Letter from the Principal (2020-2021)
August 13, 2020
Dear Visitacion Valley Middle School Families,
Welcome to another school year, this time starting virtual! I hope your family is well and you are getting the support you need. This has been a very difficult year, due to the coronavirus and recent police brutality. We got a break from school, but we know it was not what summer should be. It was nice to have more time with my new daughter, Zuri, and my 3 year old Naima. But, like you, it is hard to be stuck at home and we worried about the future. We are doing the best we can, like I know you all are. Still, I am excited to start the year and give your children the best learning experience possible. We are expecting to continue “Learning Through Crisis,” also called Distance Learning, at least for the first 8 weeks. If that gets extended or changed, you will receive information from SFUSD communications department as well as from our school. Our teachers have been reflecting on the Spring and will be prepared to serve your students.
We have 2 main goals this year:
- Build connections with our students and support your health/wellness during this pandemic
- Make all learning relevant to the real world, connect classes, and build literacy skills
What you can expect from the Visitacion Valley staff:
- Engaging virtual lessons and opportunities for students to connect material and work together
- Regular communication of updates from staff and support with your needs, once per week
What we expect from parents and family members:
- Make sure students have what they need or let us know how we can help
- Check with students to make sure they know where they can find their teaching and learning
- Reach out often (monitor grades, contact teachers and counselors, and ask questions). We have Chinese, Spanish, Samoan, and Portuguese bilingual staff.
- Read our communications via text message and email, once per week
We hope you can get involved in our virtual School Site Council (SSC) and virtual English Learner Advisory Committee (ELAC). We also run monthly parent clubs for Chinese and Spanish speaking families, and are planning to expand to Pacific Islander and African American clubs as well.
There is some important information enclosed in this letter about the first day of school. Please read it with your student(s). If you should have any questions, comments or suggestions, please do not hesitate to call us at school 415-891-9066. We are looking forward to a productive, safe, academically challenging, creative, and fun school year. We hope you are as well and look forward to your partnership in your child’s education. See you soon and enjoy the rest of your summer.
Joe and Courtney
Schoolwide Overview and Updates
Continuing a Project Based Learning Approach
We are in year four of shifting teacher practice to implement engaging, hands-on project based curriculum with all students that is aligned to Common Core Standards and SFUSD’s Vision 2025 Plan. Our goal is to teach students to be strong written and oral communicators, collaborators across difference, and to develop agency over their own learning.
Course Offerings and Schedule
Students at VVMS take seven (7) classes each year, which includes: Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, English Language Arts, Physical Education, Elective (music, drama, visual art, or Ethnic Studies), and either an intervention or enrichment class. Intervention classes have a reading focus. During our “Learning Through Crisis” time, students will spend time in each class and have access to visit the teacher's “Office Hours,” where they can get extra help.
Modified First Two Week Schedule
For the first two weeks, we will be offering a modified bell schedule to ensure that students are building community and connection with their teachers and each other, as well as learning how to engage on the technology platforms. Students will have two mandatory “live” classes with their teachers each day, as well as offline, or asynchronous, work.
All students will attend a “live” class with their grade level teachers every morning from 9 am to 10 am. Here, students will get an orientation to our school and meet their teachers and classmates. In the afternoon, students will choose to attend class from either 12-1 or 2-3. There is flexibility based on what will work best for your family. Small group time, or office hours, will be held daily from 3-3:30 for students who have additional questions. Below, you will find information by grade level on how your students can join their “live” classes.
Welcoming New Falcons
- Bishoy Abdelshaid, AAMA and ELD Teacher
- Anna Cannon, 7th grade Math
- Jiyoung Lee, Newcomer Math Teacher (returning after being away for 2 years)
- Teri Gee, Counselor
- Fatema Elbakoury, 6th grade ELA Teacher
- Lindsay Chou, 6th grade Science Teacher
- Faga Misa, Special Education Co-Teacher
- Christina Velasco, IRF (Instructional Coach)