Shoestrings Program Overview

Shoestrings is an intensive assessment and intervention diagnostic program, Shoestrings is not an educational placement. Our program is designed to support students and families who continue to face barriers to school success particularly in settings which struggle to create and sustain supportive and nurturing school environments.

High Level Shoestrings Overview

Shoestrings Communications Letter

Shoestrings Calendar

Shoestrings Cohort Calendar


Cohort 6

My name is XXXXX am the Mother to my son XXXXXXXXX who has attended Shoestrings program, and I can truly say without the program we as a family wouldn’t have come so far as we have with our son.

At around age 4 my son started to develop issues with expressing and dealing with his emotions at a school setting, at home my son would be okay but when in school he would become aggressive, non-expressive of his feelings, and would act out for attention because he didn’t know how to deal with his feelings. Prior to Shoestrings I had placed him in 3 different schools in which I had expressed my areas on concerns with my son and developed a plan with site supervisors but time and time again instead of helping my son it was easier for the school to dismiss .while talking among my friends I found my child wasn’t the only one going through his and how this is an ongoing issues many parents face with their children. Either your child is calm and okay for school or schools easily dismiss students instead of coming up with a plan of action to help assist your child . While I was desperate for help with my son his first childcare provider helped me gain access to Shoestring we enrolled him in SFUSD and were able to have him attend Shoestrings program within a few months.

Before starting the program Shoestrings instructors came to my sons school and connected with my child to make him feel more comfortable, my child main problem was his inability to understand others emotions and feeling which caused him to not know how to deal with his emotions and feelings, during the chores of the shoestrings program as weeks when on I saw the change in my son he when from grabbing toys, running off, screaming, getting aggressive during playtime with other children to stopping pausing and thinking about how he was treating others and how he feels instead of reacting, Shoestring taught him to express his feelings  with the use of language also taught him how to self-reflect on his emotions, what I loved about the program is he would come home proud and happy  to be attending shoestrings the best part was on Fridays when an instructor from shoestring would come to his school and guide him with other classmates and mentor him to using what they had been learning in class for the week. Not only are the Shoestrings instructor hands on with the student, shoestrings not only helped my child, they helped his teachers at his school help guide him, helped me and my husband by giving us advice and materials in helping guide our child, also allowed for us to have special playtime with our son in which the instructors would instructed us to use different method to curve our child problem area ( learning to take turns playing, understanding it’s okay not to win all the time, understanding what schedules are and how to time manage) .

My son literally when from being dismissed from school to school and feeling like a failure to gaining strength, courage, pride, and becoming a successful shoestring sheriff. If it’s one thing I can advise the next parent is please give shoestrings a try the instructors all go above and beyond your child is a child and every child needs love and support, it doesn’t make you a bad parent because your child is a little different I have 4 children and raise them all the same every child is unique and have their own personality, as a parent our Job is to help guide our child to be as successful as they can be and this is definitely  the right program to help your child who may need some advice and guidance.

I can honestly say the hardest part was being able to trust another program/school with my child without them turning their backs on my child and my family, and the best decision I made was allowing The Shoestrings program into my family’s life they have given us the hope, courage, strength we desperately needed am forever grateful for The Shoestrings Program.


Cohort 5

Shoestrings provided my child with the individualized support to uplift his strengths and work through his challenges. The amazing staff dedicated their time, love and encouragement to taking care of my whole family and making sure we had the resources, knowledge, and autonomy to succeed.  I am a better parent because of their support and my child has valuable tools to help him along his development journey .

Cohort 5

I believe that the  SFUSD Shoe String program is  wonderful  and benefits so many children who could use some support in self-regulation. Self-regulation is not always easy for anybody really, and yet for kids of all ages,  it is an  essential skill to ground them in school and life. I  hope that the program can expand to be available at  more schools and for older children  as well.

 It is so evident how much all of the Shoe String staff like and appreciate the kids and are genuine,  loving, and boundary clear.

 The learning tools work for everyone.  I was only able to participate in one session with my grandson.  In that one, I   learned such an easy reframe to  avoid big power struggles over what  my grandson might want  compared to what I was willing to do or to what was possible. No screaming or yelling or escalation


That’s not an option right now. We could…  and repeat

 Another important learning within  the program  is to have parents/caregivers encourage the children to be aware of their feelings by checking in-how are you feeling now, using words and   the great face emotion chart.

 For example, I see you have some  strong feelings  right now. Do you want to talk about it, and not name what we might think the feeling is…are you sad ,  etc.

Earmuffs are also available if the kid needs to chill first.

 The  phrases and word  suggestions  offered  can often sound not in one’s culture and contrived.   The idea is to keep the content   and make the words the family’s own.

This page was last updated on October 5, 2022