As I talk with people about their New Year’s resolutions, I hear themes emerge related to the ways people want to act on their values. As it turns out, a lot of us at the San Francisco Unified School District have recently given our values some deep thought. We know exactly what we resolve to do this year — and every year.
We resolve to be student-centered.
This means we put kids first. I know this may seem obvious, but with the many demands on our staff and teachers every day, we need to continually ask if our actions revolve around what our students really need. This could be as simple as listening carefully to a student who is having a difficult moment, or as complex as providing computer science education to all grades to keep up with what a 21st-century student needs to succeed.
We resolve to be fearless.
There are times when our days seem full of competing demands from students, parents and administrators. But if we are to remain student-centered, do we give up when something is challenging or controversial? No! We are fearless as we face daily obstacles and persist through our long-term challenges.
We resolve to stand for social justice.
As public servants, we are committed to standing with those who are most vulnerable in our community. This is why we adamantly support San Francisco’s sanctuary city policy and we do not ask about our students’ immigration status. We also allocate more resources to those who have had fewer opportunities — with connections to extra services for our homeless youth, bilingual education for English learners and healthy food for those whose most nutritious meals are eaten at school — just to name a few.
We resolve to be diversity-driven.
Finally, we are a community that believes — fundamentally — that each person is the equal of every other person. This cuts across race, nationality, immigration history, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, economic means, learning differences, ability status, language and age. A community is at its best when it embraces our differences and builds on its strengths.
These are our core values. As we work toward creating a school system that prepares all students for success in life, we adhere to these, our core values, to guide us. To learn more about the school district, visit sfusd.edu/corevalues
Myong Leigh is interim superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District.