Helpful FAQs for Families
What supports are available to help me find and navigate resources in SFUSD?
In general, we encourage families to begin with their children's school site. School site staff can help answer questions, connect families with resources, and address families' concerns.
Additionally, the SFUSD Family Resource Link line is a project to help families navigate all of the SFUSD resources available to them. You can:
Email a request to firstname.lastname@example.org
*Hours of operation for the phone are Monday-Friday from 9am-1pm. Callers can still leave a voicemail at all hours.
How can I sign up for notifications from my child's school and the district?
When large group notifications must go out, SFUSD contacts families by phone, email and text message in order to let you know about emergency situations, remind you about school events, update you on your child’s attendance, and more. You can learn how to sign up for notifications and update your contact information by clicking here.
How do I find out about school choices and enroll my child?
You may also visit the Educational Placement Center online or in person at 555 Franklin St., Room 100 (no appointment necessary) and consult Parents for Public Schools of San Francisco (PPS-SF Website) for additional support.
What are the most common acronyms used in SFUSD?
AAPAC: African-American Parent Advisory Committee
ARTIF: Academic Response to Intervention Facilitator
AtoG: California State University entrance requirements
CELDT/ELPAC: California English Language Development Test/English Language Proficiency Assessments for California (ELPAC replaced CELDT as the tool to assess students learning English as a second language)
EED: Early Education Department (preschool)
ELAC/DELAC: English Learner Advisory Committee/District English Learner Advisory Committee
EPC: Educational Placement Center (SFUSD centralized enrollment office)
FIT/FYIT: Families and Youth in Transition (homeless)
IEP: Individualized Education Plan (for students with special educational needs)
IRF: Instructional Reform Facilitator
K2C: Kindergarten to College investment program
PAC: Parent Advisory Committee
PTA/PTO: Parent Teacher Association/Parent Teacher Organization
RSP: Resource Specialist Program (for students with IEPs in general-education classrooms all or most of the time; often refers to the teacher providing the supports)
RTI: Response to Intervention
SAP/CARE Teams: Student Assistance Program (site-based multidisciplinary support team)
SART/SARB: Student Attendance Review Team (site-based)/Student Attendance Review Board (district-level)
SBAC/CAASPP: Smarter Balanced Assessments/California Assessments of Student Performance and Progress
SBRC: Standards Based Report Card
SDC: Special Day Class (an old term used for Separate Classrooms providing supports to students with IEPs who require a more restricted environment for part or all of their school day)
SEL: Social Emotional Learning
SPSA: School Plan for Student Achievement
SSC: School Site Council
SST: Student Success Team Meeting (collaborative meeting to provide individualized academic and/or behavioral supports for students who do not have IEPs; attendees include family, teacher[s], administrator, relevant support staff)
What do I do if I have a complaint?
If you have a concern related to your child’s class, you should first request to speak to the teacher to address the concern. If the teacher cannot address your concern to your satisfaction, you should request to speak with the school principal. If the concern has to do with something or someone outside of your child’s class, you should request to speak with the principal. If your concern is not addressed to your satisfaction by the principal, you should contact the Office of Family Voice, so they may investigate your concern/issue and facilitate next steps to help you find resolution.
What if I need help or support around special education?
The Special Ed teachers at your school are your first contacts and resources. They, in turn, have Content Specialists who support them. If you feel you need additional support and/or advocacy, the following contacts/links may be of use:
- Find general information about SFUSD Special Education Service information here.
- Special Ed. Enrollment (EPC)
- Community Advisory Committee for Special Education (CAC)
- Community Based Special Ed Advocacy Agencies (Support for Families of Children with Disabilities) (Community Alliance for Special Education)
- District Ombudsperson for Special Ed (Julia Martin) or call 415-447-7802
What does a school social worker do?
School Social Workers are mental health clinicians who work at schools throughout the District to assist school site staff in achieving academic excellence and improved attendance, by decreasing risky behaviors and creating safe and healthy school communities.
