Our Origins: Speaking Up for Public Schools

PPS-SF was founded in 1999 by a San Francisco mom who decided to ignore the playground chatter. 

Sandra Halladey was a preschool parent looking for a public school for her daughter. She toured what was then considered an underperforming, unpopular school, Alvarado Elementary. Halladey liked what she saw happening at Alvarado.

She liked it enough to buck the trend of middle-class San Franciscans fleeing public schools unless they could get placement at a small handful of coveted "alternative" schools. She enrolled her daughter to attend kindergarten at Alvarado. 

Halladey didn't agree with the way that public schools were covered in the local media, so she wrote an op-ed piece for the San Francisco Chronicle that encouraged other families to discover the realities of public schools first-hand. The op-ed promoted the benefits of public schools, such as tolerance and respect for diversity. 

Halladey spoke up for for public schools, launching a movement that became Parents for Public Schools of San Francisco.

Back in 1999, many parents believed that there were only a handful of acceptable choices in San Francisco public schools...Today, parents are clamoring to get their children into these schools — and their participation is making them into stronger, better places every year.
— Sandra Halladey, PPS-SF founder

Halladey later teamed up with Deena Zacharin to secure funding from the Zellerbach Foundation and launch the San Francisco chapter of Parents for Public Schools. 

Since the organization's founding in 1999, PPS-SF has gone on to serve over 275,000 families in San Francisco with programs in Spanish, Chinese, and English. We help families to navigate SF public school enrollment and become empowered leaders once their children are enrolled in SFUSD. 

Visit our city’s public schools. You’ll be glad you did.
— Sandra Halladey, via The San Francisco Chronicle, 1999