What is a Beacon Center?

The essence of a Beacon is a collaborative, youth-centered program model that adopts the ideals of a community school framework.  The 27 Beacon sites across San Francisco work to support a shared vision but each site is custom tailored to its surrounding community. Program elements of a Beacon Community School include family partnership and engagement, behavioral health and wellness, school transitions and expanded learning.  Beacon sites strive to add an additional layer of support to strengthen a child’s ecosystem so they succeed as a lifelong learner.

Community School Framework

4 Community School Practices:
♦ Shared Leadership
♦ Strategic Data Collection and Analysis
♦ Intentional Coordination and Alignment
♦ Continuous Learning and Improvement

Community School Coordinating Structures:
♦ Site Leadership Team(s)
♦ Coordinating Point Person(s)
♦ Partnership Collaboration

For twenty five years, Beacon Centers have revitalized communities and empowered youth by transforming school sites into hubs that connect the community and expand learning beyond school hours and academics. Today, 27 Beacon Centers serve 13,000 San Francisco youth and their families. 

Beacon Centers create a more open, collaborative school culture. School faculty partner with Center directors to achieve better results for youth.

Through these strong partnerships, more resources are available and services are better coordinated to achieve positive outcomes for our youth, families and communities.

What does the San Francisco Beacon Initiative (SFBI) do?:

Our Mission

The mission of the San Francisco Beacon Initiative is to work at the site and system level to transform public schools into youth and family-centered places of learning. Grounded in the community schools model/framework, Beacon Centers are committed to a cohesive, comprehensive, and collaborative approach that create pathways to lifelong learning and transformative experiences for youth and the adults who support them through advocacy, leadership, networking and program support.


Program Areas:

♦ Strengthen the Network

♦ Leadership Development

♦ Ensure Fidelity to the Beacon Model

More About Us

SFBI 2020 In Review


The San Francisco Beacon Initiative is a fiscally sponsored project of Tides Center, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Your gift may be tax-deductible pursuant to §170(c) of the Internal Revenue Code. Please visit for additional information.


San Francisco Beacon Centers

The Beginning


Inspiration Sparked

SFBI began in 1994 as city leaders examined community school models. Inspiration came from the New York Beacon Effort.


The First Beacon Center

The first center opened in 1996. 


Partnership between a CBO and school to provide wraparound services to support the needs of the youth, families, and schools.


Eight Beacon Centers

Throughout almost two decades, 8 Beacon Centers across the city formed and ran in  following neighborhoods:

  • Mission
  • North Beach-Chinatown
  • Outer Mission/Ingleside-Excelsior
  • Portola
  • Richmond
  • Sunset
  • Visitacion Valley
  • Western Addition


The Ninth Beacon Center

After 20 years, a ninth Beacon Center was added. The newly built Willie Brown Middle School implemented the Beacon model.


Strategic Planning

A two year strategic planning process to expand the Beacons across San Francisco was underway.


Beacon Funding and System Partners:

SF Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) – a City department that funds out of school time programs, including providing all Beacon funding


San Francisco Unified School District – Partnered with DCYF to plan Beacon strategy and engage principals, all Beacons receive funding from SFUSD for their afterschool programs.


San Francisco Beacon Initiative – SFBI supports all Beacon Community Schools to have high quality programs, strong leaders, and a connected network to share best practices. 


From 9 to 27 Beacon Centers

The Beacon Centers scaled up from 9 to 27 with funding increasing from $3M – $10.4M, and with an increase from 8 to 15 Beacon lead agencies.


DCYF RFP & RFQStrategy description, goals, and schools.



Beacon Director Contact List





Elementary Schools

Bret Harte Elementary School Merita Kaulave
Bryant Elementary School Dianna Caracoza
Cesar Chavez Elementary School Liliana Santos
Dr. Charles Drew Elementary School Tiana Kaulave
Dr. William Cobb Elementary School Jasmine Benton
El Dorado Elementary School Natalie Toland
Dr. George Washington Carver Elementary School Kevin Wilson
John Muir Elementary School LaSaundra Owens
Leonard Flynn Elementary School Melissa Alvarez
Malcom X Academy Elementary School
Sanchez Elementary School Charlotte Le Riviere

K-8 Schools

Bessie Carmichael K-8 Alejandro Pena
Buena Vista/Horace Mann K-8 Alberto Martinez
Paul Revere K-8 Sherry Galdamez

Middle Schools

AP Giannini Middle School Mandy McGowen
Aptos Middle School Stefanie Almendares
Everett Middle School Wilson Jimenez
Francisco Middle School Lorraine Orlandi
Herbert Hoover Middle School Reggie Valenzuela
James Denman Middle School Patricia Barraza
James Lick Middle School Anttwan Stanberry
Marina Middle School Amelia Rudberg
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Middle School Jibraan Lee
Presidio Middle School Mia Tswago
Roosevelt Middle School Cass Terry
Visitacion Valley Middle School Ryan Campagna
Willie Brown Middle School Ed Cheveres