Support Navigating SFUSD - Staff

What is this best practice area?

Families may need support in understanding how to navigate SFUSD’s services and resources, in order to make sure their children get what they need to be successful. Often, navigating SFUSD requires a lot of specific knowledge, such as knowing where to look, who and what to ask, and how to make sense of what is being shared. 

Families need accurate and timely information to make informed decisions about what is right for them, and to know when and how to best advocate for their child. It is essential for staff to know how to support and guide families. 

Here are some best practices:

  • Prepare for students experiencing major transitions as they move through SFUSD: from preschool to elementary school, elementary to middle school, middle to high school, and high school to college and career and beyond.
  • Identify staff who will welcome new families/students who enroll in schools off cycle throughout the year. For example, youth in foster care, students experiencing homelessness and/or who recently immigrated or a student experiencing a safety transfer may need additional support as they transition into a new school community.
  • Establish clear systems for communicating with families.
  • Define navigational points and how staff can support families to understand where to find information.
  • School based navigation:  Know what supports and staff are available in your school and share with families (who’s who at the school); promote leadership opportunities. 
  • District navigation:  Staff should direct families to the Student Family School Resource Link; share lists of district-wide advisory bodies and other leadership opportunities.

Make this Best Practice Area Come to Life

1. Consider the SFUSD Navigation Process

2. Plan for Major Transitions that Occur Throughout the Year

3. Help Families Navigate the SFUSD Website for Resources

Consider the SFUSD Navigation Process

When think about navigating SFUSD, here are some best practices:

School-based navigation:  

  • Share communication systems that are in place for families at your school, including supports for translation and interpretation
  • Identify staff who will welcome new students and families, especially those transitioning in the middle of the year
  • Share “Who’s Who” at your school using this document
  • Publicize leadership opportunities that exist found on the SFUSD Advisory Councils & Committee webpage. For example: ELAC, SSC, AAPAC
  • Promote the supports and services that are available at your school (mental health, afterschool programs, etc.)

District-wide navigation:  

Plan for Major Transitions that Occur Throughout the Year:

Plan for major transitions that occur throughout the year: students transition/enroll in and out of your school, between grades, and through mid-year transfers between schools. Staff can support students and families through major transitions 

  • Be intentional about how to support students and families that are navigating these transitions 
  • Start with your school’s care team or some other support team to identify the top 20-50 families (depending on the size of your school) that may need help navigating your school and/or SFUSD, in general.
    • Match these families with a staff person who has an established relationship with them whenever possible.
    • Use a regularly schedule staff or team meeting to identify students and families who may need help with a transition
    • Identify staff who will welcome new students and families, especially those transitioning in the middle of the year

Help Families Navigate the SFUSD Website for Resources

Consult SFUSD’s website for resources and share links with families. While you may not be the content expert to provide the answers to a particular question from a family, knowing who, what and where to connect families is important for staff to know in order to best support families.

Here is a list of resources and programs to support students and families:

Other District Resources

For additional support, please reach out to:

Student Family School Resource Link (SFSRL):

Email: or 

Call 415-340-1716

This page was last updated on February 9, 2024