Our San Francisco public school students just yesterday completed their first full year back at school since the pandemic hit and turned our world upside down. The year was not without its challenges, but the many bright spots we cannot discount. By the end of this school year, the general sentiment across our schools was a joyous one. Full-face graduation smiles flooded our social media pages yesterday, bringing both tears and joy–and tears of joy–to many of us parents. What a year.
We’re heartened by the response of SFUSD families this year when challenges arose. Parents stepped up when our schools needed help. And parents used their voices to change what wasn’t working. Though we know the district still has much work to do, parents and caregivers helped get it back on track. We’re optimistic about what’s to come, and we’re grateful for what we accomplished together. Reflecting back on this school year:
It’s now been one week since the tragic Uvalde school massacre in Texas. We are livid with our country’s failures to keep innocent children and teachers safe, its failure to prioritize their lives. We’re trying to channel every ounce of our anger and sadness into action:
The tragedy in Uvalde also stirs up a lot of local parent emotion here in SF given the recent student safety issues we’ve been seeing at our schools, with Everett Middle School being the most prominent in the news. Last Thursday, 5/26, we had our first SFParents middle and high school families meeting focused on student safety. While it had been planned before the Uvalde school massacre, everything we discussed was very much illuminated by the tragedy. We had been hearing about a rise in student fights, bullying, mental health issues, and a variety of other behaviors since in-person school resumed this academic year. Three key top level things that our parent network is focusing on: 1) Safety hardware: Door locks, cameras, radios, etc. 2) Social Services: Nurses, social workers, and mental health specialists. 3) Staffing: Teachers and substitutes.
We would love to hear more about what’s happening at your school sites with regard to student safety, so please reach out to Max and Tami with any information about your school and your student’s experience. If you want to join in our discussions, we are having another meeting this evening (6/2); email Max to join.
Rosa Parks inspiring stories: It’s been uplifting to see inspiring things happening at so many SFUSD schools, especially during challenging times. Two teachers at Rosa Parks Elementary (Mr. Reyes and Ms. Ina) heroically saved residents of nearby apartment buildings who couldn’t evacuate during a recent fire. What?! Yes! Rosa Parks also got a fancy (as noted by an ABC news meteorologist) new chicken coop through community donations and the hard work of parents. We know Rosa Parks isn’t the only school doing amazing things. We’d like to lift up your school’s story in a summer recap and also share in our Facebook group for incoming families to learn more about all the wonderful things happening at schools. Please email us inspiring school happenings and stories so we can share out more broadly with the community.
For this week’s School Board Report, we asked all BOE commissioners to respond to at least one question from a list of questions developed by YOU. (Thanks for your help, families, with putting together the list of questions!)
We didn’t give them a ton of time, and hope to include the responses of other commissioners in future newsletters after they’ve had a chance to respond. In the meantime, here’s what Commissioners Motamedi and Weissman-Ward had to say:
It’s been a busy 12 weeks since I was appointed! In this short time, the board collectively and unanimously hired our first choice pick for our new Superintendent. We have also already begun working collaboratively as a team to improve our governance practices to center on our students and their success. Expect to see more communication about that work in the coming weeks and months.
I am also reflecting on the essential role our schools play in building community in our home and city. Our schools must be safe places for all of our children, educators, staff, and families. As a parent of kids in middle and high school, it is so important that our kids are feel ready and optimistic for their futures outside of our classrooms. Academic preparation is essential, as are opportunities for career technical education, college readiness, teamwork, and access to athletics and the arts.
Over the last several weeks, I have visited nearly a dozen of schools and am bolstered by the dedication of our educators and the enthusiasm of our learners. I also enjoyed celebrating with so many of our high school seniors as they graduated, received their diplomas, and embarked upon their future. I am excited to continue this work collectively in service of our students and their futures. Enjoy your summer – I look forward to welcoming you back to our schools in August!
Speaking from the perspective of a new commissioner, I am hopeful and optimistic about the ways in which the Board is focused on governance and ensuring that our work is laser focused on improving student outcomes. Board Leadership has made clear that they are committed to making meaningful improvements to our governance structures in order to ensure that we can represent the vision and values of the communities that make up SFUSD.
Each and every single board member has been welcoming, warm, open, and patient. I believe that each of my colleagues is committed to the work of centering students. I am committed to holding my colleagues accountable to goals of achieving excellence in education and equity in opportunity and I look forward to them holding me accountable as well. I am excited about the different and complementary strengths and perspectives that we all bring to the work. While we will not always agree on every issue, I am confident that we will work to achieve student-centered outcomes through thoughtful engagement and consensus.
Yes it’s summer but don’t go too far, just yet!:
Please RSVP for our Start of Summer Picnic🍉 on June 12th at 12pm as we celebrate together the completion of our first school year back in the classroom and recognize everyone’s hard work to help get us there.
We’re also excited for you to meet and connect with our new organizing director, Tomio Nagano, who will be working closely with all of our volunteers and parent leaders. Tomio brings with him over 10 years of organizing experience and we’re thrilled to welcome him to SFParents.
Bring the whole family and meet us at Rossi Playground (600 Arguello Blvd.) on Sunday, June 12th from 12pm to 3pm. We invite everyone to bring and share a family favorite dish if you’d like, and we’ll also have plenty of snacks and refreshments to share as well. Don’t forget to RSVP and mark your calendar.
Summer Volunteer Jobs! In our previous newsletter we announced exciting recent fundraising successes. Though we’re beginning to hire and build a small team, our advocacy will continue to be grassroots-powered and driven by YOU, our parents and supporters. Want to pitch in with us this summer?! Email Jennie, Outreach Associate, if any of these volunteer needs sound thrilling to you:
- Events planning & staffing / outreach
- Welcoming new parents (texts/calls)
- Writing thank you cards to donors with personal messages of what this parent advocacy means to you!
- Legislative tracking at state/local level – keeping an eye out for proposals related to kids, families, and education and helping us analyze
- Other – we regularly have other opportunities as well! Let us know if you want to be on the “other” list!
School’s out, but don’t be a stranger. Hope to see you out and about with us this summer. 🏖 And thank you for all that you do for our city’s public school kids.
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.
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