Newsletter October 1, 2021 (English)

Weekly updates from SF Parents
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In Focus: Fiscal Cliff Looms for School District

We were hoping for a universally positive newsletter this week, because we know everyone–everyone–is feeling exhausted right about now. However, we’ve always spoken plainly and truthfully about what’s happening at SFUSD, and this is a big one. Simply put: unless our Board of Education shifts to a collaborative relationship with staff and responsible financial oversight of SFUSD ASAP, our school district is heading for a budget crisis that will trigger a takeover by the state of California. Read about Oakland’s painful experience with being in state receivership. Nobody wants to see budget cuts, but magical thinking won’t make the problem go away. Now more than ever, SFUSD requires strong leadership and collaboration.

  • Take Action: Want to get involved with shining light on this critical issue for parents and kids? Email hello@sfparents.org about getting involved with SF Parents’ Budget Committee.
 

School News

  • Air purifiers in schools. In happier news, by the end of the week of October 4th, all school classrooms will have portable air cleaners. All elementary schools have already received their cleaners. SFUSD’s Facilities Team is also aiming to equip most cafeterias and large shared spaces like libraries by the end of next week. 🙌
  • On Demand Learning Program and Online Learning Program. SFUSD staff recently reported on the good news and the not so good news (still not enough staffing) for its online learning programs. See slide eight of this presentation for a comprehensive look.
  • What’s the plan for addressing widespread learning loss? Speaking of budget, many parents are wondering how all that COVID-19 recovery $$$ from the federal and state government has trickled down to SFUSD? Our understanding so far is that the vast majority of these funds have gone to plugging our budget deficit, rather than providing the extra support that our students so desperately need. (See the 🚨 we sounded above.) There appears to be no plan to address learning loss recovery beyond an–important–program for our Special Day Class students. Still, what about all of our special education students in the general education program who are also presenting great needs? What about our English Learners and other students who have demonstrated additional needs? At Tuesday’s Board Meeting, the SFUSD Data and Evaluation department announced that 12,500 of our 4th-11th graders have experienced learning loss and are in need of learning acceleration support.
    • Take Action: Do you have a child with an IEP receiving special education services and feeling concerned about not getting what they really need to thrive? Email us at hello@sfparents.org to join our special education families committee.
  • Modified Quarantine–is it happening? Still no. Ugh.
  • High schoolers: Change your grades to pass/no pass. Asm Ting recently announced that a new state law has extended the deadline for changing last year’s grades from letters to pass/no pass to October 1st (today!). Click here for more details.
  • Outdoor learning committee. Are you interested in bringing outdoor learning to your child(ren)’s school? Email hello@sfparents.org to be connected to our Outdoor Learning working group.
  • Taking a moment for a breath. As we said at the top of this newsletter, we know that the last month has felt like a year for absolutely everyone heading back to school. So we want to take a moment to acknowledge the exhaustion and the complicated feelings of the last month and a half. Many kids are thriving back in school, other kids are having (very) rough re-entries. A digital hug for everyone, no matter where you are on that spectrum. We see you. None of this needed to happen.
 

SF Parents Fun Fact

Did you know that SF Parents (formerly Decreasing the Distance) was an all-volunteer organization until very, very recently? Even as we begin to bring on (a tiny) paid staff, know that we will always be a volunteer-driven and -centered organization. Thank you to the over 75+ regular volunteers who still make this organization tick. Want to get involved? Sign up here. Whatever your skills are, chances are–we need them!

 

Not from us, but you may be interested!

  • Take this survey on a Car-Free JFK: What’s the buzz about Golden Gate Park’s JFK Drive? Families are trying to figure out how to convince the city to keep it car-free and kid-safe. Have an opinion? Complete the survey!
  • Outer Sunset / Parkside special meeting with District 4 Supe Gordon Mar! (October 9th via Zoom) Supervisor Mar will be holding an event about kids and families over Zoom. Join him along with Abigail Stewart-Kahn, Special Advisor for Children and Family Recovery from the Department of Children, Youth & Their Families to provide input about your needs to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic with a focus on equity to include low-income families, children with disabilities, English learners, LGBTQ, foster youth and more.
  • Asm Ting’s Bike Safety Fair (October 16) at Aptos Middle School from 10 am to 1 pm. You do not need a bike to participate.
 

In The News