Students enrolled 32
Hours 7:50 - 1:50
School leader Jolynn Washington
Transportation options no info
Before school Yes
After school Yes
Summer program Yes

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Contact this school

400 Sargent Street
San Francisco, CA 94132

School website
(415) 469-4726
(415) 584-7972
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Map of Ortega (Jose) Elementary School address.

5 stars
Based on 32 ratings

Let others know what you
think about this school

July 26, 2014
Principal Washington is a great leader. She believes in innovative child-centered teaching, strives for academic excellence, but also emphasizes helping children grow emotionally, socially, and physically. She knows each child's name, and she greets them with a smile. Our teachers love kids and love teaching! The teachers are constantly striving to improve they attend professional development in the summer and share insights with peers. Our teachers are happy, and this spills over into their classroom teaching. We have an active PTA. At our spring social, parties hosted by parents are auctioned. This raises money for the school AND builds community. We have a great curriculum. In reader's/writer s workshop, all grades spend each trimester studying a different style of writing. My kindergarten daughter wrote a persuasive piece and five non-fiction books, and that's only a snippet of the writing she did. Plus she learned to read. We have two science consultants working this year to ensure each class does one hands-on science experiment each week. But what I love the most is my daughter is happy, growing, safe and welcomed each day of the school year:)

- submitted by a parent
May 20, 2013
Where do I begin? As J.O.E.'s Principle, Jolynn Washington possesses all the best leadership qualities one should expect from a person in her position. She's strict yet compassionate, bright but not arrogant, approachable but has boundaries. I can't say enough about her. Her passion for teaching is as apparent and and and mantra to "never give up on a child" is obvious. Teachers are experienced and dedicated. I don't know how they do it but the attention and care they have shown my child it's hard to believe there are 20+ other children in his class. Parental involvement is a huge part of this schools success as well. And if you're seeking diversity, this is one of the few public schools in San Francisco where diversity truly exists. This school doesn't cram last minute to simply achieve high test scores. They teach with the whole child in mind. There's no phony pretense here. It's a real hidden gem.

- submitted by a parent
March 31, 2013
this is a great school...all the staff are so nice! They are very helpful and very patience to answer all my questions.Principal ,Miss Li and Miss Chen are great!!!!!! Thank you so much for take care my daughter:)

- submitted by a parent
October 17, 2012
We are very grateful to placed at Jose Ortega; this is our second year and both of our kids are very happy to go to school. We transferred our older one to Jose Ortega last year and he really LOVE Jose Ortega. He asked us last school year if he can stay at Jose Ortega for the next school year. The school is very caring; the teachers are honest and it's an environment kids thrive and the teachers work on developing the whole child, not just academics -- that is our favorite part of the school -- their focus on whole child development, not just test scores. We have one child in GE and one in mandarin immersion and both programs are as impressive.

- submitted by a parent
October 16, 2012
I'm so proud to say my daughter is a student at Jose Ortega ES. This is our third year and our experience - and the school's test scores - keep getting better and better. There's no such thing as an "oh no" teacher assignment here. Every teacher has impressive tenure, is attentive to all students, strives to work out any learning issues, continues to grow and it glad to be here and part of the staff. The principal is energetic and caring. It's such a pleasure to be lead by someone who loves what they do every day. The school has a culture of kindness. I think that's rare. The diversity of the school is impressive - cultural, social, economic and academic all cover the entire scale. The acceptance of all these things really allows all of the children to thrive. I feel lucky that we started here while JOES was still under the radar. I think it will increasingly become a desired school. I believe there was a wait list here for the first time in both Mandarin Immersion and General Education this year.

- submitted by a parent
September 13, 2012
I am so thankful that my daughter is at Jose Ortega. While the parking and early morning start (7:50am), is challenging to get used to, I can't ask for more from a public school. The children wear uniforms, they have incredible teachers, low turn over, a parent committee who is devoted to raising money for special programs and to support teachers, and a garden! If you are looking for a school with a caring principal who continues to win award after award for her leadership and love of education and children, you are at the right place.

- submitted by a parent
September 07, 2011
Jose Ortega is a joyful school where parents truly care about their children's education. We are in the GE Kindergarten program and have been very pleased so far. Aside from stellar educational goals and caring teachers, some of the highlights of this school are gardens flourishing with fruits and vegetables, views of the ocean and a new play structure. Also, I was impressed that the principal knew my daughter's name on the first day of school.

