SFUSD selected to join League of Innovative Schools

I talk a lot about how we are moving forward with technology in our classrooms and preparing students for college and career options.

Turns out, a national group authorized by Congress to accelerate innovation in education, thinks we’re innovative. The San Francisco Unified School District was selected from a national pool of applicants based on leadership, evidence of results, vision for learning and commitment to collaboration.

Digital Promise selected our school district to join a group of forward-thinking school districts called the League of Innovative Schools. Digital Promise is an independent, bipartisan nonprofit organization with the goal of finding educational leaders with pioneering bold, creative and student-centric practices.

It probably doesn’t surprise you. After all, we live in a city that is changing the world — with amazing technologies, advances in civil rights and brand-new economies — and our schools are bringing that same creativity and forward-thinking to how we teach in the 21st century.

Last week, I joined district leaders from the League of Innovative Schools to share more about what we are doing in the SFUSD.

Increasing STEM
Through the Mayor’s Middle Grades Leadership Initiative and in partnership with Salesforce, the SFUSD has been transforming STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education in the middle grades by integrating digital content and devices with the Math Common Core Standards.

We are now developing and implementing a pre-K through 12th grade computer science curriculum with a range of partners. This year, 13 middle schools are offering a course that provides 45 hours of computer science instruction.

Using tech to partner
In a modern twist to parent involvement, the School and Family Early Digital Literacy Project uses text messaging to parents to help their preschoolers with language arts and math at home. Parents love it.

And since bringing our schools into the 21st century with technology can be expensive, we worked with a local company called Tilt to build an online crowdfunding platform that supports schools to fundraise for their technology needs.

Research and Development
There’s even more under development. In partnership with IDEO and UC Berkeley, the SFUSD is working on an interactive system that enables students to order school meals, set dietary preferences and learn about the food they’re eating. This will generate data that makes the entire system more efficient and tailored — and reward students for healthy choices.

The list goes on, and I look forward to telling you more. If you’d like to learn more about the Digital Promise League of Innovative Schools, visit: www.digitalpromise.org/initiatives/league-of-innovative-schools.

Richard Carranza is the superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District.

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