Why I Love Sanchez ES: Guest Blog Post from a Public School Parent
Susan Jassan is a public school parent whose son attends second-grade at Sanchez Elementary. They are from Charlotte, North Carolina. This is her experience of choosing a school for her son, who was in kindergarten at the time.
How did you come to attend Sanchez?
When my son started kindergarten, we were living in Charlotte, North Carolina. In December of that year we moved to San Francisco. Before we moved, I came out here for one week and did a lightning round of school tours. We looked not only at SFUSD schools but also private and charter schools. My son was attending a public school in Charlotte, so my preference was for him to go to a public school, but more than anything I just wanted what was best for him and our family.
There were a couple of schools we were looking at closely. As you go through the tour process, you develop preferences and you get to know about yourself as a parent. We had it narrowed down to a few schools. On the morning of making our transfer official, we arrived at the EPC before it opened. Because we were transferring in, on the day of the transfer you can enroll at whatever school has an opening. Sanchez and another school we were considering had openings. This was a tough moment where we had to make this choice. I said, I want to go with Sanchez. I made this decision because when I went to visit the school it felt like home to me. I do think that feeling of home is a very true feeling. I have felt it at other times I’ve been at this school.
How did the school make you feel like it was a home?
On the day that I came, the school didn’t have a tour scheduled. But I was told by someone that some schools will show you around nonetheless, and of all the schools I went to, that held true. The day I came to Sanchez was the last day before Winter Break. Some staff came into the office and said “We have tamales for our winter party” and they were bringing a plate of food for another person. I thought “Wow, there are parents bringing tamales to school? That’s great.” That was one way which made me feel a sense of home – that parents were sharing their culture with the students and staff. Then I felt like maybe it was an inconvenience that I was asking to be shown around, but no one made me feel that way at all. The reception was very welcoming. I was watching how parents and students were talking down the hall and it was with a sense of warmth and familiarity. And that to me feels like home: warmth, sharing, welcoming, familiarity.
How was the transition for your son?
The transition was challenging for lots of reasons -- moving away from family, moving from a house with big back yard to an apartment – none of which had to do with school. What made it much easier was his teacher at Sanchez. I cannot imagine a teacher more welcoming to an incoming student. She was incredible. She had a calm that absolutely amazed me. I think that calm presence in the classroom made it easier for my son.
In the spring we had the choice of applying for another school through the transfer process. I thought about it and decided no, we are going to stay with Sanchez. As summer was drawing to an end, I saw that my son was getting really excited about going back to school in a way that I hadn’t seen before. I think he knew that he was going back to a welcoming place and to people he knew. For example, we had not met his first grade teacher, but he already knew who she was because it’s a small school.
Your son is in the General Education track. How has it been for your son to be around students who are in the Spanish Biliteracy track?
Back in Charlotte I worked with refugees, so my son is used to being around people who speak other languages, who serve food in their home that may be different from what we eat at home, and who may dress in a different style. His father’s side is also Spanish-speaking, so he knows his tio and abuelo only speak in Spanish, and there’s a part of him that wants to speak Spanish so he can speak with them. Attending Sanchez was a great way to introduce this linguistic and cultural aspect for him. My son plays with other kids on the playground who are in the biliteracy track. Just last week he came home from school and said, “Mom, I spoke Spanish!” I asked, “Well, what did you say?” He said, “Adios, amigo!” Even in kindergarten he came home using words in Spanish that he picked up organically. As a parent, I absolutely love that. For him, he loves knowing that he is learning another language.
What would you like other parents to know about Sanchez?
The Sanchez school is really like a family in that it’s a warm and nurturing environment. I feel like it’s a place where my son is challenged social, academically, and in a socially conscious way. It is also a place where as a parent if you want to be very involved in school, you can. It’s heartily welcomed. Each parent, however they help, seems genuinely valued. As a parent I feel that I am needed and wanted to participate as much as possible. I am not just one other person in the crowd. As a parent, there's a sense of fulfillment. There’s a space for growth for the parent and child.
The opinions expressed by guest bloggers are of the individual author only and not necessarily those of Parents for Public Schools of San Francisco or its staff or board of directors.