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School Board Watch

GO School Board Watch: Voluntary Resolution Plan Update

In this edition of GO School Board Watch, we'll take a look at the agenda for the Oakland Unified School District Board of Education meeting on Wednesday, October 22. 

The meeting will be held in the Great Room of the La Escuelita Education Center (1050 2nd Avenue). Open session begins at 6 pm. We'll be there live tweeting, follow along on Twitter: @GOPublicSchools, #oakmtg.

On the agenda this Wednesday, the Board is scheduled to:
  • Hear an update on OUSD's Voluntary Resolution Plan.
  • Hear a progress report on the Special Education Strategic Plan.
  • Hear a first reading on a plan for a new "Education Leadership Complex" at 1025 and 1125 2nd Avenue.
Click here to download the agenda.

Voluntary Resolution Plan Update 
In 2012, OUSD entered into an agreement with the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights (OCR) to reduce disproportionate suspensions of African American students called the "Voluntary Resolution Plan" (VRP). Suspensions were down in the first year of the agreement.

On Wednesday, district staff will lead an update on the VRP during Superintendent Antwan Wilson's report to the Board. According to the presentation, the suspension rate for African American students overall, and male students in particular, are still on the decline, from 18.6 to 10 percent for all African American students, and 23.3 to 12.7 for African American male students.

Special Education Strategic Plan Progress Report 
There are 5,409 students served by OUSD's Programs for Exceptional Children from pre-K to 12. This school year, there are 13 new special education programs at OUSD schools. One goal of the Special Education Strategic Plan is to ensure that all students with mild/moderate disabilities have access to the Common Core curriculum. In the past year, 38 classes (460 students) have shifted from using a separate curriculum previously used by special day class teachers to Common Core curriculum and practices.

This information is part of a progress report on special education scheduled to be delivered during the Superintendent's report on Wednesday. Last year, the Board voted to approve a 3-year special education strategic plan that called for the department to develop "systems and structures that engage the community and use data." According to the presentation, OUSD is using the Special Education Information System as a database to track students with disabilities.

Education Leadership Complex First Reading 
The Board will discuss a new building on the site of the district's old administrative building that would:
  • House all OUSD central administrative and leadership functions and employees, including relocating all offices and employees stationed currently at various school campuses.
  • Retain and enhance the Dewey Academy High School facility (currently housed in that building) in a manner consistent with OUSD's vision of high schools preparing all students to succeed in college, career, and community.
A memo from Board President David Kakishiba does not include any financial information for the project. The Board would seek up to three designs, which would be presented to the public at the Board's April 22, 2015 meeting. The building would be completed by January, 2019.  

Know anyone else who should be updated on what the OUSD school board is working on? Have them sign up here to receive email updates on every meeting!

GO School Board Watch: School Governance Policy Update

October 1, 2014

In this edition of GO School Board Watch, we will: 
  • Review a special meeting of the School Board last week on Wednesday, October 1.
  • Take a look at the agenda for the regular Board of Education meeting on Wednesday, October 8.  
October 1 Special Meeting
The Board was presented with progress updates from district staff on two major initiatives:
  • Implementation of the Quality Schools Development policy.
  • Progress Report on "Building Professional Culture" (HR and Effective Teaching initiatives).
Quality Schools Development Policy Progress Update
Presenters:
Allen Smith, Chief of Schools, Office of Post-Secondary Readiness
David Montes de Oca, Deputy Chief, Continuous School Improvement

In developing a "Continuous School Improvement Process," the district has been working on:
1. Standards & Goals: District will develop a School Performance Framework based on the Balanced Scorecard. School Quality Standards and Metrics will become uniform across District & Charter schools.
2. Assessment of Standards and Goals: District has developed an Effective Practices Website; the School Quality Review will become more streamlined and "actionable;" and standards and goals will focus on Key Practices: Common Core, positive discipline, English Learners, Foster Youth, & Special Ed.
3. Continuous Improvement Planning: Teams will meet across schools to work on common practices. School Improvement Partners (like coaches) will be assigned to schools through their networks.
4. 3-Year Site Plan that schools will develop.

The plan for Tier III schools that will need significant intervention is still under development. The district is looking to raise funds and put out an RFP for school transformation partners.

Implement the Board Priority of Building Professional Culture
Lead Presenter: Brigitte Marshall, Chief Talent Officer

Priorities
a) Expand time and support for teacher-driven planning, preparation, and professional collaboration focused on improving instructional quality aligned to the Common Core State Standards. Expanding time for planning will require contract change, in negotiation now with teachers union.
b) Expand the use of approved teacher and principal evaluation pilots. This year there is a diverse cohort of 16 schools in different regions, grades, etc.
c) Establish and utilize a Human Capital Data Management System.

Presenters noted that the district has received nearly $6 million in new grants for restorative justice and positive behavioral interventions. District staff said More information about the large awards would be published soon.

