SSFUSD & ESC Weekly Q&A Week #1

South San Francisco, CA    May 26, 2014SSFUSD logo

Everything South City and the South San Francisco Unified School District have made arrangements for a weekly question and answer forum in which community questions will be submitted to Superintendent Hogan on a Monday with answers being provided the following Monday.  This is the first in our series.

If you have a question you would like answered please submit it to


  1. 1.    If school staff is accused of wrong doing and it’s a confidential HR situation with no information going out, how can parents be validated that their concerns are being addressed and confident their kids are safe?

For every formal complaint, the District shares its findings in writing with the complainant as well as with the staff subject to the complaint.  That process is outlined in the Uniform Complaint Procedures.  With serious complaints and allegations, in the interest of the safety of students and employees, the staff member is placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. If the complaint is substantiated and disciplinary action is warranted, such action can range from a letter of warning up to a recommendation for dismissal.  The specific disciplinary actions the District takes with an individual employee are confidential. Although some disciplinary responses require Board action, those actions are taken in Closed Session and reported out in Open Session using the employee’s identification number.


  1. 2.    If an elective is only offered at one school, can a student from another school enroll?

Whether or not a student can travel in between schools to take an elective only offered at one school is dependent on the time of day when the elective is offered and whether or not the student has transportation.  In many school districts with multiple high schools, electives with low enrollments or a highly specialized teacher are offered at one of the high schools and other students are provided with the opportunity to access the course at the other school.  Another alternative for high school students in our District is concurrent enrollment at Skyline Community College where there are more elective options offered.  Again, it would depend on when the course is offered and the ability of the student to secure safe transportation.


  1. 3.    Why are school gates locked to the public during off hours, specifically ECHS’s track and field and Alta Loma’s Romney Avenue entrance?

Due to recent events, the District decided it would be in its best interest to lock gates to increase security for students, school facilities and equipment, both during and after school hours.  An Ad Hoc committee was formed to look at all sites and make security recommendations to the Board of Trustees for additional fencing, lighting, and possible security cameras in an effort to further increase student and campus security. The District has an on-line process in place to apply for access to buildings and campus facilities after school hours.


  1. 4.    Why are the two high schools doing the graduation ceremonies on a Friday afternoon and what about grad night?

El Camino High School wanted to use its new field for graduation to accommodate more family members than in previous years.  The principal met with parents and teachers to select an appropriate date and time for graduation – Friday at 1pm – using the field as a venue. It has been tradition to hold high school graduations on the same day and time, and so South San Francisco High School will hold its ceremony also on Friday at 1:00 pm, as well.

Regarding grad night, it is an independent activity sponsored by parents of graduates. It is not sponsored by the District.


  1. 5.    What are the qualifications for high school coaches of girls’ sports and do SSFHS and ECHS receive the same quality of coaches?


Each school does its own hiring of coaches for its athletic program.  By law, teachers and classified staff members have priority for these positions.  If staff members are not available, the school’s athletic director works with the school administration to recruit and hire outside coaches.  Although the District helps with that process by posting positions, the schools make the final decision on the qualifications of who is hired.  All of our coaches go through certification on sportsmanship and are screened as is every employee with the District.

4 comments for “SSFUSD & ESC Weekly Q&A Week #1

  1. Jeannette Funcke
    May 27, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    Why does the school year start earlier and let out earlier every year? Mid August is especially early to be starting school. Why doesn’t it start after Labor Day?

    • Editor
      May 27, 2014 at 3:29 pm

      Thank you for your question Jeannette. We will include it with our questions being submitted today with responses being provided next Monday. Thank you. -ed

    • May 27, 2014 at 9:18 pm

      Jeanette, that’s the common schedule around the country these days; most colleges on the semester system are on that schedule now, and IIRC, it started at the college level.

      The colleges did it so the winter break could double as the semester break. So it follows that most high schools now follow that schedule now so the kids can rest and have time to prepare for college. It then follows that most middle schools follow that schedule now so kids can rest and have time to prepare for high school. Now, therefore, most elementary schools follow that schedule so that kids have time to rest and prepare for middle school. I think Pacifica is the only local school district that still gets out in June.

    • Editor
      June 2, 2014 at 9:43 am

      Jeannette – Here is the link for our questions this past week which included yours above, thank you again for asking it.

      The reply from the District on your question is as follows:

      At the secondary level, the total number of days for a school year is 180 student days and that has traditionally been divided into two semesters of 90 days each. A few years ago, the district committed to finishing the first semester of school at the secondary level by winter break. Previously, it had ended about three weeks after we returned from the break. We wanted to honor the time students have with their families over the break by not filling it with projects to complete and studying for finals. We now start school in the middle of August and have a first semester of 86 student days that ends at winter break. The second semester starts after winter break and is 94 days long. The extra time allows for spring testing and the many student activities that come in the spring that have an impact on instructional time. The school calendar is negotiated with the San Francisco Classroom Teachers’ Association and we negotiated two to three years at a time. For example, the calendars have been set for 2014 – 2015 and 2015 – 2016.

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