Mark Zuckerberg, Priscilla Chan Opening The Primary School

Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, are taking their commitment to education to the next level.

Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, are taking their commitment to education to the next level.

The San Jose Mercury News reports that Zuckerberg and Chan are spearheading the launch of The Primary School, which the newspaper described as “a private, comprehensive preschool and kindergarten through eighth grade school,” aimed at “the most disadvantaged residents” of East Palo Alto and the eastern part of Menlo Park, where the social network is headquartered.

The school is scheduled to open in August, and the Mercury News reports that it will be able to accommodate 700 students when it is fully built, but it will launch with two infant classes, two toddler classes and one preschool class.

Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post last week:

I’m so proud of Priscilla for starting The Primary School— a new kind of school that brings education and healthcare together.

Health and education are closely connected. When children aren’t healthy, they can’t learn as easily. Many kids and teachers across the country deal with the consequences of poor health in classrooms every day.

Priscilla has seen this in her work as a pediatrician and a teacher, so over the past year, she’s been working with our local community to set up a new type of school in East Palo Alto. In addition to early childhood and K-12 education, The Primary School will also provide prenatal support for families and on-site healthcare for children. By bringing healthcare and education together in one place, the goal is to support families and help children from underserved communities reach their full potential.

On a personal note, it’s inspiring to see Priscilla grow as an entrepreneur and leader. I’m looking forward to watching with pride as she develops The Primary School into a great resource for our community.

Chan (left in the photo below), a former elementary science teacher, told the Mercury News:

There is something physiologically happening early in life that changes a child’s trajectory.

She added that children who suffer from chronic stress—which is caused by emotional, physical or sexual abuse, or household dysfunction—are 32 times more likely to suffer from learning disabilities, and they are also more likely to develop heart disease, obesity, drug abuse and mental illness.

The school’s president and chief operating officer, Meredith Liu (right in the photo below), told the Mercury News:

We want to dramatically improve education and health outcomes of underserved children in East Palo Alto and Belle Haven.

Readers: What are your thoughts on Zuckerberg and Chan’s latest foray into education?

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