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S.F. program tries to bridge gap between school and community

Mission Local
 — May 9 2012 - 5:33pm

Vanessa Marrero prepared for an important job one Tuesday in January. In leopard kitten heels and a beige trench coat, she grabbed a folder and hopped into a waiting car outside of John O’Connell High School.

She was heading to a student’s home in the Bayview to talk to his mom. As a community school coordinator, Marrero had Carlos’ records in hand.

Half an hour later, inside a small apartment furnished with a light lime-green couch, two school certificates tacked to a wall and family pictures in heart-shaped frames, Marrero began the conversation with Carlos’ mom, Angela, in Spanish.

He isn’t in trouble, she reassured Angela. No, this was going be a different kind of visit.

Marrero was there with Jose Villalobos, the school’s parent liaison, to connect with Angela — to tell her about the resources available to her and her son, and to discuss Carlos’ grades and attendance.

Marrero’s job was created last year as part of several reforms at the city’s underperforming schools funded by a $45 million district-wide School Improvement Grant, which will continue through the end of the 2012-2013 school year. Six community school coordinators work in the Mission District, each earning about $60,000 a year.

Read the complete story at Mission Local.