San Francisco International High School is the city’s only high school exclusively for recently arrived immigrants. But you can also think of it as a factory.
What comes in are immigrant teenagers speaking 18 different languages, including Arabic, Russian, Tagalog and Spanish. Many haven’t been to school in years. Some have never used a three-ring binder, navigated a city or shared a classroom with a member of the opposite sex.
What’s intended to come out are Americans with the full range of American options: go to college, be a scholar, a scientist, an engineer. Every teacher here believes education is central to improving your life. But the students don’t always feel that way, at least at first.