School-Community Collaborations: Unpacking HOPE SF From a School’s Perspective

Posted on by Cailin

Dennis is working for the San Francisco Unified School District to conduct a service inventory of educational and support service needs to aid in bolstering the resources of the SF HOPE initiative.

Dennis is a Doctoral student in the Educational Leadership program. He previously served the role of Senior Instructional Manager for the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) and has over a decade of experience working in the K-12 non-profit and public education sector. 


In conjunction with the San Francisco Mayor’s Office, the San Francisco Unified School District has joined this concerted effort to transform the low-income public housing sites and revitalize the surrounding community of Bayview-Hunters View. This joint initiative seeks to provide opportunities for public housing families and support schools in the neighborhood through direct services and collaboration with local community-based organizations. 

Project Objective:

As a PLUS fellow with the San Francisco Unified School District, my aim is to support the alignment of educational services among the eight public elementary schools and four public housing sites within the auspices of the HOPE SF initiative.  To achieve this goal, I am conducting a service inventory and needs analysis of educational and support services at each of the elementary schools.  My PLUS co-fellow, Francesca Delgado, is complementing the work through her service inventory of program and support offerings from each of the four public housing sites and their respective lead community agency under HOPE SF. 

In the initial stages of this project, I was surprised to learn that HOPE SF Initiative, as envisioned, is described as a strategy to address the revitalization efforts to support the Bayview-Hunters View neighborhood of San Francisco.  Within this strategy are educational goals that have implications in the ways in which services are provided and accessed across the schools and local community-based organizations.  The strategy then begs the question: How aligned are these services between schools and the local community organizations that support the educational goals for HOPE SF?

Project Plan:

In completing the service inventory, Francesca and I are also consulting the knowledge base around parent-community ties, collective impact, addressing chronic absenteeism and truancy, preschool enrollment efforts, out-of-school time programming, and promising practices on family engagement strategies in public housing communities across the nation. Having worked for the New York City Department of Education as a classroom teacher and district manager, I’ve enjoyed learning and analyzing the similarities and differences between two distinct districts, New York City and San Francisco.  The opportunity to work with the San Francisco Unified School District, San Francisco Mayor’s office and the Center for Cities and Schools has afforded me the opportunity and access to new knowledge and a better understanding of the Bay area educational landscape in general.  Currently, I am in the process of interviewing all of the eight principals of the HOPE SF schools as well as key district administrators.  These interviews, along with school documents such as the Balanced Score Card, have provided invaluable insight into the school level implementation successes and challenges.  For example, families living in public housing sites do not always send their child in the afterschool programs offered in schools due to safety concerns in the neighborhood.  Schools are not able to provide means of transportation for students to get home following after school activities.  How can these surfaced concerns be addressed through collaboration between local community organizations and the neighborhood schools?  These are just some of the questions that have grounded my work as I continue to engage in this project.  


















Want to find out more about the PLUS Fellows Program?  Click here!