Students enrolled 329
School leader Wendy Cheong
Transportation options Yes
District San Francisco Unified School District
After school Yes
Summer program Yes

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1215 Carolina Street
San Francisco, CA 94107

School website
(415) 695-5797
(415) 695-5338
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Map of King (Starr) Elementary School address.

4 stars
Based on 37 ratings

Let others know what you
think about this school

August 18, 2014
Starr King is a great school getting even better, in my view. My daughter is in the 2nd grade there, in the Mandarin program. The school has a principal who is wonderful -- dedicated, very able, and with respect to the Mandarin curriculum in particular is working for continuous improvements. My daughter is entering her third year at the school and so far has had tremendous teachers -- conscientious, thoughtful, really skilled, caring. The parents community is really dedicated too. Some people wish that Mandarin progress would happen more quickly, but to me it's just about perfect. Studies show progress in Mandarin happens more slowly than with other languages, it has been proven in research across cultures. Finally, I've had nothing but good experiences with the school's administrative staff. In the coming year, the facilities' upgrade will be complete. I am entirely happy that I chose Starr King for my daughter. I would do so again.

- submitted by a parent
June 26, 2014
We never thought that Starr King would be a good choice when we picked school for our little girl. It turned us down at the beginning just because it was next to the biggest low-income housing project in the city. Our daughter was placed in one of the schools in Chinatown. We decided to transfer our kid to Starr King after we heard from a trusted friend whose daughter is going there. After one year, we affirmed that it was the right decision. Best I can say: involved parents, passionate teachers, dedicated principal and nice staff. As my daughter said, even the lunch lady was nicer; the custodian lady was a friendly boss in the cafeteria. I always believed that Chinese classes should only be prepared for kids from Chinese families until I saw all those wonderful non-Chinese Kinders spoke so fluent in the Kindergarten graduation. Good job Kinder teachers!

- submitted by a parent
November 27, 2013
I could not be happier that my child was able to gain admission to Starr King's mandarin program. I had applied to private mandarin school programs, which I could simply not afford, and when I compare what friends who have their kids in those programs versus Starr King, I am entirely pleased that my child is at Starr King. Great principal who is quite committed and who went to Starr King herself. Great teachers so far (we're a couple of years into it and have heard great things about future years' teachers), great curriculum which continues to be improved, and an urban setting and diverse student body that gives my child a broader view of the world than she might otherwise have. I can't praise this school enough -- even while recognizing that it is not perfect. The PTA is engaged and parents give of their time, resources. And so on.

- submitted by a parent
October 02, 2013
Starr King has a wonderful principal and a very supportive staff. The school has many opportunities for parents to get involved, and a very diverse student population.

- submitted by a parent
April 09, 2013
Our child is completing 1st grade at Starr King in the Mandarin strand and is thriving and succeeding in both English and Mandarin. The teachers are energetic, organized, dedicated and the support staff at the school are as well. The warm, open parent community in the PTA has made us feel really welcome as a family. The changes coming in the next year with additional on-site Mandarin support, extra English support and expanded onsite Mandarin after-school options are all things we look forward to. The off-site after school at Fei Tien has been a great option to provide additional Mandarin language and Chinese arts exposure for our child. Although I agree with previous posts that the school reflects the diversity of San Francisco the one change I would love to see is more integration of the Mandarin, English-only and Autism strands during class-time as recess & lunch don't provide enough time for all of the students to truly know each other. We've looked private schools and you would pay at least $25,000/year more with tuition and expected fundraising for similar results so we're very glad we're at Starr King!

