Back to School Newsletter, Aug 16 2023

Weekly updates from SF Parents

Back-to-School Welcome!


Dear SFUSD Families and Family Champions,


With a new school year starting, we at SF Parents want to extend a warm welcome to new SFUSD families and a warm welcome back to families returning to our schools! We’re excited to kick off the 2023-24 with you—we hope today is a bright day for you and your growing scholars.


To the newbie families: if you feel a little lost as you start this new journey, remember there’s a whole community here of 5,500+ parents and supporters rooting you on. Don’t miss our New-to-SFUSD parent guide, a helpful resource developed by many of our awesome parent volunteers. These next couple of weeks, teachers and schools are creating welcoming spaces for our kids and laying the foundation for a successful year together—getting to know their students, creating a sense of belonging and setting expectations and norms. 


As we enter our organization’s fourth (!!) year, we know we continue to have much work to do together. We continue to listen to parents and caregivers about the issues that matter most to you, provide opportunities for you to learn more about these important issues in SFUSD, offer updates about the Board of Education and relevant elections (mostly through our sister arm SF Parent Action), and we host fun community-building events.


From our advocacy perspective, we are optimistic about the school year ahead. So many things are trending in the right direction for SFUSD-–from an outcomes-focused superintendent, to an increasingly boring (and more effective!) school board, to the district’s commitment to curriculum and instructional changes that will lead to more equitable outcomes in math and reading. Just last week, every School Plan for Student Achievement (SPSA) was approved by the district. (If you haven’t checked out your school’s plan yet-–go ahead and do that now!) We also hear that pay raises are on the horizon for our teachers and school staff, and we hope that contract negotiations wrap up soon so that’s one less thing for our beloved teachers to worry about.


Don’t forget to RSVP for our Back-to-School Parents Night Out on Wednesday August 30th from 7-9pm at Manny’s (3092 Valencia). RSVP today! We’ll be joined by special guest Board of Education School Board Commissioner Lainie Motamedi. Hear about Motamedi’s priorities on the “BOE” and ask any burning questions you might have. 


We wish you a positive start to the new school year and look forward to celebrating with many of you on the 30th.


In community,

Jennie, Seth, Yvette, Cliff, & Meredith

Board of Directors, SF Parent Coalition

Here’s what SF Parent Coalition is keeping a close eye on as we head into the 2023-24 school year. We’re continuing to lift up parent voice on some of the topics most important to parents in our network and across the city:



The district confronts a $26 million deficit for School Year 2023-24. We’ll be closely watching the Board of Education and Superintendent as they tackle this challenge, calling on them to keep budget cuts as far away from our students as possible, while also ensuring that we avoid state takeover. 



Though we’re on average one of the best districts across the state for student performance in math and reading, opportunities and achievement are not equally distributed. We’re holding the district accountable to funding and implementing fixes to address these challenges, and to make sure that ALL children can access an excellent and equitable education at SFUSD.



SFUSD is re-embarking on a school lottery redesign process. This process began years ago, but the pandemic slowed it down and they are resuming efforts this school year. Will the “zones” design process incorporate parent input? Will school integration be achieved, while proximity and special programming continues to be accessible to families?



We know SFUSD is one of the lower-paying districts in the Bay Area; for such an expensive city, this is unfair and burdensome on our teachers. With contract negotiations wrapping up soon, will hope to see that our teachers are better and fairly compensated.



It’s been a rough few years for our middle schoolers, and we wonder what measures have been put in place to better support our MS students, teachers, and site leaders. For our high schools, the High School Task Force is due to make recommendations in September on the portfolio of twelve SFUSD high schools; it’s unclear if they have had time yet for discussions or to do group work together to develop comprehensive recommendations.



We’re excited that the BOE now has an annual board governance calendar so they (and we!) can plan ahead. Will they adhere to their reformed state of a more boring and effective Board of Education, or with the 2024 election coming up, will they begin to revert to old hyper-politicized ways?

We know it’s just the first day… but, consider this year attending a Board of Education (“BOE”) meeting with us. We participate regularly to amplify parent voices. The first BOE meeting of the school year took place last week on Tuesday, August 8th. It proved uneventful–which is positive! trust us!–and we were happy to learn about the Superintendent’s objectives for 2023-24, aimed at fostering a welcoming and inclusive environment within SFUSD. The Superintendent’s commitment to our city’s students’ math, reading, and college/career outcomes is commendable. Equally reassuring was the district’s fresh approach to approving the School Plan for Student Achievement (SPSA). Rather than merely checking boxes, they are dedicated to connecting funding with actual impact that will ensure thriving schools and students.


Interested in joining us for a future BOE meeting? It’s fun with friends! Pay attention to these emails and, if you’re really eager, email us at [email protected] to get on our special alerts for upcoming “BOE & Burritos” advocacy evenings together.



  • The SF Education Fund organized an incredible Back-to-School Set Up Day at dozens of schools across SFUSD this week. We were honored to participate and to support teachers and staff at Charles Drew Elementary in the Bayview to prepare to welcome 200 kids back to the classroom!


  • Find us this Saturday 8/19 at the Excelsior Block Party from 12-2:30pm (Block party runs until 5pm). Bring your kids to color a “I love books!” bookmark with SF Parents and make a flower lei with the Excelsior Action Group!



  • If you’re curious where we came from or how we started, learn more about the genesis of SF Parent Coalition (formerly Decreasing the Distance) here


SF Parent Coalition centers the needs of children and youth in San Francisco public schools by bringing together a diverse network of parents and caregivers to advocate for a thriving, equitable school system.


Our sister organization, SF Parent Action, advocates for policies and elected officials who put the needs of San Francisco’s public school students first. Don’t miss out on important updates on that work and what you need to know!


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