Support Navigating SFUSD
"Research has shown that the ninth grade is the most critical year for putting students on the path towards on-time graduation and post-high school success. Targeting efforts toward this time period—including the transition into ninth grade— helps to catch attendance, behavioral, and academic problems before they become entrenched and threaten students’ ability to successfully navigate the requirements and rigors of high school." – Priority Schools Campaign
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, what to ask, who to ask, and how to make sense of what is being shared.
Families need accurate and timely information to make timely 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.
There are major transitions as students and families 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. There are also unique transitions that happen that staff need to be aware of and provide additional support. A few examples are a new foster care placement, a safety transfer or migrant families arriving in San Francisco and need to enroll their children in school. Staff support can make all the difference in smoothly navigating transitions.
Make this Best Practice Area Come to Life
1. Consider the SFUSD Navigation Process
2. Reflect on Major Transitions that Occur Throughout the Year
3. Consult SFUSD’s Updated Website for Resources
Consider the SFUSD Navigation Process
Consider the SFUSD navigation process and reflect on the following:
- How do I, as a staff person, understand the various people and offices that are available to help families navigate through and succeed in SFUSD?
- What is it like for our students and families to move through SFUSD? Is this a smooth journey?
- How can I help students and families get through the complexity of SFUSD’s systems, services and programs? What tips can I share?
- Use this tool to help families identify the resources and staff positions available at your school to support students and families.
- For district resources, use this staff FAQ landing page as a place to find resources.
Reflect on Major Transitions that Occur throughout the Year:
Reflect on major transitions that occur throughout the year: students transition/enroll in and out of your school, between grades, and mid-year transfers between schools.
- What intentional actions does your site staff take to support families to navigate through these transitions?
- Start with your school’s care team, which may be the Student Assistance Program (SAP), the Student Success Team(SST) 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.
- It is important to pair these families with a staff person who has established a relationship with them whenever possible.
- For example, your school site could use regular staff meetings, professional development, SAP and SST meetings to identify students and families who may need support with the transition to distance learning. This approach ensures ALL students continue to learn and families and students get the supports they need as we pivot with distance learning.
Consult SFUSD’s Updated Website for Resources
Consult SFUSD’s updated website for resources. 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.
- Visit the SFUSD Family Support Services page to find answers about questions regarding language interpretation support, how families can communicate with your school, or how they can share a concern.
- Find Health & Wellness resources, including food resources here.
- Locate school enrollment information and deadlines here.
- Help families understand the importance of reclassification and how to navigate it.
- Explore the SFUSD Programs and Services designed to support specific student populations such as:
- AAALI (African American Achievement & Leadership Initiative)
- Students Learning English
- Foster Youth Services
- Indian Education
- LGBTQ Support Services
- Migrant Education Program
- RISE –SF
- Special Education
- LGBTQ Student Services
Other District Resources
The SF Shared Schoolyard Project is a partnership between the City of San Francisco, the San Francisco Unified School District, SFDPW, SFPD and San Francisco’s neighborhoods and communities and works to provide a place for children and families to play within walking distance of every child.
SFFamilies.org is an online service directory that connects San Francisco’s children, youth and their families to local community services. This resource was developed by the Our Children, Our Families Council, a joint initiative between the San Francisco Unified School District and the San Francisco Office of the Mayor.
This page was last updated on June 6, 2022