I am a proud graduate of public schools in San Francisco. We have about 54,000 students in San Francisco, across 149 different schools. As a city, we need to provide consistent educational opportunities for all those students and ensure that we keep children and families in San Francisco. We can do this by giving great teachers the tools they need, inspiring our communities to get involved, and challenging our businesses to invest in their future workforce.
While the Board of Supervisors has a limited role in the SF Unified School District’s operations, we can have an influence. These are some strategies I would like to encourage.
1. Create Consistency via Community Involvement
Most educators will agree that the best way to educate students is to create an environment where there is consistency in attention, accountability, and achievement. In order to accomplish this, we need more community involvement.
We adopt highways – why not adopt a school? Ordinary citizens joined together to form the Panhandle Park Stewards, adopting the panhandle and making it better for everyone. Surely we can apply the same model to our schools. I know they would benefit from having community members serve on an advisory council, help with facilities improvements, fundraising, or even teach a class.
The shared sense of community is key. As a young girl, I walked to Rosa Parks Elementary School and to Benjamin Franklin Middle School and caught Muni to Galileo High School with all my friends and other kids from the neighborhood.
2. Nurture the Whole Student
Students are more than just memorization machines, number crunchers, or laborers. We have to help them grow as people. I would like to mandate service learning, citywide, where students apply what they have learned for the benefit of themselves and the community. I am a proud alumna of University of San Francisco where service learning is part of the educational experience. We were required to volunteer in the community, and I saw firsthand how powerful and uplifting this could be.
Whether it is through vocational training, community college, continuing education or a four year degree program, we need to ensure that all of our residents have the opportunity to better themselves through continuing education.
Continuing educational opportunities should be affordable and accessible to all residents no matter where they live, what they do or their past educational experiences.
As Supervisor, I will encourage our businesses, unions and educational institutions to work in concert to provide relevant and affordable educational opportunities that prepare our residents for the opportunities to come.