, and collaborative community. FAIS is proud to host Fête du Vin at its new event venue, Pure Space in the Pearl district of Portland.

Founded – 1979
Head of School – Pam Dreisin
Middle School Division Head/
Assistant Head of School – Emmanuelle Burk

Lower School Division Head – Catherine Cohen
FAIS Includes – 
The French American Lower School
, grades PS-5 

The Gilkey International Middle School, grades 6-8


FAIS educates approximately 550 students in preschool through grade eight. There are about 140 students in Maternelle (preschool, prekindergarten, and kindergarten), 230 in grades one through five, and 180 in grades six through eight.

Class size is generally limited to 18 in all grade levels, and the average class size is 15. Maternelle classes (preschool, prekindergarten and kindergarten) have a certified French teacher and a bilingual assistant.


French American Lower School (preschool through grade five) – Our primary school is a French immersion program that combines the best of the French and American educational systems. The language of instruction is exclusively French from preschool through fifth grade. English language arts, U.S. social studies and science are taught in English beginning in the second grade. A copy of the curriculum outline is available on request.

Gilkey International Middle School (grades six through eight) – Our middle school offers an inspiring international curriculum where students strive to become independent, creative, and critical thinkers, preparing themselves as responsible citizens and leaders within their local and world communities. Students choose between instruction in English or partial immersion in French, German, Spanish, or Mandarin. All students also select a beginning language (French, German, Spanish, or Mandarin). A copy of the curriculum outline is available on request.