Recently La Scuola kicked off its 20th Anniversary Year celebration. La Scuola International School – the only PreK – Grade 8 Reggio Emilia-inspired, International Baccalaureate (IB) and Italian language immersion school in the world – is now serving the Bay Area with two San Francisco campuses (Preschool – Grade 8), and one new campus in Silicon Valley (Preschool – Grade 1). But how did we get here?
In October of 2002 the school was started by a small group of Italian-American parents who wanted to ensure that they and their children would stay connected to their Italian heritage, culture, and language. Fast forward 20 years later, and the school has seen tremendous growth and recognition locally and globally. We are San Francisco’s only PreK-8 International Baccalaureate World School. Located on 3 campuses in the Bay Area — two in San Francisco, and one in Silicon Valley.
The humble beginnings of La Scuola started in a home and eventually moved to the church of St. Gregory, in San Francisco. After three years, we found our first campus in the Dogpatch neighborhood and we partnered with ZPZ Partners, a renowned architectural firm located in Modena, Italy, to build our Reggio Emilia-inspired school. The design focused on our belief that children truly learn differently in a space that is created with them in mind.
Shortly after our beginnings in the Dogpatch, as we continued to grow and add grades, we expanded with mobile classrooms. We then knew it was time to start thinking about a new home for the elementary school, and keep the preschool at the Dogpatch location.
With an interim location on Fell Street in San Francisco, and a more permanent location in the Mission neighborhood of San Francisco (thanks to a long-term lease with the San Francisco Archdiocese), our Mission Campus was born. At the end of 2021, we were able to get all K-8 students to our Mission Campus.
Our school has grown into a truly international and multicultural organization. We value our diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging and we want every child to be celebrated with their own unique heritage, culture, language and whatever they bring with them.
In addition, our Middle School program is now thriving, with language learning in both Italian and Spanish (beginner and advanced classes) and we have our Grade 8 graduates going off to excellent high schools, both locally and globally.
And now we begin the next chapter in our history. Thanks to a generous gift we were able to open a new campus in Silicon Valley earlier this year. The campus has undergone extensive construction work and attention to detail, with the help of our partner architect Michele Zini of ZPZ Partners. The Reggio-inspired classrooms, furniture, gardens, ateliers, and play structures are all brand new, and we were pleased to welcome South Bay families and students for the 2022 – 2023 academic year.
What’s next?? We continue to grow with the planned construction of the new main building at the Mission Campus, the renovation of the San Carlos building and the Dogpatch Campus expansion. We will also continue to grow the grade offerings at our Silicon Valley campus, with each year, as the classrooms grow and the students rise to the next grade.
It’s important to note, children do not need to speak Italian to apply to the school.
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