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Peer Resources hopes for a sucessful transition

by Justin Fung

Peer Resources is a program that teaches students a variety of life skills, like how to properly communicate with peers and others. PR2.jpg Students learn leadership, communication, and problem solving skills; mentor others, and take on social and civil responsibilities. Peer Resources was founded in 1979 as part of a citywide program in collaboration between the San Francisco Unified School District and the San Francisco Education Fund.  Many students find this program very valuable and useful in their lives.

However this citywide program faces an uncertain future.  The concern deals with the San Francisco Education Fund transitioning and phasing out Peer Resources as it decides to shift priorities.    

This might be a concern to many because this change would potentially mean eliminating Peer Resources as a citywide program in which case each individual school would have to support its own Peer Resources program, and, at a time when public schools have had their funding reduced, the likely result would be terminating the program altogether.

Here at Lincoln this is a concern that teacher Morgan Wallace and other students share.  Wallace, who has been teaching Peer Resources since the fall of 2008 is very concerned for the potential of the Ed Fund cutting out the program and its funding.

Wallace addresses the concern saying, “Peer Resources is in negotiation with the San Francisco Education Fund about the future of Peer Resources. It was decided by the Ed Fund Board that Peer Resources would no longer be part of the San Francisco Education Fund starting next year, and we’re trying to make sure that Peer Resources has a smooth transition and gets the funding that it needs in order to exist as a citywide program… if it’s just me at Lincoln, it loses its power.”                               

However when it comes to the funding issue, Jessica Pullano who is the Director of Communications at the Ed Fund, claimed via by email, “The Education Fund never put any potential budget cuts on the table.  The Peer Resources budget will remain at its FY(Fiscal Year) 12-13 level or increase for the next school year.” 

When it came to the still unresolved transition process, Wallace believes that, “The transition would be the transition of Peer Resources as a part of the San Francisco Education Fund to no longer being part of the Education Fund… we don’t know what’s going to happen next.”                                                                                                                                                          

However Elizabeth Hubbard, the Assistant Director of San Francisco Peer Resources, when asked on what would be a successful transition, said via email, “A successful transition… for Peer Resources… includes a physical home… a metaphoric home—a place or group of people who support the work our students are doing and are willing to help us take the next step… [and] time and space to raise the money… Beyond the logistics of a transition, we also want to be moving in a direction that supports our core values and works to increase youth voice and youth advocacy in all of our schools.”

Hubbard denies anything about the program being eliminated altogether and says that it is only transitioning to find replacement funding.  “We want a transition that sets Peer Resources up to be able to replace the Ed Fund’s financial contribution and other contribution.  We aren’t in danger of closing.  We do need to figure out how to replace the contribution of the Ed Fund The more time we have to do it, the better it will be.” 

Hubbard also states that she is “excited about the possibilities of transition.” She understands the Ed Fund’s new priorities. “While the Ed Fund has been a great home for many us it makes sense for us to leave if the Ed Fund is moving in a different direction.”

Everyone agrees that something should be done to save this important program that serves a high value to so many students, and that Peer Resources should go through a good transition.  Of course in this particular issue it is the “how?” part that hasn’t been resolved yet.  Each side of the aisle is working to ensure that the transition is done right with little to no effect on the program and to the students who desire to take it.  

Lincoln’s API score is on the rise

by Serina Fang

Lincoln showed significant API growth this year, improving our score by 25 points and bringing our total up to 773.wbUSE THIS PICTURE.jpg Lincoln is also one of the six high schools in the SFUSD notable for its API gain.

API stands for Academic Performance Index, and the API score represents the growth of academic performance in schools on a variety of data measures including CST scores, CAHSEE scores, student grades, PSAT/SAT scores, college entrance numbers and suspension rates. The 25 point improvement shows an upward trend of API gain, raising scores and dropping suspension rates. To Principal Barnaby Payne, the most important out of all the fall data measures are the student grades. “To me, the student grades are most important because it shows how students are doing at school, which reflects how the school is doing overall.”

What is the main reason for Lincoln’s growth? Payne says, “The programs at Lincoln always help struggling students. By directing a student to a sport or a club, he or she will feel more connected to the Lincoln community and feel more motivated to work harder. It’s shown that students who are in sports or clubs or in an Academy have higher GPAs overall.”

Due to the diverse population in Lincoln, it is difficult to pinpoint exactly which student groups are not achieving as much as the rest. “It’s impossible to stereotype,” says Payne. “Everybody struggles a little bit.”

The SFUSD as a whole has reached up and beyond the state target of an API score of 800 with a score of 807. SFUSD has improved by 11 points from its base API of 796 from 2011.

With a total API score of 773, ALHS is considered a paradigm of a generally successful school. The 25 point growth comes from the efforts of students and staff alike, and hopefully Lincoln will continue on this trend of improvement.