March 28, 2019

Construction Apprenticeship Program: A Partnership with the Northern California Carpenters Union

This year at LLA we have developed an amazing partnership with the Northern California Carpenters…

November 2, 2018

LLA dormitory more than 50% complete

We broke ground! Upon celebrating the official groundbreaking of our 20-bed dormitory on March 9th…

November 2, 2018

2018 EY Connect Service Day

A huge thank you to the talented and dedicated folks from EY for selecting Life…


"It truly is an extended family for many of these students. Their experiences there are life-transforming." Kim-Shree Maufas, Commissioner, SFUSD Board
"At LLA I felt empowered. Once you learn something good, and it betters you as a person, you’re like how many other lives can I change?" Adriana García, class of 2012
“How do they do it? In part they do it with tough love.” Mark Phillips, Education Journalist,
"I feel safe (at LLA) because I know I won’t be judged because of my past." Justice Valentine, class of 2014


Program Highlights

- No tuition, no fees for students or families
- Graduation rate over 90% since 2003
- $15,000 college support granted since 2010
- Internship and paid employment opportunities available to all students through LLA’s Workforce Development Program
- Fully WASC accredited, SFUSD diploma-granting program
- Named 2010 California Charter School of the Year by California Charter Schools Association
- Free, homemade nutritious lunch available daily
- 8 students per class on average
- Selected as finalist in the 2004 Innovations in American Government Awards at the Kennedy School of Government
- Courses in Digital Media, Culinary Arts, Engineering, Organic Gardening, Business and more

About LLA

Life Learning Academy is a San Francisco Unified School District charter high school founded in 1998 by the non-profit Delancey Street Foundation.


The Life Learning Academy is committed to creating a nonviolent community for students who have not been successful in traditional school settings. LLA welcomes students into an ‘extended family’ which motivates everyone to give and receive support, develop responsibility and judgment, and build the academic, vocational and social skills necessary to be successful.



LLA emerged from an extraordinary community planning process that involved a broad spectrum of public agencies and community-based organizations...

...serving high-risk youth in San Francisco, as well as high-risk youth themselves and their families. Delancey Street was hired by Mayor Willie Brown in 1996 to assess the City’s juvenile justice system and create a plan for reform.

One of the most frequent recommendations that emerged from this extensive community assessment process was for an extended-day, structured, comprehensive school program that provided hands-on, project-based learning and a school-to-career focus. Most participants described this ideal program as having small class sizes and targeting youth with a multiplicity of problems including documented school and family problems.

In response to these recommendations, the Delancey Street Foundation developed the Life Learning Academy. Located on Treasure Island, LLA is uniquely situated to remove students from the gang -affiliated territories of the Bay Area. The building itself is a former Naval Youth Center. LLA started with 2 classrooms and a small group of teachers and students, and established a 70-student school that has become a model of innovation and effectiveness.

Who We Serve

LLA successfully re-engages students with histories of school failure who desire new paths to academic, career...

...and life success. LLA is designed specifically to serve the highest-need students in San Francisco. Nearly all LLA students come from low-income households, with 85% qualifying for free or reduced lunch.

Most students are involved in or at risk of involvement in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems. Many of LLA’s new enrollees report histories of physical and substance abuse, and more than half have have parents known to abuse drugs or alcohol. Nearly half report current or past gang affiliation, and the majority have profound histories of school failure and truancy.

To serve these students effectively, LLA’s multidisciplinary team of educators, counselors, peers and alumni surround each student with support, identify their strengths, and work to ensure that no one falls through the cracks.

Proven Success

LLA takes pride in it’s 14 year history of demonstrated success. Studies find LLA to be “a profoundly effective program” with significantly reduced...

...student recidivism, incarceration, gang involvement and substance abuse. Joining the LLA community leads to improved orientation toward learning, and use of nonviolent conflict resolution skills, according to independent evaluators.

LLA has been recognized as a model school by the California Department of Education and the national Coalition of Essential Schools, and as a model Juvenile Justice Crime Prevention Act program by state leaders and local law enforcement. LLA was the California Charter Schools Association’s 2010 Charter School of the Year, and was a finalist in the 2004 Kennedy School of Government’s Innovations in American Government Awards.

LLA has provided training, tours and replication materials to hundreds of educators and lawmakers worldwide. In 2012, LLA received the full 6-year re-accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

Who We Are

LLA is a tuition-free WASC-accredited SFUSD charter high school located on Treasure Island that maintains a community of...

...60 full time students who have made a personal commitment to positive change. With a teacher-student ratio of 1:6, LLA offers a full school day that meets SFUSD graduation requirements, and provides credit recovery opportunities for entering students who are behind on graduation goals. With unique courses in Culinary Arts, Engineering, Organic Gardening, Digital Media Storytelling, and Bike Mechanics, LLA educators use dynamic, hands-on learning to explore a wide range of traditional subject areas.

How We Work

LLA offers interdisciplinary, project-based classes that challenge students to develop strong academic, critical thinking, and teamwork skills across...

...subject areas. We teach and value excellent interpersonal and ‘soft’ skills, which are required on campus and reinforced in our workforce training programs. LLA helps students earn employment opportunities while enrolled, provides one-on-one college and career counseling, and rewards graduates with access to a scholarship fund that has awarded over $15,000 in scholarship support for college costs since 2010.

Culture of Nonviolence

Since its founding in 1998, LLA has never had a fight on campus. The school requires an unwavering commitment to nonviolence, and maintains...

...a culture free of bullying, threats, and intimidation by building peer support, conducting groups for conflict resolution, and offering students the means to regain good standing within the school community. When tensions do arise, students and staff intervene to resolve conflict and keep the school culture safe and positive.

Principal's Story


Dr. Teri Delane

"The best way to change your life is by helping others."

I was kicked out of school in the ninth grade with a serious heroin abuse problem. I spent a year locked in a juvenile detention facility After an overdose, the Delancey Street Foundation saved my life by surrounding me with people who would not allow me to fail. Through the help of my mentors, I was able to get my life together, return to school, earn a Ph. D. in Clinical Psychology, and become a positive influence for anyone who needs a second chance.

I teach that the best way to change your life is by helping others. Since 1998, we have maintained a school free of violence, threats, and substance abuse, and full of respect, peer support, and unwavering dedication to change.