OUSD Superintendent • 4 minutes ago • Thursday, May 27 at 11:55 AM • Oakland Unified School District, Media Contacts
Thursday, May 27, 2021
Dear Oakland Community:
As the school year comes to a close here in OUSD, I want to express my deepest appreciation to our staff and everyone in our community for their dedication to our students, leadership in uncertain times, and unwavering support in helping us navigate this challenging year.
While some uncertainty and challenges remain, as I look around the District, I also see countless reasons for optimism and celebration.
The second graduation at Oakland International High School.
High school graduation season is here, as is elementary and middle school promotion season, and it’s wonderful that many of our schools have been able to return to in-person ceremonies. To be able to have students, families and staff celebrate in person has been one more important sign that conditions are improving, and it’s the perfect time for things to get better.
With that I say, “Congratulations to the Class of 2021!” Persevering and then graduating during a worldwide pandemic is a monumental accomplishment, and you members of our senior class have countless reasons to be proud. I wish you much success as you go out into the world to continue your education, or enter the workforce. Remember that you always have a home here in Oakland, and we will not only cheer you on, but also lend you whatever support we can as you move along through life.
One of the Madison Park Academy Secondary graduation ceremonies.
Our students are what drive us, and it was an exciting moment when we opened our schools in March, and students started returning to campus. Beginning in-person instruction after more than a year of distance learning required an exceptional amount of work from all of our staff, and I thank every single employee across the District for helping to give many of our students almost two months of a more normal school experience. I am glad we were able to bring back sports and start the OAL season, and it was wonderful to see students back on the fields and courts competing in the sports they love and which they practice so hard. We are excited to offer more sports for our student-athletes next school year.
While I am inspired by the collective dedication and ingenuity of our educators, I also know distance learning has been hard on everyone. Families, educators, and especially students have faced enormous challenges by not being on campus together, working and learning. I am so proud our community stepped up to address important needs. Our staff prepared and distributed millions of meals to our students and their families, and successfully transitioned to food delivery to families. Thanks to help from our partners, we are closing the digital divide once and for all with #OaklandUndivided. Together, we’ve distributed computers to 28,500 students, increasing the amount of District students – including Black, Latino and low-income students – with computer and internet access from 12% to 98%.
Many members of the Nutrition Services team with Ayesha Curry at the Central Kitchen.
Our employees have a lot to make them proud. The hard work, passion and skill our educators and staff displayed this year is nothing short of incredible. This month, we have been celebrating the adults at our schools who dedicate themselves to our students. So many of our employees have been rightfully recognized for their achievements lately it’s hard to keep up, including our three amazing Teachers of the Year and our four Alameda County Office of Education Classified Employees of the Year who came from our nine District Classified Employees of the Year.
The Coliseum College Prep Academy graduation.
As we look forward to returning to full in-person learning, we are excited that staff and students have started experiencing some of the sparkling new facilities projects we completed in the last year, including our Central Kitchen in West Oakland (a facility that includes a one-acre urban farm and school which will educate students in farming, nutrition and the culinary arts, among other topics); a new campus at Glenview Elementary School, and new buildings at Madison Park Academy and Fremont High School; and a new living schoolyard at the Cesar Chavez Education Center in the Fruitvale District.
In-person learning at Madison Park Academy Primary.
This was not the school year that any of us wanted. Almost every aspect of teaching and learning changed because of the pandemic. I am so proud of, and grateful for, how our students and the OUSD community responded. As we move through all of our graduations and promotions, into summer school and then toward a full reopening of all schools in the fall, I deeply appreciate that we are doing all of it together, working with laser focus, and always with the success of our young people top of mind.
In community,Dr. Kyla Johnson-Trammell