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A love letter to the supporters of San Francisco schools

I don’t often gush, but since today is Valentine’s Day, I wanted to take a moment to share the love I have for my partner — actually, partners — because in the San Francisco Unified School District, we hold many people and organizations close to our hearts.

Dedication starts at home

First, to our SFUSD families. There are so many ways parents and guardians make our schools great, from volunteering in classrooms to taking on leadership roles in our School Site Councils and district-level committees. We are lucky to have organized and engaged parent organizations to give us ideas, perspectives and feedback about how to support our students.

And the ones who can’t make it to school during the day or meetings at night? They still help their children get a good night’s sleep and get to school on time. When a student arrives to school ready to learn, we’re off to a good start.

Spreading the love in our community

Also, to the hundreds of people who work and volunteer to support our youth through community-based organizations. They help boost academic performance and student well-being and give them a head start on possible careers.

One example is Mission Bit. This nonprofit works to eliminate the technology divide for economically disadvantaged kids in the Bay Area. It creates computer programming and professional opportunities in the tech world for public school students. Workshops are led by volunteer software engineers who are trained to offer engaging activities that show students what’s possible with coding.

Strong, sustained love and support

And of course, to our private industry partners who ensure that San Francisco’s children benefit from their employees and resources.

One standout is Salesforce.org, for their support and funding of science, technology, engineering and math in the SFUSD. Launched in 2013, Salesforce Foundation’s contribution is the largest single investment in our schools by any private business.

The foundation has made it possible for us not only to increase our Computer Science classes — which now reach nearly half of our middle-school students — but also to triple enrollment in Advanced Placement Computer Science in high school. We’re even starting to teach Computer Science in elementary school, including preschoolers.

Many, many more people, including Mayor Ed Lee and numerous city leaders, are also key partners in our work and our students’ success. We could fill this entire newspaper with odes to the wonderful people who provide our students with the time, resources and expertise needed to make San Francisco public schools among the best in California.

The philosopher Thomas Carlyle once said, “A loving heart is the beginning of all knowledge.”

I can’t imagine the SFUSD without our partners. Their belief in, and love for, our students is so critical to helping build the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to succeed in school and for the rest of their lives.

Myong Leigh is interim superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District.

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