Thursday, August 27, 2015

¡Si se puede!


Open Kindergarten Spots in English classes at César Chavéz Elementary School

César Chávez Elementary School is situated in the geographic and cultural heart of the Mission District.  Its entire façade is covered with murals representing the history and diversity of this school, and the cultural contributions of César Chavez, Dolores Huerta and the UFW movement.  In addition it has paintings in sign language, celebrating the 25 year history of the deaf and hard of hearing program at the school.   The halls are cheerfully painted, the classrooms organized, the teachers and students engaged in authentic learning.  The school is extremely safe, there are few discipline issues, and we have a wealth of community partnerships to work on enrichment, health and socio-emotional supports.  The teaching at Cesar Chavez is exemplary. For example, the math program is differentiated and aligned with common core and academic language, and far ahead of other schools in the district (two of our teachers helped write the curriculum and are former or current Math coaches). There are 1-1 Chromebooks for every 4th and 5th grader and a dedicated technology person who works with the rest of the school. Every classroom has technology, and iPads are integrated into reading centers.   The reading and writing workshop model began 5 years ago and is year more developed than other schools in the district.  Any child that arrived at César Chávez would thrive.
As the Mission District changes the English classes at Chávez are shrinking.  The more affluent families that are moving into the Mission have not yet begun to choose this school. There is a waiting list for students to enter the Bi-literacy pathway (Spanish and English for native Spanish speakers) yet the English classrooms need more students. Both our English and Spanish classrooms have small class sizes and dedicated, experienced teachers.
So, with all these advantages, what would it take for César Chávez to become a model for the rest of the City?  It would take integration. More English speaking families of all races need to begin to choose our school.  SFUSD needs to desegregate. Many articles have been written about SFUSD and the increasing segregation due to choice.  Other articles have been written about the importance of integration for improving educational outcomes. The articles in the San Francisco Public Press made it clear that parents typically choose schools where there is a majority of their own race.  This is something that we need to change.  In order to create a more equitable system more families who live in the Mission need to start choosing schools in the Mission District for their children, rather than driving across town to be part of a school that has better test scores. Parents who live in or near the Mission who are holding out for the English programs at other more faraway schools should come visit our school and observe in our English program.   Test scores that appear low at César Chávez reflect the racial and economic isolation of the school.  It’s impossible to compare data of other ethnic groups to the control group of our Latino students because the population of students other than Latinos is statistically insignificant. 

Right now at César Chávez we have space for 10-15 students in Kindergarten English classes that we would like to fill before September 4th.  If you are choosing between no school, paying for another year of preschool or moving out of the city, I believe César Chávez is an excellent alternative. I only recently began working here but I can assure you that If my daughter were age eligible for Kindergarten she would be here with me.  Please call or come by for a visit tomorrow morning at 9 AM if you would like to learn more. 
 If you are looking for a school for 2016-2017 I will publish tour dates in October. 

César Chávez PreK Early Ed & Elementary School
Escuela Primaria César Chávez, PreKinder - 5
825 Shotwell Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
Tel: 415.695.5765     Fax: 415.695.5843

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