July 29, 2020 - Family Digest

July 29, 2020

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Dear SFUSD Families:

As we head into the final days of July, I know you’re eager for updates regarding the fall semester. I’m pleased to share with you that last night the Board of Education and district leaders discussed community feedback and a high level plan for fall learning

The plan provides general guidance and direction including on topics related to support for special student populations, attendance, grading and assessing learning, digital learning, non digital learning, materials distribution, resources for families, and professional development for staff

More specific details, such as hours of instruction, will be available soon. School site staff are returning from summer break and SFUSD leadership is working with the United Educators of San Francisco to create a Memorandum of Understanding between the teachers union and district that will outline more specific details.

Please keep reading today’s digest for more information about fall learning and other important updates.


Questions about SFUSD schools and in-person cohorts/pods

While schools are closed to in-person instruction, some community members have wondered if SFUSD schools can help organize in-person cohorts or pods  (small groups of children who can be together in-person). At this point the primary focus of SFUSD staff is to make sure distance learning happens in the best way possible. Review this FAQ for answers to frequently asked questions on this topic.


Racial Justice

How do we help youth consider perspectives different than their own? Check out these 26 Mini-Films for Exploring Race, Bias and Identity With Students. These videos and the following reflection questions from the New York Times are a great way for adults and children alike to reflect on their own identities, experiences and biases, and begin important and often challenging conversations. 

Teaching Compassion

Here are three tips for families and educators on using the COVID pandemic to teach kids about compassion, by Maryam Abdullah, published in the Greater Good Magazine:

  • Show compassion to kids so they experience receiving it.
  • Create space to help their children become better aware of and process their feelings. Acknowledge and be sensitive to our children’s emotions to help them to see that this moment of hardship will eventually pass.

Teach Kids to Practice Self-Compassion by encouraging them to extend compassion to others such as sending kind thoughts to essential workers, regularly FaceTiming with isolated older or immunocompromised family members, or helping gather canned goods for the local food bank (review these other ideas from Youth Service America to help inspire children toward compassionate acts).

Bright Spot

Lana Nguyen and Susanna Lau, two George Washington High School students, were featured on SFGate today for launching SupplyHopeInfo. Using a free website builder and a lot of grassroots efforts, the pair has spearheaded a fundraising effort that has brought in $4,000 and provided school supplies to more than 100 low-income families. 

Warm regards,

Superintendent Dr. Vincent Matthews