Our Monthly Round-Up of Education News

  1. SOBEO Rants is out with a new one! 

S.O.B.E. RANTS S4E1: Before You Curse That Teacher Out About Grades, listen to this First.

In this episode, we hear from Michelle Coleman, Assistant Principal, former ELA educator, now Administrator, who’s experienced both the positive and negative interactions with parents of the scholars she holds to a high academic and cultural standard. Though she’s experienced some challenges and pushback, her methods resulted in her having the highest ELA growth scores in her school’s network. In this episode, we discuss the 5 solutions stated in the previous blog, as well as digging into the grades versus the mastery of the standards and lessons taught. 

You can also read about it in Quis Evans’ most recent blog; stay tuned for another blog post this week! 

Out now on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify with additional content here at Great School Voices for each episode.

2. Our #AccessLit Broadcast featuring Kennan Scott has launched!  

Kennan is continuing Dirk’s journey into assuring high speed internet for all, and has to date broadcast two amazing episodes. Episode one features Kennan talking about how our beloved Dirk Tillotson took us from Access Denied to Access Granted. Episode two features David Silver and Patrick Messac of the Mayor’s Office, and Oakland Undivided as they unpack new developments about how access is getting better Oakland.   

  1. School Spotlights – Go Public Schools Oaklan

In April, Go Public Schools Oakland published their Gaining Ground Report which looked at student literacy progress, particularly which schools are helping Black students, Latino students, and English Learners make gains in reading. Go Public Schools delivered “high growth” school awards to 19 schools and in May published  deep dives on three schools: 

  • Greenleaf (A bilingual Spanish immersion school focuses on Black students’ sense of belonging) 
  • Joaquin Miller (English learners see big gains upon return to in-person instruction)  
  • Madison Park Academy Primary (the only school in Oakland to meet our “high-growth” criteria for all three student groups: Black students, Latino students, and English Learners) 

News You Need to Know

The New York Times

New Biden Administration Rules for Charter Schools Spur Bipartisan Backlash

The federal Charter Schools Programs are facing rules changes under the Biden Administration, the biggest of which involves proving demand and community support. The proposed changes have sparked controversy on both sides of the aisle. Our own FIA Oakland sent parents and students to advocate on behalf of charters here in the Bay.

Cal Matters:

Private Colleges Want More power to police trespassers. 

Private colleges want to change rules for how police respond to trespassing on campus. Students worry the proposal could lead to racial profiling. The issue is at the center of a bill. Private colleges say that the current state hampers their ability to protect students — but some students worry that the proposed changes could make campuses feel cut off from surrounding neighborhoods and lead to racial profiling. 

Califonia’s Youngest Children need more Mental Health Support 

The mental health of children under 5 has typically been overlooked when it comes to state funding. Advocates aim to change that by asking for $250 million to support the youngest Californians. At least 43% of those children under 5 have experienced at least one adverse childhood experience. These experiences — including violence, abuse or neglect — have been connected to chronic illnesses later in life and death.


New Internship Program puts Oakland high schoolers in the teacher’s seat 

According to district data, about 72% of elementary school students at OUSD tested below their grade level in reading last fall. But with Oakland facing a teacher shortage like other districts in California during the pandemic, Principal Ana Vasquez struggled to find literacy aides. Together with Monica Vu, a Skyline high school teacher, they began brainstorming and quickly created a pilot internship program, where this semester, four students at Skyline with an interest in education have had the opportunity to spend several hours a week in a classroom at Think College Now. 

McClymonds High School has high hopes for campus overhaul

The historically Black school in West Oakland is receiving $65 million in Measure Y funding for long-needed upgrades. School leaders hope the improvements will lead to higher enrollment. The West Oakland school, which has occupied the same campus since 1938, is set to receive $65 million over the next three years—part of a $735 million bond approved by Oakland voters in 2020 to modernize and upgrade Oakland Unified school sites. 

OUSD Board Member Shanthi Gonzales resigns

Shanthi Gonzales, who represents District 6 on the Oakland Unified School District board, announced earlier this month that she is stepping down from her position immediately, seven months before her term is set to expire. Applications for the vacant seat are due June 1st. 

Oakland has a new Youth Poet Laureate: 

The Oakland Public Library has named 18-year-old Nadia Elbgal its 2022 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate. Elbgal is the eleventh youth poet to represent the city since the program was launched by the library’s teen services division in 2012 to promote literacy and help connect young Oakand writers with professional opportunities. Laureates also receive a $5,000 scholarship.

Oakland Voices: 

Oakland City Council, Youth Commission Highlight Unhoused Youth Voices and Issues

Oakland City Council held a special meeting with the Youth Advisory Commission to give an informational report on youth homelessness in Oakland. Nationally each year, close to 4.2 million youth and young adults, ages 13-25, experience some form of being unhoused. Close to 700,000 of that population are unaccompanied minors. Statewide, 3.8% of California’s students have experienced some form of homelessness, but advocates believe those numbers are misrepresented as many youths may be unaccounted for. 


Students from Across California share their experience with gun violence

Since the Columbine school shooting in 1999, more than 292,000 students have faced gun violence in schools. As of May 24, 2022, there have been 27 school shootings in the U.S. this year, according to Education Week’s school shooting tracker. Just this past week on May 23, 2022, a gunman entered Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, killing 19 children and two teachers. This has been the deadliest school shooting in America since the 2012 Sandy Hook mass shooting. EdSource reports asked students around California to share their experiences. 

California set to launch community schools around the state

California jumpstarted a seven-year initiative to convert potentially thousands of schools into full-service, parent-focused community schools earlier this month. Approved a year ago by the Legislature, the $3 billion California Community Schools Partnership Program will be the nation’s most ambitious effort to create schools serving multiple health and learning needs of children through community schools  that feature “wraparound services.”  


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