From the Desk of the Superintendent

September 2020

9/7/20 - Tips for using ParentVUE

More than ever these days, SFUSD families are turning to online platforms to get information from their children’s teachers, schools, and the district. 

August 2020

8/31/20 - There are bright spots in distance learning

I want to share with you some of the ways that SFUSD staff have already been showing their creativity and providing new opportunities for more meaningful distance learning.

8/24/20 - Technology tips for families

As all of our schools engage in distance learning this fall to protect against the spread of COVID-19, you and your child may be encountering new technology and programs. And you may have questions. But rest assured -- at SFUSD, we’re here to help!

8/17/20 - Supporting families with distance learning

The beginning of a new school year is a time to celebrate, and even though we’re beginning this year from a distance to protect the health and safety of our communities, I hope we can all find moments of joy, grace, and compassion to share in this new school year together.

8/10/20 - Tips for supporting your child's home learning

Rest assured, we are doing everything we can in the district to prepare for a return to school buildings when science and data suggest it is safe to do so. And in the meantime, great educators are planning robust learning for students to engage in this fall from a safe distance.

June 2020

6/29/20 - Summer learning can be fun

It’s been almost a month since the 2019-20 school year ended, and what an unusual year it’s been. Though the year has brought enormous challenges and hardship to our entire community, including our students, staff and families, I want to offer a few celebrations as we wrap up the year and suggest some things for your summer learning list.

6/22/20- School is going to look different this fall

We know that in addition to public health, there are many factors to consider when reopening school buildings for in-person instruction. Based on public health guidance, schools will likely need to operate differently in terms of class configurations, passing periods, recess, lunch, and more.

6/15/20 - SFUSD's budget challenges and how you can help

Schools were facing severe funding challenges and struggling to balance budgets prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. Those same funding challenges remain, and they are only becoming more severe. The pandemic has brought about millions of new unanticipated costs for SFUSD. As this crisis has unfolded, it has been abundantly clear that schools are — and always will be — the centers of communities and the beacons of hope for many students and families. It’s time to fund and support them. You can help. 

6/8/20 - Celebrating the accomplishments of students in a difficult year

When we started the year last fall, none of us could have imagined that this is how we are beginning our summer.Getting to this day has been hard and taken an incredible amount of effort. Parents have had to care for children at all hours of the day while also tending to many other responsibilities. Teachers have to learn how to educate from a distance, recreating years of carefully developed lesson plans within a matter of weeks. Students have to be in charge of their learning in a whole new way.

6/1/20 - Honoring the Class of 2020

Graduation is a special time for students to celebrate the years of hard work that it takes to grow and advance to the next stage in life. And, it's not just special for graduates, families and friends get to witness the accomplishment of loved ones. Here are some other ways we’re making graduation season during COVID-19 as special as possible. 

May 2020

5/17/20 - Classified employees are at the forefront of SFUSD’s pandemic response

This week I want to celebrate more people who are essential to making our schools work for kids, like school secretaries, custodians, security guards, cafeteria workers, and teaching assistants, to name just a few.

5/10/20 - Supporting English language learners during distance learning

As an educational institution, we are deeply invested in maintaining a comprehensive system of support for English language learners. Our district offers 50 language programs that reach 9,400 students, including students who are just learning to speak English. During this time of temporary school closures, our mission is no different.

5/1/20 - Celebrating San Francisco educators during Teacher Appreciation Week

This week is National Teacher Appreciation week, and I invite you to join me in celebrating the teachers we have in San Francisco public schools –– not only this week –– but all year long. 

April 2020

4/27/20 - SFUSD offers new resources to families to get access to information and support

The SFUSD Family Resource Link allows families to contact content experts via email, an online request form, and phone with questions they have related to distance learning and other topics related to this unprecedented time when school buildings are closed but instruction is still continuing in some form. Our goal is to connect families with information and support that they need.

4/17/20 - Keeping students connected with music, mindfulness and magic

This week, I’m thrilled to share that we have another way our teachers are reaching our youngest students, who have disproportionately less access to technology than older students. We are partnering with KTVU to provide an hour long television episode for preschool through 2nd grade students called “SF Loves Learning” Monday through Friday at 2 pm on KTVU Plus!

4/12/20 - Learning while at home

Even though school buildings are closed, the school year continues. As a district we are implementing a phased-in distance learning plan and today, we begin our third phase.

March 2020

3/2/20 - Celebrating National School Breakfast Week

As part of National School Breakfast Week, we’re celebrating the impact breakfast has on our students and highlighting our goals to increase access across the district.

February 2020

2/23/20 - Participating in the 2020 Census with SF public schools

2020 is the year of the Census, and San Francisco public schools are making sure that everyone in SF counts! Every 10 years, the federal government is required by law to count every person that lives in the United States. This process is known as the Census, and our public schools receive federal funding based on how many people are in San Francisco. Here are a few things you should know about how it works:

2/16/20 - Kicking off the budgeting process with the School Planning Summit

Each year we submit a budget to the State and that budget is created with community input. One way that input is gathered is through School Site Councils. While they meet year round, the budgeting process is formally launched next week when school site leaders and community stakeholders meet for the School Planning Summit to work together as a team to create a strategic plan for their school.

2/9/20 - Budgeting to ensure students are prepared for college and careers

With tax time just around the corner, you might be thinking even more than usual about your finances. At the San Francisco Unified School District, finances are also a major topic on our minds.

2/3/20 - Celebrating Black History Month with SF public schools

Throughout the month of February, San Francisco public schools will host a multitude of lessons, events, performances and more to celebrate black excellence.

