Julien Palafax is a 19-year-old student in San Francisco Unified School District’s program for students 18-22 with moderate to severe disabilities. In pre-pandemic times, Julien had anxiety about riding the school bus and had difficulty participating in classroom activities. In this interview, he and his teacher, Heidi Seretan, talk about how things are different now, and how, in some ways, Julien is thriving. Since this interview was done, the program has returned to in-person, but Julien and all his classmates have elected to remain remote.

Report Card is a Mission Local project supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and Wallace House, where editor and reporter Sindya Bhanoo is a Knight-Wallace Reporting Fellow. The project utilizes illustration and audio to highlight the unseen hurdles that students in underserved communities are facing this year. All audio interviews are being done remotely due to COVID-19.

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Hélène Goupil

Hélène Goupil is a former editor at Mission Local who now works independently as a videographer and editor. She's the co-author of "San Francisco: The Unknown City" (Arsenal Pulp Press).

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  1. I love this story so much, thank you so much for sharing.

    I was a SPED teacher in the district years ago — the bus situation for students of all ages, MUNI and SFUSD buses, is a serious problem.

    I really heard Julien — I wish MUNI and SFUSD had some way of making their transit options be genuinely safer and more secure for our city’s young people. It would be one less barrier for their re-entry into in-person school and work next year, which will already be really anxiety provoking for a lot of students.

  2. Thank you for the informative video. It shows that remote learning can meet a lot of different needs. The illustrations brought everything to life.

  3. Great story. It was interesting to show a perspective where remote learning is actually preferred by a group of students. Julien was a wonderful interviewee.
    The illustrations really help tell the story.

  4. I love the video! The illustration is on point! The illustration makes the story more effective ! More please !

    Great work, great collaboration, great message!