SFUSD Begins School Year With 99% of Classrooms Staffed

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SFUSD Begins School Year With 99% of Classrooms Staffed

Press Release

For the third year in a row, the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) began the 2019-20 school year Monday with 99% of classrooms staffed. The District credits multiple efforts with successfully combating the nationwide teacher shortage and staffing nearly every classroom by the first day of school.

On the first day of school in 2019-20, there were six vacancies, which is similar to the number of vacancies on the first day in 2017-18 and 2018-19. On the first day of school in 2016-17, there were 38 vacancies. 

“We know that there is a teacher shortage nationally and in California, and that the high cost of living in San Francisco makes it even more challenging to hire teachers,” Superintendent Dr. Vincent Matthews said. “SFUSD continues to explore new ways to recruit and retain educators. We are committed to ensuring each classroom is staffed with well-prepared teachers and we do this by using innovative strategies to recruit teachers, help them earn their credentials, and increase their compensation.”

For the past 10 years, in spite of the rising cost of living, SFUSD’s teacher attrition rate has held steady at 9-12% each year. This number includes resignations, retirements and terminations. While turn over rates have been consistent for over a decade, four years ago SFUSD, along with many districts, opened schools with dozens of vacancies due to the state and national teacher shortage. The district has since created innovative approaches to ensure a steady pipeline of diverse teachers committed to working in San Francisco and redoubled its recruitment efforts. 

Internal Pipelines

SFUSD has built numerous teacher pipeline programs in-house and in partnership with local universities to support aspiring teachers to become credentialed. These include:


  • SFUSD Pathway to Teaching - a one-year in-house credentialing program supporting special education, bilingual-Spanish, and multiple subjects.

  • San Francisco Teacher Residency - a one-year teacher residency program in partnership with University of San Francisco and Stanford schools of education. Credential areas include multiple subjects, bilingual-Spanish, and secondary math and science.

  • NYU Teacher Residency - a one-year teacher residency program in partnership with New York University. Credentials include secondary math, science, English and social science.

  • Paraprofessional-to-Teacher Program - a case management model of support for current SFUSD paraprofessionals aspiring to become teachers. This is the oldest pipeline program and has a guidance counselor approach to candidates.

  • Intern partnerships with other local universities, including San Francisco State University and University of San Francisco.

  • Visiting Teacher Program - This year the district hosted eight visiting teachers from Spain, joining the returning nine visiting teachers already in the district. These teachers are recruited by the California Department of Education, and receive support from Human Resources in identifying a Bilingual Spanish position. 

Robust Recruitment

The District has focused on both online and in-person outreach to engage potential teachers and teacher candidates. SFUSD published 300 job postings, engaged candidates on social media, connected with teacher candidates at external recruitment events, and attended 33 job fairs in and outside the Bay Area. Staff also hosted information sessions on Alternative Routes to Teaching and Multilingual Education Pathways, visited classes at local teacher credential programs, and held interview events for applicants.

Strategic Staffing

Each school has a dedicated staffing analyst responsible for supporting administrators in navigating the hiring and selection process. They support with the full cycle of hiring, and make sure administrators have high quality candidates to interview.

Teacher Salaries

Since 2014, SFUSD has increased its base teacher salaries by 25%. SFUSD’s average teacher salary has gone up from over $62,000 five years ago to over $83,000 this year.


Page updated on 08/22/19

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