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We Are SFUSD

"We Are SFUSD" shares real stories about our students, staff, leaders, and families with the community of San Francisco. Take a glimpse into the lives of the people who make up SFUSD, and learn how SFUSD core values to be student-centered, fearless, united, and to support social justice and diversity leads the work every day in our schools.

05/12/17

Carmen Chen, SFUSD alumna and Medical Case Manager at the API Wellness Center

My first experience with learning about HIV was in first grade. My class went to a play that was about someone who was HIV positive and what it’s like to have it. I remember meeting the cast. Most of them were HIV positive. I high-fived them like, ‘Hey, you’re not so scary. You’re not going to pass on HIV because we just saw a play about it.’ It was so impactful. Now, 20-something years later, I work in the HIV field. I’m a medical case manager at a local nonprofit working with folks who are HIV positive and underserved in the LGBT community. To this day, I remember that play. It was my first time ever hearing about HIV.

05/05/17

Darin Atkins, Legal Assistant

“Before working in the legal department, I was a substitute teacher at various schools. Students in San Francisco come from a wide variety of backgrounds. SFUSD opens doors that students thought could never be opened.”

04/28/17

Robert, 11th-grader and basketball player at Mission High School

“Everybody is talking about our championship basketball team right now, but a lot of people don’t think about how hard it is to maintain grades and basketball at the same time. Our priorities are very hard. We have to maintain more than a 2.0 grade point average. That’s what we all focus on first. We’re always students first and athletes second.”

04/21/17

Amber Yada, parent at Dr. William L. Cobb Elementary School

Cobb was my first choice. It has a strong restorative practices culture. That was really important for me. My daughter is biracial. I wanted to make sure that her culture was understood and reflected in the school.

04/17/17

Teri Gee, Families and Youth in Transition Head Counselor

Having dropped out of high school and becoming homeless myself, I understand the struggles our homeless students face and want to give back. Years ago, I broke into a church. I was allowed to live there as a janitor while I pursued my counseling degrees. There are about 2,600 homeless children in our district. I make sure to give each student and family 110 percent. These students need support. They need compassion. They need a caring adult.

04/07/17

Apollo, 7th-grader at Willie L. Brown Jr. Middle School

In Robotics, we’re making a freight elevator. I’m really proud of that because my code is pretty good. I accomplished it early, and the build looks really nice too! Our school is like any school, except for the different classes we take. I like learning things that you wouldn’t learn at other middle schools, like robotics and app design. When I grow up, I want to be an engineer, a physical therapist, or a dialysis technician. I’m applying for internships at the California Academy of Sciences and the San Francisco Zoo. It’s going to look good on my resume.

03/31/17

Kania Tucker, Drama and Digital Media Teacher at Visitacion Valley Middle School

Visitacion Valley Middle School is a place where you can be yourself. The teachers really take their time to get to know their students. We create a curriculum that is interesting to the students and caters to their needs, wants and interests. We’re a family here. I felt welcomed since the beginning.

03/24/17

Tyrin, 6th-grader at Willie L. Brown Jr. Middle School

I’m proud that I learned coding in a short amount of time. Now I can do more stuff on the computer than I could before.

03/17/17

Justin, 7th-grader at Willie L. Brown Jr. Middle School

“My dad heard about Willie Brown Middle School. At that time, Willie Brown wasn’t even built. It was a metal structure. When I first went to see the school it was covered in plastic. I didn’t know much about it. But my dad said, ‘Willie Brown is going to be a new school, we should try it.’ It’s new -- why wouldn’t anyone want to try it? I listed it as my first choice. Now I’m going to be the first class to graduate -- that’s pretty good. I like that.”

03/10/17

Gabriel de la Cruz, teacher at Thurgood Marshall Academic High School

I hope that in the future my students are the ones becoming the mayors, doctors, policy writers, community leaders and organizers, and teachers. I’ll know I’ve been successful when I have a student who becomes the first Latino president, the first Filipino president, the first transgender president -- when my students are really pushing for these spaces and changing our society. In the short-term, I want my students to believe in themselves, go into higher learning, and use their skills to change society. To paraphrase Tupac: I might not create change, but I can spark the mind that’s going to create change.