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Acceleration at SFUSD schools-Choosing Personalized Pathways

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SFUSD is in the process of overhauling curriculum. Busy parents are still coming to understand the impact of these changes.  We want to be sure all SFUSD students will be able to take classes that challenge them and make them competitively eligible for the state's ---and the nation's-- best schools. What’s worse, the changes eliminate academic choices, thereby disempowering students and families.

We hope this petition and the proposal we are putting before the SFUSD Board of Education inspires them to recognize that the families of San Francisco are willing to work together to raise every child to meet their own personal education pathway, and realize Vision 2025.  Removing choices and classes that challenge students willing to achieve is not the answer.

 SEE THE PROPOSAL BELOW

The Proposal: Personalized Pathways

 

Students and families should be engaged in choices about their own future by providing them with multiple pathways to high achievement in Math, English and Science.

 

Central to SFUSD's Vision 2025 goals, Personalized Pathways;

Engages students in their own future by asking them to choose the right classes for them
Empowers high-achieving, low-income students by providing the same choices offered to their affluent, suburban peers
Aligns with CCSS-M recommendations for acceleration (Appendix A) and NGSS standards
Complies with Math Placement Act of 2015
 

1. Defining choice

“Students are expected to pursue a reasonably challenging curriculum, choosing courses among the most demanding available at your school.  The curriculum should inspire the development of the students’ intellectual passions. Stanford University; “Our Selection Process, 2015

The district needs to provide multiple choice points for acceleration and express interest so that ALL students can achieve their highest potential and be competitive in the college application process. Specifically, this proposal:

Requires that the district implement intensive classes that students can take in English, Science and Math based on choice.

These Intensive classes would be fluid; any child can elect intensive/non-intensive in any grade level, and switch back and forth between them at any time.
Enhances the options for taking Algebra I prior to 9th grade, including summer acceleration programs and equal access to online math courses
Clarifies existing options to "double up" on math coursework in 9th and 10th grade, and provides resources to meet the logistical challenges of these options
Asks the district to hold itself accountable for its promises of effective differentiation in middle school classes
 

2. Managing Logistics

Allow students to take Geometry in 9th grade by publicizing and designing resources for acceleration in excess of what is currently offered.

Increase funding for summer school and to allow "doubling up" in sequential requirements.
Purchase a district-wide site license for middle schools to approved math course so that ALL students can be taught at their own level, advancing to Algebra 1 and beyond.
Enhance school-to-school partnerships and CCSF joint opportunities for even more choice at every high school level and site
Utilize technology to create opportunities for all students district-wide, regardless of school size (e.g. virtual classrooms, flipped classrooms etc.)
Provide resources for families – including: why choose a "harder" class? Where to find help? How to estimate commitment?
 

3. Ensuring Equity- Classes for Every Student

Make high-level interesting classes available to every SFUSD student
Provide every child taking offsite classes (college or other high school) a MUNI pass by the district
Sort class requests and distribute teachers among schools to meet the demand
Provide classes offered in one logistically desirable place so that interested students at nearby schools can participate.
More vigorously develop, implement and clearly articulate to parents a research-based plan to train teachers and support differentiation in the classroom
Determine and implement research-based best practices regarding the range of ability within any given heterogeneous classroom 
 

4. Teacher Discretion and Placement Considerations

While the Math Placement Act of 2015 indicates that teacher recommendation cannot be the only indicator to impede advancement, multiple measures are necessary.

We propose:

Adequate grades in prior classes
Teacher recommendation
Student/family choice
Place 9th graders based on online math achievement.



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