Keeping students connected with music, mindfulness and magic

Keeping students connected with music, mindfulness and magic

Originally published in the San Francisco Examiner

While our school buildings are temporarily closed, our students have shared how much they miss being with their teachers and their peers. They, like many of us, are missing connection and routine.

Our schools are centers of community life and the relationships students have with each other and their teachers are essential to a child’s education.

That’s why we at SFUSD have been working with urgency and creativity to find ways to connect and create distance learning opportunities during the shelter in place. Over the past several weeks teachers and support staff have been reaching out to students in multiple ways including the telephone and online — checking in on their overall wellbeing, offering resources and leading learning from afar.

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! While the content was created with our youngest scholars in mind, I invite people of all ages to join us on this learning journey.

The content on the TV show is created entirely by San Francisco public school educators and special guests. Each episode includes a daily lesson, wiggles & dance, a read aloud, music, mindfulness, and more. I will be performing some magic tricks — yes, real magic — on some of the episodes.

I am grateful to all of the educators and staff who are helping to create “SF Loves Learning.” Our Early Education Department has been a key partner, by offering content specialists to collaborate on the content, as well as PreK and TK teachers who have taken on roles to provide community circle and early literacy activities. Many others, like our SFUSD librarians and music teachers, are providing read alouds and songs.

SFUSD is conducting teacher-led interactive distance learning for all PreK-12 students, with both digital and non-digital options for students to engage in learning at home as their circumstances allow.

Many of the ways we are engaging with our students during this time are possible because we have great community partners. For instance, the 10,000 laptops and learning kits we distributed to students would not have been possible without millions in donations. The SF Examiner allows me to share this column with you every week. And now, with KTVU Plus, our preschool and early elementary students have one more learning option on TV.

I hope our students and families know that their teachers and other adults in the community care about them. Together we are providing a well-rounded home learning experience to the greatest extent possible over the course of school closures.

If you miss an episode, don’t worry – we will be posting content from previous episodes on our website at sfusd.edu.

Watch “SF Loves Learning” on KTVU Plus from 2-3 pm, Monday-Friday, through the remainder of the school year.