Advocacy Parent Voice

For families interested in learning more about distance learning and school reopening efforts…

I wanted to share some updates. Please share this information with other interested families. The SFUSD Board of Education will be introducing a Resolution 2011-10A1 SFUSD Return to School Safely tomorrow, during the Regular Board Meeting on November 10 at 3 PM. You can learn more about how to sign up for public comment by clicking this link.

I can say right off the top I am very supportive of this resolution and plan to support its implementation as soon as possible. I also have some specific questions I’d like to ask which may also lead to additional amendments before it is officially approved, hopefully next week. (Stay tuned for dates/times.)

Additionally, I encourage folks to join me during today’s, November 9th Curriculum Committee Meeting at 3 PM. I have a standing item on all Curriculum Committee Meeting agendas to discuss family communication and supports for Distance Learning and love to hear directly from families and students where staff can continue to improve. There will also be an update on a partnership with the SF Public Library.

Most notably, we will be discussing staff efforts to address disproportionate outcomes for Black students in SFUSD related to overidentification for special education programming and discipline. The presentation contains some really heartbreaking yet honest analysis of conditions many Black families and students report in our schools. It is clear there is much work to be done to eradicate a culture of AntiBlack racism in our schools.

Finally, if you miss any of the committee meetings, you can now go to this webpage to view a video of the previous Building and Grounds Committee Meeting and Budget and Business Services Meeting. (This is a recent change that I’ve been advocating for, so going farther back, there is usually just audio available.)

In committee meetings, which tend to be focused on reviewing action or information items, there tends to be a lot of good content covered that many families aren’t aware of or weren’t previously able to view. Going forward, I am working with Commissioner Jenny Lam to encourage all Commissioners to use upcoming committee meetings as working meetings to move planning forward in a transparent and accountable way. (I am hearing that staff will eventually post videos of meetings on YouTube to make it even easier for families to view them. I’ll keep you posted.)

I also want to reinforce to families who are advocating for a safe reopening of schools during the Covid-19 Pandemic and resulting Shelter-In-Place order put in place by the SF Dept. of Public Health—it is really important we focus on a both/and approach to support student learning. With this in mind, I really hope to see and hear continued advocacy around family communication and involvement in distance learning, as well as reopening schools. This is especially important for families of students learning English, low-income students, and students with disabilities who are concerned to return to school for family health or safety reasons and need more support.

Additionally, it is also really important that while we continue to plan for bringing students back to school, we ensure the instruction is of the highest caliber and also honors and respects the rich cultural identities that students bring to the classroom. While am happy to see so many families come out to champion school reopening, this advocacy stands in stark contrast to the lack of engagement the same families exhibit around our efforts to decolonize our curriculum or make our schools physically, culturally, and intellectually safe for Black and immigrant children. With this in mind, I hope you can encourage your members to show up on behalf of these efforts as well.

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