San Francisco City Budget Will Include $15 Million to Address Learning Loss
The City will fund child care providers and educational programs to help minimize the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on San Francisco’s youth
San Francisco, CA — The City budget proposed by Mayor London N. Breed and recently agreed to by the Board of Supervisors includes an investment of $15 million in one-time funding to address student learning loss and education recovery for San Francisco’s children and youth. Building on the City’s investment of over $100 million for Emergency Child and Youth Care Centers, the Community Hub Initiative, and the Summer Together Initiative, the City will use the new investment to help mitigate learning loss resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and expand academic support, which includes high dosage tutoring, social emotional learning and literacy programs.
The San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) is currently studying the impacts COVID-19 had on the development of San Francisco’s youth. Once staff has completed their assessment and identified which areas of learning were significantly impacted, the $15 million Mayor Breed and the Board of Supervisors have agreed upon will be allocated accordingly. Areas of learning and development being studied include high-dose tutoring, social-emotional learning, and literacy.
“With the significant investments in education we made last year, we knew that it was critical for our City’s most vulnerable students to have the necessary resources to excel during the pandemic,” said Mayor Breed. “As students prepare for a fall return to the classroom, it is more important than ever to continue investing in their education and continue working to close the widening achievement gap. I want to thank DCYF, the Recreation and Park Department, the Library, and our community partners for all the work they have done to support San Francisco students throughout this past year.”
“As a lead author of the SF RISE initiative and a public school parent myself, I am painfully aware of the toll that school closures have had on the overall well-being of students, especially students from low-income and immigrant families who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19,” said Supervisor Hillary Ronen. “This $15 million investment by the Mayor’s office will help jumpstart our efforts to aggressively expand enrichment and academic success services for students and families in SFUSD, and stem the educational and mental health impacts that students endured under distance learning. SF RISE is an ambitious undertaking that will require continued investment from local and state government and our philanthropic partners, but one that we must achieve if we are to do right by our children, educators, and families.”
“This significant investment will expand the data-proven success of the community-school model across San Francisco. If we took away anything from the past 15 months, it is that nothing is impossible with swift thinking, creativity, and collaboration. We must not only restore what was lost academically, but ignite our children’s love for learning again through educational support, arts and recreation, and wrap-around services not just for the well-being of our students, but their families as well. This is the vision we hope to achieve with the Students and Families RISE Workgroup we established earlier this year with a collective strategy to bring all students to grade level, attract families back to our public schools, and strengthen community-based enrichment for our schools,” stated Supervisor Myrna Melgar.
Since the Shelter in Place Order was put into effect in March 2020, Mayor Breed has invested over $100 million to provide free programs to support children, youth, and families. These efforts have included emergency child and youth care centers for frontline and essential workers, in-person support for students enrolled in remote learning programs, and free summer camp programming for SFUSD students.
The City’s efforts to support children, youth, and families through the COVID-19 pandemic is the focus of a new case study, Showing Up While Everything Is Shutting Down: A Story of Cooperation in San Francisco, released today by the San Francisco Education Fund. The study explores the City’s Community Hubs Initiative, particularly the local context that made this unconventional, cross-sector partnership possible. Additionally, the study examines the barriers the Initiative had to overcome including public health restrictions, political resistance, and structural limitations, and highlights lessons learned and main drivers of success, such as: bold and lane-changing leadership; true collaboration; and hidden heroes: youth development professionals.
Pulling testimonies and learnings from a diverse group of stakeholders, the over-year-long case study offers a model for how communities might rethink the role of governments, nonprofits, and educational institutions to truly meet the needs of the families at their center, in crisis and beyond.
To read the full case study, please visit dcyf.org/chicasestudy.
The Community Hubs Initiative, which provided in-person support for distance learning and out of school time activities for San Francisco’s highest needs children and youth, served nearly 3,000 students at 78 locations throughout the City, successfully completing the 2020-2021 school year. The Department of Children, Youth and Their Families, Recreation & Parks, San Francisco Public Library, San Francisco Unified School District, community partners, and the private sector joined the Mayor’s call to action to ensure our City’s most vulnerable students continued to have the support and resources they needed to learn, grow, and thrive during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Thank you, Mayor Breed for your commitment to our children’s unfinished learning,” shared SF Department of Children, Youth and Their Families Executive Director Maria Su. “As our City’s families struggle with the long-term implications of distance learning, students will need a lot of services and supports to get them back on track towards success. We will expand individualized tutoring opportunities, bring on more youth development professionals to support them in the out of school time hours, and create wrap-around support for students and families as they navigate this coming year.”
“The SF Ed Fund is proud to partner with the City and our community agencies and shine a light on the Community Hub Initiative through this case study. It's clear our community has the will and agility to prevent additional unfinished learning for our youth,” said SF Education Fund CEO Stacey Wang. “San Francisco now has the knowledge to make our education systems more resilient while staying safe, and our case study can serve as a blueprint for other cities across the country aspiring to align their education efforts.”
“The pandemic was a crash course in helping families during a crisis. We had to be fast and we had to be creative—there was simply no time for bureaucracy,” said San Francisco Recreation and Park Department General Manager Phil Ginsburg. “We were able to transform our rec centers into emergency childcare facilities and Community Hubs and offer free summer camps to public school students thanks to the support of Mayor Breed and an extraordinary spirit of collaboration across sectors. This report captures the lessons learned and will prove indispensable as The City continues its investment in our children.”
“San Francisco Public Library is proud to have been a part of this extraordinary initiative by hosting ten hubs at neighborhood branch libraries located near communities that were disproportionately impacted by COVID-19,” says City Librarian Michael Lambert. “Even though we are transitioning these sites back to regular library service, we are still here to support the youth and families of this city with an abundance of free, year-round educational resources and access to wifi and other technology.”