Oakland Education Roundup Week in Review 9/29

Looking back on everything Oakland education- the honor band takes a knee, test scores are out, what’s happening with the OUSD budget, a new “woke” parent group, meetings, opportunities for educators, and for you to help Oakland public schools, and more

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OUSD Honor Band takes a knee while playing National Anthem at A’s game. It’s been one year since the Oakland Unified Honor Band beat 99% of the nation’s adults to the punch in kneeling for the national anthem. Last year, they discussed their feelings, debated internally, talked with adults, and many chose to kneel, while some did not, as they played the anthem. This weekend Oakland Athletics Rookie Bruce Maxwell became the first major league baseball player to take a knee

The latest test score release showed relatively flat proficiency rates and immense achievement gaps GO Public Schools Oakland Statement on Delayed 2017 SBAC Results Point to Persistent Achievement Gap between different ethnic groups, staggeringly low numbers for English learners.

Woke Parents, the System’s Worst Nightmare – Great School Voices – Mama Williams graduated from an Oakland public high school with As and Bs, but she couldn’t read. This week she was organizing with nearly 100 other Oakland parents at DeFremery Park in West Oakland the goal was “breaking the cycle.”

School District Examines Causes of Financial Hardships. As the Oakland Unified School District closes its books for 2016 – 2017, staff is pinpointing some of the financial missteps that led to the district’s current fragile economic condition, where even relatively small over-expenditures could result in state takeover.

E-commerce company Art.com donated $20,000 to keep after-school arts program for a year. Donation saves after-school Oakland art program

GreatSchools: School Ratings and Reviews for Public and Private Schools. View parent ratings, reviews and test scores and choose the right preschool, elementary, middle or high school for public or private education.

Special Education Study Session: Quality Schools for Special Education was held on 9/25 at Howard Elementary school 

Measure G1 – Districtwide Teacher Retention and Middle School Improvement Act Oversight Commission held a meeting on 9/26, see meeting details here 

Foster Youth Advisory Committee met on 9/26, meeting details here

Sprint donated 3200 hotspots to students at Life Academy on 9/28. This donation will go a long way to helping our students master their homework and flourish as students.

OUSD Office of Equity held a reception on 9/26 where you could hear from Equity Directors, celebrate the growth of the Office of Equity, meet our new team members, and hear about our goals for the 2017-18 school year.

Oakland Public Education 101, the first of a six-part series, began on 9/26.Discussions included an introduction to the facts and forces that shape public education in Oakland. How did we get to where we are, and what is the fight about? 

Board of Education met on 9/27, check out the meeting details

Over the next several months OUSD leadership will making some big decisions about the future of our schools. The Blueprint for Quality Schools will help the district make decisions about: Changing school buildings, expanding, merging or closing schools, changing the way Central Office supports schools

OUSD hosted a series of Blueprint for Quality Schools meetings last week. If you weren’t able to join, you can still provide your input! Please complete an online survey by October 13 so that OUSD leadership can understand your priorities for our school sites over the next 5 years.

Restore Oakland is a community advocacy and training center that will mobilize Bay Area community members to transform our economic and justice systems and make a safe and secure future possible for themselves and for their families. Restore Oakland is a joint initiative of the Ella Baker Center and ROC United, and we are working in partnership with Causa Justa: Just Cause, Community Works West, and Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth (RJOY), La Cocina, and other local organizations to realize our vision. The press event took place on 9/26 in Oakland.

Lighthouse Creativity Lab MS/HS gave a tour on 9/28; take a look at what was covered and more about the Lighthouse Creativity Lab and Lighthouse Community Public Schools,


How much do you know about bilingual education? Truths and misconceptions from the experts. Bilingual education is making a comeback in California, and one reason is research that proved its benefits, Latino education experts say. At a recent conference of Spanish-language journalists from across the country, panelists including a UCLA researcher laid out how far bilingual education has come

Opinion | California’s Sexual Assault Law Will Hurt Black Kids. Harsh school discipline policies fall hardest on students of color.

California’s Smarter Balanced test results: Use with caution. School districts and parents already have their students’ scores, so why do we need statewide results on the Common Core-aligned test results?

Last week, charter school officials in Modesto faced the difficult question of how to discipline a 5-year-old for pretending to have a bomb in his backpack. Legislation pending before the governor would prohibit schools in the state preschool program from expelling an early learner for behavior issue except under specific circumstances. Pending bill would restrict suspensions of early learners: SI&A Cabinet Report: The Essential Resource for Superintendents and the Cabinet.

How Antonio Villaraigosa went from a union organizer to a union target. Villaraigosa launched his political career as a union organizer in LA. As mayor, he became one of labor’s biggest foes. 

