Initiate Wonder

Theory of Change

If we redesign the school structures, bell and master schedule, to include elements that provide equitable course access and deeper learning experiences for ALL students, we will realize the 8th grade graduate profile outlined in Vision 2025. 

Theory of Change

Redesign Model

The following elements represent SFUSD’s current draft for a redesigned middle grades learning experience.

Modified Block Schedule

  • Students will take eight courses each trimester, with longer periods of time for deeper learning and an exploratory wheel at each grade.
  • This new schedule will permit all students to participate in and benefit from an expanded range of classes and programs.

Universal Learning Experiences

Universal Courses


Aligned Professional Learning Time

Weekly afternoon early release time for teachers across all PK-12 SFUSD schools will enable teachers to collaborate with colleagues at other schools and continue to deepen their professional growth.


Bright Spots

Initiate Wonder: The Middle Grades calls attention to the district's redesigned middle school experience that will be scaled city-wide by 2025.

The redesign will provide collaboration and development opportunities for teachers to reimagine and redesign teaching and learning across all subject areas so that students will accelerate and exercise choice in a rigorous, relevant, and interdisciplinary education that prepares them for high school, college, and career in the 21st century.

PBL Teacher Exhibition Night

12 teachers across 7 middle schools in SFUSD participated in a Professional Learning Community (PLC) focused reflection and professional growth implementing project-based learning in their classrooms.

Case Study: Accelerated Literacy Course at Visitacion Valley Middle School


Our Design

Starting this year, all students are taking an accelerated leveled literacy course where they increase their reading stamina by reading for up to 30 minutes each class period. The course meets three times per week, twice for 72 minutes, and once for 44 minutes. High level courses have about 30 students. Medium courses have 20 or less, and our lowest course has 15 or less. Students are learning reading skills that increase comprehension. They are choosing books that are just beyond their reading level, which they now know, to push them to the next level. Some students who are many grade levels behind are receiving small group and 1:1 pull out reading workshops from our Literacy Specialist. Our after-school Beacon program is supporting students with leveled readers and discussion using skills taught in their Accelerated Literacy course.

Our Results

1. Our students are more excited about reading and raising their scores than ever before.

2. We have accelerated at three times the pace of last year. Last year, we increased the number of students reading on grade level, as measured by the Reading Inventory from 21 percent to 25 percent in nine months. This was through daily reading in all classes and some shared reading scaffolding. This year, we have increased from 26 percent to 30 percent in the first 3 months.

3. We hope to increase to 35-40 percent by May.

reading book outdoor photo

This page was last updated on January 17, 2020