January 2020

1/26/20 - SFUSD made big gains for black students in 2019

In 2015 we formed the African American Achievement and Leadership Initiative (AAALI), which just released its 2019 Annual Report, showing the progress and the improvement areas that have emerged over the past several years. Allow me to share some of the bright spots.

1/19/20 - Helping to mentor an SF public school student

It’s National Mentoring Month and a chance to share my gratitude that here in San Francisco several great community organizations recruit, train and support mentors who support our City’s youth.

1/12/20 - Deadline to apply for SF public schools rapidly approaching

Here in San Francisco, we have a choice-based enrollment system, which means families have the opportunity to choose which public schools they would like their children to attend. This is different than how it worked back when a lot of us were kids, so I get questions about it. Here are some of them.

1/6/20 - Our vision is clear in the new year

Every new year brings a chance to reflect, consider where we’ve been and where we want to go. Fortunately, at SFUSD we’re clear about where we’re headed: we’re redefining school for the 21st century for each and every child.

December 2019

12/16/19 - SFUSD's grad rate increases to 89%

​As a school district we use many measures for how well we educate students. Looking at data is important not just to gauge the effectiveness of our programs, curriculum, and strategies for student achievement but also to ensure we’re putting our limited resources to the best possible use. Graduation rates are one of those important data points, and the California Department of Education just released the 2019 graduation rates for school districts across the state.

12/9/19 - Students learning to use technology for good

At SFUSD, we recognize the importance of computer science education even if students don’t plan to pursue computer science as a career path. This week, thousands of SFUSD students are celebrating Computer Science Education Week.

12/2/19 - SF schools chart the course for inclusion

This week, we’re taking time to celebrate something that’s at the core of what public schools are about. We have inclusive schools, which means we include everyone — and I mean everyone — in our classrooms and our schoolyards.

November 2019

11/22/19 - Giving Thanks

I strongly believe in the importance of ensuring each and every child has access to an awesome public education.  If you’re reading this, we likely share this belief. Today I want to express that I am thankful for you and for our community for supporting our public schools.  

11/18/19 - Making the most of parent-teacher conferences

You’ve probably heard it before but I want to say it again: Parents are a child’s first teacher. I’d like to add that parents are a child’s most influential teacher. That’s why when teachers and parents team up to support and educate a child, amazing learning can happen.

11/11/19 - SFUSD champions efforts to protect, support transgender students

On the first day of November, San Francisco officials raised a special flag at City Hall: the Transgender Flag, in honor of Trans Awareness Month. It’s no secret that San Francisco is a leader in celebrating diversity, and our schools have also been nationwide leaders in affirming the rights of transgender and nonbinary students.

11/4/19 - SFUSD rethinks school assignment system

As an educator and parent, I know that where you send your child to school is an important decision. There are many different factors parents consider when selecting their child’s school, from location to program offerings, but generally speaking we parents want our children to be safe and supported and to receive a well-rounded top-notch education.

October 2019

10/28/19 - ​SFUSD celebrates Filipino American History Month

​Kamusta! That’s “hello” in Tagalog, one of the six languages most frequently spoken by our SFUSD students and families. If you’re in our schools, you may have heard this and other Tagalog words even more throughout the month of October as many of our schools have joined in celebrating Filipino American History Month. Read more.

10/21/19 - ​Celebrating a brand new state-of-the-art school kitchen

​The other day I enjoyed a truly delicious lunch with food from many different cultures. There were multiple entrees to choose from: Oven-fried rice with egg rolls, crunchy tacos, caprese salads, and fresh turkey sandwiches. Sides included organic tomato soup, carrots, melon, and a variety of whole fruits. Read more.

10/14/19 - ​Preparing students for the digital world

​We all know that being safe and successful in the digital world is now essential knowledge. That’s why this week schools across the City will be teaching lessons related to digital citizenship. Read more.

10/7/19 - ​A new approach to testing

​In SFUSD we realize the importance of using multiple methods to assist us in understanding what a student knows and can do. I want to share one of those methods with you, formative and summative assessments. Read more.

September 2019

9/30/19 - SFUSD celebrates Latinx Heritage Month

Our schools strive to be places where every student can see themselves and be themselves, where learning reflects both the familiar and unknown. Read more.

9/23/19 - SFUSD alumni leading the Bay Area

The year 1979 was important for San Francisco. I graduated from high school. Voters elected the City’s first female mayor. And, San Francisco Peer Resources was created to train students as first responders, advocates and allies for each other. Read more.

9/16/19 - Salesforce, SFUSD partnership proves it takes a village

There’s a well-known African proverb that it takes a village to raise a child. Here in San Francisco, we’re fortunate that this is not just a saying, but a reality. One such example is our ongoing partnership with Salesforce. Read more.

9/9/19 - Family partnerships are essential to ensuring student success

We know that a child's family is their first and most influential teacher. Just imagine what a difference it can make for a child when everyone is working together to make sure they have what they need to learn and grow. Read more.

August 2019

8/26/19 - Stemming SFUSD’s teacher shortage

I wholeheartedly loved working as a teacher at George Washington Carver Elementary School in Hunters Point. Spending my days with curious young people and helping them learn about themselves and the world is a joy like no other. Read more.

8/20/19 - SFUSD begins school year with new changes

We’re back. Did you miss the sound of children playing on the school yard or the vision of youth exploring the Presidio’s history? I did! Read more.

8/15/19 - Goodbye summer, hello school year

I have a very important announcement that will bring parents and children great joy: Our schools open next week! Read more.