High teacher turnover continues to trouble Bayview schools

School district officials on Tuesday pointed to high teacher turnover in the Bayview as one of the reasons why students at the historically black schools continue to perform lower on tests than the rest of the district.

To mitigate the turnover, Board of Education commissioners suggested at a committee meeting Tuesday that the San Francisco Unified School District consider building teacher housing for those who work at Bayview schools in particular.

The district has been working on a plan with the Mayor’s Office to build housing specifically for teachers and other educators, who have been pushed out of San Francisco by high rental costs.

Forty percent of the teachers at public schools in the Bayview neighborhood were new in the Fall 2016 semester, compared to the 21 percent turnover experienced across the district, according to Assistant Superintendent Enikia Ford Morthel.

Morthel said the issue is further compounded by the fact that just 20 percent of SFUSD teachers are in their first and second year, compared to 33 percent of Bayview teachers.

“Teachers want to be in an environment where they have colleagues they can work with,” Morthel said at the meeting. “If we’re in a place where everybody is new and no one knows what he or she is doing, there’s this added burden where everybody is trying to figure it out.”

In response, Board of Education Commissioner Hydra Mendoza-McDonnell said the school district should consider building housing in the southeast, where transit to Bayview schools would be easy.

“We have a variety of properties in a variety of different places,” Mendoza-McDonnell said at the meeting. “But if who we are recruiting is for the Bayview, then we don’t want to be thinking about transportation and … shuttles because where we’ve built is in some remote location.”

Commissioner Jill Wynns said the school district could consider teacher housing as a strategy to address the high teacher turnover in the Bayview. This year, the SFUSD offered signing bonuses in light of a teacher and paraprofessional shortage.

“Most of them honestly went to teachers in the Bayview because that’s where most of the openings were that we had to fill at the last minute, which we don’t like,” Wynns said Tuesday.

Schools in the Bayview include George Washington Carver elementary, the new Willie Brown Middle School and Thurgood Marshall High School, among others.

Student performance has also been affected by racial isolation in the Bayview — almost three quarters of students are black, Latino or Samoan — as well as high concentrations of poverty and chronic absenteeism.

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