Who are the support staff at my school?
This depends on grade range, size, and specific needs of the school as determined by established criteria. Learn more about the Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS Explained).
Who can help me at a school site?
There are many folks at your child’s school site who can support you. First, try reaching out to your child’s teacher. You may also want to speak to your school’s family liaison or social worker, as well as the school administrator. If you are having difficulty contacting your child’s school, please contact us:
What leadership opportunities are there, for me as a parent or guardian, what are the requirements for helping, and how can I help?
There are many opportunities to take on leadership roles in your child’s school and at the district level (please read the next question for a list of councils and committees). Some opportunities to volunteer in school include: school clean-up days, gardening, preparing Wednesday folders, photocopying for classroom teacher, reading to students, and helping to organize field trips and celebrations.
To find out how to volunteer at your school, check in with teacher, school secretary, PTA/PTO, Family Liaison, and school principal. Sign up for school’s Yahoo or Google groups to keep informed about what is happening in your school community. You may also want to check out the following resources:
Parent Teacher Association (PTA)
The PTA works to positively impact the lives of all children and families by representing its members and empowering and supporting them with skills in advocacy, leadership, and communication.
Parents for Public Schools of San Francisco (PPS-SF)
Parents for Public Schools of San Francisco (PPS-SF) is a network of parents working together to build quality schools for all San Francisco children by providing parents with information, news, and parent-to-parent networking and by developing parent leaders at the school and district level.
Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth
Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth is a local community organization that works to transform San Francisco's services and policies for children, youth, and their families in order to create a more family-friendly community.
What district-wide and site-based parent advisory boards are there?
- School Site Council (SSC)
- African American Parent Advisory Committee (AAPAC)
- English Learner Advisory Committee (ELAC)
- Parent Advisory Council (PAC)
- Bilingual Community Council (BCC, Board of Education Appointed)
- Community Advisory Committee for Special Education (CAC)
- African American Parent Advisory Council (AAPAC)
- District English Learner Advisory Committee (DELAC)
- Public Education Enrichment Fund Community Advisory Committee (PEEF CAC, Board of Education Appointed)
What training and workshop opportunities exist for me to best help my kid?
Please reach out to see what training opportunities are being offered, or let us know what training opportunities you may be interested in.
How do I understand school-site planning or student-assessment data?
The School Site Council (SSC) and principal draft the School Plan for Student Achievement (SPSA), formally the Balanced Scorecard (BSC- the school site plan).
Also, talk to your principal and your school’s current SSC members to find out more about your school specifically. Additionally, visit this page to find resources to help you understand student data.
How do I support my kid's transitions between grades and schools?
Transitions can be stressful. When we take the time to think about and plan our children’s transitions and include them in the process, we can make a huge positive difference. Unaddressed transition stress can lead students to behave in counterproductive ways and can have long-term consequences. Make sure to talk to your student and take advantage of any tours, shadowing, orientations, meet and greets, and step-up programs (at the secondary level) that your child’s school may offer. Visit the campus with your child before school starts. If there are people known to you and/or your child, reach out and connect informally beforehand, as well. Find out about your student’s teacher(s). Get to know them. Tell them about your child’s personality and learning style. These strategies can make your child’s transition to a new school and/or grade much smoother.
How do I understand "A through G" requirements?
Look at the SFUSD Graduation Requirements webpage, and request to sit down with your child’s counselor (Middle and High School) to review these requirements, or with your child’s teacher in elementary school.
What do I do if my child is experiencing bullying?
Similar to the handling of complaints, you should begin by checking in with your child’s teacher(s) to find out the context, and how the conflict between your child and the other student(s) is being addressed. If needed, then reach out to the principal. Ask if students receive support from a school social worker, and if there has been a restorative conversation. If conflicts aren’t resolved by collaborating with the school-site team, contact the Office of Family Voice for further support.
This page was last updated on June 6, 2022