October 7, 2020

October 7, 2020

Dear SFUSD Staff:

Staff, families and students are all understandably curious about what progress we’re making toward offering in-person learning options. Last week we shared a set of criteria our district is using to determine that we are ready to move to offering in-person instruction to select student populations. We announced that we would start with offering in person instruction for our youngest learners in PreK and students with individual education programs (IEPs) who receive special education services for moderate to severe disabilities in our special day classes.

I can assure that we are all working tirelessly to continue providing distance learning while also putting everything in place to safely welcome back our students. In an effort to make our preparations more visible to our community, we will be sharing a dashboard to monitor progress on key indicators at the Board of Education meeting on October 20.

Here is short list of what’s happening now: 

  • Conducting school site assessments with regards to ventilation and classroom capacities in light of physical distancing and other safety measures
  • Meeting with various labor representatives related to returning to in-person instruction
  • Putting out a request for proposals to identify providers who can oversee regular COVID testing 

Families, students and community members who are eager for our public schools to reopen to in-person learningwe hear you. And for those of you who want to stay in distance learning to limit the spread of COVID-19we hear you too. Our schools are essential to the lived experiences of over 54,000 students and their families and over 9,000 staff and their families. I can assure you we are taking this very seriously and we’ll share more progress updates in the near future. 

Please keep reading today’s digest for more important updates.


SFUSD Partners with SF Public Libraries to Go-Go

The Bookmobile is here! On Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2 to 6 p.m., the Library’s fleet of bookmobiles will park at Jose Ortega Elementary School, Willie Brown Jr. Middle School and John O’Connell High School. The mobile will be at Treasure Island on Wednesdays from 2 to6 p.m. Patrons can drop off library materials and retrieve holds at each location.

How it works: Place a hold through your library accounts for books, DVDs, audiobooks, LPs or any circulating item and select the SFPL To Go-Go site for pick up. Once the holds are ready, patrons will receive an email, print notice or phone call letting them know that their materials are ready. Patrons are welcome to bring their reusable bag, but per health guidelines, they may not be placed on the pick-up table. Bags will be provided for those who do not have them. SFPL employees will operate the bookmobile, and SFUSD school librarians will help facilitate properly distanced curbside pick-up.

In more good news, on October 13, the Library will start SFPL To Go service at Chinatown, Ortega and Visitacion Valley branch libraries. For more information visit sfpl.org/sfpl-to-go. Use this map to find the nearest SFPL to Go location.

Staff Wellness Survey Update

Earlier today, District staff received an email from Dr. Matthews with the subject line "SFUSD Staff Wellness Survey [Action Needed by 10/23]". This email was sent via the Panorama Education Team, a District partner that is helping us send out the staff survey. You may have received a warning at the top of the email with the word “phishing” asking you to be “careful with the message.” Rest assured that the email and the survey link are safe and we hope you will complete the survey as soon as possible. 

Grading & Feedback During Distance Learning

Educators are expected to consistently share information with families and students on student performance, including effective and timely feedback on homework, classwork, and projects, and maintain consistent two-way communication with families on performance at a minimum of every two weeks. We know many educators engage with families much more frequently, especially in distance learning! 

SFUSD distance learning platforms provide ways for educators to share class assignments and activities, and student work, with families so that parents/guardians can support their children during distance learning.  

Check out the tips and resources below to help you share assignment and activity information with families through ParentVue, Seesaw, and Google Classroom!


Parents and guardians are able to view assignments in ParentVUE, if shared by teachers. Here’s how to create an assignment in TeacherVUE Gradebook. You can also add resources such as links to other websites, Google Slides, or any other documents. If you are syncing assignments from Google Classroom, make sure the “Show to Parent/Student Portal” is on. For support on syncing between Synergy Gradebook & Google Classroom, check out this self-paced guide. Visit bit.ly/SFUSDTeacherPortal for more resources on TeacherVUE Gradebook.


Invite families to join your Seesaw class so they can see their children’s work. To do this:

  • Click on the wrench icon in the upper right of your Seesaw class. 
  • Click on “Enable Family Access” and then on “Invite Families”.  Families can be invited by email or mobile number. 
  • Once they join, they can view only their own child’s work. This is a great way for families to stay involved with their student’s classwork. 

Check out this video for additional help.


Guardian emails summaries from Classroom are a great way to help families stay informed on the work their student is engaging in. 

It’s easy to get started! Just turn it on in your class’ settings (video), and then on the People tab, add parent/guardian emails for each student (video). You can access parent/guardian emails from Synergy.

Parents and guardians will receive an invitation email they will need to accept before they can start to receive these summary emails; and Guardians may need to check their spam folder to find it. 

Once a guardian accepts an invite for Google summaries in one class, they are automatically added to all of the student’s other classes in Classroom. 

