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Half of the 12 San Francisco schools on a preliminary state list of failing institutions are located in the Mission District.

Federal law requires the state to intervene once the state board of education meets on Thursday to approve the list, which now includes 188 schools across the state.

Intervention at the six schools–Cesar Chavez Elementary, Bryant Elementary, Horace Mann Middle School,  Everett Middle School, Mission High School and John O’Connell High School–could mean four different possibilities including the replacement of the principals and up to 50 percent of the current faculty, according to a press release from the California Department of Education.

“This is an opportunity to make dramatic changes at chronically under-performing schools,” State Superintendent Jack O’Connell said in the press release. “The intervention choices provide an opportunity to make systemic changes that improve teaching and learning. As a result, we will help prepare thousands of students for a brighter future.”

Bryant Elementary and Cesar Chavez Elementary have failed to meet their federal improvement targets for more than five consecutive years.   At Bryant Elementary 27.2 percent of its students are at least proficient in math and 28.6 percent in English.  At Cesar Chavez,  32.9 percent of the students are at least proficient in math while 27.2 percent are proficient in English.

It’s unclear why Marshall Elementary and Moscone Elementary schools, which serve the same diverse population, have managed to rank much higher in state scores.

A power point presentation prepared by the state Department of Education explains the process for school that have failed to reach mandated improvement targets in the fourth and fifth years.  One slide referring to the time line says,  the school, ” must implement the restructuring plan no later than the beginning of the school year following the year in which the school was in its “planning for restructuring,” year four.

It’s unclear if any of the schools in their fifth year of so-called program improvement,  have developed restructuring plans.

Horace Mann and Everett middle schools have also failed to meet their improvement targets for more than five years.  At Everett 19.9 percent of the students are proficient in math and 25.4 percent in English.  At Horace Mann, 16.8 percent are proficient in math and 29.9 percent in English.

Mission High School and John O’Connell High school failed to meet their mandated improvement at least two years in a row and both were placed on so-called program improvement list this year. At Mission High, 36 percent of the students test proficient in math and 26.2 percent in English.  At John O’Connell, 23 percent are proficient in math and 24.3 percent in English.

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  1. I find it interesting that John O’Connell High School–my alma mater–is on the district’s chopping block again. When I was a sophomore, they turned O’Connell into a Dream School, effectively firing the staff and telling them to reapply if they wanted their seats back. Now, five years later, they have a newer, spunkier staff, but the school is the same.

    Clearly the district has no idea how to fix its own problems, since their ‘dream school’ plan didn’t pan out. Is ‘fire first, and never ask questions’ their only means of dealing with problems? Have any of these superintendants ever BEEN to any of these schools? Have they ever taught a class? Do they even know what the Mission LOOKS like? For all their tests, assessments and standards, they have yet to make something really work.

    Perhaps the best course of action–rather than sitting behind a desk WHINING about everything, taking extreme EXTERIOR measures–they should work with these schools from WITHIN.

    O’Connell implemented a program of its own to get teachers and staff to visit the homes of students–these home visits got students to attend school more, have more parent involvement and ultimately get the students going in the right direction. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough money or time to reach more than about 30 parents and students… but it was EFFECTIVE. The only reason it was effective was because the people running the program were A PART OF THE SCHOOL, KNEW THEIR COMMUNITY and HOW TO COMMUNICATE with it. Anyone can say that swimming is easy, but you have to dive into the water to find out.

  2. To Concerned Citizen … you stated ” Bryant and Cesar Chavez educates a high percentage of Latino families whose parents have little to no formal education, some being non-literate. Teaching these families basic values such as attendance, expected behaviors, study skills, parenting skills, nutrition, etc become a major focus of the education effort in those schools.

