New coordinated care teams help SFUSD better serve students

New coordinated care teams help SFUSD better serve students

From the Desk of the Superintendent - January 4, 2021

Originally published in the San Francisco Examiner and Sing Tao Daily.

By Dr. Vincent Matthews

The San Francisco Unified School District has long been a leader in implementing systems to support the emotional and physical well-being of students. It is a priority in our district to connect with all students, and to go the extra mile to reach the most vulnerable youth and families to understand what support they need and connect them with resources whenever possible.

One great example of this work is our new coordinated care plan for wellness and partnership. When we decided to temporarily continue with distance learning to protect the health of the community this fall, we knew we would need to work together across our schools to reach out to students to check in on their wellbeing.

The pandemic has encouraged us to reimagine programs and systems so that we can better serve students. The coordinated care work will continue even after we’ve transitioned back to in-person learning.

What does coordinated care look like in our schools?

Coordinated care involves deliberately organizing student and family support activities and sharing information among all of the participants concerned with a student’s success to achieve a safer and more equitable school culture and climate.

This work isn’t new in our schools — we have long implemented restorative practices, equity work and trauma-informed practices. Coordinating the care even better than before is what’s new, and we are continually refining and improving as we implement it.

For instance, rather than trying to “fix” a student, we will meet the student where they are and focus on addressing the environment. We will improve our use of data to inform decision making and follow up.

Our new site-based Coordinated Care Teams integrate pre-existing teams that may have previously worked independently of one another, including Culture and Climate, Student Assistance Program (SAP), Family Partnership Team (FP-PIP) and Attendance Review Team (SART) into one team.

This will look different at various school sites. Generally speaking, there will be a site leader and process facilitator (like a wellness coordinator, a school nurse or a social worker) who will lead a team of members from the school community — including the student’s family whenever possible — that focus on improving the student’s outcomes.

This is one of many ways we aim to serve all of our students, whether in-person or remotely. Keep reading future columns to learn about more.