SFUSD kicks off school year with emphasis on technology, communication

Jessica Christian/special to the s.f. Examiner
More than 55,000 students began school Monday,
including a girl who received a helping hand
from mom at Bret Harte Elementary School
Cold and foggy weather didn't dampen 5-year-old Laniya Durgin's spirit as she skipped to her first day of kindergarten at Bret Harte Elementary School on Monday morning.

"I like doing the work," said Laniya, referring to her past year in transitional kindergarten. She proudly showed off her new backpack decorated with green and purple peace symbols. "It's got all sorts of stuff in it -- pencils, a notebook, a paper folder."

Laniya was one of more than 55,000 pre-kindergarten through high school students welcomed back to the San Francisco Unified School District's 131 schools Monday as city and district leaders highlighted numerous goals for the school year, including greater emphasis on technology in classrooms and a more defined community-schools approach.

Superintendent Richard Carranza told the approximately 200 students at Bret Harte Elementary, the first of five schools he visited Monday, in both Spanish and English to "have fun" this school year.
Principal Jeremy Hilinski said about half the students are Spanish speakers, and the school offers one of the district's nine Spanish-immersion programs to help ensure students are biliterate by the end of fifth grade.

Read more at: www.sfusd.edu