First Week of February is Busy Across OUSD with Numerous Events Including Celebrations of Black History, the District’s Annual Spelling Bee and Calls for More Funding For Education

OUSD press release
Oakland, CA — The first week of February is a special one across OUSD for several important reasons. It starts with the fact that February is Black History Month, which coincides with several events this week. First off, it’s African American Read In Week, in which volunteers from wide-ranging industries will be visiting our schools to read to our students. With critical support from the Oakland Public Education Fund, this is a great opportunity for students to meet people they might not otherwise meet, and hear their perspectives on school, work, life, and literature. It also gives the adults a wonderful opportunity to bond with our kids.
Also this week is the continuation of one of our most popular events of the year, the Martin Luther King Jr. Oratorical Fest in which students of all ages compete with spoken word pieces, original and historic, written and performed aspirationally in the way the civil rights leader spoke. This is the 41st year for this event, and this year, the TV network HBO is airing a documentary about our competition. You can see a trailer for the film here. Half of our elementary school students will be in District-wide competition on Tuesday, February 4 (the other half faced off last week). Middle and high school students will compete next Tuesday, February 11. The finals are Sunday, February 23.

In a similarly popular District-wide competition, students from all of our schools will take part in OUSD’s Annual Spelling Bee. Winners in different age groups of this c-h-a-l-l-e-n-g-i-n-g competition will move on to the Alameda County Spelling Bee, then the California Spelling Bee, and eventually, the National Spelling Bee.
On Friday, McClymonds High School will be the site of the Black College Expo’s HBCU Caravan Tour, in which students from across the District will get to interact with staff from 40 Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and learn about opportunities to study at each school. Some students will be offered spots at schools in real time, and learn about scholarship and other financial aid opportunities. The event continues on a larger scale on Saturday at the Marriott City Center.

Also on Friday, the enrollment period for all schools closes to students hoping for their best shot at the school of their choice. Students can still enroll after Friday, but they will not receive the same priority placement that students who apply by Friday receive. All families with students entering kindergarten, 6th grade and 9th grade should submit their applications by Friday. For more information and to enroll, please visit
This is Fund Education Now Week, in which students, staff, families and school districts across the state are calling for California to send more money to our schools. Our state has the fifth largest economy in the world and yet, on a per pupil basis, we fund our schools in the bottom 20% in the nation. California is $25.6 billion away from adequately funding schools. Check out this website to learn what you can do to advocate for better school funding!

Last but not least, this is National School Counseling Week. This week highlights the unique contribution of school counselors and the tremendous impact they have in academic, college/career, and social/emotional development of students. We want to celebrate the 45 school counselors we have in OUSD and more than 100,000 nationwide. Please take a moment to recognize the school counselors at your site and thank them for all they do day in and day out for Oakland youth! #NSCW2020

WHAT: African American Read In Week
WHEN: Every day this week, mornings and afternoons
WHERE: Schools across OUSD

WHAT: 41st Annual Oratorical Fest Elementary School Competition
WHEN: 9:00 a.m., Tuesday, February 4
WHERE: Skyline High School Auditorium, 12250 Skyline Blvd

WHAT: 2019-20 OUSD Spelling Bee
WHEN: 5:30 p.m., Thursday, February 6
WHERE: Westlake Middle School, 2629 Harrison Street

WHAT: Black College Expo’s HBCU Caravan Tour
WHEN: 8:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Friday, February 7 (Continuing Saturday, February 8, all day)
WHERE: McClymonds High School, 2607 Myrtle Street (Saturday – Marriott City Center)
###About the Oakland Unified School DistrictIn California’s most diverse city, Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) is dedicated to creating a learning environment where “Every Student Thrives!” More than half of our students speak a non-English language at home. And each of our 83 schools is staffed with talented individuals uniting around a common set of values: Students First, Equity, Excellence, Integrity, Cultural Responsiveness and Joy. We are committed to preparing all students for college, career and community success. 

To learn more about OUSD’s Full Service Community District focused on academic achievement while serving the whole child in safe schools, please visit and follow us @OUSDnews.
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