July is here, signaling summer vacation and all the excitement it brings for the learners of San Francisco. This summer is different as the COVID 19 pandemic and the protests for Black lives continue to shift our sense of normal in profound, challenging, and also hopeful ways.
Closed businesses have left millions without jobs or with reduced hours. Students said their goodbyes and celebrated graduation–a hallmark rights of passage–virtually. An unprecedented semester of online learning nationwide exacerbated existing inequities revealing challenges with internet access and child care for some of our most vulnerable families. Parents pulled double duty as newly crowned educators while balancing work, home life, and the elusive self-care. The global protests for Black lives have been a sobering reminder of the fear and danger experienced by people of color daily.
As the new CEO of the San Francisco Education Fund, I remain optimistic. I am excited about our potential to pull together as a community and overcome these challenges in the upcoming school year. Here’s what gives me hope.
- Teachers rose quickly to the challenge of remote learning, sparking incredible feats of creativity and innovation, which we will continue to support by exploring ways to bring more equity and innovation grants to support our front line teachers in this transition.
- High school learners are adjusting to the new college planning realities in a virtual world and we will continue to support these soon to be matriculating learners through providing Maisin scholarships to ensure some of the most impacted learners by COVID 19 don’t lose the financial ability to access college during an economic downturn.
- Schools continue to need academic and socio-emotional learning support to make virtual learning work for kids and families. The Ed Fund will continue to explore ways to bring our hundreds of volunteers to provide capacity support as parents are demanding more small group instruction, 1:1 feedback from teachers, socioemotional engagement, and communications from schools knowing that school this fall will be partially, if not fully, virtual.
- Internally, the Ed Fund is also engaging in deep reflection and learning around equity, leadership, and action and what our responsibility means as one the oldest ed funds in the country. We have been in this work for a long time, and we have more to learn to live our commitment of equity for all San Francisco public school learners.
I deeply believe in every child and the need for equitable learning opportunities, which is why I am joining the San Francisco Education Fund. I want to be part of a promise of providing the support needed to transform the trajectory of every child’s future to be one they deserve rather than one that is predetermined by the color of their skin, their socioeconomic status, or their immigration status. Having worked with innovative districts near and far, I have seen this to be possible. Let’s work together to change the lives of San Francisco public school learners.
As we delve into a school year filled with unknowns, I thank you in advance for your ongoing support of the San Francisco Education Fund and our work with learners, teachers, and schools during these unprecedented times. I look forward to meeting many of you, virtually for now and in person in the future. Our best days are ahead!