Founded in 1946, the American School of Paris, or ASP as the school is more familiarly called, is an independent, non-profit accredited co-educational school, pre-kindergarten through grade 12 that offers an American educational program to students of all nationalities. The Lower School (grades kindergarten-5) offers an educational program typical of reputable American elementary schools, with emphasis on meeting individual needs. The school has a guidance counselor, and English as a foreign language (ESOL) is instructed. A French language and culture program is included in the curriculum for all students. In addition an extra-curricular program of Franco-American activities for older students (grades 4-5) creates opportunities to mix with French children. Consistent with ASP's educational philosophy, the middle school offers a program of studies based on an American curriculum. Most school activities are self-contained: students have their own art, drama and sports programs. In addition there are frequent class trips and for 7th and 8th graders, the popular Outward Bound Program. The aim is to provide a varied and challenging educational program which emphasizes academic excellence as well as personal, social and intellectual growth. While encouraging students to excel, the middle school stresses cooperative behavior and respect for the rights and feelings of others. The upper school (grades 9-12, with an optional 13th year) provides a rigorous college preparatory program and extra-curricular activities typical of better independent schools in the United States. In addition to a standard American curriculum, the school offers a wide range of Advanced Placement courses, an intensive program for non-native English speakers, and the International Baccalaureate Diploma, permitting entrance to universities worldwide. Eighty percent of any graduating class has taken Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate courses. Knowledge of French language and culture is stressed, with additional programs in Spanish, German. Facilities include four science laboratories, two gymnasiums, sports fields, a self-service cafeteria, and a 400-seat Performing Arts Center, used for numerous musical and dramatic activities.