- submitted by a parent
April 02, 2013
Update: This school has decided to finally use the zhongwen textbook - Finally! Surprise: The current principal has decided to give way to a new principal in the coming grade in 2013/14, to one who is bilingual in both english and mandarin. SKMI and JOSE is on course for a major readjustment in terms of curriculum, but I won't rate this school higher until all the necessary changes are made. I want to transfer from MI to GE because our kids are way ahead in mandarin by privately using Zhongwen and leveled readers at home while school offers insufficient ENGLISH. We made it to CIS in the 2013 transfer round, but since immersion schools have the same time slices for the respective languages, we will stay until we get into GE. I suggest that immersion schools teach science and math in ENGLISH instead of Chinese, and make sure CLA time is properly accounted for. If you're an incoming parent, be sure to ask what subjects are taught in english vs. chinese throughout grade levels. Issues are no fault of the principal as the architectural issues existed 6+ years ago. If done correctly, SKMI can easily best CIS/AFY, but my kids are growing fast and they need more english. I will update.

- submitted by a parent
December 23, 2012
One of the biggest problems at this school with respect to the Mandarin Immersion program is that the majority of families enrolled in the program are not from Mandarin-speaking backgrounds. The parents who are happy with this school are likely to be the ones who do not know the language. They can't tell that their kids are not learning the language very well at all, not for the investment of full-time study over the 6 years of K-5th grades. If Chinese families want their kids to learn the language without sacrificing the English and other academic subjects, then doing Chinese school or after school is a better investment of time.

- submitted by a parent
December 09, 2012
After joining the school with great excitement, I have been tremendously disappointed. Despite having dedicated teachers in the Mandarin Immersion program, there is a profound lack of leadership to provide them with the necessary supports to accomplish their goals. The problems are multifaceted. The classes do not have the appropriate mix of students (native:non-native speaker ratios) to make an immersion program feasible. Furthermore, there has been tremendous parent opposition to providing the teachers with the necessary in class resources to overcome this handicap. The school has lacked basic educational materials - i.e. books, an integrated curriculum, or assessments. There is no significant Mandarin afterschool program. Additionally, the behavioral problems in the classroom, particularly within the MI strand, are a monumental drain on the teachers, and are simply not dealt with by the school leadership. Because the kids are not learning Chinese well, they are not learning anything that is taught in Mandarin well. Additionally, a great deal of English education is sacrificed, which is expected, but for which there is no return on investment. Truly a disappointing experience.

- submitted by a parent
October 29, 2012
I have three children enrolled in the Mandarin Immersion Program. When my first entered a few years ago, my wife and I were hoping for a quality educational experience, and we weren't disappointed. The principal, teachers, and staff provide the atmosphere necessary for the children to flourish. With the choices of private and public elementary schools in San Francisco, I would consider Starr King the best.

- submitted by a parent
October 18, 2012
I have been affiliated with SK, since 1990, initially as a volunteer. I then joined the staff as the librarian, until my retirement 6 yrs ago. I have continued to volunteer in the SK office, and be the SK arts coordinator. My position has given me the opportunity to become personally acquainted with a majority of our families and know the children by name. I contend the parent who wrote the one star review is misinformed. We have a diverse enrollment which is supported by a dedicated staff; including an Integrated Reform Facilitator(assists teachers with curriculum and strategies to address academic needs of underachieving students), SFUSD LSP(with a MMFC), intern(acquiring hrs for her MMFC), nurse , student advisor, anger management program through PH Neighborhood House and UCSF. A team meets twice monthly to try/solve referred students' needs. Our parents are outstanding; raising enough funds for an extra teacher, tutors and enrichment programs, which SK would not otherwise have. Everyday I witness high expectations of students; in academics and behavior. We conduct SK tours on Tuesdays for parents/guardians to learn for themselves.(Please call ahead 415-695-5797)

- submitted by a community member
October 18, 2012
I find it telling that the parent who posted the one-star review on 10/17/12 starts by identifying the children's problems, which suggests s/he has an issue with the student population. I send my child to this school BECAUSE of the population, because, as a well-educated, middle class parent, I do not want my child to grow up in a fishbowl thinking that the world is one way when it certainly is not. The children at this school are diverse and lovely and human. In other words, they are our school family like family you can't pick who those members are. So it goes in SF PUBLIC schools. My family loves the teachers, the community (warts and all!), the support staff, the program we love it all. Are there struggles? Of course. Are expectations of students low? Lord, no. Kids are all over the map in abilities some kindergartners read at a 4th grade level. Others haven't had the opportunity to read much at all. The teachers have a wide range with which to work. So it goes in public school. If you don't like it, pay the $22K for private where the population is selected and privileged, and kids with learning differences can be out on their rears if they bring the good scores down.

