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Edwin and Anita Lee Newcomer School (formerly Chinese Education Center)

School code number: 476
Grade level: K-5
Hours: 8:30 a.m. - 2:35 p.m.

657 Merchant Street, San Francisco, CA, 94111
Neighborhood: Financial District
Phone: 415-291-7918
Fax: 415-291-7965
Principal: Victor Tam

School Data

Watch videos explaining our new social-emotional and culture-climate indicators.

Discover This School

The Chinese Education Center is a school for Chinese-speaking, newly-arrived immigrant students. It is a transitional, one-year program designed to teach foundational English skills in reading, writing, and oral English Language Development. In addition, basic skills, protocols, and understanding in all CORE subject areas are explicitly taught to address the gap that typically results from students having been raised in a very different educational system.

Beyond the academics, a large focus is placed on nurturing our students’ Social Emotional Learning. We address the cultural gap and the many challenges that accompany such a significant transition as immigrating from China to the United States. Immigrant students and families face numerous challenges as they work to learn a new language and understand a new culture. The English language is as significantly different from the Chinese language, as American culture is different from the Chinese culture. We educate students and their families on concepts that include the importance of having a growth-mindset; the acceptance of failure as a natural part of the journey toward mastery; the importance of positivity; and, the expression of love in parenting.

CEC provides valuable and essential supports to newly-arrived immigrant students and families. We nurture a greater sense of self-confidence in students because of the academic and social-emotional gains they are able to make at our school. In the long-term, the families gain a greater understanding in how to better support their children through this transition. Their participation in CEC’s program sets the foundation for the students’ long-term success.

This school feeds into:

Francisco Middle School, Visitacion Valley Middle School For our 5th grade students, they feed into Francisco Middle School OR Visitacion Valley Middle School. As a one-year newcomer program, the K-4 students have the opportunity to transfer to any District elementary school. Generally, grades K-1-2-3-4 newcomer students who enroll into CEC after JANUARY 1st are eligible to remain at CEC for another school year.

School Tours

Please call for appointment



School Meals

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Afterschool supper

Afterschool programs

2:35 - 6:00 PM. The Excel Afterschool Program is run by the Chinatown YMCA.  It is on-site and provides tutorial, enrichment, and recreational activities for students to extend their opportunity to learn and use English.  The program is fee-based but is subsidized for students who qualify.

Language Programs

  • Chinese Newcomer Pathway

Student Support Programs

  • Family liaison
  • Social worker

Arts Enrichment

  • Ceramics
  • Dance
  • Performing arts
  • Visual arts
All students participate in the Visual and Performing Arts classes that are focused on DRAMA/MUSIC/and VISUAL ARTS.  In addition, we have the District Instrumental Program available to students in Grades 3-5.

School Day Academic Enrichment

  • Computer carts
  • Computer lab
  • Technology teacher