Forms and Resources For School Principals

About the Project

 

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.

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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

Please Note:

  • 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

Our Mission

The Shared Schoolyard Project’s mission is to create more accessible and safe spaces for our children and families to gather and play throughout the City of San Francisco. The Shared Schoolyard Project will encompass every supervisorial district and will succeed through collaborative partnerships with the City of San Francisco, the San Francisco Unified School District, Neighborhoods and Communities, the San Francisco PTA, Corporate Sponsors, and other Non-Governmental and Community Based Organizations. We envision providing a place to play within walking distance of every child in San Francisco.

  • Latest from the blog

    News & Media

    Community Celebrates Opening of Schoolyard at Gordon Lau Elementary School

    December 2nd was a Saturday to remember for the entire San Francisco Chinatown community as families came out to celebrate the opening of Gordon Lau Elementary's schoolyard! The school's very central yard in the heart of the city would now be available for the everyone in the neighborhood to use on the weekends going forward. 

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    Everyone was treated to the free and savory chicken drumsticks, chow mein, and fried tofu graciously provided by the Golden Daisy. The kickoff also had over 15 community partners and organizations come out to provide educational resources and games for all the attendees. Community Youth Center provided a disaster preparedness awareness activity; Chinatown YMCA brought arts and crafts for everyone; and Edgewood Center for Children and Families had kids laughing with glee while they pushed and pulled the giant blocks of a life-size Jenga. 

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    However, the highlight of the opening was definitely when Leung's White Crane Lion and Dragon Association started their procession of drums and lion dancing. Two lions - one in yellow and the other in red - led the crowd of delighted kids to the wider end of the schoolyard before the speaking program began.

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    Teachers, parents, neighbors, and seniors all gathered around as Principal Gloria Choy welcomed and thanked the whole community for supporting Gordon Lau Elementary Schoolyard's opening. She introduced Supervisor Mark Farrell, who has spearheaded the Shared Schoolyard Project since 2012, to give his remarks for the tremendous occasion. Yi Huang, the Director of Youth Programs at Chinatown YMCA, wrapped up the program with Cantonese and Mandarin translation before the widely anticipated ribbon cutting ceremony!

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    Gordon Lau Elementary School is now open on the weekends between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. The schoolyard will be opened by the San Francisco Parks and recreation Department and cleaned by the San Francisco Department of Public Works. For any questions or specific information about the Shared Schoolyard Project, please contact info@sfsharedschoolyard.org. 

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    Community Gathers to Celebrate Schoolyard Opening at Daniel Webster

    On Saturday, November 18th it proved to be a beautiful, sunny day for a Shared Schoolyard event! Crowds of families from the nearby community streamed into the schoolyard at Daniel Webster Elementary School to celebrate the exciting opening of the schoolyard for public use on the weekends. They were joined by local organizations, community leaders, as well as local representatives from the San Francisco Police Department.

     

    The schoolyard at Daniel Webster was covered with children and adults running from tables to activities. Children had the chance to move around and get active with the help of community partners SF Youth Soccer and their pickup games and Tenacious Tennis organizing matches between children. We were lucky to be joined by a wide array of community partners such as Bricks 4 Kidz, STEMful, SF Children's Art Center, Potrero Hill Library Branch, Girl Scouts of America, Recycle for Change, and last but not least the Oakland Black Cowboys! And the tacos were back, delighting everyone with their deliciousness!

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    While fun and games were happening on the lower schoolyard, the Oakland Black Cowboys were on the upper yard giving horseback and pony rides to excited youngsters eager to get their chance atop the gentle giants.

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    We were privileged to have awesome speakers at the event. Principal Carrie Bettie and former President of the Board of Education Shamann Walton, who both spoke about the importance of connecting with the school and community. Supervisor Mark Farrell, whom has spearheaded the Shared Schoolyard Project, also spoke about his motivations for supporting the project.  After the speaking program, a crowd of smiling children gathered around with Supervisor Farrell to participate in the cutting of the big, red ribbon-signifying the official opening of the schoolyard on the weekends.

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    The schoolyard at Daniel Webster Elementary will be open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays between 9:00 am and 4:00 pm. The schoolyard will be opened by the San Francisco Parks and Recreation Department and cleaned by the San Francisco Department of Public Works. For any questions or specific information about the Shared Schoolyard Project, please contact info@sfsharedschoolyard.org.

    Read more
Mayor Edwin M. Lee Supervisor Mark Farrell SF Parks Alliance SFUSD SF 311 SFPD SF DPW SF Recreation and Parks