California’s oldest public school


KTSF by Lynne Ku

San Francisco’s Spring Valley Science Elementary, which was established in 1852, is the oldest public school in California. It was one of the original seven schools in the state during the gold rush but the only one remaining.

Sisvan Der Harootunian who went to the school during 1939-1945 remembers the first day he was here, ” I was very terrified because it was the first time I’ve left home and we only lived about 3 blocks away but still I think my mother brought me, holding my hand and I finally came.”

Spring Valley is going to celebrate its160th anniversary on May 11th. They are asking former staff members and students to attend the party and bring in their old photos, report cards, certificates of promotion and share their stories, all of which will be preserved in a book to be stored in the SF Public Main Library.

Even with such a long history, the focus of education at this oldest school in California has kept up with the times , says principal Lisa Kwong, ” We chose science as a focus for school because first of all kids love to learn science and another reason is because we really feel the skills of science will prepare our children for the future.”