Putting district data to good use

You know I like to boast about all the amazing students who go to our public schools and all the wonderful adults who work for them. But exactly two years ago, I also told you about a serious problem we have.

Some of our African-American students were not achieving at the same level as their peers in class. They were being suspended far more than their white and Chinese classmates. The students’ graduation rates, while improving, lagged behind others. Their families were reporting they felt some members of the San Francisco Unified School District staff were biased against them.

We’ve been working diligently on addressing this problem.

I’d like to take a moment to update you on the progress of our African American Achievement and Leadership Initiative, and how we are working with our families, staff and community to change things for the better.

College acceptance, completion

In March 2015, we partnered with the Mayor’s Office, the San Francisco Foundation and community-based organizations to launch the African American Postsecondary Pathway. It supports African-American high school students and began with more than 200 students to connect them to college and career coaching, summer job opportunities and professional networking through partnerships with Beyond 12, LinkedIn and Salesforce.

Now that they’ve graduated, participating students continue to receive support from Beyond 12 and five other organizations. All our high schools are also tracking every African-American student and his or her access to college preparatory courses, summer jobs and community-based organization programming.

Empowering parents

We are strengthening our African American Parent Advisory Council, a leadership group for parents of African-American students. The AAPAC has passed a set of bylaws, adopted a policy statement on the SFUSD Math Sequence that was presented to the Board of Education, and elected its first slate of parent officers. The council is well on its way to ensuring a range of parent perspectives are heard and considered by district leadership.

Mentor for every student

Meanwhile, our successful mentoring program — Mentoring for Success — is expanding opportunities for African-American students. This is a school-based program that provides students with highly qualified and effective mentors who engage students to build skills for school success, improved attendance and high self-esteem.

How do we know these things are working? In May 2015, the Board of Education unanimously passed a detailed resolution to set annual goals to close the achievement and discipline gap for these students over the next six years.

Learning from data

First, we have the African American Internal Oversight Committee to monitor our work and any new projects we launch. The AAIOC is currently designing individualized learning plans for all African-American students.

We will be looking closely at our new index — data from a large number of test scores, surveys and other student information we gather all year — to see if what we are doing is actually working.

This is a small sample of the work being done in our schools and in our boardroom to support African-American students. If you would like to join the mailing list to receive more updates on the AAALI, please email Landon Dickey at dickeyl@sfusd.edu.

Richard Carranza is the superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District.

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

The City has struggled to conduct outreach in some neighborhoods as it works to expand Slow Streets — such as this section of Page Street in the Lower Haight — to underserved neighborhoods. <ins>(Jordi Molina/Special to S.F. Examiner)</ins>
SFMTA delays vote on Bayview Slow Streets, approves five others in ‘underserved’ areas

SFMTA struggles to conduct outreach in neighborhoods with lower internet access

Stern Grove Festival organizers are planning to bring back the popular summer concert series — The Isley Brothers show in 2019 is pictured — with limited audience capacity. (Ming Vong/S.F. Examiner)
Indoor shows won’t be flooding SF stages soon but Stern Grove might be back in June

While San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced that live performances may resume… Continue reading

San Francisco Giants pitcher Johnny Cueto  (47) started on Opening Day against the Colorado Rockies at Oracle Park on April 9, 2021. (Photography by Chris Victorio | Special to the S.F. Examiner).
Giants welcome fans back with strong performance by Cueto

By Ethan Kassel Special to S.F. Examiner ORACLE PARK — The first… Continue reading

James Harbor appears in court after he was arrested on charges in the July 4th shooting death of 6-year-old Jace Young on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Murder case heads to trial over killing of 6-year-old Jace Young

Hearing reveals new details in ‘horrific’ Fourth of July shooting

BART passengers may see more frequent service by this fall. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
BART service increases possible as soon as September

Proposal would double weekday, daytime trains and extend system operating hours

Most Read