Location: 1725 Irving St @ 19th, Sunset District) map
School hours: 8:40-2:40 (breakfast at 8:15; yard monitor at 8:20)
Principal: Victor Tam (since 2006-07; prior principal retired after 16 years)
Web site: www.myjefferson.com
School tours: Self-guided tours M-Th from 9-10am or 1-2pm. Starting in October some Tuesdays and Thursdays will have Q&A by the principal, Victor Tam at 10am.
Kindergarten size: 80
Total student body: 476
You should consider this school if you're looking for a place with:a calm and inviting environment; an emphasis on arts (visual, theater and music) and on environmental issues; a gardening program; and strong academics.
Campus/PlaygroundSeparate play yards for Kindergarten and upper grades; both will be upgraded with new structures as part of ADA upgrades. Funding for full-time PE teacher included purchase of PE equipment as well.
After School programsJefferson CDC (onsite) has 45 kindergarten spots, as well as spots for grades 1-5; before-care starting at 7:30 .m. and after-care until 6 p.m.; programs on sliding scale (free for qualified income earnings otherwise tuition based $12-22/day)
PTA/PTOActive PTA and SSC with a number of volunteer activities for parents including in classroom, office and admin, beautification and gardening, and in the art program.
Language program(s): After-school Mandarin
Tour Impressions As soon as I popped my head into the classrooms at Jefferson school, it felt like there was a lot to take in. The classroom and hallway walls are covered with student artwork, self portraits and drawings. Wandering the halls on our self-guided tour I overheard a Kindergarten class talking about weather and calendar, a 1st grade class doing addition of multiple numbers, and a 5th grade class studying fine art paintings for a writing activity. All of the classes seemed incredibly orderly, despite the fact that the school is undergoing a year of construction for ADA improvements.
The ADA improvements will also bring updates and new play structures to the Kindergarten and upper grade playgrounds. Since 2007 a full-time PE teacher was hired (thanks to Prop H) to provide two PE sessions per week to all grades. In addition, a program for directed physical activity is offered from noon-12:30 every day.
The school includes a focus on Arts Education which includes working with visiting artists in a particular medium (e.g. drama, ceramics, poetry). In addition a program Art Knows allows parent-led art activities in the classroom. Instrumental music instruction is offered to the 4th and 5th grades in the Auditorium. According to the website all 5th grade students are in the school choir.
A garden is being re-installed in the Kindergarten playground on the Irving Street side of the school, the garden and any educational programs tied to it are strictly parent-led at this point. The school has a pleasant and clean cafeteria in addition to the auditorium.
We were not able to view the library due to the construction but according to the website there is a full time librarian and each class visits the library once a week. We also noted the school is next door to the Sunset branch of the SFPL.
The active PTA raises about $50-60k per year to fund the 5th grade overnight field trip for environmental education, as well as other school resources.
(I’m trying to discover answers to some other questions such as what else the PTA funds, whether the garden is for beautification and by parents only or by the students as well, and a few other details I was not able to observe.)