SFUSD recognized as California Exemplary District

Posted Date

SFUSD recognized as California Exemplary District

Press Release

San Francisco (April 15, 2019) - The San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) has been recognized as a California Exemplary District in 2019 for improving student performance in mathematics. The award follows the introduction of a new math course sequence five years ago, which has contributed to more students accessing higher level math courses.

The California Exemplary Districts Award celebrates the achievements of school districts that have implemented model practices that led to a positive impact on student outcomes. School districts are awarded from two categories: their performance in implementing model practices that have had a positive effect on school culture and climate; and for making exceptional strides in student achievement with an emphasis on the implementation of state academic standards and/or access to a broad course of study. SFUSD was recognized for the latter.

“As an equity-driven school district, our math curriculum is rooted in the belief that every student can excel in math,” Superintendent Dr. Vincent Matthews said. “Being recognized by the California Department of Education for growing our student achievement in math is a testament to the relevance of our approach and the hard work of our teachers and staff.”

The Exceptional Strides in Student Achievement category celebrates the achievements of districts that have positively impacted student achievement through model practices. In their application, districts must explain how they have made exceptional progress in student achievement and how they are engaging students and parents in that process.

SFUSD’s new Math Course Sequence Board Policy 6152.1 was adopted by the San Francisco Board of Education in 2014. The course sequence aligns with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and provides a progression of content from algebra, geometry and statistics.

The most recent math enrollment data  for the class of 2019 shows that more SFUSD high school students are taking higher level math classes than ever before under the new secondary course sequence, and the students who are taking those classes are more diverse.

SFUSD’s graduating class of 2019 is the first group of students to experience this sequence, starting with a full year of grade 8 Common Core State Standards math in diverse classrooms. The number of students who retake algebra has dropped from 40 percent for the class of 2018 to 8 percent for the class of 2019, with these decreases for all subgroups. This year, more students, and a far more diverse group of students, are accessing courses beyond Algebra 2.

Alongside SFUSD’s course sequencing policy, the district has also made changes in curriculum, coaching and professional development. Now in its fifth year of implementation, SFUSD’s Math Core Curriculum is structured around a unit design that holds the rich math task at the center of the students’ mathematical experience. A rich math task takes time to solve, lends itself to collaboration, and creates the context in which students build multiple representations and communicate their reasoning.  

To learn more about the SFUSD math course sequence, go to sfusdmath.org or read this recent American Institutes of Research report titled, "Pursuing Equity and Excellence in Mathematics: Course Sequencing and Placement in San Francisco."


When the state announced this award to the district, it also announced that Lowell High School is among 162 public middle and high schools in California being honored under the 2019 Distinguished Schools Program. Schools are awarded for achieving exceptional student performance for two consecutive school years or closing the achievement gap between two school years. Lowell also received the Exemplary Visual and Performing Arts recognition from the California Department of Education.


Page updated on 04/15/19