Where is JOES located? We are located at 400 Sargent St in the Ocean View/Merced Heights/ Ingleside (OMI) neighborhood just off of 19th Avenue (the opposite side of San Francisco State University and Park Merced) atop a hill on Sargent Street.

You can access JOES from I-280 and Junipero Serra Boulevard, the Muni 29-line at Head Street or the Muni M-line at Arch Street.

What are the school hours? May I tour the school? The school day is from 7:50 am – 1:50 pm. Breakfast is served from 7:30-8:00 am. The Stonestown YMCA After School Program operates from 1:50-6:00 pm. School tours usually begin in October for families applying for the following school year. They feature our three academic programs: General Education, Mandarin Immersion, and Full Inclusion (Special Education). Please call the office, (415) 469-4726, to sign up for a tour.

How many students are enrolled at JOES and what is the cultural diversity like? There are 370 students as of September 2014. The general ethnic representation is as follows: 38% Asian, 15% Hispanic, 14% African American, 14% White, 5% Filipino and 14% Other.

Is there a dress code? Yes. Students generally wear navy blue cardigans/sweat jackets, navy blue pants (no jeans), navy blue jumpers, navy blue, light blue or white collared shirts or blouses and white or blue socks. If you are purchasing clothing online, check out the list of online merchants who give money back to Jose Ortega.

How many kindergarten classrooms are there? There are 3 classrooms: Two General Education classrooms including full inclusion/special education students and one Mandarin Immersion classroom.

Is there a bathroom in each kindergarten classroom? Each kindergarten classroom shares a bathroom with an adjoining kindergarten classroom. The bathrooms have separate stalls for boys and girls with the toilets, doors, sinks and paper towel dispensers at the appropriate size.

RecessWhat about recess and lunch breaks? There are three 20-minute recess breaks and three 40-minute lunch periods. Teachers escort their students to recess and lunch. Kindergarten recess is from 8:55-9:15 am and Kindergarten lunch is from 11-11:45 am. Teachers, Paraprofessionals, staff members and parents oversee both lunch and recess.

How is positive behavior taught and encouraged at school? Students learn positive behavior by observing and doing positive things for others. Our popular Caring Communities program celebrates desired virtues as respect, honesty, integrity, perseverance and positive problem solving. Our principal, teachers, and support staff award PAWS tickets (Positive Attitudes Worth Spreading) whenever they spot students doing positive things for others. In addition, each lower grade student is paired with an upper grade student as part of our Buddy Program. This year we are also introducing Restorative Practices to our school community.

Does JOES offer Physical Education, Art, Music, and Dance programs? More? Yes!

  • Physical Education: Students receive approximately 100 minutes per week of curriculum-based PE. We often combine two different classrooms to encourage friendship.
  • Visual Art: Look throughout the school and you’ll see many fine works from our young artists. Our Artist in Residence and an Art Content Specialist work directly with our teachers and students. Students receive a minimum of 60 minutes of art per week.
  • Instrumental Art: Free music lessons are offered beginning in the 3rd grade through a district-wide program, however, music is featured at every grade level. Monthly Music Appriciation sessions for Kindergarteners are provided by JOES parents. Music in Schools Today offer an instrumental 8 week program for 1st and 2nd grades. The SF Symphony’s Adventures in Music (AIM) Program provides a series of music education performances for the entire school. Young Audiences hosts cultural musical assemblies for all grades. Teachers and students produce two yearly musical variety performances for family and friends.
  • Vocal Art: The school community assembles for a weekly Friday Sing-Along featuring seasonal songs and our popular school song, led by Kindergarten teacher, Cynthia Young.
  • Ecoliteracy Program: Our Ecoliteracy Instructor leads weekly sessions for all students focusing on outdoor environment education in conjunction with science standards. We have a Green Team student composting and gardening group helping maintain the school yard and gardens.
  • Library: Our school librarian hosts weekly visits to our library and students check out books. A Read-a-Loud Series is conducted monthly by parents, caregivers and friends reading and discussing books with each class.
  • Student Nutrition: Our Ecoliteracy Expert educates students about ways to make healthy food choices. A few activities include a walk-a-thon, in-class fruit or vegetable of the month tasting, and monthly healthy birthday celebrations. Our popular Morning Snack Program provides fresh fruit to the students every morning via donations from the San Francisco Food Bank.

Are there other special programs? Yes.

  • Raising a Reader: Weekly book bags for Kindergarten and 1st grades and in-classroom electronic tablets provided by the Masons and Kristi Yamaguchi’s Always Dream Foundation.
  • GATE (Gifted and Talented Education): A district-wide program offered to academically successful students starting in the 3rd grade.

What after school care options are available?

  • "Umoja" After School Program (ASP): Read about our YMCA on-site program here.
  • The Pride After School Enrichment Program at the I.T. Bookman Community Center: This program is run by the YMCA. The program leaders pick up the students from school and escort them to the center located at 446 Randolph Street @ Ramsell Street.
  • SF Parks and Recreation’s Minnie & Lovie Ward Recreation Center: Fee based after-school enrichment program located at 650 Capitol at Montana Street, close to Sheridan Elementary School.

How active is the PTA? Our PTA supports teacher and student needs and programs including tutoring services, books, supplies, teacher and staff professional training, art programs, Ecoliteracy program, field trips, greening projects and many other activities and programs. We also foster a sense of community through family art day, family health night, family math night, family science night, moms’ night out, annual camping trip, Oktoberfest and more. Major fundraisers are the Annual Giving Fund campaign, the fall Harvest Festival, spring Walk-a-thon and auction. Our active membership will continue to enhance the educational experience of all of our students through volunteerism, community building events, grant writing and fundraising support.

More questions? We’re here to help! Please contact the Jose Ortega office at (415) 469-4726 or email us at pta@joseortegaschool.org.


Disclaimer: This FAQ was written by a JOES' parent and does not represent official SFUSD policy. It is meant as an aid to parents considering Joes Ortega Elementary School. The information provided is subject to change.

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