Our Journey

Photo of a San Francisco street mural painted on a building by Joel Bergner called "El Inmigrante," depicting a man walking on a road towards an urban setting and away from a countryside setting as he is letting go of a woman's hand.In 2014, in response to the "surge" of asylum seekers crossing the southern border of the United States, SFUSD created the program Caminos, the Spanish word for "journey" or "path," to ensure this community was supported. From the beginning, our mission has been to expand services to include all refugee and immigrant students and families, regardless of nationality or migration experience.

After the student led Board of Education resolution, "Undocumented, Unafraid, and United," demanded, among many things, the creation of a centralized resource to support undocumented youth, RISE-SF was founded.  

We are endlessly thankful for the work and support undertaken everyday by allied SFUSD programs and staff, city agencies, young people and caregivers, and the San Francisco community at large. Si, se puede!

What We Do

Refugee and Immigrant Supports in Education (RISE-SF)​ ​is charged with increasing access to education for all immigrant and refugee students through the promotion of culturally and linguistically inclusive programs and services. 

RISE-SF offers advocacy, consultation, staff training, and coordination of student services in two primary focus areas:

Newcomer Programming

Newly arrived refugee and immigrant English Language Learners have particular educational strengths and challenges that necessitate specific supports and programming.

RISE-SF can support newcomer students with:

  • Orientation to San Francisco schools, including resources and expectations;
  • Connection to district and school site staff, programs, and services;
  • Advocacy at school sites;
  • Referrals and linkages to community support services;
  • Enhanced service coordination for newcomers in immigration removal proceedings, especially unaccompanied minors and refugees/asylees.

Sanctuary Education

As a sanctuary school district, SFUSD upholds every young person’s constitutional right to feel safe and supported at school, and strives to expand the scope of sanctuary so all families feel seen and affirmed.

RISE-SF can support students and families with:

  • Understanding the rights of immigrant students and mixed status families in San Francisco and at school;
  • Connections to district and school site staff, programs, and services;
  • Referrals and linkages to community support services, including legal services.

Our Values

Making Spaces Brave​

We believe creating safe educational communities requires a proactive stance with honesty, humility, self-reflection, and bravery on the part of educators to ensure all of our rights are upheld so students feel Safe, Healthy, and Ready to Learn. 

Culture Is Strength​

Immigrant youth and families thrive when they maintain a connection to their culture of origin. RISE-SF believes the promotion of multiculturalism and multilingualism –through school-wide events, small group programming, curriculum and instruction, and individual supports- can heal historical and current traumas. 

Ensuring Equity​ 

In alignment with SFUSD’s goals of achieving racial equity, RISE-SF works to eliminate oppression, end biases, and ensure equally high outcomes for all students through the creation of multicultural, multilingual, multiethnic, multiracial, multiability practices and conditions; removing the predictability of success or failure that currently correlates with any social or cultural factor. Equitably supporting the educational needs and strengths of immigrant students demands a willingness to create radical new structures and processes.

This page was last updated on August 2, 2023