- submitted by a parent
March 06, 2012
I have placed both my kids here after having a teacher/Aid tell me my 5 yr old might be ADHD, and after having an Aid assault my then 8 yr old. Both boys are thriving here. I love Starr King, The principal is hands down very involved and caring, all the teacher take their time to get to know the kids, parents are very involved... teacher & parent communication is excellent... dont let the neighborhood fool or scare you...this is a great and safe school

- submitted by a parent
May 18, 2011
SK is a great school. My child is finishing up kindergarten and has had an amazing year in the Mandarin Immersion program. The K teachers are unbelievable-- the Mandarin proficiency the kids have achieved is remarkable, and it hasn't come at the expense of reading and writing in English. The fact that these teachers have done what they've done in one year gives us hope for the future of public education. The community is an eclectic group with a wide diversity of opinions and perspectives, but is cohesive when it comes to wanting the best for the kids. As the Mandarin program continues to expand, especially in the upper grades (the program started small), it will be interesting to see what happens to test scores. All in all, we're very happy here.

- submitted by a parent
April 22, 2011
This is an amazing school. My oldest of two daughters is in the Mandarin Immersion program with my second entering next year. She is thriving. The test scores may be a little low bacause of the fact that the children are learning Chinese as well as English. However, don't let that keep you from a great school. I was concerned about SF schools and seriously considered going private. My wife, thankfully, dug deeper and found that Starr King program is as good if not better than competing private schools. I believe the difference is the parent involvement. The PTA is very organized and very motivated.

- submitted by a parent
November 21, 2010
My daughter is a Kindergartener in the Mandarin Immersion program. She loves going to school, loves her teacher and loves her friends. She is thriving here; what more can we ask for? Other things we love about Starr King Elementary: the staff is knowledgable and caring, the parents are involved whether it be coordinating or coaching after-school soccer teams, volunteering in the classroom, fundraising, or cleaning the school, the student population is extremely diverse, the curriculum includes music, art, obviously foreign language development if you choose the Mandarin Immersion program. Our family loves Starr King Elementary!

- submitted by a parent
March 17, 2010
don't let the low test scores and neighborhood scare you. it's a great school. my daughter goes to K there, and I can see her improvements in mandarin every week. you won't believe how much mandarin she picked up in 6 months. image how much she will know after 6yrs.

- submitted by a parent
March 13, 2010
We are so happy to be a part of Starr King. We love this school, the hardworking teachers, and all the support staff. Recently the school nurse and the principal won awards for their work here.

- submitted by a parent
no rating November 05, 2009
Starr King is a great school! Very diverse, involved parents, super principal, excellent teachers. I am very happy here. It is what makes living in San Francisco worth the struggle and sacrifice. We are proud to be part of Starr King

- submitted by a parent
October 17, 2009
We love this school. Our daughter is a first-grader in the Mandarin immersion program. By the end of kindergarten, she was conversant in Mandarin--flooring our Mandarin speaking friends. This is a warm community with involved parents and faculty. The principal and teachers are wonderful and demonstrate their commitment to the children every day. I know potential parents will look at the test scores and disregard this gem. Please don't. This is a extremely diverse school, where not every child has has the same advantages. But that is the beauty of Starr-King: it tries to help all children. Many parents are doctors, lawyers and other professionals, graduating from top schools. If you want your child in a warm, loving school, to speak Mandarin fluently, have friends from diverse backgrounds, then come visit us.

