I am writing to ask you to consider posting about the effects of the proposed budget - particularly at my school, El Dorado, but more broadly at the heavily-impacted, high-needs SE side schools (and at Dianne Feinstein, and at all the schools).
El Dorado is the school with the worst outlook: 11 of our 15 classroom teachers have been noticed, in addition to our Literacy Specialist/Climate Coordinator, our half-time IRF, and our principal. I am one of them - one of the four permanent, tenured teachers who received a notice at our site. We have already demonstrated that we are at El Dorado because we want to be and that we have no intention of leaving - and we work hard to find teachers who share our mindset.
We serve an incredibly high-needs population. Fully 80% of our children live in poverty; about 30% are English Language Learners. Half of our students live in Sunnydale. We are one of three schools with the UCSF HEARTS program because of the heavy impact of trauma on our population. Our kids experience food insecurity, unstable housing, family violence and incarceration, poverty-related health problems, and the "historic power of demographics". SFUSD has not done well by these children.
At El Dorado, we have spent four years building the adult culture that will support our students. We are regularly praised and observed by District administrators. I am one of two Prop. A Master Teachers at my school - we run open classrooms. A lot of money has been put into giving us the skills we need to meet our students' needs. A lot of our own energy has been put into building our skills, reflecting upon them, writing grants, creating a school garden, meeting our school community with openness and humility, and demanding the best from each other every day.
SFUSD apparently doesn't think that's important. It would have been possible for SFUSD to institute a skip clause to save their Hard-to-Staff schools; instead they decided to let us and our kids take the brunt of the cuts to classrooms. (And make no mistake: our jobs aren't exactly going to inspire any bidding wars. Despite there being 1200 substitute teachers in our District, we stand a 50-50 chance of getting someone to come out to our school when we get sick.) I suppose we shouldn't have been surprised - this is, after all, how educational inequity is perpetuated. The District chose cowardice over courage.
I don't think we will be able to save our jobs or our school community. Since I live in Vis Valley and this is my neighborhood school, I suppose I'm taking it especially hard. I would send my child to my school.
However, I really don't want this to happen without people knowing about it. We are a little school hidden away behind a big hill, in an under-served neighborhood. Laying off eleven teachers there isn't going to attract too much notice. But I would like people to know about it, so that at the very least SFUSD is confronted with the reality of its own decisions.
Friday, March 26, 2010
El Dorado School
This from a reader:
Labels: El Dorado
Posted by Kate