Academic Update from OUSD; Distance Learning, Digital Divide, Summer Chromebooks, Promotions and Grades and More

Academic UpdateMay 27, 2020
Dear OUSD Community:Tomorrow is the last day of the school year!I am writing to provide a few updates, resources and our tentative plans moving forward related to the following topics: Distance Learning this Spring;Technology & Addressing the Digital Divide;Report Cards & Promotion/Graduation;Summer Learning; The 2020-21 School Year; and, Staying ConnectedI also want to say congratulations to our students, families and staff for making it through the end of what could easily be described as the most unconventional school year ever. When I take a step back to consider what we have collectively achieved since we closed campuses to in-person instruction in mid-March, I am encouraged by our accomplishments:In less than 48 hours, our school leaders, teachers and support staff went from working a typical school day to putting together hundreds of paper packets for students, creating new on-line lessons, checking out Chromebooks, supporting their communities with telephone and email check-ins, and so much more.Our Nutrition Services team immediately pivoted and opened 12 grab and go meal sites on the very first day that our schools were closed to students and staff. They served over 4,000 meals on that first day and have continued to serve meals twice a week, every week since then, reaching an average of 14,000 students each day of service.We have partnered with generous community and industry partners to provide essential items ranging from bags of groceries to pet food to diapers for families that have been strongly impacted by COVID-19. The data for our COVID-19 response efforts really does tell a beautiful story of rallying to support our community. Take a look.Staff and community members established fundraising campaigns, putting thousands of dollars into the hands of our Oakland families who need it the most.
And through all the ups and downs of the last two months, our school communities have continued learning, leaning on each other and inspiring one another. Although the scientific information about COVID-19 will continue to alter the educational landscape going forward, we know that we can work through solutions together. The past couple of months have shown us that we can rely on each other, make plans, and adjust our plans as needed for our community and staff. Students in classroom working on computersDistance Learning this SpringDuring this last week of school, our teachers and students are reflecting on their shared distance learning experience and closing out the school year.On that note, we invite all OUSD families to share your experiences and reflections about distance learning in our #SchoolAfterCovid Family Survey. Oakland families like yours deserve a seat at the table as major decisions are being made about your child’s education. Your insight will help us plan for 2020-21, so please share your thoughts by taking the survey today. It’s available in multiple languages.We also invite families and staff to share their thoughts on key questions  – including about distance learning – via our Thought Exchange online. This exchange is confidential. Your thoughts will be shared with other participants, but not your identity. You will be able to see and rate the thoughts that others have provided based on how much you agree/disagree or how important you feel the ideas are. Please visit by June 5 to participate.Technology & Addressing the Digital Divide
Eliminating the Digital Divide

