Published in Chinese by Sing Tao Daily.
By Dr. Matt Wayne
I’m a little over a month into my new role as the superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District, and I am thrilled to rejoin such a vibrant and diverse community, where I previously served in a leadership role for elementary schools. While I’m familiar with the district, I’m coming in having been away for 10 years. I know a lot has changed in SFUSD and generally in education, and I want to make sure that I take some time to listen and learn and understand what the needs are in the district.
I’d like to share how I’ll use that time in my 117-day entry plan. Why 117 days? The San Francisco Board of Education has committed to a process to update our vision, values, and goals by October 25th, so I wanted to align my entry plan and learning and listening time to coincide with this process. This date will mark 117 days from when I started in SFUSD. Once we update our vision, values, and goals, I will also share what I’ve learned through a written report in November and make sure we are organizing our resources and are achieving the outcomes we hope for our students.
During these 117 days, my priority is to listen and learn. I also recognize that there are also urgent issues that require my attention. I want to make sure the needs of our staff, educators, families, and students are being addressed as we start the school year. At the same time, I also need to step back, listen to what we’ve been doing, and learn about our strengths and challenges.
I plan to be out and about listening to as many people in our school communities as possible. You should expect to see me at schools - I love to see our students in classrooms and our staff in action. All our schools are unique and special, but there are also common districtwide needs. Additionally, I plan to host multilingual town halls at schools to speak with students, families, and staff. Please stay tuned for details; I hope to see you there.
What’s encouraging is that people really care for our students and our district, and want to see us succeed. I want us to use that energy to achieve our goals as a community. We need to think about how we’ll bring people together.
Since I started my tenure as SFUSD superintendent in July, I’ve already heard about some common themes in feedback from the community. Among the needs are increased trust in the district; transparency and clear, frequent communication; systems and operations that meet staff and community needs; and repairing harm from divisions in the district and our community.
We want all SFUSD students to graduate as independent thinkers with a sense of agency who have mastered academic and creative skills to lead productive lives and contribute to our community. This is the vision we are moving toward, and I look forward to achieving that vision with all of us working together.