Improve communication and partnership with families.
I’ve worked with thousands of parents across dozens of school sites over the past ten years in several different roles - as District PTA president, facilitating community meetings, leading efforts to organize parents in various advocacy efforts, and more. I heard some consistent refrains when it came to how the school district worked with families:
- “If they would just tell us what’s going on BEFORE it happened.”
- “If only they were more proactive than reactive.”
- “If they would just include us in the decision-making, they’d have many fewer parents showing up in long lines to give Public Comment at school board meetings.”
- “If we had more interpretation services available, our non-English speaking parents would be able to communicate with their kid’s teacher during Parent Teacher Conferences, parent engagement would increase, and kids would do better in school.”
- “If only I knew how to navigate the incredibly complicated system to draw attention to a situation that needs to be fixed - I just don’t know where to go, and if I can’t figure it out, how is a parent who doesn’t speak English or isn’t familiar with the system supposed to figure it out”?
Because of my lengthy experience working with and advocating to SFUSD, I know where we could make structural changes to improve communication and partnership with parents. As a school board member, I would make this one of my top priorities by appropriately allocating resources, proposing relevant policies, and by keeping the topic front and center at every single board meeting.
Success in this area means:
- SFUSD’s most senior leaders prioritize high quality family communication and partnerships, demonstrated by using their resources to support this goal, by following through with established plans, and by training staff to address this priority effectively.
- When staff present new initiatives or implementation plans, they include a family communication / engagement component that is proactive and two-way.
- SFUSD structurally improves its family engagement work, including better coordination and a cohesive approach between departments that work with families.
- SFUSD allocates funds to support additional interpretation and translation services, especially for Parent Teacher Conferences and other opportunities for families to understand how to support their child.
- Parents feel heard and know that the district values their partnership. District and school site climate surveys reflect this.