I strongly believe in the importance of ensuring each and every child has access to an awesome public education. If you’re reading this, we likely share this belief. Today I want to express that I am thankful for you and for our community for supporting our public schools.
Time and again the whole San Francisco community shows that it supports public education. Because the residents of our city are willing to vote for local funding for our schools, our students have teachers who are paid above the state average. San Francisco public school students participate in more arts enrichment and sports and have access to more counselors and nurses than most other students across California.
With the support of so many in our community, our schools are becoming more of what we want and need them to be for our children. Here are just a few examples of what we’ve accomplished recently with the help of generous community members and our amazing students, families and educators.
We offered a summer family literacy program for 400 students and 330 family members, which produced an average of 3.4 months of reading gains in just 5 weeks.
We provided computer science education to over 23,000 students in 85 different schools (69% of all elementary schools, 100% of middle schools, and 83% of high schools).
We connected 75 students who are homeless or in transition with academic supports, case management, and family resources.
We provided mentoring for 1,000 students. More than 44% of middle school mentees increased their attendance and GPA, while 92% of mentored students overall (K-12) reported having an adult who cares about them, compared with 64% of the general SFUSD population.
We recruited 237 teachers to the Pathway to Teaching program, a district-sponsored credentialing program for aspiring teachers.
Our district and schools couldn’t have done this without individuals, foundations and local businesses donating and volunteering. We couldn’t have done this without voters supporting increased local revenue. And, we couldn’t have done it without the many community organizations working side by side with us to serve our students and families.
We are seeing great momentum but still face huge challenges. Imagine what would happen if everyone gave what they could to support each and every child in SF, especially those most in need. Here are just a few of the many ways you can help our 55,000 public school children:
Donate to SFUSD’s biggest needs through our non-profit partner Spark* SF Public Schools.
Donate to SFUSD teacher’s projects through an online platform called Donors Choose.
Volunteer in a classroom or directly mentor a student. Training and placement support is available through the San Francisco Education Fund.
Host paid student interns at your workplace by partnering with one of our Career Pathways programs.
As I stated earlier we are thankful and grateful for a supportive community.
Vincent Matthews is the superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District. He is a guest columnist.