Welcome Back Letter

August 6, 2020

Dear Cobb Family Community,

It is with great joy that I welcome you back or welcome you for the first time to Dr. William L. Cobb Elementary
and Early Education School! We are a school with deep connections to the Western Addition, having served
this community since 1923. Our namesake was the first African American principal in the San Francisco
Unified School District. Dr. Cobb was our principal for many years and I am proud to be associated with his
legacy. Many of our families today can share stories of him when he was their principal - illustrating the
multigenerational character of our school community.

As you are most likely aware, Cobb and all SFUSD schools will begin the year in Distance Learning. Students
will not be returning to the classrooms until the district in collaboration with the Department of Public Health
determine it is safe to do so. Speaking on behalf of all of us here at Cobb, the prospect of being so physically
distant from our students weighs heavily on our hearts.

Distance Learning begins on Monday, August 17. Our staff is in the planning stage for a “Welcome to Cobb”
kick off in the morning.

Distance Learning Reflections:

Our staff is working very hard to reflect on both our strengths and challenges we had during Distance Learning
in the Spring and make the positive changes necessary to connect with all of our students and families. We
are deeply aware of how important this moment is - and we look forward to your guidance and input so that we
may provide a consistently rich learning experience for your children.

Childcare Opportunity During Distance Learning

I am very excited to share with you that our partners at the Buchanan YMCA alongside the Department of
Children, Youth and their Families (DCYF) will be supporting on site childcare support (at the Buchanan
YMCA), including early drop off (7:00 AM) and late pick up (until 6:00 PM). Their focus will be to serve the
combined Cobb, Rosa Parks and John Muir school communities.
Students at this program will be supported in small groups with a range of safety precautions put in place
supporting a sanitary and socially distant environment. Students enrolled will join their Cobb Distance Learning
classrooms every day through Zoom. This is an extraordinary opportunity for caregivers who are essential
workers or are otherwise unable to support Distance Learning from home.
From August 17-September 11, the YMCA will operate the program. Afterwards, the DCYF will take over -
requiring a separate registration process (to follow when available).
Registration is now OPEN! Click HERE to register:

Attendance Matters:

We know that in the spring our families were struggling with the many stresses that the sudden shelter-in-place
order created and the district did not focus on enforcing attendance expectations. Rather, our focus was on
connecting with and supporting families in any way we could. However, the State of California has made it
clear that all schools are expected to track attendance and follow our usual procedures should truancy become
a concern. I don’t believe we have to choose one value over the other. Connecting and supporting families
INCLUDES supporting the attendance of all students. That being said, attendance will be tracked in a variety of
ways. We are still awaiting directions from the district, but families will have choice in how to participate in DL this
spring. What matters is that students are actively engaging in learning and finding ways to read, write and do math.

Community Matters:

As we open and continue the school year, both at a distance and (hopefully) in person, I and the Cobb team
will be constantly considering ways to partner with you to serve this community. We do not want to exist
separately - we need you to provide us with your wisdom, support and to be a part of all that we do to support
your children. This will be an ongoing process of outreach and reflection.
Teachers will be reaching out soon (or already have) to introduce themselves to their 2020-2021 classroom

Computers and Print Based Resources:

We are working on a distribution plan for Chromebooks or other devices to all grade levels to ensure that
each and every student has the tools necessary to engage with daily distance learning. Additionally, we will
have print based resources (workbooks, reading materials, etc.) available soon and will be distributing that as

  • If you have a device that functions well (laptop for grades 3-5, touchscreen tablet/iPad for PreK-2) then you will be set to begin the year. This may be your own device or one the school or district provided last year.
  • PreK - 2: Students should be using a touch screen tablet (iPad or other)
  • Grades 3 - 5: Students should be using devices with keyboards
  • If your child is in grades 3-5 and you received a device from us last year, you should continue using that device.
  • If your child is in a younger grade and received a device from us last year, we will be providing you with a touchscreen device if needed. We are not collecting devices from last year at this time.
  • Cobb or Beacon staff members will be reaching out soon to determine your needs and to arrange for device pick up as needed

Finally, I want to share with you that I have been learning and reflecting over the past two years and especially
over the summer about the bubble of privilege that surrounds me as a white man in a country that actively
promotes the welfare of white men at the expense of all others, but particularly at the expense of people of
color. I am learning that it is important to speak this out loud and I am here to say that at Cobb Elementary
School, Black Lives Matter.

In the words of the late Congressman and civil rights activist John Lewis, whose passing has left an enormous
hole for us to fill:
"Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a
day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some
noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble."

It is my great honor to serve the Cobb community.

With Deep Affection,

Joe Funk, Principal

2725 California Street, San Francisco, CA 94115 ‖ phone: (415) 749-3505 ‖ fax: (415) 749-3436 ‖