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New Mandarin immersion middle school in San Francisco

September 30, 2017


I know (really I do) that we’re very lucky in San Francisco to have four Mandarin immersion grade school programs, three middle school programs (well, two are continuations in K-8 schools) and two high school programs.

I also know there are a lot of San Francisco area folks who read this blog. So I wanted to put out word that Presidio Knolls, a private Mandarin immersion school in San Francisco, will launch its middle school next year with a sixth grade.

One of the amazing things about San Francisco is that kids can move around between schools, meaning there’s the opportunity to find schools that really work for different kids and still stay within a Mandarin immersion setting.

Kids move between the public elementary school programs Starr King and Jose Ortega all the time. And in middle school we see kids moving from the private Chinese American International School to the public Aptos Middle School program and vice versa.

Now we’ve got one more program in the mix. And note that they’ve got several full scholarships, plus generous tuition assistance are available!

Information below. (And please note that Chinese American International School also has openings in 6th grade and they also have scholarships available for next year, I just don’t have info yet on any middle school info nights they might be holding.)


Presidio Knolls School

October 18th, 6:00-8:00pm

Middle School Information Session (students welcome!)

Presidio Knolls School

250 10th Street, San Francisco

Presidio Knolls School (PKS) is proud to announce the launch of its Middle School in August of 2018, with applications now being accepted for the 6th grade class.

The Program

The Middle School will offer a rigorous and engaging program inspired by a student-centered, inquiry-based pedagogy and informed by best practices in bilingual and Chinese language education. The curriculum will integrate deep learning across content areas, strong Chinese and English language instruction, social-emotional learning, design thinking and intercultural competency. The PKS Middle School program is designed to graduate students who are multilingual, global thinkers with the intellectual and personal integrity, mental flexibility and open-mindedness, and cultural and technological literacy to succeed in high school, college, and the world beyond.

Since 2008, PKS has been a pioneer in developing a progressive approach to Mandarin immersion education. The school offers a joyful and dynamic bilingual learning experience within and beyond the classroom for students and families who value inquiry, discovery, creativity, compassion, and community.



The PKS Middle School is being led by educational innovator and author Mike Levy.  Mike was a classroom teacher for fifteen years at Saint Paul’s School in New Hampshire, Saint Ann’s School in Brooklyn, and 人大附中 in Beijing.  Most recently, he helped design and open an immersion school in New York City (Avenues: The World School), and served as the Associate Division Head for their Middle and High School.  Mike’s favorite saying on education comes from Grant Wiggins who wrote that “the purpose of school is not to get good at school.”  The PKS program will help students prepare for lives that will require flexibility, empathy, creativity, bilingual and bicultural abilities, and–above all– a willingness to engage with the world.

Mike is working closely with incoming Head of School Chris Livaccari and a talented team of educators. Chris is a distinguished language immersion educator and author, and a seasoned leader and innovator in the fields of bilingual and world languages education, Chinese language learning, and US-China educational exchange. Chris is currently at International School of the Peninsula in Palo Alto, where he has served as both Elementary and Middle School Principal as well as the Chinese Program Director. In addition, Chris is a senior advisor to the Asia Society’s Center for Global Education, where he previously served as Director of Education and Chinese Language Initiatives. During his time working at the Asia Society, Chris created a collaborative national network of more than 100 US schools in 28 states that teach Chinese, and their partner schools in more than 20 provinces in China. The network now includes almost 40,000 students across the United States who are learning Chinese and participating actively in exchanges with their Chinese counterparts. Earlier in his career, Chris was a U.S. Foreign Service officer who held positions in Tokyo and Shanghai. He has traveled extensively in China, Japan, and Korea, taught Chinese and Japanese, and authored many books and articles on multilingualism, teaching Chinese, and Mandarin immersion.

PKS invites you to learn more about its middle school at an October 18th information session, or by appointment.  RSVP to the Director of Admissions at Several full scholarships, plus generous tuition assistance are available.

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