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Heading to Houston: Proud moments with the SFUSD

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Mayor Ed Lee, center, and Superintendent Richard Carranza, right, speak to second grade students during the first day of school at Bryant Elementary School on Aug. 15. (Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner)

In early September, I will be heading to Houston, Texas, to serve as superintendent of the Houston Independent School District.

I have loved being part of the San Francisco Unified School District and want to share some of the things I am most proud of that we have done together.

I’m here to tell you the SFUSD has the most talented team of professionals I have ever worked with. The employees of this district relentlessly challenge themselves to focus on meeting the educational, social and emotional needs of each and every student.

We have begun transforming the SFUSD into a more equitable system that reflects the 21st century learning outlined in our collective vision.

But we’ve done a lot more. I’m proud we increased our graduation rate for students nearly eight percentage points. I’m proud that we have led the way with other California districts to reorganize our school accountability system to focus on more holistic measures.

I’m also proud of our long-term plan, Vision 2025, and our commitment to implementing strategies at school sites as well as central offices that will help us realize our bold vision. I’m proud to have worked with so many partners in The City to renew the Public Education Enrichment Fund, guaranteeing funding for arts, sports and other enrichment through 2041.

I’m proud that we passed and successfully ran two school facilities improvement bonds on time and on budget. We have been a leader in a national shift toward more compassionate and less punitive response to disruptive student behavior, resulting in suspensions dropping by more than 50 percent since 2012.

I enjoyed working with Mayor Ed Lee and community and business partners to bring in more private investments in support of district initiatives to improve student achievement.

We have updated our wellness policy, and our innovative approach to serving healthy school meals is the envy of the nation. And now, 100 percent of educators who want one have a laptop for instructional use in the classroom and all schools have pervasive wireless. This is just a small sample of some of the inspiring work that we have done together.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve you these past seven years.

Next week, I’ll introduce you to Myong Leigh, your interim superintendent, an experienced leader who has been with the SFUSD for 16 years. You’re in very good hands.

Richard Carranza is superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District.

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