- submitted by a parent
October 15, 2009
The school has been transitioning for the last few years and the prinicpal is doing a great job of balancing all the different groups. We have general education as well as Mandarin Immersion. The children and families are all from diverse backgrounds and incomes but they all work well together for the benefit of the children.

- submitted by a parent
September 23, 2009
Starr King is a unique in that it has four distinct programs (Gen. Ed., Special Ed., Spanish Bilingual, and Mandarin Immersion) and highly diverse student/family population in every sense (language, ethnicity, economic, leaning ability and family structure) - it is truly representative of San Francisco. Despite this, we operate as one school community, serving all of our students and families. We find unique ways to mix students together, such as 'unified teaching blocks' where students from the various strands are grouped together for English language arts. And for families, we have many all-school events such as our 'International Potluck Dinner' where families from all backgrounds get to develop relationships with one another. Starr King also boasts the smallest average class size (16) in the district. This is intentional. We believe that skilled teachers and low class sized make the difference. Our largest class is 5th grade, with only 21 students. Another unique feature of Starr King is our comprehensive wellness program, which focuses not only on students, but on families as well. We believe when students and their families are healthy and stable, it frees children up to focus on learning. Starr King is not just a school, it an integral part of the surrounding community. Some parents are even alumni of Starr King, and now send their own children to the same school. Many volunteers come from the community, some of whom have been volunteering for more than 10 years! For all these reasons and more, Starr King is a special place of learning, and it shows in the dedication of the principal, staff, volunteers and parents who are making Starr King shine in so many ways.

- submitted by a parent
no rating September 23, 2009
It's a wonderful neighborhood school!

- submitted by a parent
September 23, 2009
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
no rating September 23, 2009
Most diverse public (or private) elementary school in San Francisco, with the lowest class sizes in the district, and national-model Mandarinf Immersion program.

- submitted by a parent
September 22, 2009
The Starr King faculty and staff want to change the way we think about public education. They are bringing together four different programs - a autism special ed, general education, Spanish bilingual, and Mandarin Immersion - and in doing so they are bringing together a diverse group of families and communities. Their focus on success for all children means seeing each child as an individual and caring for and educating the children with a well-crafted curriculum, small classes, the only elementary school wellness center in the City, and a support staff of specialists for inclusion, literacy, health, speech, and mental health.

- submitted by a parent
September 16, 2009
I love it because it is the most diverse elementasry school in San Francisco. I love it because my kid converses in Mandarin with his teachers, nurses at the doctor's office, and people at local businesses. I love the open communication between staff and parents. I love the principal's commitment to doing the right thing and getting each child what they need. I love the parent commitment and community. I even love the unbelievable 360 degree view. I feel like I won the lottery getting into this school!

- submitted by a parent
August 25, 2009
My daughter is in 3rd grade and we are happy with the academics and parent involvement. She reads above grade level in English even though 70% of her school day is in Mandarin. She also scored above average in Math on State Standardized tests. There is a lot of required homework in the Mandarin program, so be ready to support your children by scheduling study time after school and on weekends if you choose this program. I wouldn't recommend it for families who have a laid back approach to education.

- submitted by a parent
October 03, 2008
Our son just started kindergarten here and we all love it.

- submitted by a parent
September 28, 2008
My child is currently in the 2nd grade at SK and I serve on the School Site Council. I know that the staff care and pay attention to all the aspects of the child: academic, social & behavioral, and health. They have started a nutrition and physical activity promotion program that will give my child more opportunities to try different things (she hates vegetables) and see her peers try it. I love the greater sense of community this brings.

- submitted by a parent
September 28, 2008
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
September 27, 2008
We have only been at Starr King for a month or so but so far so good. The school has a warm yet exciting feel to it. In the morning music is playing on the yard, from Jimi Hendrix to salsa, as kids play tetherball or hula hoop. I work for the district and asked a lot of co-workers about the school and heard nothing but good things about the staff and principal. asked

- submitted by a parent
no rating September 26, 2008
The schools is fantastic. Don't let the poor rating fool you. Our daughter is in Kindergarten, in the Mandarin Immersion program. We don't speak any Mandarin at home and she loves it. The principal is incredibly dedicated too. It's a small school but unique for its diversity and warmth.

