Building relationships and community this year
Published in Chinese in Sing Tao Daily.
By Dr. Vincent Matthews
One of my most joyful moments in recent memory is welcoming students back on the first day of school this year. The laughter and excitement of our young scholars and their families echoed through the streets of San Francisco.
This is a moment to celebrate, and we also know that students are coming into this school year with a lot of unknowns. Every single child entering our schools is arriving ready to be welcomed. Every family is sending their child, trusting us to love them, to teach them and to prepare them for their future. What an immense and humbling honor we have in fulfilling their expectations. That’s why we are emphasizing building community.
Over the summer SFUSD staff worked together to create lesson plans and resources to support launching the year with a set of shared common principles across content areas and grade levels. We aim to provide coherence across classes so students can feel safe, welcomed, valued, and celebrated as we return to in-person learning.
The resources we have shared with educators focus on relationships among students, and between students and teachers.
First and foremost, we have approached these resources to encourage students to examine, explain, and interpret the world from their own perspectives. Each student is their own person and they should feel safe and valued.
We’re also considering how we assess learning. We are asking students and teachers to identify student strengths, and have students self-reflect on goal setting and their progress and to have students help identify how we can help them reach those goals.
Collaboration is key and daily lessons are structured so that students can collaborate with their peers. We also know that including families in their child’s learning journey is essential, and we are committed to building authentic partnerships with the adults who matter most to students.
The lessons also emphasize writing and technology integration. During the pandemic, we all spent a lot of time in front of our screens and while we will continue to use technology platforms for learning, we are eager to expand to learning in the many different ways in-person instruction can facilitate.
No matter what subject your child is learning -- whether math, science, art or health -- relationship building will be infused in their lessons. Ask them about it at the end of the school day!