San Francisco teachers, parents, nonprofit tackle kids' priorities together as school resumes

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Every child has been impacted by the pandemic. Maybe it was spending too much time in front of a screen. A lack of exercise and playtime with friends. Or academic challenges. In San Francisco's Visitacion Valley, a special partnership has been formed, linking parents, teachers and nonprofit groups.

Alicia Stephens has a 9-year-old daughter Jewel starting fourth grade this week.

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"No matter how difficult things get, they have someone or somewhere they can rest, you know, all their worries, other cares that if they feel like mom is not the best candidate," she said.

Real Options for City Kids, or R.O.C.K., which has run neighborhood youth programs for 27 years, launched a study to set priorities.

Students listed social-emotional learning as their top priority. Families and nonprofits listed academics at the top of their list. Teachers put mental health concerns first.

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Curt Yagi is ROCK's executive director.

"We want to have a good ten balance between the three of those at least to get started, not really emphasize one or the others," he said.

Jewel's mom is aware that kids are under pressure to excel but will monitor her needs closely.

"Academics are important, but I do want to know where you're at if it's too much if we need to scale back, like just let me know so Mom knows how to gauge or rework what's going on," she said.

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R.O.C.K. didn't wait until now to address the academic priority, partnering with teachers to help at its summer camp.

"We worked directly with the schools," said executive director Yagi. "We had teachers at our summer camp doing literacy intervention. I had staff that did literacy games or reading groups and stuff like that."

Addressing priorities may differ from one neighborhood to another. In San Francisco's Visitacion Valley, it's a team effort.

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