July 15, 2020 - Family Digest

July 15, 2020

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Dear SFUSD Families:

This morning, I shared a message letting you know that the fall semester will begin with distance learning. We know our entire community needs to make plans so I wanted to share this news now, even as we are still finalizing more details. 

We continue to listen to the input and feedback you are sharing. Some of the thoughts you shared were included in my presentation to the Board of Education at last night’s July 14 meeting. You may view the slides online. We are continuing to explore feedback from the surveys and town halls as well as other sources and will share even more details at the July 28 Board of Education meeting.

Updates and Reminders

Technology Access to Support Distance Learning

As we plan to begin the fall semester with distance learning, the district is planning to continue loaning technology and supporting internet access for students who need it to the greatest extent possible. SFUSD will distribute additional technology to students in grades 3-12 who did not receive it last spring, including rising 3rd graders and students new to SFUSD. SFUSD is also planning to provide devices to students in grades PK-2 who need technology access to support connection and learning. 

More information about the opportunities for families to pick up needed technology and non-digital instructional materials in August will be provided in the coming weeks. This summer, SFUSD has been developing training and other resources for families to help them learn how to use district technology and online platforms to support their children’s learning. 

While the district plans to distribute technology to families who need it as early as possible, we know not everyone will have access to a device on the first day of school on August 17. We will move as quickly as possible and please be assured, this fall SFUSD will provide both digital and non-digital opportunities for students to connect and engage in their learning.

Reminder - Graduating or Moving On from SFUSD? Return SFUSD Property on July 23!

  • Graduating seniors and all other students who are leaving SFUSD (not enrolled in August 2020) must return SFUSD property including borrowed technology and musical instruments.
  • Return events will be held on Thursday, July 23 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at four locations: 
    • 555 Franklin St
    • Cesar Chavez ES
    • James Denman MS
    • Willie Brown MS
  • Please note that this event is for returns ONLY; there will be no new distributions or exchanges.
  • Please visit bit.ly/SFUSDreturns for additional information.

Reminder - Fun and Free Activities for SFUSD Students!

We still have more than a month to go before school is back in session. Our Summer Guide offers fun and free activities for all ages that help with:

  • Taking a break from screens 
  • Staying active both physically and mentally
  • Encouraging healthy habits
  • Maintaining connections with loved ones
  • And more!

Reminder - Family Survey Still Open 

  • Please take a brief, anonymous survey to share your thoughts on what you want fall learning to look like.
  • The survey is available online here in English, Spanish, Cantonese, Tagalog, Arabic, Vietnamese, and Samoan.
  • Select your student's school to take the survey. If you have more than one student, please take one survey per child. 
  • To change the survey to a different language, go to dropdown menu at the top where it says "English"
  • Please respond as early as possible but no later than July 24. 
  • SFUSD will share a summary of the findings later in July.

Health and Wellness

Here are three more tips from "How can I stay positive for my kids when I'm so overwhelmed?" by Dr. Briscoe-Smith, published in the Greater Good Magazine:

  1. Listen to your children and support their actions. So much of the conversation about talking with our children is really about talking at our children. There’s a time for that, but try to first be curious about how they are doing, how they are making sense of things.  Listen to them about how they understand what’s happening and what solutions they might like. If they’re old enough to pursue solutions, encourage them to do so. 
  2. Draw their attention to the good things. The terrible things are important to pay attention to, but they do not have to dominate our existence in the way that they are now. Pay attention to moments of joy, too. If your attention goes to examples of heroism, helping, empathy, and resilience, your kids will follow your gaze, even if they don’t seem to be.
    3. Remember our stories of resilience. Let’s not forget: We have indeed been through terror and trauma before. Every family has a story of survival, of resilience. Let’s cultivate and tell those stories—and create new ones.
  • If you need help, you may contact resources offered on Health SF
    • TALK LINE: 415-441-KIDS (5437)
    • National Parent Helpline: 1-855-427-2736
    • Hours:  10:00 am – 7:00 pm PDT (Monday - Friday)


Bright Spot

Even while at a distance we can continue to be creative and engage students with learning and with each other! This week, 43 rising 9th graders in the Black Star Rising program are competing in a virtual UCSF/Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement (MESA) bridge-building contest to showcase their use of the math and engineering concepts they learned over the past five weeks. Read more about their learning journey.

Warm regards,
Superintendent Dr. Vincent Matthews