SFUSD to Continue Student and Family Resource Link Started in Pandemic
New Districtwide Service System Receives Lifetime Gift from Zendesk
San Francisco (July 7, 2021) - After a year since its inception, the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) announced that it will continue its Student and Family Resource Link service to support students and families in navigating all of the SFUSD resources available to them.
Established in April 2020 to help families navigate resources and questions during school building closures and distance learning, the Student and Family Resource Link has fielded nearly 54,000 requests via Zendesk from SFUSD families and students.
“Having a single point of contact that is accessible to families with questions and concerns is something we’ve wanted to make happen for years but didn’t have the resources. The pandemic was a catalyst for us to make this a priority as families could not easily reach anyone at a school building. What emerged thanks to our staff and Zendesk is an invaluable service we will bring with us as we return to in-person school,” said Superintendent Dr. Vincent Matthews.
Students and families can access the Student and Family Resource Link in three ways: through an online request form, email or phone line. Content experts from district departments respond to a variety of questions, including technology, distance learning, student enrollment, special education, food & nutrition, and physical & mental wellness. Multilingual content experts provide language access as needed in Arabic, Cantonese, Mandarin, Filipino, Spanish and Vietnamese.
The majority of requests are responded to on the same day or within a few days. Over 92 agents (SFUSD staff from across various departments) have worked with the Student and Family Resource Link since its inception and have received an overall 94% customer satisfaction rating.
As SFUSD sought new ways to keep in touch with families, especially those who were limited English proficient and/or not online, Zendesk stepped forward to offer assistance.
"When schools shut down suddenly in March, the District was abruptly faced with massive new challenges in serving our students and helping them continue to learn. Zendesk immediately stepped forward to offer strong support and technical assistance to help us redeploy and expand their products, already in use, but to better serve District families and stay connected to their educational needs at home. We are grateful to Zendesk and their employees, along with many great community partners, who stepped up when San Francisco students and families needed them in this unprecedented crisis," said Gentle Blythe, Deputy Superintendent for Communications and Strategic Partnerships.
“When SFUSD needed a quick, scalable, and customized solution for the many services the school district provides to low income and English as a Second Language (ESL) communities, we wanted to help,” said Norman Gennaro, president of sales at Zendesk. “It was clear that the district was a trusted source of information for vulnerable families as the pandemic hit, and we are happy that Zendesk could help support its critical mission.”
SFUSD is the seventh largest school district in California, educating over 56,000 preK-12 students every year. San Francisco is both a city and a county; therefore, SFUSD administers both the school district and the San Francisco County Office of Education (COE). This makes SFUSD a “single district county.”