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San Francisco, USA


Alice Fong Yu

Tatchee will be starting his formal schooling this year. His school, Alice Fong Yu Alternative, is named in honor of the first Chinese American public school teacher in California. But we are still not so familar with the person herself. Digging around the Internet, I ran into her obituary in a local newspaper in 2000! Suddenly I feel connected to her.

Alice Fong Yu
Alice Fong Yu, the first Chinese American public school teacher in San Francisco and one of the first living people to have a San Francisco school named in her honor, died Tuesday in a Lafayette nursing home at the age of 95.
A native of the gold-mining town of Washington, near Nevada City, Mrs. Yu attended a one-room grammar school before coming to San Francisco with her family in 1916. Six years later, she applied to San Francisco State Teacher's College, only to be told by school administrators that Chinese Americans were not being hired as teachers.
After her graduation in 1926, Mrs. Yu planned to teach school in Hawaii. But the principal of Stockton lobbied the San Francisco school board in her behalf, insisting that the school needed a bilingual teacher.
As the only bilingual faculty member, she also served as translator, social worker and all-purpose liaison between the principal and parents. She spent almost her entire teaching career at Commodore Stockton Elementary School, instructing three generations of Chinese students. She was also a speech therapist in several San Francisco schools. (She received her certification from UC Berkeley in 1957, when she was 52!).
In 1996, the school district named its new Chinese immersion school on 12th Avenue in Mrs. Yu's honor (at 91).

2011.05.04 [] - comments


SFUSD School Assignment by Ethnicity

I have received data for the 2011 SFUSD school assignment. The table in the appendix breaks down assignment by ethnicity. I have been interested in the racial distribution among the San Francisco schools. So I created the chart below to see the observe the pattern.

Each school is shown as a ring. The length of the color arc is proportional to the percentage of the corresponding ethnic group in the school. And the size of the ring is proportional to the size of the school. The school with similar racial make up move close to each other.

SFUSD School Assignment by Ethnicity Small

See the full chart

San Francisco Unified School District is a very diverse district. The three main groups - white, Chinese, Latino each represent about a quarter of the population. The list of schools below are the most well mixed (i.e. most similar to the overall distribution)

  • Sheridan
  • Starr King
  • Muir
  • Ortega
  • Lakeshore

On the other hand, there are also a number of schools that has a dominant racial group. You can easily identify them as Chinese schools, Latino schools, etc.

P.S. -- Updated chart to include 6th and 9th grade data. There aren't a strong pattern like the Kindergarten. The big story is really that white, the largest group in Kindergarten assignment, is only 13% here. Asian constitute 50% in 6th and 9th grade. (3/27)

Data Source

March 18, 2011
Appendix E: School Offers

Five Year Comparison of Round 1 Demand
March 12, 2010
SF Montessori opening is estimated

2011.03.21 [, ] - comments


SFUSD Language Assessment

As part of the San Francisco school application process, Tatchee need to take a language assessment test. His home language is Cantonese. He has picked up English from pre-school fairly well. The test takes about 15 to 30 minutes for grade K and grade 1. We've arrived at the SFUSD enrollment center on time and was promptly taken in.

The teacher fetch the children into a room with parents wait outside. If your child has separation anxiety you should take extra care. This is what I fear because Tatchee tend to be very quiet in a new environment. So I avoid the stressful word "test" and instead I told him we are going for a story time with teachers to make him feel at ease. I imagine this will be a fair description of what they are actually doing. It worked.

The test has completed in 15 minutes. He did well in both Chinese and English. The teacher go over the assessment with us and spent a little time to brief us on the language programs available. We look forward for the enrollment result on March 21st.

2011.02.26 [] - comments


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