SFUSD faces 'unprecedented' times amid teacher shortages / Cal Academy's 90-year-old fish
1.5.22 * Circulation 4,459 * 189 members
Hey there, San Francisco.
Yesterday, as I was rushing to get the newsletter out, I missed an incredible detail from the Chronicle’s story on our city’s “unprecedented” teacher shortages.
Apparently, as SFUSD Superintendent Dr. Vincent Matthews was subbing a sixth-grade science class in the Mission, he received (and picked up!) a call from the Chronicle’s education reporter, Jill Tucker.
Here’s what Tucker wrote about the exchange:
In San Francisco, Superintendent Matthews spent the day teaching sixth-grade science at Everett Middle School, where students Googled him, even looking up his salary.
“Clearly they’re recognizing this is a unique situation,” he said by phone from his classroom. “We have a large number of teachers out and a large number of classrooms uncovered, so I rolled up my sleeves and took a classroom today.”
Matthews interrupted the five-minute call to chastise students analyzing water samples using an online lesson: “You guys need to work independently and quietly,” he said, using his stern teacher’s voice.
“I’m really enjoying it,” he said back on the phone call. “It’s what is necessary.”
I don’t mean to make light of the situation (and kudos to Matthews and all the other district officials who are filling in for teachers who are out sick), but can you imagine walking into class only to find out that the district superintendent is your sub? Then he uses a “stern teacher’s voice” to tell you to work “independently,” all while he’s on the phone with a reporter!
An unprecedented time, indeed.
Some good news on the school front: On Wednesday, Superintendent Matthews issued a statement confirming that the district had received its shipment of rapid tests from the state and was working to distribute them to students.
Some unsettling news: Some San Francisco teachers are planning a “sickout” on Thursday, “saying they will skip school because they feel the district failed to adequately protect them during the pandemic,” the Chronicle writes. Though it’s unclear how many teachers will participate, an online petition with nearly 500 signatures read: “By withholding our labor…we can shut the whole system down. And we will!”
On Wednesday, Matthews didn’t address the “sickout” specifically but said that “even as the pandemic continues, we believe school remains a safer place for our students considering the harmful effects of social isolation and learning loss,” signaling that the district remains firm on continuing in-person learning despite the Omicron surge and teacher shortages.
More on this in the days to come, I’m sure.
And with that…onto some more news…
Quick bits: Bite-sized news stories from across the city
💰 Warriors’ ticket prices are on the rise for Sunday’s game against the Cavs when star Klay Thompson is expected to play in his first game in over two years. Prices vary per section, but some on Tuesday topped $14,000 on Ticketmaster, the Chronicle said. This season, the Warriors’ ticket prices have ranked the most expensive in the NBA with an average Chase Center stub costing $589. (Chronicle)
👀 Tadich Grill, which SFGATE says is “generally considered the oldest restaurant in San Francisco,” has declared this Thursday, January 6 as “Dave Portnoy Day” as a way to commemorate the controversial Barstool Sports founder who offered them funding during the pandemic one year ago. “That lifeline received is a big reason we are still here today,” the restaurant wrote on Instagram, offering Barstool T-shirts to its first 75 lunch and dinner patrons on Thursday. (SFGATE)
🚲 Lake Street (between Arguello and 28th Avenue) could become one of the city’s first permanent “Slow Streets,” the Examiner’s Carly Graf reports. Before that happens, however, residents have until January 14 to take a survey and give feedback on the four proposals for the corridor, which vary from creating a single vehicle lane down the center of the road to doing away with its Slow Street status altogether. (Examiner)
⚡️ San Francisco startup Bolt, which promises a “one-click” checkout experience for online retailers, said on Wednesday that it’ll permanently offer a four-day workweek to its some 550 full-time employees. SFGATE wrote that the company “first implemented a four-day workweek as a pilot last fall [and] workers, naturally, loved it.” (SFGATE)
Did you know The SF Minute now has memberships? Plans start at $5 per month and give you full access to everything we produce. They also go a long way in making The SF Minute happen. Learn more about becoming a member here. 🙏
What else I’m reading: Links to browse at your leisure
Is Hunters Point sick? Meet the doctor screening residents for toxins in S.F.’s biggest development battle (Chronicle)
Recology Seeks to End-Run Effort to Police its Tainted Trash-Hauling Monopoly (SF Standard)
Where to Eat and Drink on Ocean Avenue in San Francisco (Eater)
Did you know that the oldest aquarium fish in the world lives in Golden Gate Park’s California Academy of Sciences? Her name is Methuselah and, although her exact age isn’t known, she’s a lungfish believed to be at least 90 years old!
The Chronicle’s Peter Hartlaub writes that Methuselah traveled by steamship from Queensland, Australia, and arrived in San Francisco in 1938, which, for reference, was when “Al Capone was locked up in Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge had been open less than a year and Willie Mays was 6 years old.”
Apparently, Methuselah, who can be seen swimming at the Cal Academy’s Steinhart Aquarium, enjoys literal belly rubs from her fish keeper, Allan Jan, and likes eating figs. But only when they’re ripe.
“She’s picky,” Jan says. “And being that old, I allow her to be picky.”
Alright, that’s all for today! Thanks so much for reading y’all and I’ll see you back here tomorrow. - Nick B.