July 1, 2022
Dear Superintendent Dr. Wayne,
On behalf of our broad and diverse network of over 5,000 San Francisco Unified School District families and supporters, we cordially welcome you to your new role as the superintendent of SFUSD!
San Francisco is still grappling with the effects of some of the longest COVID-related school closures in the country. Among our students, we’ve seen widening inequalities and an increase in mental health challenges. Across our community, we’ve been divided on a multitude of issues, including renaming schools, recalling school board members, and revising high school admissions policies.
Parents and caregivers are eager to put our challenges in the past. With your arrival and a newly reconfigured school board that appears more focused on improving student outcomes and overall effective governance on behalf of our students, we are hopeful that brighter days are ahead. For too long, SFUSD has failed to meet the needs of our students. We believe SFUSD has the potential to be a world-class school system that can help all children reach their highest potential – and we believe your arrival could mark a turning point for SFUSD.
San Francisco Parent Coalition is eager to work with you, as we do with other SFUSD leaders and school board members, to ensure that our schools are truly centering our students in every decision that is made. We know your job will not be easy – from healing a divided community, to addressing declining enrollment and a growing budget deficit, to supporting students to overcome pandemic-related academic and social-emotional challenges. We are committed to rolling up our sleeves and working with you to tackle these issues.
As part of our efforts to support SFUSD’s superintendent transition, we asked our parents this past school year what they hope to see from you as you take on this new position. They are hoping to see in your leadership:
Strong leadership and managerial skills
- Get to know our school sites and communities
- Apply your skills and knowledge to advocate for students
- Plan for students strategically and hold SFUSD staff accountable
- Manage the long-term financial health our diverse school district
- Commit to SFUSD for the long-haul – we need stability!
- Foster a positive, professional climate of mutual trust and respect among faculty, staff, and administrators
- Negotiate adeptly with community partners, always centering students
- Communicate your clear vision rooted in an understanding of educational research and best practices
- Be present in the community and “on the ground” to understand the experience of students, families, staff, and teachers at the school sites
- Carefully hire and elevate staff to balance out the needs of our district
Focus on diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging
- Understand and be sensitive to the needs of a diverse student population
- Create opportunities for meaningful and ongoing community engagement
- Invest time in healing the relationships between the SFUSD and parents/caregivers
- Ensure parents are welcomed as partners in their children’s education, with extra focus on returning schools to pre-pandemic levels of family engagement at schools and in the classroom
Commitment to student success
- Focus on achievement of all students with special attention to the needs of students from underserved communities
- Foster a culture of high expectations for students and personnel, as well as a culture of accountability and tracking performance and data of all programming, curriculum and instruction
- Commit to meeting the needs of our special education students and families
- Commit to improving vocational education and technology studies as pathways to success
We know you are taking on an enormous challenge, and we are grateful that you have decided to do so. The parents and caregivers of SF Parent Coalition welcome and congratulate you on your new role with our district and community. We look forward to working with you on behalf of our 50,000 students to create a thriving, equitable school system.
Seth Brenzel, Meredith W. Dodson, Yvette B. Edwards, Jennie Herriot-Hatfield, and Cliff Yee
Board Members of San Francisco Parent Coalition
CC: Board members of San Francisco Parent Action and Commissioners of SFUSD Board of Education