Mayor's Middle School Leadership Initiative

"A Force for the Future"


The Opportunity

Mayor Lee's commitment and enthusiasm for supporting Middle School transformation in partnership with San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) and School Site Principals provides a great opportunity to integrate the Mayor’s Educational Leadership Initiative with Superintendent Carranza’s vision to build a PreK-12 STEM pathway, and Foundation’s investment to improve communities by leveraging their people, technology and resources to improve outcomes in education, health and workforce. These partners share the vision that all SFUSD students will graduate college and career ready with 21st century skills. In particular, the Mayor has focused on the Middle Schools as this is where a drop off in student and family engagement begins. Mayor Lee is committed to providing targeted support in areas – like technology – that promote student and family engagement, enhance teaching and learning and support the difficult work of principals. This investment will support the Mayor’s vision by putting the T in the STEM pathway for SFUSD Middle Schools; in turn, these schools will lead the way by creating a model for innovating with technology designed to accelerate student achievement.

Middle School 1 

The Vision

Middle School is the grade range that requires the most significant investment to bridge between the basics of the elementary grades and the advanced work at the high school level. In the modern era, this bridge must not only build in our students the intellectual capacity and ability to process critical thinking at a high level; it must also see that they develop the technological skills to function in high school and beyond. For many middle school students – particularly those of African American and Latino heritage – this grade range becomes the most challenging stage in their path to graduation, and one where many struggle to compete and successfully matriculate to the high school level.

A key foundation to the initiative with secondary level students must go beyond core curriculum of state standards such as math, literacy, social studies and science. In the 21st century, curriculum must reflect the rigor and demands beyond these core subjects to include a robust Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). The importance of an integrated STEM curriculum cannot be underestimated when preparing students for an increasingly technological future. A recent report by the US Department of Commerce ( showed that, over the past decade, the number of new STEM jobs has grown at a rate triple that of non-STEM jobs. The majority of those jobs will require a four-year college degree and the foundation to earn that degree begins at the middle school level. Mayor Lee has recognized the critical role STEM plays in the economy of San Francisco and in the future of this city and has launched a comprehensive effort to nurture and strengthen our city’s Tech business environment. This is reflected in everything from his reforms to encourage tech business expansion to his appointment of a Chief Innovation Officer to his efforts to provide thousands of internships for our city’s youth.

Mayor Lee recognizes the critical role of our public schools to support this Tech Ecosystem and has pledged his support to SFUSD’s efforts to launch STEM throughout our secondary grades. The Middle School leadership now seeks the necessary support to complete the development of that program throughout our middle school grades.

Middle School 2

The Goal

The Mayor’s Middle School Leadership Initiative will create and solidify a robust Technology component at the middle school level to support the implementation of a broader STEM pathway aligned with the new Common Core Standards and the next generation science standards. The initiative will effectively create digital classrooms aligned to the intensive math and science work that is being co-led by SFUSD Curriculum & Instruction Office and the Middle School leadership. This effort will require not only the physical technology but also the thoughtful and intentional engagement of key stakeholders: students, families, teachers, principals and the broader school community. Success will be measured on the extent that these groups increase engagement and demonstrate levels of proficiency and mastery with the technology through multiple measures.

Press Releases and Related Articles

10/6/2013 "Tech titan's high-grade gift to S.F. middle schools"
10/7/2013 Mayor Lee Launches Public-Private Middle School Leadership Initiative Video
10/7/2013 San Francisco Middle Schools Receive $2.7M Donation From Salesforce CEO
10/7/2013 Mayor Lee, San Francisco Unified School District and Foundation Launch Public-Private Middle School Leadership Initiative 
10/8/2013 "S.F.'s tech community needs to support our schools"
10/15/2013 " partnership to benefit students"