Inclusive Schools Week at the San Francisco Unified School District addresses one of the fundamental promises of public schools. (Courtesy photo)

Inclusive Schools Week at the San Francisco Unified School District addresses one of the fundamental promises of public schools. (Courtesy photo)

Inclusive Schools Week recognizes the right to a free public education

This week, the San Francisco Unified School District is holding special events at schools across The City to celebrate our dynamic, diverse accessible and equitable learning communities.

One of the things that makes our schools great is the diversity of our students, who have different backgrounds and talents. All of our students bring a rich array of life experiences, perspectives and even language skills.

Inclusive Schools Week gets at one of the fundamental promises of public schools: Everyone has a right to a free public education.

This means we include students who are receiving special education services in our general education classrooms. It means our students who identify as gay feel accepted. And it means students who just arrived here from another country feel supported to maintain their culture and heritage language while also learning new customs and the English language.

This week, students are writing about times they felt different, trying to walk in shoes that don’t fit them and even seeking out new classmates to eat lunch with. Our teachers and principals will gather to talk about what they can do to improve on inclusiveness.

One of the core values we insist on in the SFUSD is to be diversity-driven. By this, we mean that we will respect and seek to understand each person.

While our schools have made great strides over the past several years, we still have a lot of work to do to ensure every single one of our students feels included and receives the support they need to be successful.

Yesterday, I visited Galileo High School, where students joined clubs that promote inclusiveness, heard inspiring stories from their peers and even met new people in a light-hearted “speed-dating” format. It was a joy to see them support each other and discover that they have more in common than they thought.

If you have a child in one of San Francisco’s public schools, find out what your school is doing for Inclusive Schools Week.

To learn about ways you can support your child in being more inclusive, we’ve compiled some tips online: http://bit.ly/2fXqyhq.

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

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