Going to the source—Learn more about school naming efforts in SFUSD
You may have heard, people are talking about renaming schools in SF! This important work has been held by a committee of dedicated volunteers and hasn’t been a topic for discussion by the Board. But, when the issue started getting more media coverage, I began hearing a lot of misinformation flying around. Thus, I decided to “go to the source” to have a conversation directly with the folks involved.
Join me as I talk with one of the authors of this important resolution, Board President, Mark Sanchez. Also joining the conversation are Jeremiah Jeffries, facilitator of the School Names Advisory Committee, and Mari Villaluna, parent volunteer and indigenous activist.
Facts about the School Names Advisory Committee:
The School Names Advisory Committee was originally established following an SF Board of Education resolution (Board Resolution №184–10A1) in 2018, written by SFUSD Board of Education President, Mark Sanchez and Commissioner Stevon Cook. It was written in the wake of the Charlottesville murder of #BlackLivesMatter activist Heather Heyer at a white supremacist rally.
The all-volunteer committee is made up of SFUSD educators, parents, students, and community leaders and includes a wide range of cultural and racial backgrounds and identities. It is one of the first (and possibly) only official District committees that includes representation from Ramaytush Ohlone leaders, who are the original inhabitants of the unceded land on which San Francisco schools reside. It is also the first district committee to ever practice land acknowledgment, led by a member of the Association of Ramaytush Ohlone.
The committee intends to make recommendations to the Board of Education next year regarding proposed changes to the names of some schools. Any final decision to change school names rests with the elected members of the Board of Education. As part of this process, the committee has requested input from schools by the end of this semester. Schools are not required or mandated to participate in this process. This is a process being led by an advisory committee and has not been a topic of discussion at recent SF Board of Education meetings.
This advisory committee met regularly between late June and early October, focusing primarily on developing criteria for renaming schools and then identifying school names that met their criteria. (Meeting agendas, minutes
and other materials are posted on the committee’s web page.)
The committee is currently seeking input from those identified schools regarding alternative names. They originally requested this input by November 15th; however, based on feedback that this deadline was too tight, they extended the deadline to December 18th.
The committee will provide a progress report at the Board’s Regular Meeting on November 10.