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SF Board of Education Commits to Support and Monitor African American Student Achievement

Press Release

District to Establish New External Oversight Committee

May 27, 2015 (San Francisco) – The San Francisco Board of Education voted unanimously for a resolution that mandates a heightened level of attention to African American student achievement as well as a regular and comprehensive internal and external review of the programs and services supporting African American students in the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD).

The Board of Education will charge SFUSD with the formation of an African American Community Council which will, along with the African American Parent Advisory Council, inform annual priorities related to African American achievement and work with the Superintendent’s office to monitor existing programs, services, and interventions. Each year, the San Francisco Unified School District will work with the African American Community Council and African American Parent Advisory Council to deliver an “African American Student Report” to the Board of Education that shares prior year progress in serving African American students and makes recommendations for the following year.

“We are committed to ensuring that our schools provide all children with the support they need to reach their full potential,” said Board of Education president Dr. Emily Murase. “But, for decades, our schools have been failing on this promise for some of our African American students. Tonight I could not be prouder of the work we have all done to start changing that, and look forward to the work we now have in front of us.”

Superintendent Richard Carranza added, “We in San Francisco have high conviction, and more capability than we’ve ever had before, to make a difference for our African American students. It’s clear that, in order to help our African American children be successful in this city, we need to offer them a support system leading up to and through critical milestones in their lives.”

The resolution titled “In Support of the Achievement and Success of All African American Students” refers to the structural barriers some African American students have faced that have hindered their academic opportunity, including high poverty, housing instability, and institutional racism. It also points to a “systemic bias leading to high rates of disproportionate discipline, low expectations of students, and under-resourced schools” in San Francisco. The resolution also asserts the success that many African American students have achieved and the longstanding work of organizations such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), San Francisco Alliance of Black School Educators (SFABSE), Coleman Advocates, and dozens of local community-based organizations in supporting African American Students. 

In November, 2013, Superintendent Richard Carranza chartered the African American Achievement and Leadership Initiative (AAALI) Design Team. Informed by past district initiatives, the team worked to create a plan that will change the long-term pattern of inequity for African American students.

Following the AAALI Design Team recommendations, Carranza created and filled a new position, Special Assistant to the Superintendent for African American Achievement and Leadership, who is charged with coordinating the advancement of African American student, parent, and educator outcomes, which was filled by Landon Dickey earlier this year. Dickey works in collaboration with SFUSD departments, school site leadership, teachers, the African American Parent Advisory Council, community based organizations, the City of San Francisco, the San Francisco Foundation and numerous other stakeholders to create a system of support for African American students that will outlast changes in leadership.

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Page updated on 05/27/15