California’s students stagnate on standardized tests — but the lowest scorers are improving. California students’ state standardized test scores were stagnant. A Times analysis looks at schools where the vast majority of students are failing.

Best of the Rest

One-third of Native American and African American children are (still) in poverty. Last week the Census Bureau released data on income, poverty, and health insurance, which showed a slight decline in the national poverty rate.

Salesforce Commits $50 Million and One Million Employee Volunteer Hours to Advance Computer Science Education in the United States. Salesforce.org to offer free software to every eligible public school in the nation. Since 1999, Salesforce and Salesforce.org have given $65 million and 175,000 volunteer hours toward education.

Betsy DeVos Viewed Unfavorably by 40 Percent of Voters, New Poll Says. DeVos got a higher share of strong disapproval than any other member of President Trump’s cabinet included in the survey.

For Educators

Although LearnStorm started on September 12, it’s not too late to sign up today so your students can experience the learning, fun, and celebration of LearnStorm.

School Retool Fellowship Application due October 15: Oakland Winter 2018 Cohort Educate78’s School Design Lab and the Rogers Family Foundation, in support and collaboration with Oakland Unified School District, are excited to announce a second Oakland-based School Retool. Cohort School Retool is open to school leaders in public schools throughout Oakland. We are seeking leaders who want to change the status quo of public education, are passionate about access to Deeper Learning for all students, are willing and ready to try out a new, immersive learning experience, and are committed to fully participating in the work of the fellowship. You can find more info here

How You Can Help

Help an Oakland student and educator whose home was destroyed by fire. Huber was an Education for Change student, and is now an Education for Change teacher in the Fruitvale neighborhood of Oakland. He and his family represent Oakland at its best, and in the early hours of Friday, September 8th, they awoke to their home on fire. Thankfully, nobody was hurt, but you can imagine the pain, stress, frustration, and anger in seeing your family home on fire. We are asking that you donate whatever you can to help Huber and his family respond to this loss quickly so that he can resume the job he loves and support his family. Help spread the word! 

Support students with Listening Tools – A strong listening center is much needed in all elementary school classrooms. The stacks of CD’s and cassettes on a day to day for engagement, enrichment in both love for learning and academic standards. My students need a protected space with a CD player and timers to listen, learn and be heard.  Be the first to donate | $484 still needed, Ms. Semana Aspire College Academy, Oakland CA

Bring Coding and Engineering to Life with Lego Robots at Oakland Sol. This is the second phase of our great robot adventure, where students experiment with engineering concepts and coding practice, as well as learning about the design phases of a technical project. My students need these EV3 Mindstorms kits to take their skills to the next level! 2 donors | $466 still needed… Give to Mr. Davis



What do you think?

2 thoughts on “Oakland Education Roundup Week in Review 9/29

  1. What OUSD Education Round-up didn’t include was the Oakland School Board passing by 6 to 1 no vote adoption of Resolution No. 1718-0025 – Determining That The Kipp Bridge Academy (Lafayette Elementary School Site) Campus Project Is Categorically Exempt From The California Environmental Quality Act, Approving The Project And Authorizing The District To File A Notice Of Exemption.on behalf of KIPP charter school. KIPP was unwilling to supporting the Board’s Project Labor Agreement (PLA) that is the Board’s standard for labor contracts for work on its school site facilities. A Project Labor Agreement (PLA), also known as a Community Workforce Agreement, is a pre-hire collective bargaining agreement with one or more labor organizations that establishes the terms and conditions of employment for a specific construction project.

    Problem is that the former Lafayette public school site is being leased to KIPP for 40 years and KIPP is converting the former K-5 elementary school to facility to include middle school grades 6, 7, 8 and part of the lease agreement is grants KIPP privately managed charter school management to construct new facilities. As a private management KIPP has no legal requirement to follow the Board’s policy for facility construction to include PLA.

    In privately managed charter school tradition of avoiding labor union agreements, KIPP private management is avoiding PLA for its construction project.

    Shanthi Gonzales was the only Board Member to vote No.

    To be clear the Board had a choice of not voting for the exemption for environmental impact by voting No. Board Member Gonzales vote in effect was for punishing KIPP for being anti-labor Project Labor Agreement decision of KIPP.

    Board Members voting yes showed that six of the Board members felt the KIPP anti-labor position wasn’t worth defending.

  2. I screwed up my last sentence. What I should of written was, that those Board members voting yes to exempt KIPP from the Board’s policy of hiring based on a PLA for all its public school construction projects were ignoring KIPP’s private management’s anti-labor position of not agreeing to a PLA for the former Oakland Public Elementary School Lafayette campus.

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