    This statement is as if the Latin parents are dumb and ID10T’s… I do understand your point of view but if we take a step back and look at most of these parents have to work 2 to 3 jobs to make it and give the opportunity of a better life real for their kids while providing for them. It is because of this type of ignorance that makes struggling parents stay silent.. It as if your parent would tell you that you will amount to nothing (though used for motivation it takes the reverse effect) that makes a person feel suppressed by the world around them EX: teachers, failed college grad’s, Government, Media, T.V., etc… Now if you point out 1 positive thing about a person and build on that, then they will begin a foundation tward success…

    Again I can see your point of view and we are all entitled to our opinions… but ask a Latin person why they do not speak out or why did they not go to college and gt ready for reasons that become their childrens excuses …

  3. Bryant and Cesar Chavez educate a higher percentage of disadvantaged families. Even though a first generation Asian family may fall under the low income label, studies show that this is due to the hardships of immigration and language barriers. Moscone has a much higher percentage of immigrant Asian families, who may be “low income” but often have parents who hold college degrees in their countries of origin, and have educational skills and values that correlate with school expectations. Bryant and Cesar Chavez educates a high percentage of Latino families whose parents have little to no formal education, some being non-literate. Teaching these families basic values such as attendance, expected behaviors, study skills, parenting skills, nutrition, etc become a major focus of the education effort in those schools.

  4. I can appreciate all the Stat’s and Demo’s. The ones that are failing our schools is the SFUSD with our challenged children in the schools. We can blame everyone and be diagnosed with Excuseitis but it boils down to the children that are bi-ligual are given tests in both “Enligh” and “Spanish” The only test that is gauged and accounted for is the “English” Test, so until that is changed there will be no true gauge of the progress. Yet we can all apply for licenses, permits, Identifications, jobs, Citizenship, etc… in various languages. Teachers are not allowed to teach curriculum specifically for the test, but yet we tell our children learn from my mistakes so you can try to avoid making them as we did.I have worked at the state, federal, and city level… thus I have seen that fiscal year comes around and there are high bidgets and over spending… WHY???? Because if they are given a budget of EX: 1 million, if that million is not spent to its full and only 1/2 a million is spent…. guess what their new budget is…. Fear of there not being a surplus they are forced to “OVER SPEND”.. If you want to make an impact aside of being lazy and closed up on this blog and/or internet… Call the school distric and voice your concern, tell them how you feel that this is discriminatory and unfair to our children, I have and still calling. For those in district 9 call David Campos elected to represent D9 and the SFUSD Supervisor Veronica for Mission District, as well as MR Garcia who i feel is blowing hot air and with no actions but just wants to look good … anyone can restructure, but a real Leader will develope the passionate staff they have… But NO NO NO tooooooo much work so let’s take the easy way out and restructure… So let’s push them to really earn their money and positions that are paid for by your tax dollars and get some real action not just restructuring… Restructuring is for LAZZZZZZZZY People

  5. I posted early this morning and the post seems to have vanished. I think it’s important to understand issues about school achievement and student demographics, so I’m reposting.

    The key difference between Moscone’s demographics and those of both Chavez and Bryant is that Moscone has 32% Chinese students, while Chavez and Bryant each have <1% Asian students. Statistics show that Chinese students are the academically highest-performing demographic in SFUSD,overall on average — and that includes low-income Chinese students. Latino students are statistically one of the academically lowest-performing demographics, overall on average. (Chavez: 85.9% Latino; Bryant: 87.4% Latino; Moscone 55.1% Latino.) … This is uncomfortable information to discuss, but it's what all the focus on the achievement gap and much of No Child Left Behind are about. The point in bringing out this information is NOT to dis any students nor to downplay Moscone's impressive success. It's to illuminate the fact that other schools, such as Bryant and Chavez, are serving more-challenged students, which is why it's wrong to blast them as "failing" or praise other schools for being more successful.

  6. I’m parent No. 1, and I have to respond further regarding demographics and achievement. This is essential background.

    Statistically, Latino students tend to (overall on average) be lower academic achievers, and Chinese students tend to (overall on average) be the highest achievers of all demographics in SFUSD. Low-income students tend (overall on average) to be lower achievers. BUT low-income Chinese students tend (overall on average) to be an “outlier” subgroup — they tend to be high-achieving.

