Friday, August 18, 2017

Talking about racism and hate and cultivating bias-free schools

From elementary school classroom circles to high school ethnic studies classes, across the district you can find daily examples of how we are fostering respect for diversity and helping our students develop their global and local identities.

Below is a brief summary of some of what you will see happening in SFUSD and resources for teachers and parents to consult as they discuss recent events in Charlottesville and beyond with children.

Social-emotional learning

Social-emotional learning (SEL) helps students develop their ability to identify and manage their emotions and teaches children ways to get-along with other and develops their ability to identify and manage their emotions. All K-8 students in the district participate in a research-based curriculum called Second Step where they learn self management, self- and social awareness, and relationship skills.

Restorative practices

Restorative practices focus on creating positive relationships in the school community. A restorative approach sees conflict or misbehavior as an opportunity for students to learn about the consequences of their actions, develop empathy with others, and figure out how to make amends in a way that strengthens the community bonds they may have damaged.

Digital citizenship

In our digital citizenship lessons, we include in-depth activities to counter cyberbullying and create a welcoming space for people online. In one lesson, students discuss what it means to be brave and stand up for others both offline and online. They learn to show empathy for those who have been cyberbullied and strategize ways to intervene when peers need help. They also learn to analyze information they find online and how to distinguish between fake news and real news.

Ethnic studies

In 2016, California passed a law that will create ethnic studies programs for all of the state’s public high schools by 2019. But did you know we’ve been offering ethnic studies classes to all our high school students since 2015? Through our partnership with Stanford research, we have found that these classes, which teach students about the history of all Americans and contextualize issues of race and power, engage students and boost attendance and grades.

Resources for parents and educators

Bayview Ignite

Bayview Ignite participants complete a team-building activity focused on effective communication and problem-solving skills
District leaders have made improving the schools in the Bayview a priority, and one issue is that teachers and school leaders in the Bayview neighborhood seldom get a chance to collaborate across schools, even though they often face similar challenges. To this end, they wanted to create a professional learning community and network amongst all Bayview teachers and staff.

On August 9, their dream came true when 125 teachers, counselors and principals gathered for “Bayview Ignite.” Staff from Bret Harte Elementary, Dr. Charles Drew Academy, Dr. George Washington Carver Elementary, Malcolm X Academy and Starr King Elementary agreed to end their summer vacations three days early so they could learn together and strengthen their community ties. Many district leaders joined them.

Bayview Ignite brought together the people who share a common commitment to and passion for serving the students and families in the Bayview. “For these are all of our children. We will either profit or pay for what they become,” read a James Baldwin quote printed in the agenda.

Assistant Superintendent for Cohort 3 Enikia Ford Morthel, one of the organizers of Bayview Ignite, said she wanted participants to walk away with an aligned vision, common strategies and tools for collaboration and planning. Tamitrice Rice Mitchell, Director for Cohort 3, longtime Bayview principal and resident of the community, co-led the institute, which she hopes provided staff a renewed sense of purpose and pride in their shared work.

Participants looked at data about attendance, test scores, school climate, and other indicators of where their schools are excelling and struggling. They discussed approaches to making the curriculum more relevant to students, engaging families and using the workshop model and other effective strategies.

One of the many poignant moments of the institute included a tour of the community. One participant wrote, "I felt a lot of emotions following the community tour. I felt a great sense of pride, but also great sadness. I hope that we all see our students and their families as strong and resilient assets and not people in need of our pity."

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Save time and money: School meals are the healthy, easy choice!

Did you know SFUSD offers fresh, healthy meals at all our school campuses? Each meal is prepared on a daily basis and uses quality ingredients that you can feel good about eating. Our meal vendor provides new, kid-tested options each month, and at most middle and high schools, SFUSD prepares delicious meals daily, right on the school campus. We have incorporated new and exciting student-designed recipes this year like a turkey pesto sandwich - yum! We'd love your help encouraging students and staff to try out our new meal options this year. Check every month for our daily menus.

How does the program work?

I'm glad you asked! At about half of our schools, all children eat for free thanks to a program called the Community Eligibility Provision. If your school is on the list, you don’t need to do anything to participate. Just show up and enjoy.

If your school is not on the list, you can apply to participate in the program by using our Multipurpose Family Income Form. Only one form per family is necessary. You can apply online or pick up a paper form in the office of your student's school. We will notify you within 5-7 days whether or not your student qualifies for free meals. If they do not qualify for free meals, they are still more than welcomed to join us daily for breakfast, lunch and (at some schools) supper. Set up an account that your student can charge their meals to at:

Please fill out a Multipurpose Family Income Form regardless of your family's income status! Filling out this form comes with a ton of benefits for your family, your school, and your community. Benefits include:

  • More federal and state dollars for schools
  • Expansion of afterschool and summer meal programs
  • Scholarships for afterschool programs
  • Higher reimbursements prompted by the data will allow Student Nutrition Services to do more for our students

Thank you, and don't hesitate to reach out if you have questions or concerns. Student Nutrition Services can be reached at: