View Full Version : Mission-Bernal Hope and Anxiety at Buena Vista Elementary

03-02-2011, 01:25 PM
This from Mission Loc@l (https://missionlocal.org/2011/03/hope-and-anxiety-at-buena-vista-elementary-school/) by Heather Smith:

It is a meeting marked by no small degree of anxiety.

Buena Vista Elementary has wanted to go from a K-5 to a K-8 school for decades. They finally got that wish, but not the way they wanted it. They’re losing their building. They may lose their name. Their principal has been asked to re-apply for his job.

It was just a few short weeks ago that the San Francisco Unified School District announced that it was going to merge Buena Vista with Horace Mann Middle School (http://missionlocal.org/2011/02/two-mission-district-educational-institutions-will-unite-to-create-a-k-8/). Somehow, two very different schools are going to have to be smushed together by the beginning of the next school year.

The low cafeteria tables at Buena Vista are filled with parents. Most of them look exhausted, but almost all of them stay for the full two hours of the meeting. Two translators work in shifts, pacing up and down the aisles and muttering into their headsets in Spanish. Behind the group, children wander back and forth — coloring, playing with each other quietly. It says something that the announcement for the meeting tonight was directly followed by a second announcement that there would be both a taco truck and free childcare.

Buena Vista is a dual-immersion school, meaning that some classes are taught in English and some are taught in Spanish. Its student body is not exactly well-to-do — almost half the students qualify for free lunches. Its test scores are average for the state, but high for the neighborhood. It’s extremely competitive to get into — a state of affairs that has been attributed to the efforts of (http://missionlocal.org/2010/04/stark-differences-in-local-ptas/) the sort of engaged, dedicated parents attracted to a dual-immersion program.

The parents tonight ask for the same two things, over and over. They want to keep their current principal, or at least know who their new principal will be before July 1. They want the sixth grade to be completely dual immersion, instead of having 22 students coming in on a separate general education track. Most of them initially thought they had both, and so at times, the meeting has the desperate feel of a group trying to regain ground.

“I think I figured out a way to say what I want to say,” says one parent, about an hour into the meeting, to Veronica Chavez, the assistant superintendent for elementary schools. The topic of conversation has once again drifted to the subject of bathroom renovations, but it always returns to this. “We all know that you have a kid here. You’re wearing two hats. But I think you now have a credibility problem because you got real buy-in from this community on the basis of one message. We were committed to Buena Vista expanding to K-8 with our director. Now it looks like we’re being sent to that middle school that we didn’t want to go to in the first place.”

read more>> (https://missionlocal.org/2011/03/hope-and-anxiety-at-buena-vista-elementary-school/)