Newsletter August 28, 2023: Don’t miss all that’s going on at SFUSD

Weekly updates from SF Parents
Just a few weeks into the new school year, and already there’s a flurry of news and rumors about happenings at SFUSD. More on that in a moment.

Don’t forget to RSVP for our Parents Night Out this Wednesday 8/30 at Manny’s to connect with parents, catch up and share summer stories, and hear from (and get heard by) four SFUSD leaders: Board of Education Commissioners Lam, Motamedi, and Weissman-Ward and Assistant Supt of Operations Dawn Kamalanathan. We’ll also share updates on our SF Kids Can’t Wait campaign–and recent wins in both literacy and math. RSVP here!

Back-to-School Nights: How parents can come prepared

Still relevant and on point, last year some SF Parent Coalition volunteers compiled this short list of questions you can take with you to your Back-to-School Nights. Every parent should receive a warm welcome as they enter the joyous places of learning that are our schools and classrooms at SFUSD.

And, here are a few more things to have on your radar, if you are a…


Elementary parent: The district committed to a literacy program overhaul in 2022 but it will be a couple years before a new curriculum is in place. Parents, it’s okay to ask the question at your school/classroom: What should I be looking out for this year to make sure my child is on track with reading? Has our school switched from the F&P reading assessment tool to the STAR yet? (SFUSD announced this change over the summer to a more reliable assessment tool). 


Middle school parent: Last year there was a stream of doom-loop stories circulating about our middle schools, from student safety to principal turnover, to understaffed classrooms and after school programs. We encourage parents to ask: What changes has SFUSD made to better support our middle school this year? How prepared are we as a school community to tackle some of the challenges we saw last year? And, how are we ensuring every student can access the coursework and programs they are ready for? (Note: It wasn’t us, but, the 8th Grade Algebra lawsuit against SFUSD has opening arguments this Thursday 8/31…)


High School parent: You may be most curious about what’s going on with the High School Task Force. The advisory body has been meeting for nearly a year now and will submit comprehensive–well, that’s the goal–recommendations to Superintendent Dr. Wayne about our 12 high schools (not just Lowell) this September. Attend their last community input session this Thursday 8/31 at 5:30pm.


SPED parent: Many of our kids with IEPs with assigned paraeducators were not getting the full level of services last year because of a staffing shortage. Ask your school if they are fully staffed this year and how they will ensure kids get full services in accordance with their IEP. Still feeling a little lost? Join the Community Advisory Committee for Special Ed (CAC)! We’re amazed by this district advisory council and how well they support parents across the district.

Survey also available in Spanish and Chinese

All Eyes on SFUSD’s Budget Crisis


There’s no way to sugar coat what’s looking like a very hard year of budget decisions. This has been years in the making, with prior SFUSD boards and leadership refusing to spend within our means or tie dollars to student success. Now we’re faced with no good options, as our current Board of Education and Superintendent grapple with possible solutions to fix a growing structural deficit. Above all else, students must be kept at the center of discussions, and SFUSD must determine ways to mitigate negative impact to our low-income students and other focal student populations.


As a parent group that believes in the importance of informed, engaged families, we’re lifting up to SFUSD your input on what you want to see as a baseline of excellence at each and every school at SFUSD. Please take 5 mins to complete our Survey for Tomorrow’s Schools and tell us what are your desired “suite of guarantees” across every elementary, middle and high school. What’s the baseline commitment of resources, academics, extracurriculars and supports we should see at every school in San Francisco? Feel free to dream big–on the other side of this, we wonder whether a future could exist where all SFUSD schools are fully resourced and each student receives an excellent, equitable education. Anonymized, aggregated results will be summarized and shared publicly and with SFUSD.


Curious to learn more about SFUSD’s plans and processes regarding budget fixes this year? RSVP for our September 13th monthly meeting at 12pm over Zoom with special guest Superintendent Dr. Wayne. Primary topic: the road ahead to fixing our budget and keeping thriving students at the center of every single macro and micro decision.

Board Report


We talk about the Board of Education (“BOE”) a lot in this group. If you’re brand new to SFUSD and what the Board of Education is all about, here’s a primer from Ed100 on what school boards do across California.


Last week, our BOE self-evaluated their progress towards becoming a more student-centered board. Last school year, they started by spending only 5.7% of their time discussing student outcomes, increasing to 22.3% by the end of the school year. On August 22nd, the board deliberated for 2 hours over their self-assessment score, with President Boggess finally blocking the (near) consensus that the rest of the board had reached: a “0” score of Not Focused on Student Outcomes. (President Boggess thought the school board deserved a higher rating; Do you?)

Tonight (8/29), the BOE reconvenes for a special workshop led by Superintendent Wayne and leadership staff to review plans for a year-long process of resource alignment solutions to address our structural budget deficit. We know this will be a challenging conversation. It’s imperative that we understand the reality of our budget deficit before rushing to decisions that have not yet been informed by students, parents, teachers, and community. It’s in kids best interests to avoid a state takeover (a.k.a. when the state takes over the decision-making and we lose local control). Don’t forget to give your input by taking our 5-minute Survey for Tomorrow’s Schools. (also available in Spanish and Chinese)


Attend tonight’s meeting at 6:30pm to hear more about the district’s year-long resource-alignment process, at 555 Franklin St. or over Zoom here (PW: 529179).

Odds and Ends


School Site Council Elections Coming Up! This fall, ask your principal how you can join your School Site Council, a decision-making body at every school that’s just as (or more?!) important than a PTA, as it decides the budget and sets the student achievement plan for the school. Learn more here and inquire with your school today. Elections occur in the fall.


Read and share to your networks this parent perspective piece in EdSource from two incredible public school parent leaders, Gerald Kanapathy and Ericka Moreno, on why more parents should get involved at the school board level. Why not consider applying yourself for the second cohort of SF Parent Action’s Board Bootcamp Fellows, launching later this fall?! Keep your eyes peeled for our application form.


Check out our piece in the SF Chronicle on top 6 things we think SFUSD should prioritize this year. We are aware that SFUSD needs to achieve more with fewer resources, and we are concerned that the district doesn’t have sufficient funds for crucial direct 1:1 interventions and supports for students right now. These are essential for advancing towards the student outcomes goals SFUSD’s outlined in its 2027 Vision plan… [Hey Benioff and Zuckerberg: Are you listening?]💰🙏


Save the date! On Saturday 9/23 from 12-3 we’re hosting a Family Fun Fest in Balboa Park– think: bounce houses, free food, and info booths on all the things that an informed SFUSD parent needs to know! Mark your calendar and stay tuned for the flyer to distribute to your parent communities. (Follow us on IG so you don’t miss it!)


As always, let us know if you have any questions. SF Parent Coalition exists to keep families informed and engaged partners in our public education system and to ensure equitable and thriving schools for San Francisco’s 50,000 public school students.



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SF Parent Coalition centers the needs of children and youth in

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