There’s plenty to do this summer in San Francisco like visiting museums such as the deYoung. ( Courtesy photo)

School’s out for summer, but the learning continues

This week marks the conclusion of the 2018-19 school year, and what a year it’s been.

This week marks the conclusion of the 2018-19 school year, and what a year it’s been.

We renamed two schools — the Edwin and Anita Lee Newcomer School and Dolores Huerta Elementary School — after influential leaders who have made a difference in our community.

Speaking of naming, the California Department of Education named SFUSD an Exemplary District for ensuring more students are accessing higher level math courses.

Many of our sports teams finished on top, too. For the second year in a row, a SFUSD high school varsity football team won the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Division VI-A state title, while Lincoln High School’s Dragon Boat team took home the gold in four competitions at the 11th International Dragon Boat Federation Club Crew World Championship Races in Szeged, Hungary. Lowell’s girls’ soccer team won the CIF Northern California Division V championship for a second consecutive year, and Mission’s boys soccer team won their first CIF Division V NorCal championship.

Now our students are heading out to summer break. But, just because school is out for summer doesn’t mean that learning stops. In fact, there are many ways you can encourage your child to continue their learning all summer long.

Take a Field Trip

From your neighborhood public library to a local park to a museum, San Francisco is brimming with activities that are fun for the whole family. The Department of Children, Youth and Families has compiled this list of field trips related to the arts, recreation, STEM and local history. There are lots of great ideas here that you can do with your child.

In fact, this summer from June 1 through September 2, Mayor London Breed has announced that more than 15 museums and cultural institutions will be free to residents who receive public benefits including Medi-Cal and CalFresh. More good news: Some museums are always free for youth under 18. Go here for more information about free summer museum admission.

Learn at Home

No time for a field trip? Your very own home can be a classroom at any time. Children often ask how things are made. Let them figure it out by taking some healthy, low sugar juice, some paper cups and popsicle sticks. Have your child pour juice into the cups and place them in the freezer. Set the timer for an hour or so and have your child check the juice cups and place popsicle sticks into the semi-frozen juice. Keep checking until the juice is solid. Before they enjoy their homemade treat, ask your child why the juice became a solid. Why did they have to wait to put the stick in?

The idea is to get them in the habit of making guesses as to why something happened, and repeating the process to notice even more, a key part of science. You may have a budding chef, engineer or physicist on your hands.

Summer School

While the regular school year is coming to a close, we actually do offer school in the summer, too. Summer school is offered for a variety of ages and is really critical for high schooler who may need credits to graduate and prepare for college.

High school counselors have been working with students and families to register students for high school credit recovery courses and transitional studies for college credit with City College of San Francisco.

For students who would like to continue taking classes this summer, or if they are missing credits to graduate from high school, check out the High School Diploma Program through City College. Students may earn high school credit by taking math, literature and science courses designed specifically for high school students.

Learn more information about a variety of extended learning options for high school students this summer.

No matter what learning opportunities you seek out, I hope you and your family have a wonderful summer break. See you in August!

Vincent Matthews is the superintendent of schools for the San Francisco Unified School District. He is a guest columnist.

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