Community Engagement

As part of the policy development and implementation process, SFUSD staff have organized numerous opportunities for gathering extensive feedback from district advisory bodies, families, and community members.

Spring 2020 (Policy Development)

In Spring 2020 SFUSD staff gathered community feedback on the Board’s policy goals and three potential concepts for a new elementary school assignment system. SFUSD conducted this community engagement process in partnership with Parents for Public Schools of San Francisco (PPS SF). SFUSD and PPS SF convened a Community Engagement Team, which included representatives from SFUSD’s various district advisory bodies, for feedback and guidance throughout the planning process. In total, the Community Engagement Team organized 12 community workshops, 11 meetings with community groups and city agencies, and tabling at 10 locations. 

Five key themes came up consistently throughout this engagement:

  • Quality Schools: Above all, families want to send their children to high quality schools and expressed that student assignment would not be as important if all schools were considered high quality. Families expressed that resource inequities contribute to unevenness in perceived quality and suggested solutions to distribute resources more equitably.
  • Choice: Families recognize that choice can be inequitable and can harm schools that are perceived as being less desirable. At the same time, many families want to be able to choose a school that works for them.
  • Distrust: Many African American and Latinx families were distrustful of the process and motivations for redesigning the current student assignment system. Families raised serious concerns that a proximity based assignment system would be unfair and would harm those with the least resources.
  • Proximity: All else equal, most families would prefer to send their children to school close to home. However, many felt that school quality is inequitably distributed throughout the city and would not want to send their child to a neighborhood school unless they viewed it as a high quality school.
  • Anxiety About Boundaries: Many workshop participants found it difficult to give feedback without knowing what the boundaries would look like.

Fall 2021 (Zone Development)

In Fall 2021, SFUSD staff gathered community feedback on different approaches to creating the elementary school zones. We asked participants two main questions:

  • Does the community prefer that zones are representative (each zone similar to the city’s overall demographics) or avoid over-concentration (no group is concentrated/isolated in any one zone)?
  • Does the community prefer geographically larger zones with more schools to choose from, or geographically smaller zones with fewer schools?

Due to the pandemic, feedback was gathered from 16 virtual community workshops and 417 online surveys. 

Six insights were distilled from this engagement:

  • Representativeness: When it comes to diversity, ensuring representativeness makes sense to most families, but there are also concerns about its feasibility, whether it will be too strict, and whether students from underrepresented communities will be isolated.
  • Choice: Most families prioritize more choice over proximity, but they value both.
  • Access: Families want to ensure access to a range of language and special education programs for their child.
  • Resources: Families want the district to be accountable for providing equitable resources in schools, and to invest in schools to reduce disparities.
  • Inclusion/Integration: African American, Pacific Islander, Latinx families, and families with students who are English learners or receiving special education services want SFUSD to ensure diverse staffing and intentional inclusion/integration in schools.
  • Diversity: Although there are questions about how the new policy will work, many families value the policy’s overall goal: diverse learning environments.

This page was last updated on April 7, 2022