In recent years, urban school districts have proven that they can improve the performance of their schools when partnered with an independent civic organization to facilitate change. Because these partnerships are a combination of both mutual support and accountability for results, they are most successful when there are common expectations, strong trust and respect between both parties.
The San Francisco School Alliance (SFSA) was established in 2005 by a key group of San Francisco educators, community and business leaders to achieve this aim. Since early 2010, SFSA has undergone a dramatic transformation: the board hired new leadership uniquely qualified to understand and play a significant role in education reform in San Francisco. This executive team has forged a deeper relationship with the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) and its leadership, building an unprecedented level of trust and collaboration.
Since 2008, the SFSA has been operating under a unique partnership agreement with SFUSD. This agreement names SFSA as the district’s primary agent for private and community support of SFUSD’s strategic priorities. More specifically, the agreement calls out the following role for SFSA:
The Alliance will meet regularly with the District leadership to act as thought partners for the selected areas of strategic collaboration in support of the District’s strategic priorities; identify research, leading practitioners and best practices in these areas to inform the work; convene key leaders, experts and allied organizations to increase depth of engagement in these key areas, accelerate ultimate impact and reduce existing overlap; and ensure that all parties remain accountable to shared agreements and results in these key areas, tracking and communicating results of the shared work to the broader community.
This strong relationship and highly-qualified executive team sets the stage for SFSA to effectively help the district build a new way forward, to radically transform public education in San Francisco. SFSA is dedicated to helping the district and the communities of San Francisco accelerate the learning of all students and close the achievement gap.