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About Mission High School

Mission High School Entrance

History

Nestled at the foot of Dolores Park, in the heart of San Francisco’s vibrant Mission district, Mission High is the oldest comprehensive public school in San Francisco founded in 1890 and in its present building since 1915.

Student Body

Mission High School Student Body Composition Chart

The diverse student body of 1,150 students come from 52 countries and/or cultural backgrounds and speak more than 20 distinct languages. Approximately 50% are Latino, 15% African American, and 25% are Asian/Pacific Islanders.

Over 20% are newcomers, having come to the U.S. in the past 3 years. Of those, 40% are learning English as a second language (or perhaps as third or fourth language), 75% qualify for free or reduced lunch, and 15% receive special education instruction.

Mission High’s Unique Approach – Inside and Out

What makes Mission High unique is the school’s approach to teaching with the principles of anti-racist teaching bolstered by both commitment and concrete practices that make this philosophy a reality. Mission High’s Teachers inspire students to rise above the subtle biases of diminished expectations that society often places before them.

Ultimately, Mission High sees its goal as preparing students so that they graduate fully prepared for college or whatever future path the students choose.

In addition to core classes, Mission offers classes such as “African American Male Identity,” and is among the first to offer Arabic as a foreign language. Mission High has created 5 Technical Educational Programs (“Pathways”), including its flagship Urban Agriculture Program that covers a wide range of topics including soil science, tending the school’s organic farm, culinary skills, the economics of food production, and marketing.

Outside of class there are over 100 clubs and activities—and let’s not forget that the Mission High Bears Men’s Basketball team were the 2017 state champions.

This approach works. Over the past eight years, under the watch of Principal Eric Guthertz, Mission has gone from being labeled as a failing school to a school with an 84% graduation rate with 90% of these graduates continuing on to college or other post-secondary programs.

We invite you to contact us to so you can visit and see this remarkable school for yourself.

Mission High’s Current Challenges

Budgetary Shortfalls

  • Budget cuts at the State and local levels
  • Federal funding cuts
  • “Sun-setting” of other previous  sources of funds (>$1M / year)
  • Risk of punitive budget cuts

→ Many programs unfunded

Increased Need

  • New STEM programs in areas where the stakes keep rising
  • Better options for career preparation
  • Increased need for remedial and advanced instruction
  • Essential unfunded positions
  • Health services for a highly stressed student community

Hostile Forces Targeting Our Students

  • Hispanics,
  • African Americans
  • Asian Americans
  • Undocumented and other recent immigrants
  • LGBT students
  • Women
  • Etc.

Mission High School By the Book

Mission High Book Cover

Mission High: One School, How Experts Tried to Fail it, and the Students and the Teachers who made it Triumph  By Kristina Rizga

What motivates students to learn, work hard, and persevere through life’s toughest challenges? Why is it so difficult for the world’s wealthiest and most powerful country to build good schools in every neighborhood?

In MISSION HIGH, Mother Jones reporter Kristina Rizga tells intimate stories from the four years she spent immersed in one of the nation’s most diverse public high schools.

She follows four teachers and their remarkable students as they struggle against closure, resist pressure to focus on test scores, and create some of the most effective classrooms in the country.

What reviewers and experts have to say about this book…

“Excellent… What Rizga learned is worth sharing. Her advice should have been taken by many…”
Diane Ravitch, The New York Review of Books 3/24/16

“…Mission High School has been able to address teacher retention through teacher supports, such as building in time where teachers can plan lessons together and design assessments that measure a broad range of critical skills…”
Obama Administration Secretary of Education Arne Duncan

“At her best, Rizga writes with the subtlety and grace of pioneering education writers…Writing teachers as people and professionals, as Rizga expertly does, is strangely a radical act.”
Los Angeles Review of Books 4/10/2016

 

Buy the Book on Amazon

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