San Francisco Schools’ Small Schools Program
San Francisco Schools’ Small Schools are Effective
The Small Schools program in San Francisco Schools was established back in 2000. One successful example of a small school is the San Francisco Schools’ Leadership High School. This high school has a total of only 345 students, uses high standards and close relationship with teachers to help at risk students. Leadership High School was established about 5 years ago and now has some of the highest test scores in all of the San Francisco Schools. Mainly the idea is to take large schools, usually high schools, into several smaller schools that can focus on the students needs better.
San Francisco Schools have become a leader in a growing trend that has spread across Northern California. The idea behind breaking up large schools is an attempt to provide an alternative to the status quo. Students in a small school tend to have higher rates of graduation, higher attendance rates, and higher university attendance. The small school environment succeeds due to a more personalized learning environment. The small schools of the San Francisco Schools use a mentor system that gives guidance to that they are personally engaged in their work. Students are motivated while being connected to the school community. The National Longitudinal Study for Adolescent Health reports that students in a small school environment were less likely to use alcohol, illegal drugs, become pregnant, or experience emotional distress.
San Francisco Schools’ Small Schools for Equity
The Small Schools for Equity program is an innovative partnership between San Francisco Schools and a local university. This high school has one hundred students from all of the San Francisco Schools. This high school will be housed on the university’s campus and be supported by the College of Education while being managed and funded by San Francisco Schools. The students, teachers and administration will have a say in curriculum development. Students who attend the Small Schools for Equity program were chosen by San Francisco Schools’ officials. The high school students will study a rigid curriculum that will include high school level math, science, English, humanities, world language, art and Japanese. No college courses will be offered.
The Small Schools for Equity program provides the College of Education with a great opportunity in teacher education. San Francisco Schools has allowed university students seeking teaching credentials to teach and observe in schools throughout the San Francisco School district for years, now the College of Education will have a high school on campus that will benefit from modern educational theory and practices. The high school will be housed in Burk Hall and run a full school day from 8AM to 3PM, the rest of the day Burk Hall will be used by education students.
San Francisco Schools Board of Education Reviews Small Schools
The San Francisco Schools Board of Education is, this summer, reviewing a policy that would support the San Francisco Schools Small Schools By Design. The policy is being introduced by San Francisco Schools Acting Superintendent Gwen Chan and is supported by school board president Norman Yee and San Francisco Organizing Project, a community organization that supports the small schools initiative. San Francisco Organizing Project is a collection of religious congregations, schools and community centers. Those opposed to the program claim that the money spent does not equal the benefits but supporters say that the Small Schools offset the difficulties of declining student enrollment and the flight of families from San Francisco Schools. The current policy up for vote would create a task force to determine the locations and needs of San Francisco Schools which would benefit most from Small Schools.
About the Author: Stacy Andell is a staff writer for Schools K-12, providing free, in-depth reports on all U.S. public and private K-12 schools. Stacy has a nose for research and writes stimulating news and views on school issues. For more on San Francisco schools visit http://www.schoolsk-12.com/California/San-Francisco/index.html