In response to a recent change in Lowell High School admissions testing, Parents for Public Schools of San Francisco (PPS-SF) took action to ensure that SFUSD heard family voices, with positive results.
PPS-SF sought feedback regarding a change to Lowell High School admissions criteria. The Educational Placement Center proposed using SFUSD students' spring 2016 SBAC (standardized test) scores in the admissions process. This would have been a shift from requiring all students applying to Lowell High School to sit for the Terra Nova test in January 2017, as has been the practice since the prior version of state standardized testing (CST) was phased out in 2013. Non-SFUSD students, or students who did not take the SBAC test as 7th graders would still take the Terra Nova test in January.
PPS-SF asked for comments and questions related to the change via an online form and also sought in-person feedback from PPS-SF's Latino Parent Clubs and Chinese Parent Clubs. PPS-SF received 50 responses over the 48 hours that the survey was open. In addition, families called and visited the PPS-SF offices and shared concerns at PPS-SF enrollment workshops.
The PPS-SF Director of Policy, Miranda Martin, took the comments in person to the Board of Education and also shared the feedback with the Educational Placement Center (EPC).
After hearing input from Parents for Public Schools of San Francisco the Board of Education and EPC met and agreed that the change in testing had not been communicated well to current SFUSD families. The resulting policy shift will now have all students applying to Lowell take the Terra Nova test. For SFUSD students who have an SBAC score, EPC will apply the better of the two test scores to the student’s Lowell application.
This positive result exemplifies the successful outcomes possible when parents across the city use the PPS-SF network to raise their collective voices about important policy issues.
Parents for Public Schools of San Francisco is the only organization that helps parents navigate San Francisco public school enrollment. Since 1999 the organization has worked with over 275,000 families, offering enrollment advice and encouraging parents to take on leadership roles within their schools so that each child in every family has access to an excellent public education.