Thanks to the very generous donations of Jack Dorsey, Mark Pincus, and many other foundations and individuals, we have quickly reached our initial #OaklandUndivided fundraising goal of $12.5 million!The #OaklandUndivided campaign goal is to ensure every public school student in Oakland has three things: a computer, an internet connection, and technology support in their home for the upcoming school year. The #OaklandUndivided campaign will support students in need to make this a reality.
These computers are not for OUSD classroom inventory, they will be personal devices for students. Many of these computers will allow students who have returned loaned OUSD computers to get their own personal device. 
We will keep the community informed as to the logistics and timing of device distribution and expansion of internet access. We will issue these computers to the identified families over the months of August and September.
Looking ahead, we are already planning to continue fundraising efforts to meet the annual projected $4M costs that we anticipate it will take to make the #OaklandUndivided campaign sustainable and successful.
OUSD Chromebooks & Internet AccessBy now, you have learned from your school leader that students who are returning to the same school in the fall may keep their loaned Chromebooks over the summer. Please ensure that your family takes good care of these devices while they are in your care. They will need to be returned when school reopens in August.
We are also working with our partners on the Closing the Digital Divide campaign to ensure at home personal devices for students in need in August and September.
The following students must return their Chromebooks to their school site as soon as possible: 1) Students in transition grades 5 & 8 who will attend a different OUSD school in the fall; 2) Students that do not plan to return to a district school next year; and 3) Graduating high school seniors. Please contact your school principal for details on return days and times
As the new computers and hotspots arrive from the #OaklandUndived campaign in the fall, students will be able to replace their loaned OUSD Chromebook with the new personal devices. Students will then be the owners of these new devices and be able to reliably connect to the internet.
For families needing a reliable internet connection before school resumes in the fall, OUSD has increased the signal strength at several of our school sites. Families can drive up to one of the sites listed on the OUSD Student Wifi Access Map to connect to the internet. The Wifi network is called OUSD Chromebook and OUSD Chromebooks will automatically connect, allowing students to access materials.KDOL ProgrammingKDOL-TV is OUSD’s education access television station broadcasting on Channel 27 (Comcast) and Channel 99 (AT&T) in Oakland.
We continue to work with our communications and instructional teams to be able to launch videos and educational content on KDOL over the summer.Our plan is to provide instructional content for students, focusing on early childhood education first, and then content for grades K-3.We’re also working to provide an instructional component for parents consisting of short ‘how to’ videos to support their child’s education.
Report Cards & Promotion/GraduationReport CardsReport cards will be finalized later this week. As a reminder, for pre-kindergarten and elementary students, teachers will focus on the comments section for the final report card and not issue specific grades. For students in grade 6-12, we have taken a credit/no credit approach for the final semester. Families that have an email address on file with their school will receive report cards via email. Families that do not have email addresses on file will have report cards mailed to them. Graduation/Promotion
Thank you to everyone who provided feedback on our Celebrating the Class of 2020 survey!Given the continued shelter in place restrictions, all of our high schools have begun holding virtual graduation ceremonies for seniors. Similarly, our middle and elementary schools are holding virtual promotion events for rising 5th and 8th graders. Please contact your school for access details.The majority of our high schools are also tentatively holding venues and planning for future in-person graduation ceremonies as pandemic restrictions allow. Thanks to the support of the Eat. Learn. Play. Foundation, we were able to provide the families of every graduating high school senior with a lawn sign to help celebrate this major milestone. Each of OUSD’s 18 high school programs has a different design, which show the creativity and personality of the schools. Check them out.Lastly, we are thrilled to partner with KTVU to hold a district-wide virtual graduation celebration on Saturday, June 6 entitled Rising Together: OUSD Class of 2020. The one hour special will air on KTVU Channel 2 at 11:00am and feature Mayor Libby Schaaf, Superintendent Johnson-Trammell, student valedictorians and speakers, as well as some surprise guests. Learn more.Summer Learning & Resources Summer LearningOUSD leaders and our Office of Early Childhood Education (ECE) are working to determine a plan for our full day early childhood programs reopening this summer.  An ECE task force has been created with General Ed and Special Ed ECE teachers, Transitional Kindergarten teachers and site leaders. Our plan will be focused on how to protect our children, families and staff. Our Summer Learning programs will provide targeted support and continued learning opportunities for the K-12 students that are recommended for these programs by their schools. Students will receive intervention focused on literacy and math, along with afternoon enrichment opportunities to help them stay active and connected, even in a distance learning format. Contact your child’s school and/or visit for more information. Most programs will be 4 weeks long and take place between June 8 through July 2, 2020.Credit Recovery is offered to upper class high school students in need of academic credit recovery in order to graduate on time. Contact your child’s high school counselor for more information and eligibility. Extended School Year (ESY) for Special Education is also being implemented – as we do each year – although in a distance learning approach. A student with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) that has ESY written into their IEP as a service can access our ESY Program. Please contact your Special Education case manager/teacher with any questions.All students participating in a summer learning program will be provided a device to facilitate distance learning. If you have questions, please contact your school for further information. Each school was provided a list of students participating in summer learning programs to ensure specific students would be connected to a device for summer learning.
Summer ResourcesIn addition to the planned KDOL cable tv programming mentioned above, OUSD is mailing paper educational packets directly to the homes of our K-4 students during the first week of June. These packets are designed to provide educational and enrichment activities and were made possible through a generous donation by Hewlett-Packard. As many parents/guardians return to working outside the house, we know that families will be looking for ways to keep kids engaged over the summer. InPlay, our partner for out-of-school learning, is in close touch with program providers and is continually updating options for families as availability and enrollment guidelines shift. Additionally, InPlay has created a list of home-based, instructor-led programs offered by your favorite providers to keep your students active and engaged when they are home! Please check it out.Many on-line apps and programs for at home learning will continue to be available for students through June or July. Please visit family central for details.We have expanded our grab and go meal program to continue supporting Oakland kids over the summer break. Starting June 1, 2020, free meals will be available at 24 sites across the city for any Oakland child aged 18 and under on Mondays and Thursdays from 8am until 12pm. Details posted at 2020-21 School YearWhen it comes to re-opening our schools, the health and well-being of our community will always come first. August 10, 2020 is still the anticipated start date for the 2020-21 school year and we are currently working through scenarios as to how that first day of school will look, and how the rest of the year will follow.Last Friday, Superintendent Johnson-Trammell shared details about our district’s newly formed COVID-19 action team and how we’re approaching the return to school in the fall. Take a look to learn more.
The full 2020-21 School Year Calendar was revised on May 15, 2020 and is pending Board approval. Please note that the calendar may need to be adjusted. With that said, we are sharing it now – prior to Board approval – because we know that our staff and families want to plan for the future. We are committed to keeping our staff and community updated as we learn more and will post any changes to

As we work through various scenarios for what a typical school day in 2020-21 could look like, we will be providing teachers and staff with related professional development opportunities and support in July. The professional learning plan is to offer our staff appropriate training based on the scenarios our COVID-19 action team creates.As mentioned above, we are inviting families and staff to share their thoughts on key questions  – including important considerations for returning to in-person instruction – via our Thought Exchange online. Your participation is vital as we plan for the upcoming school year. Visit before June 5 to participate.Staying ConnectedAs we head into summer break, I want to encourage you to stay connected with OUSD. Visit our Family Central website to stay up to date:, follow @ousdnews on facebook and twitter, and subscribe to our newsletters.Everyone has worked very hard to support each other through this very trying time. I appreciate all of you for being open-minded as we worked to understand our context and create support and communication for our staff and community. Again, thank you for your partnership, patience and flexibility in support of our Oakland students.Wishing you and your family an enjoyable summer break full of fun, socially distant outdoor activities, reading, and time together. Please share your thoughts about this message.
In Appreciation,Sondra Aguilera
Chief Academic Officer
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