High time for an update

Hello everyone. It’s been quite a week. Though I am stunned, sad and fearful in the wake of the national election results, I am choosing to focus on gratitude.

In thinking back on all of the incredible support I received over this election season, I am so humbled and so grateful. I care deeply about San Francisco public schools and our students, and doing this work is a labor of love. To my supporters, thank you for recognizing this commitment, and for the gifts of time and money and encouragement that you gave during this campaign. I am beyond grateful, and honored to have been re-elected for a third term.

Thank you to those who have done so much, and will be moving on.
Sandra Fewer was apparently elected District 1 Supervisor and will be leaving the Board in January. Since we joined the Board together in 2008, Sandra has made the ongoing gap in achievement between African American, Latino and Pacific Islander students and their White and Asian counterparts a central focus to our work. I am grateful to Sandra for all her hard work and partnership over the years.

Jill Wynns, the longest-serving Board member in SFUSD history, was not re-elected. I am sad to see Jill’s long and productive career as an SFUSD Board member (six terms, or 24 years) end this way. I am grateful to her for her long service and dedication to the students of SFUSD; she taught me a great deal as we served together over the past eight years.

The future can be bright, if we remember our values. I am so proud of the thousands of high school students who peacefully demonstrated to the world that we in San Francisco stand for more than fear and hatred. I would also like to congratulate new and returning colleagues Matt Haney, Mark Sanchez and Stevon Cook, and offer each of them my support and friendship. Recently, Interim Superintendent Myong Leigh posted a graphic of our SFUSD core values and shared that he draws strength from them. I was so inspired and grateful for the reminder, and I think our values will resonate with a larger audience.


I am committed to these values and I choose to move forward during a difficult and challenging time. I invite you to join me.

Meeting recap
At tonight’s Board meeting we heard an overview of the district’s accountability metrics, including achievement, social-emotional learning, and school climate. There are some things to celebrate–suspensions are down and some schools have created conditions where all students are thriving. There are also the bleak, bleak realities that we continue to have a persistent racial achievement gap and it is bigger and deeper in San Francisco than in other CORE districts (the consortium of school districts that received a waiver from No Child Left Behind a few years ago). Tonight I asked staff to tell us what are the most impactful investments we are making to finally close this gap, because it seems so hard to move the needle for the district as a whole. Deputy Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero answered that ending teacher instability in high-poverty schools serving students of color, and ensuring that robust “wrap-around services” (social workers, nurses, intervention teachers and coaches) are available in these schools were among the most important investments we can make.


4 responses to “High time for an update

  1. Marcia Lomneth

    Congratulations Rachael!
    About the “math pathways” options that were presented at the board meeting the other night – I am pleased that the staff provided several options for math classes for students who want/need acceleration.
    However, I’m not sure how well any of them will workl.
    At least it is nice that the district math staff is presenting options. The more we all put our thinking caps on, the more we are likely to find a way to address the issue for our students that are ready for more, faster, in depth math.

    I actually think the Geometry option (for summer school for Rising 9th graders) might be the most workable option. But is it fair to force kids into summer school so they can eventually take Calculus?

    I look forward to the next meeting on options for accelerated math pathways.
    Any idea how soon that might happen?

  2. I am stunned but not fearful. We are fearless! Wouldn’t the election be good for SFUSD by eliminating common core and no child left behind and giving more authority to the SFUSD? Personally, I liked common core but I can understand that some object to it.

    Focusing on the gap my not be the best strategy. The focus should be raising the scores for all; a rising tide . . . !

  3. Did I miss the actual update to the math pathways????

  4. Marivi Lerdo de Tejada

    Congratulations, Rachel. I’m so glad you will continue to serve on the Board!

    I’ll follow your lead and focus on gratitude: Thank you not just for serving, for these regular updates. I really appreciate understanding the rationale behind decisions and the issues that had to be taken into consideration.

    Finally: We must figure out a way to narrow the achievement gap by narrowing the opportunity gap. But before beating yourselves up with the comparison to other CORE districts, I would review whether those districts have the kind of income inequality we see in SFUSD. 😉

    Sent from my iPhone