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  1. #1

    Looking for insight into SF public Mandarin immersion programs...

    For parents with kids in Starr King and Jose Ortega, how do you like the Mandarin immersion programs at your school? Pros/Cons? What do you do to support your kids' language acquisition outside of school? And can somebody help me understand why there are so many Cantonese immersion programs vs Mandarin here in SF?

  2. #2
    We have friends in Jose Ortega and they love the immersion program there.

    As for why there are so many more Cantonese immersion programs vs Mandarin in SF, that's actually not really the case until De Avila went Cantonese. Until then, it was 2 (Alice Fong Yu and West Portal) vs 2 (Starr King and Jose Ortega) in the elementary grades. Cantonese immersion exists in Hoover/Marina for middle school and Galileo for high school because it's been around for a while. Mandarin immersion only started with Starr King in 2006-2007, I believe.

    The question then is why De Avila went Cantonese despite Mandarin being the predominant dialect and that Cantonese is not widely spoken outside of HK and GuangDong, here are a couple guesses:

    1. Politics - The Cantonese population in SF is quite large and has more clout.
    2. Demand - The Cantonese programs (Alice Fong Yu and West Portal) are high demand while the Mandarin programs are less so. We can debate all we want on whether the higher demand for Cantonese immersion is due to the larger Cantonese community in SF, the location of the schools (AFY and WP more convenient for the Cantonese parents vs. SK across town or JO almost in Daly City) or that the more established Cantonese programs have better test schools.

    All else being equal (test scores, location, etc.), it's hard to imagine Cantonese immersion would be in higher demand than Mandarin immersion. But then, nothing is perfect.

  3. #3
    I think De Avila is still trying to introduce Mandarin in 2nd grade. There is also a possibility the school will eventually be k - 8.

  4. #4
    We're looking at all three Mandarin immersion options: CAIS, Starr King and Jose Ortega. We don't have our hopes up for CAIS since the number of K entry spots are so limited. Between the two public choices, we like the vibe at Ortega better but worried about the negative chatter about a teacher there. We're keeping our ears peeled on whether that issue gets resolved or not. If not, we'll have to list Starr King ahead of Ortega.

  5. #5
    Anybody knows the latest about the teacher issue at Ortega? Was it ever resolved? What grade was the teacher in? We need to turn in the app before Fri but just don't want to have to deal with switching later on if the teacher is still there.

  6. #6
    From what I know, the issue at Ortega with the teacher is resolved. Not sure what grade he or she was in. There was quite some drama with several parents threatening to switch schools but the teacher leaving calmed the storm.

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