SFUSD’s New Initiative Leads to Gains in African American and Pacific Islander Kindergarten Student Learning

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District Exceeds Proficiency Rate Targets for Focal Student Populations

San Francisco (June 12, 2024) — Following the launch this school year of its new initiative “Each and Every by Name,” a comprehensive system-wide approach to supporting African American and Pacific Islander kindergarten students, San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) Superintendent Dr. Matt Wayne announced gains in outcomes for these students, far exceeding the ambitious targets set for the 2023-24 school year. 

“This year, we tried a new systemic approach to supporting our most historically underserved students by making it a point to know each and every African American and Pacific Islander kindergarten student by name and provide the necessary support and resources to help them thrive,” SFUSD Superintendent Dr. Matt Wayne said. “While we know we need to do more to fully eliminate the opportunity gap, these data show our innovative efforts have been successful. I want to extend my gratitude to each student, family member, and educator who has worked incredibly hard to achieve these results. This is why we are here as educators - to help put San Francisco students on the path to success and get them ready for college and career. ”

SFUSD’s success with the Each and Every by Name initiative offers a roadmap for how to improve outcomes and interrupt inequities that have persisted in SFUSD. This focus on educational equity prioritizes a student-centered, action-oriented, and results focused approach. The Each and Every by Name initiative is what this conception of equity looks like in practice. 

In 2022, the SF Board of Education unanimously adopted a vision, values, goals, and guardrails (VVGG) that collectively serve as the SFUSD’s North Star. The three long-term goals for student outcomes are to increase the literacy of all third-grade students, increase the math proficiency of all 8th grade students, and increase the percentage of high school 12th graders who are college- and career-ready. Further, the district determined interim goals to monitor progress toward each goal. Interim Goal 1.1 states: “The percentage of African American and Pacific Islander Kindergarten students meeting grade level proficiency as measured by district interim tests (Star Early Literacy) will increase from 32% in October 2023 to 48% by May 2024.” 

SFUSD has surpassed that interim goal as of May 2024, with at least 52% of African American and Pacific Islander Kindergarten students in the 2023-24 class meeting or exceeding grade-level proficiency. This represents a statistically significant increase from the previous window (about +20%), and a greater increase as compared to other student groups. 

Graphic showing Interim Goal 1.1


Through the “Each and Every Initiative,” support has included phone calls home prior to the start of the school year, quarterly convenings with families, sending literacy kits home and decodable readers, and working with school staff on how to meet students’ needs. SFUSD Central Office spent time combing through each students’ data to identify students for high impact tutoring in advance of Spring testing.

Professional development was also a factor. Over 200 kindergarten teachers attended professional development in foundational skills instruction and learned about the important components of phonemic awareness and phonics instruction. Using data from teachers sharing their best practices, SFUSD will develop a resource guide of successful strategies to be implemented next year. 

Another successful strategy was to provide an individually-tailored Star assessment result report after the Winter assessment period to each Kindergarten teacher and school leader who have one or more students in the “Each and Every by Name” initiative. Using these data, teachers were able to better shape and adjust their instruction, tailoring to the specific needs of each student. School leaders and instructional coaches also received the reports so they could provide support to classroom teachers.

Additionally, SFUSD introduced a new virtual high-dosage tutoring program (educational software that uses speech recognition technology) specifically aimed at supporting the focal population of students who were not yet meeting the reading targets. Among these students, more than 80% of those who took advantage of the program met or exceeded standards. By contrast, less than half of those who did not use the program met or exceeded standards.

“In the last three months, our committed efforts toward improving the academic performance of our AA/PI students have yielded promising results,” SFUSD Associate Superintendent of Schools Tamitrice Rice-Mitchell said. “By creating a systematic approach with targeted resources that include using data to drive instruction, high-dosage tutoring, and central office teams working together to support this initiative, we will scale these learned best practices district-wide in the coming year.”

SFUSD continues to implement supports and resources for African American and Pacific Islander kindergarten students who did not achieve grade level standards, including with summer programs. In the 2024-25 school year, SFUSD will begin implementing a new Language Arts core curriculum for grades PK-8. It has been at least 10 years since SFUSD last adopted a new Language Arts core curriculum.