Willie Brown Academy, BVHP’s only middle school, to close

Critical parent meeting on Monday, Oct. 4, 5:30-7:30 p.m., in the Bayview YMCA conference room on Quesada and Lane Street

by Valerie Higgins

Willie-Brown-Academy-garden-harvest, Willie Brown Academy, BVHP’s only middle school, to close, Local News & Views Parents for Public Schools is a network of parents working together to build quality schools for all children in San Francisco and we are growing our network. All parents are welcome to join and get involved. Improving the schools is a charge that we are all collectively responsible for and here at Parents for Public Schools, while we are a small organization with part-time staff, we all do our best to inform and activate parents across ethnic and geographic boundaries.

Changes are happening in the San Francisco Unified School District constantly and it is our charge to share the most up to date information. As a part of these changes, I want to briefly mention that the new Student Assignment System, which is now called the Student Placement Policy, is changing and students will no longer have choice in their middle school placement. They will be placed into middle schools based on the elementary schools they attend. For more information and a list of community meetings, please visit www.sfusd.edu/Enroll.

Another important decision is the closure of Willie Brown. The SFUSD publicly announced on July 2 in a press release: “Willie Brown Jr. Academic College Preparatory School is closing by the end of school year 2010-2011 in order to rebuild a state of the art facility. The school is eligible for up to $50,000 for closure and, if granted, funding will go to support a parent/community outreach coordinator to assist families in transitioning to new schools.”

A parent commented on this, saying, “I don’t see where they are going to get the funds to rebuild Willie Brown when the school budget is operating at a deficit. Building a new school is not the answer. We need to learn how to work with what we have first and improve that before we try to build new facilities, because the facilities do not make one bit of difference if the teachers and parents are not doing their jobs. Building community and resources is what is needed, not new facilities. So I am extremely skeptical as to when the new building will actually appear,” said Daphina Marshall, a parent and a resident of the Bayview Hunters Point community

Other parents from this community have expressed their concern with the safety of their children having to travel across town to get to school on public transportation due to SFUSD transportation cuts. Since Willie Brown is the only middle school in the Bayview Hunters Point community and the middle school feeder patterns proposed to the Board of Education exclude Willie Brown, students would have to travel across town to get to school.

There are many things happening in education. In order to stay involved, you should come to our parent meetings and join our network. There will be a critical parent meeting on Monday, Oct. 4, 5:30-7:30 p.m., at the Bayview YMCA in the conference room on Quesada and Lane Street. We have limited resources as do most non-profits during these times, but if we work together, we can truly create quality schools for all children.

Remember to tell your neighbor to enroll their child or grandchild into kindergarten the year before school starts. Enrollment season starts in November with the SFUSD school fair Nov. 13. For more information about our organization, please contact Ellie Rossiter at Ellie@ppssf.org or Vicki at Vicki@ppssf.org. For more information on how you can get involved and stay in the loop, please contact African-American Outreach Coordinator Valerie Higgins, at Valerie@ppssf.org.