- submitted by a parent
September 07, 2011
My daughter is in 1st grade at Jose Ortega and I feel like we literally won the lottery. The principal is a strong and compassionate leader, the teachers are first rate and the parents have created a nurturing community.

- submitted by a parent
September 06, 2011
Jose Ortega has exceeded my expectations thus far. As a new parent w/ a child in the Mandarin immersion program, we were warmly welcomed by both the teachers, administration and other parents. There is a strong community working together to raise and educate children. It's an exciting place to learn and a shining example of what a school should be!

- submitted by a parent
September 04, 2011
JOES is a true gem of a school! Fantastic principal leadership, knowledgeable and dedicated staff, active and involved parents, and close-knit, welcoming community. Other highlights: a thriving Mandarin immersion program, a diverse student body that feels like real San Francisco, an innovative art program, and differentiated learning that meets kids where they are (not a one-size-fits-all approach). Best of all, my child loves going to school at JOES and is flourishing there, both academically and socially. Jose Ortega is a credit to SFUSD and an example of what a great public school can be!

- submitted by a parent
April 25, 2010
I love Jose Ortega because it has a Mandarin Immersion program and my daughter is learning to speak Chinese. I love that the school is small and everyone knows one another, so it feels like a big family. I love that the school has a strong arts program. I love the location on top of a hill that overlooks the Pacific Ocean. The playground is nestled against a wooded park and it's not unusual to spot a hawk soaring overhead.

- submitted by a parent
no rating March 15, 2010
I am a parent of two boys at Chinese Mandarin class at Jose Ortega...We love this school very much. Nice teachers and staffs..

- submitted by a parent
March 15, 2010
Our daughter loves Jose Ortega Elementary, and we are very pleased with the commitment of parents. The principal makes it a priority to know each student personally, and tailors their educational program if needed. The art teacher is exceptional, as are the two teachers that teach our child every day. In her first year at the school, we are impressed with all of the events so far, especially the Chinese New Year parade and the Umoja Festival. The neighborhood and school are safe and the location is lovely, next to a park and with a sweeping ocean view.

- submitted by a parent
March 14, 2010
Our whole family is so happy at JOE's. Coming from a co-up I was worried that the sense of community we were used to would disappear. I need not have worried. My daughter had a hard time saying goodbye to us when she first started, but with the patience and barrage of support from everybody from teachers office staff and parents she soon adapted and are now absolutely thriving. I feel good leaving my daughter at this amazing loving school every morning and most importantly so does she. Parent involvement is very welcomed and the PTA is filled with people with great ideas and the drive to see them come true. This is a GEM of a school and we feel lucky and honored to be part of this community

- submitted by a parent
no rating March 12, 2010
Our son is in kindergarten this year, and the school has exceeded our expectations. So far this year, he has: learned to read, gone on three field trips (with more to come), marched in San Francisco s Chinese New Year parade, tried garbanzo beans and other healthy foods offered during nutrition classes, been inspired to learn the piano during the school s annual UMOJA unity festival, done wonderful art projects, and learned about being a caring community by donating through his classroom to the victims of the earthquake in Haiti. It s a wonderful community, and our whole family is very happy there.

- submitted by a parent
no rating March 12, 2010
We feel so lucky to be part of the Jose Ortega Elementary School community! When I toured schools I was particularly excited and impressed by the engaging way that Ms. Chan interacted with her Mandarin Immersion kindergarten. I now, daily, come away from the school continuously impressed not only with Ms. Chan but with the dedicated principal, staff and teachers, along with all the arts and activities going on weekly! The students have participated in a winter musical performance, the Chinese New Year parade and the Umoja (unity) festival, and feast (followed by the kick-off of the annual district-wide kickball tournament)and a weekly Friday sing-along. Parents are friendly, involved and helpful; whether your child studies Mandarin, General Ed. or Cantonese Bilingual, you ought to give this school serious consideration; the principal leads a wonderful community school!

