As a member of the San Francisco Board of Education, I have worked hard to serve students within the San Francisco Unified School District (“SFUSD”). My desire to improve outcomes for all students and provide additional pathways for their success is why I ran for the Board of Education. I wanted to make sure that students are leaving SFUSD either prepared for higher education or with the skills needed to start a career that provides a living wage.
As Supervisor, I will continue to strengthen collaboration between the City and SFUSD by leveraging City resources to provide our students greater opportunities. Whether it’s supporting the priorities of the Public Education and Enrichment Fund (PEEF), Quality Teacher Education Act (QTEA) or the priorities of the Department of Children, Youth and Their Families (DCYF), I will push to ensure that the City plays a major role in supporting the education and success of our students. Specifically, I will work with SFUSD and City leadership to garner more resources that lead to:
- Decreasing classroom size
- Providing quality programs in schools with the biggest gaps in achievement
- More pathway programs in schools
- Higher wages and housing for educators
- Increased wellness support for students
- Equity across our school campuses
- Additional academic supports in and out of the classroom
I have worked hard to bring career pathway and training programs to our schools that make learning relevant so our students are excited about their education. Through my Career Pathways resolution, we were able to set up pathways and internships in three booming career areas: education, building and grounds, and technology. My resolution made it possible for students to receive paid internships in these fields and then automatically receive a job interview within the district when they graduate. This program has increased our ability to prepare students for careers and higher education prior to their high school graduation.
Addressing the Achievement Gap
Education can be the greatest equalizer, but it cannot function in that capacity without coordinated efforts to address the academic achievement and discipline gaps within our schools. We have to ensure our African American, Latino, Pacific Islander, English Learners, LGBTQ, and students with disabilities receive the support they need to thrive while simultaneously providing opportunities for students who perform well.
To address the current gaps in achievement, I co-authored the resolution that created the African American Achievement and Leadership Initiative in 2015 and mandated an Annual African American Student Report to track the success of our coordinated support for African American students. Since studies achieve little without further action, the Initiative also created a new Special Assistant to the Superintendent position that is dedicated to the success of African American students and a Team that focuses on using data from the Report to increase achievement outcomes and provide programming for the students who need us the most. In our schools with the biggest achievement gaps, we furthered this effort by providing additional resources to increase literacy support, obtain additional educators, and enhance wellness services. Lastly, since we know the one common denominator in all high achieving schools is a strong parent and caregiver community, the resolution also supported the creation of a powerful parent advisory council.
However, I believe we can and need to more. As the immediate past President of the Board of Education, I have intimate knowledge of both the limitations the current budget puts on our schools and what’s needed to provide greater support for our students. As Supervisor, I will fight for the budget increases needed to further address disparities head-on. Since educator and principal turnover exacerbates inequities in achievement, it is crucial that we provide our schools with large achievement gaps the resources to retain quality school personnel. While we recently provided raises for educators and SFUSD staff to ensure our students receive quality instruction and support from excited personnel, I would continue to make this a priority. Furthermore, I believe we need to be taking coordinated action on the data and feedback in the African American Student Report as we get it throughout the year rather than only evaluating and adjusting programming on an annual basis.
Resolutions and strategies that provide protections for our LGBTQ and undocumented immigrant students are also vital to keeping our students safe and addressing existing gaps in student support. While on the Board of Education, I helped author some of the strongest policies for protecting LGBTQ students, undocumented immigrants from family separations, and anti-bullying measures in the country. Educating families and school personnel about the rights of every student is key to keeping our communities and families whole, and, in the current era, I believe this is the kind of work that must be done and continued.
Education is key for our communities because it eliminates barriers to employment, and City College of San Francisco (“CCSF”) is a true community resource that has helped our students get into better jobs with better pay. Since becoming tuition-free for local residents, CCSF has attracted a diverse student population from all ages, ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds. As Supervisor, I will absolutely support making Free City permanent and prioritize funding Free City to cover the college’s costs year-round so we can continue to provide free courses for San Francisco residents.
As Supervisor, I also hope to continue my work with CCSF to bring classes into our neighborhoods. I would like to see City College increase the courses they offer at satellite sites within District 10 to include healthcare, hospitality, culinary, and English as a Second Language classes (particularly in Visitacion Valley). These courses lead to careers with living wages and provide increased access to quality learning experiences in the district. Currently, CCSF holds classes at 1800 Oakdale and 1400 Evans in the Bayview, and we need class offerings in Visitacion Valley, Potrero Hill, and Dogpatch as well.
Increased resources for families in public housing and improved educational support in public schools during my time as Director of the Potrero Hill Family Resource Center.
Spearheaded efforts to close the achievement gap for Black, Latino, Pacific Islander, English Learners, LGBTQ, and students with special needs as President of the San Francisco Board of Education.
Co-sponsored an update to the African American Achievement and Leadership Initiative that expanded the program and secured its continued funding.
Worked to create pathways for San Francisco Unified School District (“SFUSD”) high school students to take courses at City College during the summer months so that they avoid the “summer slump.”
Authored the Career Pathways resolution which provides internships and a path for students in careers with SFUSD (and the workforce) in technology, education and building and grounds (or construction).
Co-authored the strongest resolution and policy to protect our immigrant students, LGBTQ students, and all students under attack by ignorance.
Pushed for and supported a resolution that focuses on improving outcomes and provide support for our Pacific Islander students.