Big shakeup at four underperforming SF schools

January 14, 2011 11:57:40 AM PST
A major shuffling is underway at four underperforming San Francisco schools. Teachers are being moved elsewhere so the district doesn't lose millions of federal dollars.

The four schools are moving their principals and half their teachers. These are not layoffs, they are allowed to look for work within the San Francisco Unified School District.

Things are going to look very different in the fall at Everett Middle School on Church Street near Market. Fourteen of the schools teachers, half the entire staff, are going to be moving elsewhere, quite possibly to another school in the district. One parent ABC7 News spoke with doesn't understand.

"If they are bringing in under achieving teachers, then what is the point of letting these teachers go. I mean I don't get it. I wasn't even aware of this," said Everett Middle school parent Irene Castillo.

The school district says moving underperforming teachers to other schools does not mean a poor performance will follow that teacher.

"We don't start from the premise that teachers are bad. We start from the premise that schools change and communities change and the needs of schools and communities change. It is about fitting teachers with the school community in terms of what the work looks like," said SFUSD Deputy Superintendent Richard Carranzo.

The schools forced to swap out principals and half their teachers are Muir Elementary, Bryant Elementary, Carver Elementary and Everett Middle School.

A teacher at Mission High school, who preferred not to appear on camera, agrees with the district that the problem with underachieving schools is very complex.

"You invest heavily in professional development of teachers to improve the quality of the curriculum. I think what you also do is look at other models of success in the school system," said the teacher.

And so as not to paint all the schools with the same broad brush of failure, there are many individual success stories as well - for Jose Castillo for example.

"My son's been coming here for two years now and he's bringing me home As and Bs. I'm proud of his grades and his performance," said Irene Castillo.

Each of the underperforming schools will receive $5 million in federal money. There are a total of 26 teachers that were impacted. The district is hoping these teachers will voluntarily come forward to make the move so the district doesn't have to make the move for them.