You can also direct families to our guardian email summaries webpage to learn more about this built-in feature of Classroom. See an example of a guardian email summary

Technology Tips to Support Distance Learning


Over the past couple of weeks, SFUSD has made some changes to YouTube filtering to be more responsive to teachers’ and families’ requests to help students manage distractions and access to appropriate content.

Sometimes this also results in educational content getting blocked for students. Check out our guide with tips for sharing videos for some other ways you can share instructional videos with students.


Do you need guidance on how to share a Zoom meeting link with students? Here’s how to create a Zoom link and share it in Clever, Google Classroom, and Seesaw.

Are you or your students getting a Zoom error that says "this meeting is for authorized attendees only"? Make sure that everyone is logged into Zoom first in the Chrome browser before clicking the meeting link. Log in to Zoom by opening Chrome and going to sfusd.zoom.com/meeting. SFUSD Chromebooks are configured to automatically log students into Zoom when they log into the Chromebook. For instructions on logging in to Zoom meetings, please check out our full guide on logging in to Zoom and activating your Zoom account

Are students’ microphones suddenly too loud and disruptive? Please share these instructions with your students so they can adjust their Chromebook and Zoom microphone levels. You can also see Ms. Aguiao’s guide on adjusting the microphones on Chromebooks. Thanks Ms. Aguiao! 

Volunteers Needed! Help Students Access School Meals

SFUSD employees and community members can volunteer at any of our 18 grab & go sites every Wednesday. Volunteers assist with setup, line control, and breakdown. Sign up to volunteer!

Learn About Proposed Changes to the Elementary Student Assignment Policy 

You are invited to a Community Information Session to learn about the proposed Student Assignment Policy that the Board of Education will vote on in December. 

This is an opportunity to ask questions about the policy, understand its key features, and provide input on how we implement the policy in the coming years. The policy changes will impact elementary schools only, and will not affect incoming kindergarten students any sooner than school year 2022-23. 

The Community Information Sessions are Oct. 27, 28, 29 and Nov. 7. To learn more and register, visit sfusd.edu/student-assignment-community-information-meeting

FYI: DCYF Community Hubs Update 

DCYF has completed their registration process for Phase I of the in person Community Hubs. In the first phase, DCYF outreached to over 3,500 families and over 1,000 families enrolled. 

More students will be offered a space in the coming weeks. DCYF has provided SFUSD with registration codes for 340 K-6 slots. Based on the slots available, RPA will identify eligible families for an invitation. 

SFUSD will be sending out invitations on behalf of DCYF for Phase II of the in-person Community Hubs by next week.  A list will be sent  to each school principal and Coordinated Care Team facilitator that includes:

  1. The students from the school who are currently enrolled in a Community Hub
  2. The students whose families will receive an invitation to enroll in a Community Hub for Phase II

Invitations will not be sent to students based on staff referrals or self referrals. Instead, RPA will run the data based on priority populations/eligibility criteria including attendance participation rates and match the students to the slots available by grade and neighborhood. As more slots become available, we will continue to update the lists sent to schools sites. 

Within the Community Hub application, families  will be able to choose up to two neighborhoods as options for placement.  Families will be able to select their home neighborhood and one other neighborhood.Families will be able to select to attend the morning portion only or full day.  Pick up times will vary.  Families will  be notified of the pick-up time within the acceptance letter.  

The registration process is open from Oct. 13 to 24. Applications will be will be reviewed and checked internally by DCYF CH Enrollment and Matching Specialist. Applicants will receive an acceptance letter that will be sent via email and in survey form from the CH Enrollment and Matching Specialist.  This form must be signed and returned within one week of receipt.  Once the acceptance form has been returned, the student will be officially enrolled into a Hub. 


Education Funding Measures on November Ballot

Ballots are arriving by mail to registered voters’ households this week. Please remember to look for and vote on Proposition J, which addresses a legal loophole to continue providing funds to SFUSD, and California Proposition 15, which would increase revenue for public education and other services. Learn more about these measures.

Wellness Tip

As most of us work from home, it is important to have a proper desk setup to promote comfort and reduce injury or stress. Take the Computer Workstation Self-Assessment to review posture and chair set up. 

Take time to practice active movement breaks. Try these:

  • Shoulder Roll:  Sit up straight so your ears and shoulders are aligned.  Slowly roll your shoulders backwards in a circular motion.  Focus on opening the chest. 
  • Wrist Circles: Extend your arm and clutch your hand in a fist.  Slowly move your wrist in circular motion drawing a figure 8.  Do this for 20-30 seconds at a time. Repeat on the other side. 
  • Neck Rolls: Once every hour, take a quick stretch break and engage in doing some slow neck rolls in both directions. Be gentle, and don’t push it if something feels sore or wrong. 

Bright Spot

In honor of World Teachers Day, I want to give a special shout out to every one of our educators working hard to support students. While officially recognized this past Monday, let’s celebrate teachers and all that they do each and every day.

Family Digest

Read today's family digest.

Warm regards,
Superintendent Dr. Vincent Matthews