- submitted by a parent
March 10, 2010
JOES wasn't on my radar when I toured schools for the 2009-10 school year. We focused on the school walking distance from home, which we didn't get into during any lottery round. We enrolled in the Mandarin Immersion program during open enrollment - still keeping our neighborhood school as our wait pool school. We met JOES families over the summer and instantly felt welcomed. During the first week of school, we received the call that we could switch to our wait pool school. We turned it down and stayed at JOES - even though we drive 15 minutes instead of walking two blocks. Why? Because it just felt right. The principal was dynamic, the teachers were motivated and the community was involved. We haven't looked back. Our daughter skips into and out of school every day! Although we are in the MI program we would be as happy in General Ed.

- submitted by a parent
no rating January 05, 2010
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
December 09, 2009
When I visited the school, I felt welcomed and I could feel a sense of community. My daughter was coming from a private school and she entered Jose Ortega on first grade. She integrated right away, no issues at all. She's happy to go to school and loves the YMCA after school program, which is provided in the same school. The principal, miss Washington, is very energetic, likes to be involved and is a little engine behind all the school activities. I am really impress with the art the kids create and the wonderful job the art teachers do. The school is close to public transportation (Muni M and 29), and to a SF Public Library branch. the neighborhood is very good and it is at teh side of a park. The view of Lake Merced and Daly City is wonderful. My daughter loves her school and I also love this place.

- submitted by a parent
no rating November 20, 2009
Jose Ortega is a wonderful, caring school. The staff is great don't run away they will help with any questions or advice you may need. Do yourself a favor and visit this gem of a school.

- submitted by a parent
November 19, 2009
This school is wonderful! I feel very lucky to have my daughter starting kindergarten here this year. The principal fast became my favorite part of the school with her natural leadership abilities and the way all the kids admire and respect her. We look forward to the next 6 years at JOES! The school spirit is beyond anything I have ever experienced even at college. The parents are very involved and the teachers dedicated and talented! If you enroll at JOES or just happen upon it, congratulations on the top notch education that your child is about to receive! Thank you JOES! Laura

- submitted by a parent
October 25, 2009
My son is in the second grade and we are very pleased with Jose Ortega. The art program is terrific - last year they learned origami from the artist-in-residence and this year they've started with abstract painting. The play structure is a little small but is being enlarged in the spring. Parents recently started a greening committee and new plants and garden planters are popping up around the school grounds. We've meet so many friendly parents at school, and many of them volunteer by helping the teachers or supervising recess. The principal really gets involved with the kids which she can do since the school is fairly small. She taught my son's class to play kickball when they were having trouble coming up with appropriate playground games. I am most impressed by the fantastic teachers, many of whom have been at the school for 20 years.

- submitted by a parent
October 18, 2009
If you notice, the reviews were done in groups. OOps, we need a review that is great so more parents will pick this school. 'Get in while you can.' My advice to you is--run away while you can. There are no standards of behavior for the children. The classroom sport broken toys and dried up playdough. If you aren't buying into the system be prepared for the most incompetent responses ever from the administration. Do yourself a favor and visit when the tour is not running.

- submitted by a parent
no rating January 24, 2009
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
October 07, 2008
We LOVE Jose Ortega! The only reason I didn't rate it 5 star is because there is still some work to do. Which I actually view as a positive, because there are lots of opportunities to get involved! I feel VERY strongly that with such a dedicated principal, teachers and parent community this school is only going to get better with each passing year. This is a great community for dedicated parents who want the best educational experience for their kids. The artist-in-residence has worked very hard with the kids to create a warm, artistic environment which is evident on every wall at the school. The staff is committed and caring, the afterschool program is wonderful...my daughter never wants to leave before 6pm! Get in while you can!

- submitted by a parent
September 30, 2008
My son is in Kindergarten. Every day, he pops out of bed bright and early as he can't wait to go to school! He is learning a lightening speed and I''m very impressed with his teacher, Jolyn the fabulous principle and the families we have met thus far. Jose Ortega was not the school we chose from the start, but we are so happy to be part of this wonderful, dedicated community. It's a safe place for our kids to learn. This is what matters the most!

- submitted by a parent
no rating September 19, 2008
Lakeside Presbyterian Church has been supporting Jose Ortega for several years by providing new uniforms, graham cracker snacks and cards of encouragement to the children. We are so proud of 'our' school! The teachers and staff have a real heart for the children.

- submitted by a community member
September 02, 2008
We just started in Mand. Immersion with Ms. Chan and our son has learned a good number of phrases and words! The teachers and principle are friendly and staff helpful. There is a community and we're excited about this upcoming year!

