Distance Learning Language Arts Parent Voice Safe Schools

Board Meeting Blogs – 9/28/21

Reguar Board Meeting on September 18th, 2021

I’m going to try to start blogging meetings again to help folks stay up to date on key issues covered in board meetings. I understand how important it is for families and community members to stay up to date on discussions and decisions happening there. When Parents for Public Schools decided they could no longer sustain live-tweeting of meetings, I was sad, but totally got it. (I mean… it’s a JOB!)

Nonetheless, I will try sharing insight into meetings again with my blog as I did back when I first started getting involved in following district policy. It is quite an undertaking, with all that’s going on, but really important. Wish me luck! and please continue to reach out and keep me informed about what you are seeing and experiencing in our schools!

(Meeting agenda and presentations and reports can be found on BoardDocs. Watch the 9-28-21 SFUSD Regular Board Meeting on YouTube.)

These are my meeting notes for the 9/28/21 meeting…

Superintendent Report

School Fair

Join SFUSD staff for the Virtual Enrollment Fair on October 22 to 29! For the continued health and safety reasons this year’s SFUSD enrollment fair will be presented online with limited in-person workshops. All sessions will be recorded and made available after the fair ends. Get information on the SFUSD website.

SFDPH partnership with SFUSD – Vaccination Centers

This is a great story from KRON4 News highlighting new partnerships between the SFDPH and SFUSD to increase vaccination rates across the city. #VaxxUpSFUSD!

Learn more about vaccination resources in SFUSD:

Public Comment

We heard a lot of public comments from Buena Vista Horace Mann (BVHM) families. This included children at the school. Many experienced worries that their school was safe due to a recent gas leak and ongoing repair issues. Some of the most poignant comments came from a five-year-old student from BVHM who stated, “We don’t want our school to ve beautiful. We want our schools to be safe.”

“We don’t want our school to ve beautiful. We want our schools to be safe.”

Kindergarten student, BVHM Elementary

It made me sad to hear that children so little worry about the safety of their buildings. I also want their schools to be safe … AND beautiful.

I will continue to follow this issue with the BVHM community and will plan to come out and visit. Please continue to advocate and reach out to the board.

Special Education Community Advisory Committee (SPED CAC) Presentation

A Model for Solidarity and Collaboration!

I always am so appreciative of the Special Education Community Advisory Committee for their leadership in showing what true collaboration and partnership look like. They have consistently partnered with the African American Parent Advisory Council (AAPAC), Parent Advisory Council (PAC), District English Language Advisory Council (DELAC), and other SFUSD parent advisory committees, They also partner with central office staff, and educators as well as external groups like the Human Rights Commission (HRC), and Support for Families and others.

Request for Disability Heritage 

One request I heard loud and clear was for the district to celebrate more disability heritage in our schools and curriculum — I agree! October is Disability Heritage month. I made a proposal for the community to come together to help initiate this! The Equity Studies Taskforce convened by the Human Rights Commission might also be a place to have these conversations. This is a link to the agenda for the meeting this past Monday. Go to the SF-HRC main page and scroll to the bottom of the page to look for upcoming meetings. for more information.

Structured Literacy 

Support for reading instruction has repeatedly come up in SPED CAC recommendations. I deeply appreciate the partnership between SPED CAC and United Educators of San Francisco (UESF) and the Board and central office this Summer! President Lopez and I met with parent leaders and educators to support them in drafting an incredible resolution to address the way our district supports literacy instruction. The Reading is Critical to Lifelong Success Resolution was written by and for educators and families who have been following shifts in literacy research and instruction and provides a pathway to shift in reading instruction across the district. 

Some background, in 2019 the CA NAACP demanded the state ensure the provision of Free and Public Education (FAPE) by providing an evidence-based, multi-sensory, evidence-based, direct, explicit, structured, and sequential approach, to instructing students with dyslexia as required by AB 1369. Surrounding districts such as Oakland Berkeley and Los Angeles Unified School district have also moved away from balanced literacy models we currently support like Fountas and Pinnel’s (LLI) Intervention and moved to a structured literacy model.

If you want to learn more about this new approach to literacy instruction you can join the SPED CAC with Kareem Weaver of Oakland NAACP Education Committee on Oct. 28th at [Link here for event info.] If you want to read his work it is linked here: A moment for humility and a new path forward on reading

Access to Online Learning

The SED CAC requested the district “Provide a distance learning option for children who cannot return to school. I’ll discuss this more in my notes in a future post. In the meantime, check out these amazing resources shared in their Fall 2021 presentation.

Dyslexia Resources

Fall Update on Safety and Learning

Topics for this item include 1) online learning program updates; 2) ventilation, and some discussion of 3) student testing. The online learning program portion of my notes took up so much space in my notebook, I’ll have to share these notes in a future post. (Stay tuned…)

Distribution of Portable Air Cleaners

Great news here! I’m so thankful for collaborative efforts to elevate the issue of air safety (as mentioned in my Roadmap to COVID Recovery Resolution.) Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen lots of movement on this as the SFUSD Facilities Division began distributing Portable Air Cleaners (PACs) to all SFUSD classrooms. Elementary school classroom distribution has already been completed as of Sept. 24th and will continue with middle and high schools through Oct. 8th. Chief of Facilities Dawn Kamalanathan states she will return to the Board on 10/12 to discuss further expenditures to cover small offices such as counselor offices, and other staff rooms. Folks are also asking about coverage of bathrooms and other shared spaces.

Testing & Vaccinations

This item continues to vex me and other families who don’t understand why SFUSD does not have the ability to offer weekly testing for students at all sites like many other districts have, including LA, Oakland, Berkeley and West Contra Costa. Commissioners asked about the ability to reimburse for student testing, which is one of the largest cost drivers. There are federal grants we could be applying for and the potential for MediCal reimbursements. We simply have to figure this out. Staff said they would report back at the Budget and Business Services Committee meeting later next month. 

There were some positive updates. Regular testing continues for non-vaccinated staff. SFUSD does offer testing at 28 of roughly 100 sites. That is, in practice, only 2 sites per day during school hours, at only 10 sites per week. Families that work during the day have to take off work and pull kids out of school to avail themselves of these options. There will be one more mobile site added at Crocker Amazon. See the district website for more info.

Vaccinations as mentioned in the Supe’s Update (above) are another bright spot. The district is partnering with the SF Department of Public Health to stand up five vaccination sites in district locations with hopefully more locations. See the slide below for more info or go to the SFUSD website.

That’s All Folks!

Stay tuned for a deeper dive into progress on online learning support and also upcoming posts related to the literacy resolution!

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