SF Board of Education approves name changes for two elementary schools

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SF Board of Education approves name changes for two elementary schools

Press Release

San Francisco (August 29, 2018) - The San Francisco Board of Education unanimously approved changing the names of two San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) schools on Tuesday. The Chinese Education Center, a school for newly-arrived immigrant students who are at the beginning levels of English development on their path towards biliteracy, will be renamed the “Edwin and Anita Lee Newcomer School” after the late San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and his wife, Anita. Fairmount Elementary School, which offers a highly sought after schoolwide Spanish Dual Immersion program, will be renamed “Dolores Huerta Elementary School.”

The name changes of both schools seek to reflect the communities they serve and send a message to students that they are seen and they are valued. The new names align with SFUSD’s vision that every student will discover his or her spark, along with a strong sense of self and purpose. Each school will adopt its new name in the 2018-19 school year.

“Renaming these schools after such influential leaders is a historic moment for the San Francisco Unified School District, and for the City,” said Board of Education President Hydra Mendoza-McDonnell, who co-authored both resolutions. “Mayor Ed Lee was my friend and colleague for many years, and now his name along with Anita’s will continue to serve as a symbol for our newest residents that they are welcome here. The name change for Fairmount Elementary, where my own children attended, will also remind students of the importance of fighting for the rights of everyone, which Dolores Huerta is so known for.”


Mayor Ed Lee served as San Francisco's 43rd mayor, and the City’s first Chinese American mayor, from 2011 to 2017, until his untimely death on December 12, 2017. Mayor Lee and his wife, Anita, whose two daughters attended SFUSD schools, have been longtime advocates for public education and served as a welcoming bridge to the City’s immigrant communities. Mayor Lee’s educational and youth initiatives helped improve math performance, provide access and equity in early child care and education, and provide paid work experiences for youth, among many other efforts.

“Just as Mayor Lee did as the top elected official in the City, our school warmly welcomes newcomers to San Francisco. We believe renaming our school after accomplished Chinese American leaders will help strengthen our school’s connection with our larger San Francisco community. It will also give our students and families a prominent leader who reflects them in the name of our school,” Chinese Education Center Principal Victor Tam said.

The Chinese Education Center is committed to providing students a strong foundation in academic subjects and an orientation to American culture in a positive and nurturing environment. Most students stay at Chinese Education Center for one year before they move on to a more comprehensive public school. Students are offered English language development, Chinese language arts, bilingual instruction in core subjects, computer literacy, and health and safety education. Field trips, dance, art, and music are also part of the curriculum. Chinese Education Center opened in 1969 and will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2019.

"Our family is so honored by the proposal to rename the Chinese Education Center to the ‘Edwin and Anita Lee Newcomer School.’ Both our parents are dedicated to improving the lives of immigrant children and care deeply about access to quality education that meets their unique needs. The renaming will be such a great honor to our late father and to the amazing work that our mother continues to do," said Tania and Brianna Lee, the daughters of Ed and Anita Lee.


Dolores Huerta has dedicated her life to fighting for the civil and human rights of those who are oppressed or disenfranchised. Along with Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta co-founded the United Farm Workers and helped organize the delano grape strike in 1965. She is also credited with coining the phrase “Sí, se puede.” Dolores Huerta Elementary School will be the second K-12 SFUSD school named after a Latino/a person (the other is Cesar Chavez Elementary School).

“Our school is where we want to teach students the power of voice, the power of presence, the power of being, the power of standing up for dignity and fighting for equity, embodying the life lessons and activism of someone like Dolores Huerta. By adopting the name of a strong Latina leader, we also would like to send a message of empowerment to all our female students, particularly our female students of color,” Fairmount Elementary Principal Luis Rodriguez said.

Founded circa 1864, Fairmount Elementary School has educated generations of San Francisco children and, by many accounts, established the first Parent Teacher Association in the state of California. The school has a long history of providing excellent academic opportunities through its schoolwide Spanish Dual Immersion Program, beginning with 80% of instruction in Spanish in kindergarten and decreasing to 50% by 5th grade. Fairmount serves around 400 students in pre-kindergarten through 5th grade, including English learners, bilingual students, and English proficient students.


Page updated on 08/29/18

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