Friday, April 29, 2016

A special teacher can change a life

For National Thank a Teacher Month, Superintendent Richard Carranza writes about one teacher who had a deep influence on his life:
I don’t know if you remember much about being in kindergarten, but I sure do. And what I remember most is my teacher, Mrs. Ellis.

She didn’t speak a word of Spanish and I hardly spoke a word of English. But she liked me. That’s all I knew on my first day.

Mrs. Ellis knew what to do. She called me “honey,” and I knew by the way she said it that it meant something nice. During those first days of school when I couldn’t understand a thing at all, I’d hear her call to me with that special new English word, and I felt safe.

She was one smart teacher. She knew when I needed to sit next to her during a lesson. She knew when I was ready to start interacting with my classmates more, and she helped me make friends. Mrs. Ellis was looking out for me.

Years later, when I became a teacher myself, I sometimes had struggling students in my classroom. By then, I had a college degree and education training under my belt, and, of course, my English was better than my Spanish. But even with all my training, when I worked with my students, I simply had to ask myself, “What would Mrs. Ellis do?”

Because Mrs. Ellis knew what every good teacher knows: It’s not just the particular topic you’re teaching that matters, but how your students feel when they’re sitting in your classroom.

Most of us don’t remember every single thing we were taught in school, but boy do we remember when a caring adult at school showed us that we were going to be OK. We remember when something was hard to figure out and we had a teacher help us take a deep breath and try to solve it another way.

I check myself every day to be sure my actions are doing right by Mrs. Ellis.

May is National Thank a Teacher Month. If you had a Mrs. Ellis, or your child does, or if you know of any teacher who has had a profound effect on his or her students, take a moment to find that teacher and say thank you.

For more ideas about ways to thank a teacher, go to

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Board of Education Augmented Budget and Business Services Committee meeting

Listen to the 4/6/16 meeting of the Board of Education Augmented Budget and Business Services Committee:

Friday, April 1, 2016

Getting ready for SBAC

Students in grades 3-8 and grade 11 will soon begin taking the Smarter Balanced tests (SBAC), one of the main assessments used for the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP). Ask your child’s school for their testing schedule.

These tests measure students’ ability to think critically, synthesize material from multiple sources, and analyze problems. They are aligned to our curriculum and standards, which prepare students for success beyond high school. They go beyond multiple-choice questions and ask students to explain their reasoning and use evidence in writing prompts and math tasks in order to demonstrate that they understand the content.

Results from the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments:
  • Provide students with experience in using technology, explaining their reasoning and applying classroom lessons
  • Give parents and guardians a sense of what areas their children excel in and which ones have room for growth
  • Serve as a tool to help parents, guardians and teachers work together to improve students’ learning
  • Help our schools and SFUSD identify strengths and areas that need improvement in our educational programs
  • Provide the public and policymakers with information about student achievement and progress
California also benefits by having the diversity of our student population included in the analysis of test and test question quality and in the development of achievement level scores.

If you have questions about your child’s participation, please contact your school site administrator.

More resources

Photo of study materials from Sourabh, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0