I love this school. The academics are stellar, and the opportunity to learn two dialects of Chinese is exciting.
I was surprised how rapidly my kid started to absorb the language - singing songs, counting numbers, and pointing out the characters he knows when we pass by a sign using Chinese pictographs. I think learning a new language has added to his confidence and pride. We feel fortunate to be in a district and school that has taken a real lead in immersion education.
The school is *very* well organized. The teachers are hardworking and highly trained. I've been impressed with the simple, elegant, understated way discipline is handled in the kinder classes, and have learned a lot on how to work with my own kid. The principal, Liana Szeto runs a tight ship, and had the vision to create the nation's first school that was wholly Chinese Immersion.
There are weekly newsletters from the principal and from your class teacher. The PTA is a veritable fundraising machine, with a New Year's Banquet and a Fundraising Gala. There's also opportunities to volunteer in the classroom, and there are regular potlucks during holidays like Halloween & Thanksgiving. Seeing my kid in a costume parade for Halloween was immense fun. I'm looking forward to seeing him in the Chinese New Year parade.
I've been surprised how much enrichment activity there is: there's a weekly art class for the kinders, a garden, and they've also had a dance class each week. How much of this is funded by the district, and how much by PTA funds, I don't know. But it certainly was more than I anticipated.
Expectations are high not only for the kids but also for parents. Homework starts early: there's a fair amount given to the kindergarteners, and this ramps up substantially in the higher grades. So expect a lot of wrangling as you get your kid to knuckle down. I love that there's a workshop for parents who aren't familiar with Chinese to help them help their kids with their homework!
I love that two AFY parents made a film about immersion education in SFUSD - "Speaking in Tongues", featuring kids from Starr King and Buena Vista as well as AFY.
I love that my kid will go to China in the 8th grade for a student exchange.
I love the after-school program, GLO, which is excellent and focuses on building the kids social skills. All the GLO programs have camps during holidays and breaks (for an additional fee) - a big bonus for the working parent.
My kid is very happy at the school, and was enthusiastic to be back this week.
If you gave me a coupon that gave my kid free automatic entry to any other elementary school, public or private, in the Bay Area, I'd refuse it. [Well, I might take it, but I'd then sell it on Ebay and then give the money to the Alice Fong Yu PTA.]
Parent of an AFY Kindergartener