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Newsletter Archive

2016-17

April: Meet the finalist for SFUSD's new superintendent

Our Board of Education has selected Dr. Vincent Matthews as their finalist to serve as SFUSD's next superintendent. Dr. Matthews is a 30-year veteran in education and an SFUSD graduate who has also taught and served as principal in our schools. The Board of Education will vote on the superintendent contract on April 4.

March: Respecting gender identity

We are committed to protecting our transgender and gender-expansive students. Read more about the policies in SFUSD and California that support students' rights and prohibit discrimination based on gender identity or gender expression.

February: Mark your calendars

There have been a lot of transitions lately, and some of them feel like a serious set back. Yet when I talk with our students and the many educators, parents and community members who support our youth, I remain hopeful for the future. Michelle Obama's message to young people in her final speech sums up what we want for our students: "Empower yourselves with a good education, then get out there and use that education to build a country worthy of your boundless promise."

January: Your family's digital life

Central to SFUSD's Vision 2025 is our graduate profile, six core competencies we want every one of our graduates to possess. One goal in the profile is for graduates to contribute their voices responsibly in all aspects of daily life, from social media to face-to-face communication. That's why we're increasing our digital citizenship lessons and why we want you to know how we're teaching young people to be responsible online.

December: Be a Champion of Inclusion

One of the core values we insist on in SFUSD is to be “diversity-driven.” By this we mean that we will respect and seek to understand each person. Bringing this value to life and guiding students as they learn to get along with and accept others isn't always easy, but it's essential to the mission of public schools.

November: Improving school climate

I like to spend a few moments reflecting on what I'm grateful for every day. This time of year I'm particularly grateful to the voters of San Francisco for their interest in our schools. Over the years, voters have studied and taken positions on arts education and sports programs, recruitment and retention strategies for teachers and school facilities improvements, just to name a few important issues.

October: The story behind the numbers

Data is important but can be hard to make sense of, which is why we continue to find ways to share data about our schools with you. Please join us on October 26 to discuss what the numbers tell us about kindergarten readiness, high school graduation, school climate, and more. I imagine you have questions about how we’re doing overall with meeting our goals as a district. Come on by and let’s discuss what the data show.

September: From cradle to college and career

During this period of transition, I plan to support district staff with moving forward the challenging and mission critical work at hand. We have already identified what we want SFUSD to look like in a decade and have mapped out our steps to get there. With these and other well-thought-out plans in place, let’s work together to provide positive experiences and rich opportunities for all our students.

August: Welcome back to school!

As students return to school today, I am filled with appreciation for what a wonderful community this is—and a touch of sadness. By now you've likely heard I plan to serve as Houston's superintendent in early September. The SF Board of Education has unanimously agreed that Deputy Superintendent Myong Leigh is the best choice to serve as interim. SFUSD is in good hands with Myong and team, and I look forward to cheering our schools on as they continue to progress this year and beyond.

2015-16

May: Facing the future

Our teachers bring their best selves to work and do their utmost to connect with each student every day. Without question, teaching was one of the most challenging, yet rewarding, jobs I've ever had. Today, on National Teacher Day, and during Teacher Appreciation Week, join me in celebrating and thanking our incredible teachers.

April: Beyond the three Rs

Welcome back from spring break! We're in the home stretch for the school year, which entails many opportunities for students to share what they've been learning through portfolios, performances, essays and, yes, statewide tests. I'm particularly excited to see the amazing student artwork, made possible in part through the Public Education Enrichment Fund (PEEF), that will be on display at the Asian Art Museum starting April 28.

March: Up close with the budget

Even though the budget isn't finalized until June, we have a good idea about what our resources are. Get a first look at how it's shaping up.

February: A new way to measure school quality

Who says San Francisco has no seasons? Right now it’s school planning season! The first semester of school is over, and we’re taking a look at our progress to date, making adjustments and planning for next year’s highest impact strategies so that we can allocate our resources accordingly.

January: Become a mentor today

January is National Mentoring Month, and we're celebrating with a day of service on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. You can also sign up to be a mentor and attend training on Jan. 20.

December: Weathering El Niño

We've all been hearing about the unusually strong El Niño that’s been predicted, and SFUSD and the City of San Francisco have been working around the clock to prepare. Learn how you can make sure your family is ready for the storms ahead.

November: The next generation's classroom

We're excited to be one of the 22 school districts accepted into the League of Innovative Schools. Digital Promise, a national group authorized by Congress to accelerate innovation in education, selected SFUSD from a national pool of applicants based on leadership, evidence of results, vision for learning, and commitment to collaboration.

October: Greening San Francisco schools

Our staff and students have been committed to sustainability for years, and now with the drought, ecoliteracy is even more important. Learn more about how we're incorporating it in the classroom and on the job.

September: Looking at CAASPP results

The results are in for the first year of tests that measure critical thinking, problem solving and analytical writing. With half our students meeting the goal, I'm proud to say that overall SFUSD student proficiency was higher than that of the state and other large urban districts in California.

August: Welcome back!

Welcome back! I’m happy to say that we're opening with every classroom fully staffed in spite of a statewide teacher shortage. And thanks to a healthier state budget and support from the city, private foundations and businesses, we can equip our teachers with the tools they need to help their students thrive.

2014-15

May: Congratulations to all our graduates!

I don’t know about you, but I can’t believe we only have 20 days of school left before summer break. Students across the city are completing final projects, and soon, they'll walk across the stage for graduation. Join me in celebrating their accomplishments and those of the family members and teachers who helped them along the way.

April: Put a poem in your pocket for National Poetry Month

Spring is in the air at SFUSD, and with it comes showcases of learning across the city. From cooking demonstrations to geography bees to mariachi concerts, our multi-talented youth never cease to impress me.

March: Get ready for Smarter Balanced Assessments

It’s planning time across the district, and the good news is the overall budget is increasing. The bad news is that our funding remains below the national average, and we're still faced with difficult choices on what to fund.

February: Thank a teacher today

Everyone likes to be appreciated for their efforts. Teachers have shared how supported they feel when students, families, community leaders, and even strangers appreciate them and their profession.

January: Everyone can code

We have much to look forward to in 2015. This spring our students will take a different test to show their critical thinking and writing skills, and it will be on a computer. In preparation, our assessments team is offering parents many opportunities to better understand the new assessments.

December: Inclusive Schools Week

We are here to teach our students—not just some of them. All of them. This is a privilege and a challenge that we take seriously. This week we are showcasing the positive effects of inclusive schools. Every school is doing something—check with yours to find out more.

November: The New Lunchroom

Though I’ve worked in education for over two decades, I have never before had the honor of being part of such an engaged and informed community of families and community members. I truly appreciate how you learn about and advocate for your child’s education. I have a lot to be thankful for, and you are at the top of my list. Happy (almost) Thanksgiving!

October: Building the Digital District

It goes without saying that our children are living and learning in a digital world, influenced by the technologies around them. Our new Core Curriculum calls for students to demonstrate 21st century skills, including navigating and creating with digital devices, content and applications. At SFUSD we are planning for how we can grow our digital district to enable more academic rigor, collaborative interactions and personalization.

September: Earthquakes and Visions and Math, Oh My! (premiere edition)

School is into its third week, and so much has already happened. Last week we practiced drop, cover and hold on earthquake drills. If it happens here during a school day, we want to be prepared. This newsletter is a new, monthly email for SFUSD families and community members. It will be filled with useful information for you about our schools. Please let us know what you think – and what you’d like to read about in the future!