What is the purpose of the partnership?
The San Francisco Unified School District's (SFUSD) new strategic plan has eloquently laid out the charge of the UCSF/SFUSD Partnership: To close the achievement gap by eliminating the predictive power of demographics. For far too long demographics, specifically the socio-economic, linguistic, and racial backgrounds of children have often been closely correlated to their success in school. We refer to this historical trend as the “predictive power of demographics.”
UCSF also recently approved its own strategic plan, which calls for a greater and deeper engagement with the K-12 community. The UCSF/SFUSD Partnership is an opportunity to operationalize the goals expressed in each of our respective strategic plans. The UCSF/SFUSD Partnership has a two-fold purpose:
- To support SFUSD students and educators by harnessing the clinical, educational and research resources of UCSF.
- To prepare the citizens of tomorrow and expose them to health sciences careers.
How is the SFUSD/UCSF partnership structured?
The UCSF/SFUSD Partnership will focus on science education, college readiness and clinical services. In order to focus our efforts, we work intensively with five schools within the southeast sector of San Francisco. This area will be our focus because this is where the greatest need exists and where a focused effort can bear significant results. In addition, UCSF has a significant presence in this part of the city, which can be leveraged to support the partnership.
The program will work with a pre-school program, two elementary schools, two middle schools and one high school all within the southeast sector. Proceeding in this way will enable us to create a deep, meaningful partnership with children and families who live within the same “neighborhood” of the city.
How will the partnership better meet the needs of students?
As we embark on this effort we will heed the words expressed in the SFUSD strategic plan: The changes we demand require that we relinquish pretense and embrace the simple truth that we all have to learn how to serve students and their families more effectively.
Serving students more effectively will mean helping develop more engaging science curriculum so that students are excited about learning and addressing the physical and mental health needs of students so that they will be able to learn. We will also be developing strategies to help engage the families of our students — their active participation can make a huge difference in helping students meet their educational goals.
The need to develop the potential that exists within all our students is self-evident. We all are aware of the significant demographic trends that are occurring in our state and nation. Now more than ever must tap the human capital of all our students.
Serving all students more effectively will require UCSF and SFUSD, both individually and collectively, to be transparent about those areas where new learning and strategies are needed. This process of learning will inevitably transform both organizations for the better and lead to a deeper and more meaningful partnership. We are committed to this goal.
Our youth are our most important resource. By working together to support their educational needs, we will prepare the next generation of leaders and lay the foundation for a stronger and more vibrant society.
How can you help?
UCSF is blessed with amazing faculty, staff, and students who care very much about their community. If you are interested in helping us serve the students of the San Francisco Unified School District, please call or email Orlando Elizondo at (415) 602-6495 or Orlando.Elizondo@ucsf.edu.