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Actualizing Vision 2025

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Vision 2025 is SFUSD’s guiding statement that plans to couple personalized teaching with learning grounded in real life to help students reach their full potential. (Courtesy photo)

Now that it’s 2018, SFUSD has seven more years to realize Vision 2025. That may seem like a long time, but when you consider the scale of all the changes we’re making, it’s fast approaching!

Vision 2025 is our vision statement, created in 2014 in partnership with our students, staff, families, and community members and leaders. It serves as the compass for our district — we use it to set our course and to check if we’re headed in the right direction.

If I had to sum it up in a sentence, I would say our vision is to use personalized teaching and learning based on real life tasks to enable all our young people to discover their spark and reach their full potential.

WHAT WE WANT TO SEE IN 2025

By the year 2025, we want all students to have their own personalized learning and development pathways. We’ll do this by equipping our schools with technologies that support blended learning and personalization, enabling students to learn more by using the methods that best suit them.

The school day will also look different — we’ll keep learning standards constant while we explore new ways to use space and time.

We will embrace new ways for students to demonstrate mastery while motivating and inspiring ever-greater levels of learning. Students will be able to perform meaningful real-life tasks at all levels of the curriculum. They will be globally aware, multilingual, culturally competent and fluent in a range of second languages.

Of course, in order to achieve our vision, we’ll need to continuously attract and grow top talent to fuel our students’ success and to contribute to our culture of boundless aspiration, innovation and collaboration.

Since we embarked on this course in 2014, we’ve made a lot of progress, and even more is in the works. Here are just a few ways our schools are moving toward Vision 2025.

REAL-LIFE TASKS AND LEARNING

Over 3,200 high school students are enrolled in a career academy, which means they are completing a focused course of study in a specialization of their choice and learning from professionals in their area of interest through work-based learning opportunities.

Makerspaces are popping up throughout our schools. These are collaborative classrooms for learning, exploring and, well, making. Students use high-tech tools like 3D printers as well as low-tech tools like cardboard to think critically, solve problems and collaborate.

BLENDED LEARNING AND PERSONALIZATION

An increasing number of students are equipped with technologies that support blended learning and increase personalization. Just in the past few years, we went from only having a few computer labs or mobile carts at each school to having eight schools where every child uses a designated computer throughout the day (called 1:1 in the education field). Even more schools have devices for learning, upward of 30,000 across the city. Just as essential, these schools have staff training and support to ensure devices are well utilized for learning.

WHAT’S NEXT

Many of our students are already learning in the interdisciplinary project-based ways that make lessons come to life. A few weeks ago, I visited students at Hilltop who were learning about developing nations and solar energy by building solar panels to send to a school in Africa.

Right now, teams of teachers and administrators from middle schools across The City are working together to re-imagine what learning for 6-8 graders will look like.

SFUSD is expanding our teacher credentialing programs and offering professional learning opportunities to current teachers to ensure our educators are embodying the mindsets and skills necessary for the schools of 2025.

Change isn’t easy, and seven years isn’t very long. But I am confident that we have an amazing team working toward a common vision, and we are well on our way.

Vincent Matthews is superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District.

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