JBBP Fast Facts
Rosa Parks JBBP is a unique public elementary school program integrating authentic instruction and experiences in Japanese language and culture with SFUSD's daily core curriculum.
Core curriculum taught in English by credentialed teachers and one hour of formal Japanese instruction (reading, writing, conversation) taught by native Japanese-speaking faculty (sensei) and integrated by teachers throughout the day.
JBBP Enrollment (2019-2020):
258 total (kindergarten - 2 classes; 1st grade - 2 classes; 2nd grade - 2 classes; 3rd grade - 2 classes; 4th grade - 1 class; 4th/5th grade - 1 class; 5th grade - 1 class)
11 credentialed teachers and 4 sensei
Average class size:
22 (K-3) and up to 30 (4-5)
For more information please visit Rosa Parks school loop site.
In partnership with the Japanese American community, San Francisco’s first elected Board of Education established JBBP in 1973 to preserve and share the legacy of Japanese Americans and Japanese language and culture with future generations of San Franciscans. A product of the Civil Rights and Asian-American movements of the time, the program was founded through a grass-roots effort by a core group of 10 dedicated parents and community leaders who were interested in regaining for their children, the cultural identity that had been lost in the aftermath of the forced internment of Japanese Americans during WWII. Language instruction by native-Japanese speaking teachers in the context of authentic cultural experiences, as well as access to the program by any interested elementary school student, were the defining priorities of JBBP's pedagogical model.
Since then, JBBP has been recognized for providing an outstanding educational experience, due to the combined efforts of its founders, teachers, and families and the sustained support of the community – perhaps the most distinguishing hallmark of the program and its sustained longevity.
In the Fall of 2006, having outgrown its stand-alone campus in the outer Sunset and in the midst of district-wide school consolidations, JBBP relocated to Rosa Parks Elementary School. Centrally located in the Western Addition, one block from Japantown and the historic Fillmore Jazz District, JBBP continues to grow and develop its one-of-a-kind program model and academic offerings, while building a shared future together with the General Education/STEAM and Special Education programs. The proximity to JBBP’s founding community and the rich, multi-cultural assets of the surrounding area provides unprecedented opportunities to enhance and strengthen JBBP's cultural and academic resources.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is RP JBBP an immersion program?
RP JBBP is NOT an immersion program. Our language model is a "content-related FLES model". Foreign Language in Elementary School, or FLES, is a recognized pedagogical model for foreign language acquisition in the United States.
Students experience one hour of formal Japanese language and culture on a daily basis delivered by native-speaking Japanese instructors, or sensei, who work closely with credentialed classroom teachers to integrate Japanese instruction with core curriculum content. Classroom teachers also maximize exposure to Japanese language and culture throughout the day in keeping with Japanese standards established for each grade.
See also Academics for more detailed information.
Is there a first grade cut off point for enrollment into RP JBBP like there is for immersion programs in the District?
No, there is no enrollment threshold for JBBP. In fact, the founders of JBBP chose to develop a FLES based model specifically because it would not limit access to the program for students and families who were interested in Japanese language. Also, it diminished the potential for any delay in advanced achievement in English Language Arts during the elementary grades, which has been noted in the immersion model.
How does the new “set aside” for JBBP Kindergarten seats work?
The district will assign up to 10 of 44 Kindergarten seats to students who are assessed to be proficient in the Japanese language. The remaining 34 of 44 Kindergarten seats will be open to students who are not proficient in the Japanese language.
Please see SFUSD's set aside FAQ sheet for more information.
If I want to enroll my child in RP JBBP after first grade, does s/he need to know Japanese?
No, there is no prerequisite. See above.
What if we don't know any Japanese? Will my son/daughter be at a disadvantage?
How can the teachers accommodate the spectrum of fluency, given the potential for advanced and beginners in a single classroom setting?
Very skillfully. There can be, and is, quite a range of language fluency in our classrooms. Our kinder classrooms, for example, combine native Japanese speakers with students who have some exposure to Japanese, as well as beginners who have never heard Japanese. Our experienced teachers and sensei work together -- with the aid of in class family and student volunteers -- to differentiate instruction, often working with small groups or even individuals, to keep all of our students challenged. At the same time, students at different levels of fluency benefit from the diversity: native speakers provide peer leadership and example towards authentic linguistics and conversation for our moderate to beginner level students.
How much language fluency will students achieve?
Students who are enrolled in RP JBBP from kindergarten through 5th grade can expect to meet third grade national content standards for Japanese language, established by the National Standards in Foreign Language Education Project.
What makes RP JBBP a unique program?
Japanese instruction and experiences delivered by native Japanese-speaking sensei is central to RP JBBP, reflecting the original Japanese Bilingual Bicultural Program model established 44 years ago. In this manner it is pedagogically different than a "teacher-led FLES model" where Japanese instruction is delivered by classroom teachers under the management of one native Japanese-speaking Language Coordinator.
Are the RP JBBP classes totally separate from GE classes?
Yes and no. While JBBP, GE and SpEd classes are distinct for most of the day, we strive to cultivate and nurture a shared sense of pride as a single school community. Rosa Parks provides students from all programs with ample experiences to learn and play together. Morning Rajio Taiso (Japanese calisthenics), recess, and lunch provide less structured daily opportunities for interaction. Monthly assemblies, school-wide family get togethers, fundraisers, and special field trips also provide fun and diversified settings for camaraderie and friendship. In addition, integrated, rotating mixed classes - where GE and JBBP students are assigned to mixed cluster groups that rotate through week-long series of instructional themes (for example Science Integration) - also provide important opportunities for shared learning and collaboration in the classroom, where students and teachers from both programs get to know each other by name.
Will RP JBBP continue to be an "alternative school" that draws students from throughout the city?
All language programs are designated as "city-wide" schools, providing families throughout the District with equal access to them.
Rosa Parks & JBBP in the news
February 14, 2018: SF Gate San Francisco's 20 best public elementary schools, according to Niche
January 30, 2018: Community Grows blog Yoga and Salad in the Lower Garden
February 20, 2017: kqed.org Dorothea Lange Photos Lead Historians to Japanese Camp Survivors
February 13, 2017: SF Business Times Here are this year's 10 best public elementary schools in San Francisco
May 19, 2016: SF Ed Fund Blog: Thank a Teacher: Why This Kindergarten Teacher is So Beloved by Her School Community
April 30, 2015: SF Examiner: First lady of Japan visits SF public elementary school
February 2, 2015: SF Public Press: Ranking Schools by Diversity
April 2014: JBBP video by Claudia Katayanagi
March 21, 2013: Nichi Bei Weekly: Rosa Parks Japanese Bilingual Bicultural Program celebrates 40th anniversary
February 20, 2012: kqed.org Tsunami Survivors Thank The Kids at Rosa Parks Elementary
February 12, 2012: CBS Japanese Teens Who Survived Earthquake Visit San Francisco School
October 26, 2005: SF Gate: Rosa Parks was an inspiration to students at namesake schools
February 9, 2003: SF Gate: Japanese program celebrates 30 years
Social Media: Our public facebook page is @RosaParksElementarySF.