I greeted hundreds of students Monday as they started our new school year. You could feel the excitement in the air as they found old friends in the yard, met their new teachers in classrooms and began a new year of learning together. I was reminded once again just how much fun it is to work in education and to be part of our community of schools here in the San Francisco Unified School District.
But as a parent of a middle school student and a high school student, I haven't forgotten how hectic back-to-school time can be for families — new schedules, new transportation routes, and perhaps some last-minute shopping for a new outfit or school supplies.
I'd like to ask you to make time for just a few more things on your to-do list. Every year, we need some basic information about you and your child, and we need to know how to reach you.
Keeping the information up to date is crucial for us, as those forms you fill out make all the difference in our ability to reach you in an emergency and to feed your child.
Lunch forms: Very soon, your child will bring home the free or reduced-price lunch form. Please fill it out even if you don't think you qualify as it provides us with useful demographic data we can use to serve families better. And, yes, we need you to fill them out at the start of every school year. You can apply online, and forms that are submitted by Sept. 1 will be eligible for a prize drawing.
Emergency cards: Your child's school will also be sending home an emergency card. Even if you filled one out last year, we need a new one from you. Vital information on how to contact you during an emergency and your child's medical information (it is kept confidential) need to be current.
Student and Family Handbook: Your child will be bringing home this year's Student and Family Handbook. Please read it for important school district policies that affect your child. There is a form at the front to sign to let us know you have read the handbook. Again, there are several forms at the back that may apply to your student.
We strive to prepare students for success in college and careers, and to keep them safe while learning in our schools. Thank you in advance for taking a few moments with the forms you receive, filling them out and getting them back to us. I know this is no small task and I truly appreciate your efforts.Richard A. Carranza is superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District.