Welcome back! School starts August 19, and our first Board meeting of the new school year is tomorrow evening, August 13.
Administrators returned to work on July 31, and heard this rousing speech by Superintendent Carranza to set the stage for the 2013-14 school year. I know it’s long, but it’s worth listening to in its entirety. Some will reject the message completely, and feel it doesn’t speak to them or to their children. That would be missing the point: really, the Superintendent is talking about ALL children — about living up to what we say we’re about as a diverse, high-quality public school system:
Then, a few days later, we heard our district and seven others across California were approved for a waiver from the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) — the law formerly known as NCLB. This is big too — the waiver means that we will be able to recapture money that has been controlled by Federal policy directives: paying for private tutoring services that have little oversight, for example, or spending on additional compliance activities after schools or districts haven’t been able to meet arbitrary test score targets. There is good information here and here — you will be hearing more about this waiver so it is good to understand the basics now.
And how did we do on those tests, anyway? Okay, but it depends on where you look. Here are some different perspectives:
- Scores rise at SF schools getting U.S. grant — SF Chronicle
- STAR test scores decline for first time in a decade — Edsource
- Overall student achievement remains level for district — SFUSD press release
- Highlights of SFUSD 2013 STAR results (PPT) – SFUSD
- SFUSD STAR results summary 2013 (DOC) – SFUSD
Finally, some very sad news: SFUSD arts education champion Ruth Asawa Lanier passed away on August 7. Ms. Asawa was a world-renowned sculptor who took on the challenge of making sure that every public school child in San Francisco had access to excellent arts education — she succeeded beyond many people’s wildest dreams (though Ruth herself was never satisfied — she always knew we could do better). Two years ago, Commissioner Wynns finally convinced Ruth to allow the school district to name School of the Arts after her– christening it now and for always the Ruth Asawa School for the Arts. I can think of no better tribute than to finally realize the dream of bringing the Ruth Asawa School of the Arts to Civic Center, to its rightful place as another jewel in the crown that is the corridor occupied by the San Francisco Opera, SF Jazz Center, the SF Ballet, the SF Symphony, the Herbst Theater, and many other arts organizations.