Five principals at the helm of struggling San Francisco schools will be forced within the next few weeks to make a gut-wrenching choice: Fight for their jobs - a battle that could cost their schools millions of dollars - or leave.
Last week, the principals found out their sites had been placed on the state's list of schools that are persistently the lowest-performing. Statewide, 188 schools are on the list, and each one can qualify for up to $2 million annually in federal grants for the next three years. But in exchange, they must undergo a major overhaul, starting with naming a new principal.
The schools have less than five months to come up with a reform plan, apply for the funding, and put everything in place by the first day of school in the fall.
It's a tight timeline that has school communities of educators, parents and students being forced to choose from a list of limited and drastic options in exchange for the cash.
San Francisco has 10 schools on the list; five can keep their principals because they've been on the job less than two years. The other five principals would have to go.
Parents speak up
Already, some schools on the list are organizing efforts to keep their principals even if it means forgoing the money. Tuesday night, a group of Carver Elementary parents urged the school board to keep Principal Emily Wade Thompson at her post.
If the principals don't volunteer to leave, the district will ultimately have to make the tough call between the community's wishes and a California law that requires the adoption of a reform plan. The state law, in contrast to the federal mandate, does not require a deadline. Waiting, however, would mean giving up the federal money.
Monday, March 29, 2010
SFGate: 5 S.F. school principals under fire
This from SFGate: