Alice Fong Yu (AFY)is a great school (great academics, diverse, safe and clean) because of the dedicated Principal, staff and parent/guardian community. While it is a Chinese Immersion school, the students also learn proficient English, and they have the highest English and Math API k-8 scores in San Francisco. However, AFY school is not for everyone. The students get double homework in Chinese and English, which is a ton of homework (during the school year, weekends and often vacations). The phys ed and arts programs are adequate for the small size of the school, but not to the level of one of the bigger k-8 schools given the focus on Chinese Immersion studies. There are parallels between AFY and Lowell (the top SF high school); students and parents who come to AFY should both expect to work hard for the student's success and the continued success of the AFY community.
Our son is currently in 1st grade and so far we are very pleased that we chose AFY. It is a big happy family. Teachers work well with each other and collabrorate their work with each other. Parents involvement is very high comparing to other public school. I would consider AFY to be the first class public school. Just wish the play ground/yard to be a bit bigger.
We chose this school because the principal runs such a fantastic program. Everyone is on the same page, though some parents used to typical public schools might find good strong leadership challenging, it is the source of the school's consistent level of excellence. Some parents want more English, which is odd since they chose an Immersion Program. Others may find the high expectations as surprising, if they were educated at a typical public school of the 70's with little expectation of excellence. I raised 3 older children in those days, and all I can say is that I wish I could have gone to this school, and enrolled my older kids, too. It's not for everybody, so you should meet the principal and teachers first. Visit the school. Ask any parent on the playground what they think. Almost every one will tell you they truly feel like they won the Lotto.
I'd rate the school as good, not great, a solid good. Of course, in offering an immersion program, the emphasis is on learning Chinese somewhat at the expense of other subjects, such as English, math and science. In the middle school, example, the math teacher makes the kids work in small groups, which holds back the smarter students. Still, the students who attend AFY are bright, a fact which accounts for one of the highest API scores in the city and the parents are very, very active, which further helps the school in all its endeavors. The principal can be difficult to deal with, but on the other hand, she doesn't tolerate any nonsense. The school offers a very safe and protective environment.
I did a lot of research before choosing Alice Fong Yu Alternative School. I am very pleased with my choice. In a school district where it is not uncommon for principals to come and go, I really feel that this school is great due to the principal's longevity and consistency throughout the years. If you really, really want your child to become fluent with another language, if you want your child to embrace chinese culture, and if you and your child can handle the additional school work/parent involvement, then this is the school for you. For anyone interested in possibly enrolling your child to this school, I would recommend you first get really acquanted with chinese culture before your child is accepted. So far, I know that my daughter takes pride in the fact that she can speak Cantonese while her English reading skills are 'off the charts.' I also think that it's very cool that she can speak Chinese when both of her parents speak only English. It's also very cool that she knows that she is my teacher for Chinese.
Not all students and parents love this school. It is indeed wonderful that our children are learning Chinese, but many have learned at a sacrifice. Most parents have enrolled their children in after-school learning programs such as Score. Often the Chinese teachers are of the old school teaching style or Hong Kong style and are prone to getting angry very quickly and a lot of yelling, which is not conducive to learning or at least the love of learning. However, it is an extremely safe school, it does have some excellent teachers, there is an effort to infuse the kids with Chinese cultural arts (at an additional cost). Not a lot of visual art in the school, and if the PTA has paid for an art teacher, they are not skilled. There is the Performing Arts Workshop there which is great. The parent body is exceptional. The school is fairly new and is a comforting place to be. So, there are as in most schools, pros and cons. Because it is K-8th, the students are like family. Thus, the middle school students are well-behaved and a close-knit group of teens. There is an after-school on site and K-5 starts at 9:30 which is a blessing for those who like to start slower in the morning. The Principal rules with an iron-thumb, a bit of a controller and it's her way or often not at all. If there is a problem with a teacher, it will not help to go to her. Lots of principals are like this. You will need to go to the SFUSD for help.
Very enthusiastic and able principal and teachers. They truly care that all students learn and do well in learning Chinese as well as English. The staff keeps improving by adopting best practices continuously. Parents and students love the school.
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The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.
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