About CAIS


Founded in 1981, CAIS was the first Mandarin immersion school in the United States. An independent school serving preschool through eighth grade, we are currently located in the Hayes Valley neighborhood of San Francisco and span across three campuses. We are moving to our new 19th Avenue campus for September 3, 2024.

Head of School


School Mission


At CAIS, we are committed to inspiring and empowering learners to: Embrace Chinese, Become Our Best Selves, and Contribute to a Better World

Faculty & Staff


Whether current families and faculty, trustees, alumni families, grandparents, or friends, the CAIS community comprises thousands of people over 41 years who believe in embracing Chinese, becoming their best selves, and contributing to a better world.



Learn more about how to become a part of this team striving to be the world’s most innovative, inspiring, and influential Mandarin immersion school



Founded in 1981 by groundbreaking Freedom Rider and former San Francisco Supervisor Carol Ruth Silver, CAIS is proud of our history as the first Mandarin immersion school in the United States.


The innovative spark that created our Preschool through eighth grade coed independent school has guided our culture of reflection and ongoing self-improvement through our four decades as a pioneer in the field of Mandarin immersion.


Learn more

Chinese Immersion
Our vision is for CAIS students achieve Chinese proficiency levels that enable them to engage with confidence in interesting and meaningful classroom projects and in real-life situations, while simultaneously developing competencies that extend far beyond language learning.
Culture of Learning
CAIS fosters a culture of learning characterized by curiosity, agency, perseverance, and joy. Our culture supports the development of each student’s skills, abilities, and learning dispositions, so that they are able to adapt and thrive in a world that continuously presents new challenges and opportunities.
Character & Community
CAIS students build their capacity to be kind and resilient individuals who actively participate in, contribute to, and grow within a diverse, equitable, and inclusive community.