I’ve spent the last few days not doing anything in particular, but I did cull a few items of interest from my lazy mornings with the newspapers:
District applies for School Improvement Grants (SF Chronicle)
The SF Chronicle did a tidy job Saturday morning, pulling together all the pieces of the district’s application for a School Improvement Grant (SIG) to address achievement at the 10 SFUSD schools identified by the state as “persistent underperformers.” Of course, most of this wasn’t new to readers of this blog, other than the list specifying which Federally-approved reform model (Closure is self-explanatory; Transformation means replacing the principal; Turnaround means replacing the principal and 50 percent of staff; Restart — not in the district’s plan — means closing a school and reopening it as a charter) will be applied to each school. Here’s that list:
- Willie Brown Jr. Academy –Closure
- Bryant Elementary — Turnaround
- Carver Elementary –Turnaround
- Cesar Chavez Elementary –Transformation
- Everett Middle— Turnaround
- Horace Mann Middle –Transformation
- Mission High –Transformation
- John Muir Elementary –Turnaround
- John O’Connell High — Transformation
- Paul Revere Elementary–Transformation
More schools turning to International Baccalaureate programs (NY Times)
Saturday’s Times carried an article about the growing adoption of the I.B. curriculum in public schools around the country. SFUSD has plans to expand I.B. in our own district — one Primary Years Programme (PYP) is already underway at Flynn Elementary and another is planned for John Muir Elementary. Those would feed into a new Middle Years Programme and Diploma Programme at International Studies Academy in Potrero Hill (a 6-12 grade school)– more about that here.
Anyway, the I.B. program, widespread in Europe, is considered to be more rigorous than the typical college-prep curriculum in American high schools. But critics quoted in the Times article point out the program is expensive, and (somewhat bizarrely) complain it is too closely tied to radical environmentalism (is that bad?). And some advocates in our own district have noted that the current implementation at Flynn may not support the specific needs of English Learners well enough.
Slain Bayview teen was a star athlete (SF Chronicle)
In today’s paper, there’s a very sad story about Stephen Powell, Jr., the 19-year-old slain last Saturday evening at Market and Castro during Gay Pride festivities. Mr. Powell was a star basketball player at Stuart Hall High School, but seems to have had a hard time navigating the two worlds represented by his exclusive private school and the violent streets where he grew up. After a stint at Lincoln H.S. and then Ida B. Wells, Mr. Powell was reportedly trying to get his life back together when he was slain. The police have called the shooting gang-related, but Mr. Powell’s parents say he was not involved in a gang. And his history doesn’t fit the usual profile – he came from an intact, loving family and had many caring adults rooting for him to succeed. . All in, Mr. Powell’s death was a horrible tragedy that seems to happen all too often here in San Francisco.
Hi Sarah – thanks for the good question. The grant application asks for a planning year (2010-11) for all this to be sorted out. The plan would be that teachers would voluntarily move to other positions in the district – people would still have jobs and administrators would work with the union to make sure any transfers were done according to the contract with UESF.
When a school is labeled for “turnaround” half the teachers and the principal is removed. What happens to those teachers?
Well, I’m calling out the Chronicle for practically concealing the name of the exclusive private school where that tragic young man was a promising basketball player. Based on their usual practice, if it had been an SFUSD school, it would have been in the lead and the headline, they would have interviewed the principal, and there’d probably be a sidebar about other problems associated with the school. Instead, they barely mentioned the name of the school in passing, far down in the story. The Chron has a history of spotlighting the school any time it can link an unsavory incident to an SF public school while downplaying — if not concealing — the names of private schools in parallel situations. I’m sure this habit is unconscious, but that doesn’t make it any less biased and ugly.