Newsletter Nov 6, 2023: The State of S.F.’s Public Schools

Weekly updates from SF Parents


Here’s what we have for you on the latest in public education in San Francisco…


with Mayor London Breed, Superintendent Dr. Matt Wayne, DCYF Director Dr. Maria Su, former School Board President Hydra Mendoza, and CA Assemblymember Phil Ting
Our district’s structural budget deficit and risk of state takeover is only growing. SFUSD has new goals for improved student outcomes and our math and literacy programs are in the process of being overhauled. State and federal funding is about to dry up — can the city make up for declining dollars? Our educators are about to get a historic raise, if UESF members approve the new contract. Staffing shortages mean some classrooms are still without teachers. And, it’s been nearly two years since the flawed Empower payroll system was put in place… It would be a massive understatement to say there’s a lot going on with our schools right now. Join us this Wednesday to learn from our city and district leaders about the current state of our public schools. See you then at Lincoln High School:



SFUSD has a new plan it will discuss on November 14th at a Board of Education meeting: How to address our portfolio of 12 SFUSD high schools, in order to ensure every high school student can access what they need to meet their full potential. We read the plan. We’re concerned about another failed attempt to achieve access and equity.
Here’s an idea. Instead of spending all of our energy inventing and perpetuating lottery systems that don’t work and taking away programs because so many people want them and are fighting over them, how about SFUSD figures out how to offer MORE of the things families and students are asking for? Could we have AP Biology and AP Calculus in a few more high schools? Could we have a couple “Lowells” around San Francisco? If one thing is clear from the decades-long fight over Lowell High School, it is that there is more demand for excellence and rigor than SFUSD currently offers across its 12 high schools. The year-long High School Task Force process and $500,000 spent on the facilitation consultant was a missed opportunity. This was supposed to be a serious investigation into what it will take to get from here to there. With the “there” being: A near future state where each and every SFUSD high school student can access the programs, coursework, and supports to thrive and meet their full potential. SFUSD should be focused on how to supply more of what families clearly desire, in the hope that someday we don’t have to keep arguing over who gets to take currently-limited courses


SFUSD COMMITS TO 8th GRADE ALGEBRA… but what about the students needing support to be able to access it?

At the November 14th Board of Education, the district will prevent its new plan to address the challenges in our PK-12 math program.

  • The Good: There’s a clear commitment to bringing back 8th grade algebra starting in the coming school year, August 2024, and offering additional acceleration options for students in middle and high school.
  • The Bad: Many K-8 kids are falling further behind in math (check out our last newsletter including 2022 3rd grade SBAC results) and there is still NO plan for catching them up.
  • The Hopeful: SFUSD has identified a new intervention support for kids falling behind including “IXL” which allows for personalized learning plans (not just “use the Dreambox app!”) …This seems to be good news but we’re not counting our chickens before they’re hatched, and will be doing more research into IXL and how SFUSD plans to use it. Stay tuned.



Parent Teacher Conferences are coming up *next week!*
For new-to-middle school families, we asked our network of current middle school families what you should expect, and they said there’s not much room for feedback (in either direction) at most SFUSD middle school parent teacher conferences. We’re eager to hear how they go for you. Please email [email protected] after your Middle School Parent Teacher Conference to tell us: What worked well? What could have been better? We’ll get this feedback to the SFUSD Assistant Superintendent of Middle Schools.
For elementary families, we suggest you ask these three categories of questions to your children’s K-5 teachers:
  • What curriculum and materials are you using to teach reading, writing and math? How much phonics instruction is my child receiving?
  • Is my child on track in reading and math? What did the STAR assessment show for my child’s progress in reading and math?
  • If my child is not on track, what is the specific plan to catch them up?
If you have questions about SFUSD’s K-8 math and reading programs, please join us on Thursday 11/16 at 12pm over Zoom to hear directly from SFUSD’s Curriculum and Instruction department heads about the changes underway. RSVP here.

Upcoming Events


Wednesday, November 8th, 6:00-7:30 pm (doors open at 5:30)
The State of Our Schools: Achieving Excellence, Making Hard Budget Choices, and Closing the Equity Gap: Panel with Mayor London Breed, Superintendent Wayne, and Dr. Maria Su of DCYF, moderated by former school board commissioner Hydra Mendoza. Introductory remarks by CA Assemblymember Phil Ting on state budget outlook.
Thursday November 16th, 12-1pm via Zoom
SF Parent Coalition Monthly Meeting ~ SFUSD progress update on curriculum changes: with Special Guests from SFUSD Curriculum & Instruction and Ed Services Department
Thursday November 30th, 12-1pm via Zoom
Lunch & Learn: Applying to SFUSD for K/TK!
Cohosted with Main Street Mamas, with guest speakers from the FB Lottery Support Group and SFUSD Enrollment Center
That’s all for now. Let us know what you’d like to read about in a future SF Parents newsletter. Email us at [email protected]
In community,
Meredith & the Team at SF Parent Coalition 🎉


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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