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October 8 Meeting

The meeting will be held in the Great Room of the La Escuelita Education Center (1050 2nd Avenue). Open session begins at 5 pm. We'll be there live tweeting, follow along on Twitter: @GOPublicSchools, #oakmtg.

On the agenda this Wednesday, the Board is scheduled to:
  • Vote on approving administrative regulations for OUSD's School Governance Policy.
  • Vote on a staff recommendation to approve Roses in Concrete charter school petition.
  • Accept a $200,000 grant to support Linked Learning College and Career Pathway work.
  • Honor Marcus Board, OUSD painter, who was awarded the 2014 State of California Classified Employee of the Year In Maintenance, Operations and Facilities.
  • Hold a public hearing on the sufficiency of textbooks and instructional materials for the current school year.
Click here to download the agenda.

Plan for Implementing OUSD's School Governance Policy 
In the spring of 2012, the Board passed a School Governance Policy to increase decision-making power of school communities.

On Wednesday, the Board will hold a second reading and vote on approving administrative regulations for the policy, which establishes "common practices" as well as roles and responsibilities for School Site Councils, principals and school leaders, district staff, the Superintendent and Board to "provide our schools with the flexibility and authority to determine how to achieve the District's and sites' core priorities."

Click here to read the regulations.  

'Roses in Concrete' Decision
The Board will vote on a staff recommendation on whether to approve a new charter elementary school for East Oakland called "Roses in Concrete." The Board heard the school's charter petition at its most recent meeting.

The school would serve grades K-8 and open on July 1, 2015. According to the staff recommendation, "the petition and petitioners exhibit a strong commitment to providing a culturally responsive and relevant education option to underserved families in East Oakland." 

The recommendation also states: "The founding group and governing board have strong ties and involvement with university education programs that can be leveraged to provide high capacity/caliber staffing and development of school leaders and faculty at the school."

Click here to read the school's charter petition and the staff recommendation to approve.

Grant from ConnectED to Support Linked Learning
On the consent calendar, the Board is scheduled to accept a $200,000 grant from ConnectED to support a "district-wide system of high-quality pathways." According to the grant agreement:

"This linked learning implementation grant will allow us to improve the instructional quality of our linked learning pathways by providing targeted coaching of pathway communities of practice to: differentiate teaching practices to meet student needs; develop common pedagogies among pathway teachers aligned to the instructional shifts required by the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards; integrate curricula across academic and career technical courses; integrate work based learning experiences with academic subjects, increasing the rigor and relevance of both." 

Click here to download the grant agreement.

OUSD Employee Honored as a State Employee of the Year
The Board will read a resolution honoring Marcus Board, an OUSD painter in the Buildings and Grounds Department, as the 2014 State of California Classified Employee of the Year In Maintenance, Operations and Facilities.

According to the resolution:

"Board is described by his department leaders as: '[possessing] a passion for his job. He is well-known throughout the Building and Grounds Department for his compassion and his energy. A highly skilled craftsman, his high ethical standards and vast experience enable him to be an excellent mentor to his colleagues and to the students who intern during the summer.'" 

"Last year, Mr. Board was called upon to temporarily step in as shop manager and provided a comfortable and open environment for his coworkers. He worked hard, often coming in early and staying late to ensure the work was properly completed and on time. He possesses wisdom beyond his years and knows how to motivate people. He exudes warmth, humility, and compassion and always expresses appreciation to others for their efforts." 

Click here to download the resolution.  

Sufficiency of Textbooks Hearing 
California education code requires that the Board hold a public hearing within the first eight weeks of school to determine for each pupil the sufficiency of textbooks or instructional materials or both, for math, history, English Language Arts and science courses, and that science laboratory equipment is also sufficient.

Click here to download the resolution, which includes a list of course textbooks and publishers for each grade.  

The next regularly scheduled OUSD Board meeting is Wednesday, October 22. Know anyone else who should be updated on what the OUSD school board is working on? Have them sign up here to receive email updates on every meeting!

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GO School Board Watch: 'Roses in Concrete' Proposed Charter School

September 22, 2014

In this edition of GO School Board Watch, we'll take a look at the agenda for the Oakland Unified School District Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, September 23. The Board is meeting Tuesday instead of Wednesday because of the Rosh Hashanah holiday.

The meeting will be held in the Great Room of the La Escuelita Education Center (1050 2nd Avenue). Open session begins at 6 pm. We'll be there live tweeting, follow along on Twitter: @GOPublicSchools, #oakmtg.

On the agenda this Wednesday, the Board is scheduled to:
  • Hear a proposal for a new K-8 charter school for East Oakland.
  • Hear results from OUSD's Balanced Scorecard for the 2013-2014 school year.
  • Hear a budget development plan for the 2015-16 school year.
Click here to download the agenda.

Presentation for Proposed 'Roses in Concrete Community School' 
The Board will conduct a public hearing for a presentation on a proposed K-8 charter school for East Oakland in the neighborhood of 106th Avenue. The lead petitioner for the school is Jeff Duncan-Andrade, a San Francisco State professor, Fremont High teacher and the director of the Educational Equity Initiative for the Institute for Sustainable Economic, Educational, and Environmental Design (ISEEED).

