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Salesforce donation helps SFUSD grow computer science

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Over the past five years, Salesforce.org has donated 26.7 million to SFUSD. This year’s $7 million will be used to expand math, science and technology programs. (Courtesy photo)
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Last week lightning struck Salesforce Tower and the San Francisco Unified School District received an enormous gift from Salesforce.org, the philanthropic arm of Salesforce.

One event was unusual — the lightning — but the other, the donation from Salesforce, is something San Franciscans have come to count on from Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO of Salesforce. Mr. Benioff clearly cares about our city’s children and youth.

That care and concern extends to our schools and to seeing that all children — regardless of their circumstance — have the opportunity to succeed.

This is the fifth consecutive year of Salesforce.org’s partnership with us. Over the past five years, the philanthropic arm of Salesforce has donated $26.7 million to SFUSD. This year, our schools are receiving $7 million. In total, it’s the largest gift ever to SFUSD from a single private funder.

HOW WE SPEND IT

Our partnership with Mr. Benioff, supported by Mayor Ed Lee, has brought many life-changing opportunities and outcomes for our students, especially for middle schoolers.

And this donation means we will continue to expand and improve our math, science, engineering and technology education.

Building on Salesforce.org’s partnership, this year we are using the $7 million to:

Increase computer science enrollment in elementary, middle and high schools, including preschool classes;

Provide math coaches for our middle school educators;

Expand teacher preparation through a new partnership with New York; and

Pilot a new instructional model in partnership with New Tech Network that offers personalized learning.

These are just some of the ways Salesforce.org is investing in our future.

Part of this year’s $7 million donation will go directly to each principal with middle school students in their charge. These funds are for them to put toward innovations at their school site that uniquely serve the needs of their students.

MORE DIVERSE STUDENTS GETTING INTO COMPUTER SCIENCE

Since Salesforce.org formed its partnership with us five years ago, San Francisco has become the first school district in the United States to have a computer science curriculum for every grade.

But we don’t stop there. Enrollment of African American and Latino students has increased from less than 100 to more than 3,800. And girls taking computer science has also increased in similar proportions.

In fact, today, computer science class enrollment mirrors the SFUSD student demographic; females and underrepresented groups each make up nearly half of overall CS enrollment.

The Salesforce.org investment helps us do something very near and dear to my heart: grow our children into ready and able adults who can choose to live and work in the city they call home.

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

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