September 30, 2020

September 30, 2020

Dear SFUSD Staff:

It’s going to be another hot day tomorrow, Thursday, Oct. 1. Even during heat waves, we must continue to protect ourselves and our community from COVID-19. If it feels too hot in your home, seek cooler temperatures while keeping at least six feet away from people not in your household. Visit for helpful tips.


UESF Member Stipends for Distance Learning Expenses

All UESF members will receive a $400 stipend to offset costs associated with providing distance learning. Classified UESF members will receive a stipend in their Oct. 21 paycheck and certificated members will see the stipend in their Oct. 30 paycheck.

Apply for an Administrator Micro-Grant

Apply for up to $2500 to learn with other SFUSD administrators!

With the goal of fostering educator-led professional development across sites/departments, the SFUSD administrator micro-grants will support cross-site or cross-department collaboration and learning for administrators. Apply to lead a project or PLC!  Apply online by Friday, Oct. 16. Learn more about SFUSD micro-grants. Contact Nora Houseman for more information at  

EL Participation Promoters

Perhaps the biggest challenge of distance learning is how to engage all students in the virtual learning environment, especially English learners. How do we know if students are paying attention, making meaning, and comprehending the lesson that teachers are delivering over Zoom? How do we support students to participate and interact in meaningful ways in the virtual learning context? 

We want to leverage Nearpod as a technology platform that generates participation, engagement, and checks for understanding. As well, some educators have developed effective practices to promote academic discourse in breakout rooms. 

We are recruiting EL Participation Promoters K-12 to support spreading these practices. Nearpod enthusiasts and other interested educators can learn more and submit an interest survey linked on this informational flyer: EL Participation Promoter Role. Please contact YunJi Chai, (elementary schools & K8 schools) or Lucas Elbaum, (middle and high schools).

Authentic Partnership and Communication During Distance Learning

A necessary component of partnership is clear and regular communication. In the world of the remote school building, families rely on school and district websites, email, ParentVUE and other means to get information about school and their child specifically. We understand that there are a number of other ways that you can share this information with families as well. But, as we work to have consistent and familiar systems across our district, all families and students should be able to access syllabi and course information via ParentVUE and StudentVUE. 

Share with parents and caregivers (as well as students) the best means of communicationemail, set office hours, phone (if appropriate), etc.

To support transparency and truly facilitate families’ ability to partner with us in their child’s learning, teachers, please make sure to post class schedules, welcome letters, Zoom/Meet links, and course syllabi on Class Websites to provide a consistent means for parents/guardians and students to access their class information. Learn how to get started and post an item to your class website!  

Tips to Share Student Assignments, Activities & Work in Distance Learning Platforms with Families

SFUSD Distance Learning Platforms provide multiple ways for educators to share class assignments and activities, and student work with families. Check out the tips and resources below to help you share assignment and activity information with families through Synergy/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.


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

Distance Learning Resources

The SFUSD Distance Learning Guide provides guidance, support and resources to support distance learning in SFUSD.  

Introduction to Deeper Learning

Our first deeper learning module was released this week!  It provides an introduction to deeper learning and centers on the connection between anti-racism and deeper learning.  We encourage folks to complete this module on their own, repurpose for team meetings and/or professional development sessions, or use it in whatever way is helpful!  

Curricular Resource Creation and Professional Learning Updates

Over the past few months Elementary and Secondary Content teams in C&I, SFCSD and DoT have come together to put together major work of the grade, a launching unit, unit 1 and ongoing curricular resources beyond unit 1. We have also worked across teams, departments and divisions in collaboration with Secondary LEAD teams to develop centrally supported Professional Learning during early aligned release for middle and high schools. The links below give more information about each area.

Asynchronous/Independent Learning Sessions

“Just because it’s asynchronous does not mean it’s devoid of interaction.”
Eaton, Michelle. The Perfect Blend: A Practical Guide to Designing Student-Centered Learning Experiences. ISTE. (2020)

Asynchronous sessions will “bracket” (before and after) each synchronous/live sessiondesign these to allow students to process their learning from the synchronous session and to support their preparation for the next synchronous session.  When planning lessons, think about learning experiences students need to prepare them for the interactive discussions you host in a virtual setting. These might be readings at student’s level, short videos for students to preview, or written tasks that leverage prior knowledge.

Source documents include:

Technology to Support Distance Learning Updates

On Sept. 30, you may notice some changes to Meet.

  • Meet creators can:
    • Access moderator controls to turn off participants’ ability to use the chat or share their screen. 
    • Require all attendees to “knock” before being admitted to the Meet
  • Anyone can blur their background if the device meets Google’s system requirements

Other features are also changing. These include:

  • Capacity will be limited to 100 participants
  • Recordings will not be temporary (available for 30 days)

SFUSD currently has a limited number of licenses for Meet Enterprise, which will increase the functionality of Meet in the following ways starting in mid-October:

  • Built-in breakout room functionality 
  • Q&A, polling, or hand-raising
  • Increased capacity for 250 participants
  • Live streaming in-domain

If you regularly use Meet for instruction and would like to try out the new features of Meet Enterprise please complete this form.


Latinx Heritage Month

Share how you are honoring and celebrating Latinx contributions and heritage within our SFUSD community.

Find more books, events, and resources in the SFUSD 2020 Latinx Heritage Month Resource Guide

Education Funding Measures on November Ballot

This Election Day, San Franciscans will 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.

Family Digest

Read today's family digest.

Warm regards,
Superintendent Dr. Vincent Matthews