- submitted by a parent
August 29, 2008
My daughter is in Third grade this year at Jose Ortega. This is her first year there. She is really happy and excited. Jose Ortega's principal is fabulous and seems very determined to better the school. This school is very friendly and the teachers look very dedicated. This school has a warming and welcoming feeling about it. The only down fall that I can say about this school is that they do not have a computer lab for the kids, but I am sure Jolynn (principal) is working on it. I suggest the parents take a double look at this school because it is up and coming.

- submitted by a parent
October 24, 2007
We speak no Mandarin at home, but thought that a Mandarin immersion program would give our daughter an invaluable life skill. She has thrived in the program, picking up vocabulary at lightning speed, and loves to try out her Mandarin with the various native speakers we know. The school itself is small and community-oriented. Our daughter has made friends in her program as well as in Jose Ortega's General Education, Special Education, and Cantonese ESL programs. All the staff we have encountered have been friendly and dedicated, from the hugely popular gym teacher to the General Education teachers and office workers. The principal, JoLynn Washington, is warm and hard-working and clearly enjoys interacting with the kids. Her values infuse the entire school.

- submitted by a parent
October 22, 2007
I love Jose Ortega, but more importantly, my son loves Jose Ortega. He tells me that he feels safe and loved there and that his favorite activites are PE, going to the school library, and lunch! Teachers challenge him academically and the principal is attentive and nuturing. She even knows the names of all the parents and students---incredible! I encourage you to come see how great Jose Ortega school is for yourself. Better yet, join us for our Friday morning Sing-Along to get a taste of our school spirit.

- submitted by a parent
October 18, 2007
Jose Ortega has one of the best principals we've ever encountered. She is both focused on student academic achievement and social development. The school is extremely diverse and includes many wonderful educational programs: a Mandarin Immersion Program, a Cantonese/English Bi-Lingual Program, a Full Inclusion Program for Special Education Students, and a General Education Program. All of the teachers are dedicated to student success and that has been demonstrated by jumps in recent Standardized Test Scores. The school has an active PTA, afterschool care, an on-going artist in residency program, and a full-time PE teacher. The school sits on top of a scenic hillside in San Francisco with views of the ocean and a natural undeveloped City Park. Our daughter attends the Mandarin Immersion Program and loves it, and we look forward to our second daughter attending!

- submitted by a parent
April 11, 2007
My daughter is in 1st grade at Jose Ortega Elementary in San Francisco. This school has been a blessing. My baby was able to read bedtime stories to me in kindergarten! Every faculty member knows every child by name & treats every child with respect & loving kindness. This school is clean & safe. There are between 18-24 students per class. Our principal, Mrs. Jolynn Washington, is a loving, patient & knowledgeable educator who truly cares about her students. JOES is proving my child with the skills she will need to succeed while giving her a love of learning that will stay with her through out her life. These teachers build confidence in our children & their abilities.

- submitted by a parent
March 28, 2007
Excellent small school. Have had one child go from K-6 and have one in 4th now. Great teachers and much improvement since 2000. More needs to be done for GATE students, however.

- submitted by a parent
September 19, 2006
Jose Ortega is small school. Which is something we found helpful to our daughter s education. There is more of a personal relationship between teachers, students, and parents. The location is great, a quiet neighborhood with great views of Lake Merced and the ocean. My husband and I are so grateful to the dedicated staff that has always being there to help us, and are so understanding of our daughter's individual needs.

- submitted by a parent
May 16, 2006
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
September 08, 2005
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a teacher
June 22, 2005
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- submitted by a parent
February 03, 2004
Jose Ortega is wonderful small school. The Principal, Administrative staff and the Teachers are doing a wonderful job with the few resources they have. The children are generally well behaved and my child loves it.

- submitted by a parent
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About this school

*Full Inclusion of special education program *Arts instruction includes instrumental music, theater, dance, art & orchestra as funding is available *As a Clinical School, our staff provides teacher training to student interns at SFSU

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Ortega (Jose) Elementary School
400 Sargent Street, San Francisco, CA  94132
(415) 469-4726
Last modified Ortega (Jose) Elementary School is a Public school that serves grades K-5. It has received a GreatSchools rating of 7 out of 10 based on academic quality.
Ortega (Jose) Elementary School Rating: 5 out of 5 based on 39 reviews.