San Francisco Unified School District

San Francisco Unified School District

The district aims to support all students in reaching their potential by implementing a STEM initiative that deploys iPads with apps and content into math and science classrooms and expanding computer science education district-wide.

State: California Number of Students: 58,865
School Type: Public School District Free and Reduced Lunch: 56.3%
Grade Level: PK-12 English Language Learners: 27.3%

School Context

Equal Access for All Students: Social justice is a priority for San Francisco Unified, which is why the district is focusedon ensuring that all students have access to a high quality education.

Positive Learning Environments: SFUSD believes that the learning environment plays a major role in studentachievement, so the district aims for every classroom to be a positive and engaging environment that supports allstudents in reaching their potential.

Keeping Promises: The district prioritizes accountability and aims to keep all district promises made to students andfamilies.

Staff Matters: Strong teachers are critical for student success so SFUSD works hard to recruit, support and retain strongstaff members.

State of Technology

Middle School STEM Initiative: After receiving a donation of $9M from Foundation over the past three years, San Francisco Unifiedlaunched a Middle School STEM Initiative. The donation initially supporteddeployment of 750 iPads with apps and content into math and scienceclassrooms in 12 middle schools across the district. Over the course ofyears one through three of the partnership with Salesforce, 3,250 deviceshave been distributed to schools. This funding also provided STEM PD forteachers, along with $100K of discretionary funding for each principal tospend as they wish for innovation. The district is currently entering thefourth year of the 10 year partnership. So far, they have expanded theinitiative to 21 K-8 and middle schools.

Computer Science for All: San Francisco Unified is expanding computerscience education district-wide for all PreK-12 students so that it is a corecomponent of curriculum, rather than a one period class or an elective. Thisshift is aligned to the district’s Vision 2025 plan and a big component oftheir Foundation grant. The project has been in the researchand planning phase since August 2014 and moved into pilot phase in 12middle schools during the 2015-2016 school year. For the 2016-2017 schoolyear, the district is targeting middle grades with a focus on reaching all sixthgraders. The year will also be used to pilot the initiative at the elementarylevel and to plan and design implementation for the high school level. Theultimate goal is to learn how to scale the CS curriculum across all middlegrades in all 21 middle grades schools in the district. SRI is working withSFUSD to externally evaluate the pilot.

Migrating to Google: During the 2015-2016 school year, the district migratedto Google. Professional development has shifted focus to strengthen thetransition with a focus on leveraging Google Apps for Education to supportcommunication, collaboration, productivity and to help personalize anddifferentiate learning for students. A lot of teachers in the district havealready started using Google Classroom and Google Drive to help studentskeep digital portfolios and for performance assessments such as capstoneprojects.

Joining the League: SFUSD is part of Digital Promise’s League of InnovativeSchools. The district is participating in the Verizon Innovative Schoolsprogram, which is run through Digital Promise in order to expand their 1:1initiative. As of summer 2016, San Francisco Unified has two middle schoolsthat support a 1:1 device to student ratio with Chromebooks. In fall 2016, withsupport from the Verizon program, the district will add three more middleschools, which will have 1:1 iPads. All teachers will be trained on GoogleClassroom and the end goal is to develop a 1:1 learning environment that canbe scaled across middle grades at all schools in the district.

Early Literacy: San Francisco Unified is hoping to leverage adaptivelearning tools to increase early literacy skills for third grade and under.Last year, the district funded a pilot that gave families 20 hours of trainingon comprehensive literacy strategies. In exchange, families were given aniPad with myON reader installed. The district used myON to track readingat home. It will continue to look for tools and programs to support earlyliteracy.

Safety First: In 2015, the district partnered with Common Sense Mediaaround K-8 digital citizenship and internet safety. The district sees theseskills are core foundational 21st Century Skills and plans to focus moreexplicitly on those skills in the coming year.

Tech Needs & Requirements

Companies must agree to an online hosting agreementthat lays out clearly requirements for data privacy, dataretention and data storage.Companies must integrated with LDAP, Active Directoryor Clever to support account info, roster creation, studentmobility. This is not currently a hard and fast rule, but itwill become increasingly important in the near future. SFUSD requires prospective vendors to review thedistrict’s priorities and to provide research-basedevidence on how their product aligns. The district is in need of a learning management system and data warehouse tools with data dashboards and analytics.


One to One Initiative: SFUSD has two middle schools that support a 1:1 device to student ratio and is adding three moremiddle schools in fall 2016 with a goal of developing a 1:1 learning environment that they can take to scale in the middlegrades.

STEM: The district launched the Middle School STEM Initiative with funding from the Foundation. Theinitiative includes deployment of devices across middle school classrooms and professional development focused onSTEM education for teachers.

Computer Science: San Francisco Unified continues to grow the computer science initiative, and it hopes to expand theinitiative to the middle grades across all schools in the district.

*Content From 2016

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