What is The Shared Schoolyard Project?
The Shared Schoolyard Project is a partnership between the City of San Francisco, the San Francisco Unified School District, SFDPW, SFPD and San Francisco’s neighborhoods and communities that works to provide a place for children and families to play and gather within walking distance of every child in San Francisco by opening up Schoolyards across the city for recreation and open space on the weekends. Through this unique joint partnership, the City and the School District are able to open schoolyards to the public across the city, as well as provide resources to schools and communities to activate the yards and host programming to bring people to the open spaces.
Currently, over 50 SFYSD schools citywide are enrolled in the Shared Schoolyard Project, with plans to expand to 80 open yards. This adds 1,651,352 Square feet or nearly 38 acres of additional open space for the people of San Francisco to use and enjoy each weekend.
In addition to the nearly 38 acres of increased open space, in the 2017/2018 School Year, the Shared Schoolyard Project awarded 18 Community 'Activity Fund' Grants and nearly $50,000 to support community initiatives, free sports classes, and leagues, and expended funds to support specific yard improvements and repairs at partnering Schools. Over 6,000 people participated in these programs in the 2017/18 School year alone!
The Shared Schoolyard Project was started in 2008, with the idea to open at least one yard in each of the 11 Supervisorial districts. The program was revamped and expanded in 2014 under the leadership of then District 2 Supervisor Mark Farrell (Now, former Mayor), who led the fundraising and growth efforts for the project, alongside former Mayor Ed Lee, the San Francisco Unified School District, San Francisco’s Recreation and Parks Department, San Francisco’s Department of Public Works, San Francisco Police Department, and 311.
See program photos and info about past programs on the yards here!
Who Opens the Yards?
The Shared Schoolyard Project has had many partners over the years in the work of opening and closing the schoolyard gates each weekend, including SF Rec and Park park rangers and SFUSD Custodial team.
In February 2018 the program transitioned to a team of SFUSD Teachers and Staff to open the gates each weekend. These staff members are trained to be a resource and first defense for the Yards and community. Each participating staff member opens a circuit of gates, which usually includes 6-8 schools per route. At the time of each opening and closing, staff members walk the yard to ensure that yards are returned to full working order by the time school starts Monday morning.
If you are an SFUSD Teacher or Certificated staff member and would like to know more about how to participate in this employment opportunity, please contact us. If you are a Principal or site administrator who needs to report an issue with gate openings, or staff members in this capacity, please use the forms on this site.
What does it mean for a school to be part of the Shared Schoolyard Project?
In addition to providing their community with a safe, open space, each school receives a number of direct benefits from being enrolled:
- Depending on site-specific exceptions- Open hours of operation (meaning yard gate is unlocked) from 9:00 am and 4:00 pm Saturday and Sunday
- A $1000 stipend to each school’s parent organization (PTA/PTO) or designated trust account on an annual basis
- For information on the distribution of this payment, please see the 'Resources for Principals Page'
- Opportunity for up to $2,500 for an activity fund stipend for any activity that promotes physical activity in your schoolyard
- See 'Activity Funds' Page on this site for more information
- Inspection of the yard at the close of each day by SFUSD Staff Gate Partners
- Two deep cleanings of each schoolyard per year from the Department of Public Works Deep Clean Team
- This includes high priority status for any cleaning needed from San Francisco’s Department of Public Works on a one-off basis as well. For more info, or to request site cleaning, please contact us
- High priority status for clean-up/repairs/graffiti abatement by San Francisco’s Department of Public Works Clean Team
- To report a situation which should be addressed, please use contact us form
- Routine check-ins throughout the day from the San Francisco Police Department
- Access through walk-in gate entrances only, to ensure cars are not parking in the schoolyards
- Bathrooms will not be open to the public as part of the program, please plan accordingly