    It’s correct that Moscone, Bryant and Chavez all have high percentages of low-income students. However, Bryant has 87.4% Latino students and fewer than 1% Asian students (even adding all Asian groups together). Chavez has 85.9% Latino students and fewer than 1% Asian students (even adding all Asian groups together). Moscone has 32% Chinese students and 55% Asian students. (Source: SFUSD website.)

    Mission Loc@l reporters, I hope you’re paying attention, because you really, really, really need to understand this stuff before you try to cover schools. You can do serious harm to struggling schools and disadvantaged students when you write articles based on assumptions and insufficient understanding. Unfortunately, a lot of the mainstream press does that routinely, and you’re striving to do better.

  7. I agree with the comment that Moscone’s community is not better off than that of the other Mission schools. 85% of Moscone students get free or reduced lunch.

  8. Lita, Moscone is a great school, but there are some demographic differences, and overall, Chavez and Bryant serve a more disadvantaged population. That doesn’t in any way downplay Moscone’s achievements, but it does defend Chavez and Bryant against the malicious and heartless label “failing school” — a disparaging mark of shame that attacks both the students and the teachers. The issue here is the *assumption* in the original report that all the schools served a demographically identical population, which is not borne out by the statistics. No reporter should ever *assume* — never.

  9. Every school in SFUSD deserves full funding. Duncan and Garcia love to pit us against each other. We were all out in the streets on March 4th and we should all be at the March 23rd Board of Education meeting to demand a moratorium on the budget cuts.

    However, let’s get the facts straight. Moscone serves a the same working class, immigrant community as the other Mission schools. This year 57% of our students are Latino, 30% Chinese and 6% white. Anyone stating otherwise is ignoring the solid success of our Latino kids. Moscone staff and families believe that our ability to “close the achievement gap” is due to years of solid teaching, solid leadership, solid parent suport,our bilingual program, 15 years of a solid early intervention program as well as an on-going committment to the arts.

  10. Sorry, but “it’s too much work to do the research” does not cut it in journalism. You just have to do the research or you do a disservice to the truth and to the community. And banish that mean-spirited, right-wing “failing schools” judgment!

  11. Ron Jeremy is exactly right.

    It’s a terrible failing in mainstream media that reporters so often don’t dig up the data. With education coverage that means exactly this kind of statistics — demographics (in some coverage, test scores too). That’s the kind of gap bloggers often fill. But isn’t Mission Loc@l supposed to be more like new media? So don’t be lazy and half-a**ed like the mainstream media — do your homework!

    By the way, “failing school” is really an unacceptable judgment, inappropriate in fair and unbiased news coverage. Some demographic “subgroups” tend to correlate closely with low test scores (overall, on average): limited English speakers, low-income students, students with less-educated parents, and also Latino and African-American students. Many of these students are coping with poverty, hunger and other needs and stresses. It’s not fair to blame the students for not being go-getter straight-A students, but it’s also not fair to blast a school as “failing” when its students are coping with many challenges. This coverage needs a do-over.

    1. Parent and Ron Jeremy, I sit here buried under data and am trying to make my way through it. We will do better and intend to cover the school issue fairly and thoroughly. Thank you for your comments and stay tuned. Best, Lydia

  12. Come on guys, it’s easy to find the data. Here it is –

    Cesar Chavez – http://orb.sfusd.edu/profile/prfl-603.htm

    Moscone – http://orb.sfusd.edu/profile/prfl-723.htm

    Differences I can spot?

    Socioeconomic class – Cesar Chavez has more students coming from poor and lower middle class families. They have more kids on the free or reduced lunch program.

    Race – Moscone ES has more Caucasian students, who comprise 32% of the student body. Latino students make up almost 86% of the student body in Cesar Chavez.

    Attendance/Parenting – Moscone has a higher rate of daily attendance. I noticed that Cesar Chavez has more excused absences. You need a parent phone call or a note for an excused absence. Kids are smart and have been pulling a Ferris Bueller for ages. I know I did when I was that age.

    Staff Salary/Experience – Moscone teachers and staff have worked in the district longer, have more advanced degrees, and earn (+$8000/year) more than their counterparts in Cesar Chavez.