- submitted by a parent
September 26, 2008
my daughter is a kindergartner in the mandarin immersion program. we are very happy with her teacher, her principal, and the starr king community. we really feel that the teachers, staff and parents are fully engaged in and committed to the school the school is incredibly diverse due to the convergence of the mandarin immersion, spanish bilingual, special education, and general education programs. i feel that my daughter's exposure to this diverse community will teach her understanding and empathy and will enable her to feel comfortable and build meaningful relationships in any environment as she gets older. with the mandarin component, wonderful principal, teachers, staff and parents, and the school diversity, i honestly feel my daughter is getting an invaluable education.

- submitted by a parent
September 26, 2008
I knew this would be our first choice school as soon as I stepped inside. The warm and caring tone is set by the dedicated principal and the families who love the school. We are excited about the school's growth, the diversity of the school population, and the fact that our daughter loves it.

- submitted by a parent
September 24, 2007
Our son began Mandarin immersion kindergarten this year. We are exceedingly happy about his teacher, the principal, the program in general, and the parent involvement/community. I want to thank the parents, students, and teachers of last year's (inaugural) Mandarin kindergarten class for paving the way for the rest of us. I am tickled pink that our son is attending, and thriving at, Starr King.

- submitted by a parent
November 04, 2006
My daughter is in the new Mandarin immersion program. I now can't imagine her attending any other school, public or private. Her teacher is exceptional. The class is small (12 kids). Her classmates are bright, well behaved and personable. And the other parents are involved and interesting. The principal, Chris Rosenberg, is highly regarded throughout the Bay Area and has been able to attract and retain some of the best teachers available. He has also raised considerable academic and enrichment resources. It's no wonder that parents from all over the city spend the effort to have their kids attend.

- submitted by a parent
November 03, 2006
Our child is in the Mandarin Immersion program. We chose SK for a number of reasons. One, the principal is talented and committed. Two, the teachers, after meeting them, struck us as very qualified and excellent communicators. Three, free. Compared to one year's tuition at CAIS, we can fly the family to Taipei or Shanghai for a summer for true cultural immersion if we want. Four, we wanted to support the City's initiative for Mandarin Immersion within the public school system. Five, we believe that the parental involvement is incredible and are thankful for all of the parents involved. Visiting other schools showed us that parental involvement was the true indicator of how good a school really is or will be. Six, SK has so much potential and it is so undervalued that I believe others, like us, would find this school to be a diamond in the rough.

- submitted by a parent
September 19, 2006
Starr King's Mandarin Immersion program is running strong. The teachers are great, and already are working hard to ensure that the students not only understand, but communicate in Mandarin. The principal is working to create a well-balanced, academically strong, compassionate community throughout the school. Parent involvement in the Immersion program is strong, and seems to be improving school-wide.

- submitted by a parent
April 17, 2005
Fourth grade students, with the help of the school's principal and teachers, at this school created a community mural celebrating California Civil Rights heros including Enola D. Maxwell, former director of the Potrero Hill Neighborhood House.

- submitted by a staff
September 16, 2004
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a student
September 09, 2003
The teachers at this school are exceptional. They go beyond the call of duty in working with the population. Much more parent participation is needed. In fact, parent participation is nil. If more parents participated at the school they would see how hard the teachers work to educate their children.

- submitted by a community member
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King (Starr) Elementary School
1215 Carolina Street, San Francisco, CA  94107
(415) 695-5797
Last modified King (Starr) Elementary School is a Public school that serves grades K-5. It has received a GreatSchools rating of 6 out of 10 based on academic quality.
King (Starr) Elementary School Rating: 4 out of 5 based on 41 reviews. Top