Ensuring High-Quality Educators for our Classrooms

Teacher Pipeline Programs


At Spark* SF Public Schools, we believe SFUSD’s strongest asset is its 5,500 educators who work across its 126 schools. That’s 3,582 teachers, supported by the 1,121 substitute teachers and 796 paraprofessionals, or support staff. Their preparation, diversity, and talent is the district’s greatest lever for improving learning outcomes for the more than 55,000 students they educate each and every day of the school year. 

NEED AND CURRENT REALITY: However, San Francisco faces a severe teacher shortage, especially in the areas of STEM, bilingual education, special education, and physical education. This is exacerbated by a multitude of factors, including a general teacher shortage throughout the state and the escalating cost of housing that strains teachers’ ability to live in the Bay Area. In addition to completing a credential program, becoming a certificated teacher requires time and money to take and pass required exams.  It can be even harder for teachers of color and bilingual teachers to become fully credentialed. 

Once they navigate these obstacles to credentialing, new teachers are faced with many new challenges. Data shows that 48% of all teacher resignations at SFUSD occur within three years of their hire date. Since experienced teachers can select from openings across the school district, and many teachers report greater levels of burnout in high poverty schools, schools with higher concentrations of underserved youth have higher teacher turnover and greater concentrations of inexperienced teachers. 

When key teaching roles are in flux, the resources and attention of schools are diverted away from creating better outcomes for students. Such pressures, combined with the well-documented effect on schools impacted by poverty, create a systematic and vicious cycle of inequality. 

In response to the critical need to attract and retain talented teachers, SFUSD has designed and launched a portfolio of teacher preparation programs with the goal of recruiting, training, and supporting a diverse pool of teachers from a wide range of backgrounds who are prepared to excel in SFUSD classrooms. This includes three residency programs in conjunction with universities, a district-run credentialing program, and a program that supports current para-educators in earning their credential. 

VISION: By 2025, we will ensure that every classroom at SFUSD is staffed with a highly effective teacher and that our new teaching staff reflects the diversity of the city in which we live. By investing in SFUSD’s teacher pipeline programs, we will help to:

  1. Develop a more robust teacher pipeline by improving our internal pathways to teaching, as well as our partner residency programs, to ensure that we are offering a wide variety of credentials in our shortage areas and a portfolio of options to attract a diverse candidate pool.

  2. Support teachers of color and bilingual teachers to overcome barriers to teaching by providing test preparation support such as individual and small group tutoring, online training, tailored workshops for bilingual teachers, and exam reimbursements for emergency teachers and intern teachers.

  3. Revamp the teacher induction and new teacher support programs to ensure that every single new teacher receives ongoing, high-quality professional development and coaching from well-trained coaches. 

  4. Increase recruitment efforts to ensure we are tapping into our local talent and building out pathways to teaching beginning in our teaching academies in high school.

Teacher at the whiteboard

INVESTMENT: Spark* SF Public Schools is seeking $3 million in private philanthropic investments over three years. You have the opportunity to pioneer a new era in public education in San Francisco by helping to provide a pathway for aspiring teachers while building the capacity of our public schools to effectively identify, employ and retain qualified and credentialed educators who will, through teaching, develop what our community will become.

San Franciscans have consistently cared for the teachers and schools that educate our youngest residents. Please make your gift today to express your appreciation for a profession that is dedicated, each and every day, to creating better and brighter futures for our young people and our communities. Join us in ensuring high-quality educators for our classrooms!


  • Reduce teacher shortage by hiring and training more than 700 teachers per year

  • 100% of classroom vacancies will be filled to ensure every classroom is staffed with quality teachers on the first day of school

  • 90% of teachers in SFUSD’s schools and subject areas will remain in SFUSD during their first five years of service

  • 65% of teachers coming out of our pipeline programs will be teachers of color 

  • 75% of teachers coming out of our pipeline programs will be from San Francisco or the Bay Area