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Newsletter Archive


April: Experience creativity in action

Experience creativity in actionOur SF public schools offer more arts and music, physical education, library services, and student support than any other large urban school district in the state. There is no better time than these last few months of the school year to cheer students on as they share what they've learned and created. Be sure to check out your school events that showcase children's talent and join thousands from across the city at the SFUSD Arts Festival.

March: Celebrating César Chávez Day

Celebrating César Chávez DayCésar Chávez and Dolores Huerta co-founded the United Farm Workers, and fittingly, Dolores Huerta Elementary School joined César Chávez Elementary School in SFUSD when Fairmount Elementary adopted its new name this school year. On March 31 we celebrate César Chávez's birthday.

February: Happy Year of the Pig!

Happy Year of the Pig!Throughout our schools this month, you may hear the beat of an African drumming circle or the cymbals of a lion dance. In addition to reading about and discussing the many cultures that make up our community, Black History Month and Lunar New Year are a chance to celebrate the rich heritage shared by our students and families. I encourage you to find out what your child’s school is doing to honor these important occasions.

January: New year, new opportunities

New year, new opportunitiesPreparing our city’s young people for college, careers and life is an incredible honor and serious responsibility. When it comes to being ready for career options, nothing compares to first-hand experiences. That’s why we partner with businesses across San Francisco to create opportunities for work-based learning for thousands of high school students every year.

December: Kaleidoscope of friends

Inclusive Schools Week 2018: Kaleidoscope of FriendsWe're celebrating Inclusive Schools Week from Dec. 3-7! Ask your school what activities they have planned for the week, and talk to your child on how you can support diversity and inclusion every day of the year.

November: Readers and writers

Readers and writersNovember is National Family Literacy Month! It’s a great time to recommit to your child’s learning and literacy development while spending quality time together. Here are some resources to help you keep a family-focused approach to education for this month and beyond.

October: Getting ready for the big one

Getting ready for the big oneSFUSD is all about learning—not just student learning but also staff learning in order to provide high-quality and engaging educational opportunities. We're also improving our practices to ensure student safety. In this e-newsletter you'll read about what we're doing—and what you can do—to prepare for the potential of an earthquake. Let's keep learning together.

August/September: Welcome back to school!

Welcome back to school!Welcome to the 2018-19 school year! I truly love the start of a new school year. I relish the opportunity to start fresh, make new school-year resolutions, and reconnect with people who are returning from (hopefully) restful summers. I’m excited for a year of fun and collaborative learning. Happy new school year!


June: Congratulations to the Class of 2018!

Our students have learned a lot this year, and it wouldn't have been possible without the hard work and dedication of their teachers and family members, as well as many community volunteers and organizations. On their behalf, I express my deepest gratitude.

May: Teacher Appreciation Week

From parents and students to the Mayor and the SF Giants, our community is showing their appreciation for the dedicated educators who help our young people grow and learn. Here are some ideas for ways to appreciate teachers this week and beyond.

April: Do you know someone who's ready?

Do you know any graduating seniors who exemplify characteristics in our Graduate Profile? Encourage them to apply for the Superintendent's 21st Century Award, which comes with a scholarship of $2,000 for the six students who are chosen.

March: Celebrating the arts

While the Lunar New Year festivities are winding down, there will be no shortage of celebrations this month. See and hear student creativity firsthand at the annual SFUSD Arts Festival and SFUSD's mariachi showcase. These events are just a few of many that remind us of the amazing arts educators and student artists throughout our city.

February: Celebrating Black History Month

SFUSD incorporates African American history into the core curriculum throughout the year and throughout all grade levels. Our schools also celebrate Black History Month in a myriad ways, and all of our high schools offer ethnic studies classes and several offer African American heritage electives. I hope that every child feels their history is reflected in the curriculum and those children who have been historically underrepresented or misrepresented find school to be a safe and welcoming place where people who look like them are reflected in all subject matter.

January: Healthy bodies, healthy minds

Happy new year! Now that it’s 2018, SFUSD has seven more years to realize Vision 2025. That may seem like a long time, but when you consider the scale of all the changes we’re making, it’s fast approaching. I wish you all the best in the year ahead, and I hope you'll continue to be a part of SFUSD realizing our vision. We need you!

December: Stand up, sit tall for inclusion

At SFUSD we are committed to the practice of inclusive education, which means students are full and accepted members of their school communities and classrooms. We foster inclusion every day and, this week, we join with other school districts across the nation to celebrate inclusive schools. The success of every student is the joint responsibility of all of us.

November: Make the most of family teacher conferences

I know you know it: your role as a parent or guardian is one essential ingredient to your child’s success in school. While there are many ways to support them, showing up for parent teacher conferences is high on my list. It’s an important chance to discuss your children’s progress with their teachers.

October: Expanding access to computer science

Forty percent of SFUSD middle schoolers are already taking computer science courses, and now we're expanding the program in elementary schools! This gives our students an early start in a subject matter that is increasingly important in the 21st century.

August/September: Welcome back!

We believe our schools must be free from racism and other forms of discrimination. In our Vision 2025 graduate profile, we have committed to develop young people who are at the center of solutions and who are capable of working together with others. I can assure you that as we begin our new school year, this critical purpose of public education is front of mind for the SFUSD team.


May: Congratulations graduates!

I am thrilled to be here in San Francisco after several decades away and to officially begin serving as the superintendent of San Francisco’s public schools. Upon returning to SFUSD, my first responsibility is to listen and learn so that I can help us build on the good work that is happening. In addition to visiting dozens of schools, I’m holding four community meetings this month because I want to hear from you. Please come out to share your thoughts with me.

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.


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.


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!