The proposed school would open July 1, 2015. According to the charter petition, the school "will be a stabilizing force in East Oakland and offers an approach not currently existing in the District to serve one of the highest need communities in the City - a location where very few schools (public, private or charter) have been successful in serving neighborhood children." 

Click here to read the school's presentation and click here to read the school's charter petition on the district site.  

Balanced Scorecard Update 
The OUSD "Balanced Scorecard" sets goals, targets and metrics for a school year. On Wednesday, during the Superintendent's Report, Superintendent Antwan Wilson will present results from student achievement goals set for the 2013-14 school year.

Some of the results include updates on:
  • Fulfilling A-G Requirements (fewer OUSD students completed in 2012-13 than in 2011-12).
  • Chronic Absence (slight increase in 2013-14 for all students).
  • Graduation rate (up to 68.8%, from 66.8% in 2012-13).
Click here to read the Balanced Scorecard update.   

Budget Development Plan for 2015-16 School Year 
Also during the Superintendent's report, Superintendent Wilson will discuss a budget development plan for the next school year.

The plan must be in compliance with OUSD's recently passed Results Based Budgeting policy, as well as state Local Control Accountability Plan requirements. The plan calls for "budget roadshows" to explain the budgeting process and gather community input, and includes information on how resources are allocated, the involvement of school site leaders, central office spending, and when progress reports will be made available to the public.

Click here to read the plan.
 
The next regularly scheduled OUSD Board meeting is Wednesday, October 8. Know anyone else who should be updated on what the OUSD school board is working on? Have them sign up here to receive email updates on every meeting!

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GO School Board Watch: LCAP Calendar

September 17, 2014

In this edition of GO School Board Watch, we review the the September 10 Oakland Unified School District Board of Education meeting. 

At the meeting, the Board:
  • Heard a first reading of OUSD's Local Control Accountability Plan budget development calendar.
  • Voted to close the books on the 2013-14 school year.
  • Honored 2014-15 OUSD Teachers of the Year.
  • "Sunshined" initial proposals from the Buildings and Construction Trades Council of Alameda County and the AFSCME, Local 257.
  • Approved a motion to support Measure Z - The 2014 Oakland Public Safety & Services Violence Prevention Act.
  • Approved a response to the Alameda County Grand Jury report issued in June regarding audits and financial updates.

Click here to download the agenda.


LCAP Budget Development Calendar 
Last spring, the Board approved the district's Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP for this school year. Last week, the Board heard a first reading for OUSD's LCAP Budget Development Calendar, which includes plans and updates for a community engagement process.

Members of the public and Board asked for more information about OUSD's efforts to engage the community about the LCAP budget this year. Superintendent Wilson noted that, according to the calendar, district staff is schedule to present a community engagement plan at the next Board meeting, on September 23. "We want to make sure we (engage the community) in a thorough way," Wilson told the Board.

Click here to read the district's proposed LCAP budget development calendar.    

OUSD 'Teachers of the Year' Honored
The Board honored to OUSD teachers with "Teacher of the Year" awards. Resolutions were read honoring Allison Streich, music instructor at Lafayette Elementary, West Oakland Middle and Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary and Sarah Glasband, 9th and 10th grade humanities teacher at MetWest High School, with a resolutions naming them each an OUSD "Teacher of the Year" for this school year.

Each of the teachers were called to the stage, where the resolution was read and they were each presented with plaques by the sitting Board member of the district from which their school is located.

Streich told the audience she is an Oakland native who has lived in Oakland since she was a "newborn baby" and has been teaching in OUSD since 1993. She spoke with pride about working to help improve a music program that began with no instruments at Martin Luther King Middle School, to one in which her students are now opening for the Oakland Symphony Orchestra at the Paramount Theater. 

Glasband thanked members of the MetWest school community, many who were sitting in the audience. "We've built together, this really incredible system where every student matters and is valued, their families are a part of our classroom, and their experiences are at the center of their learning," Glasband said, turning to face Superintendent Antwan Wilson as she spoke. "Their relevance inspires them to succeed."

Click here to read the resolution.  

Closing the Books on 2013-14
The Board unanimously voted to close the books on the 2013-14 school year, and voted to accept a final report from staff on revenue and expenditures for the most recent financial year.

According to a memo from Superintendent Antwan Wilson, Senior Business Officer Vernon Hal, and Chief Financial Officer Ruth Alahydoian:
  • Unrestricted revenue is down $323,973 (0.1%) from the third interim report estimation.
  • Unrestricted expenses are up $3.29 million (1%) from the third interim report estimation.
  • Unrestricted ending fund balance is down $57,707 (0.4%) from the third interim report estimation.
  • The District met the state CEA ratio requirement on the minimum percentage of general fund expenditures on classroom compensation at 55.01%.
  • Most school sites and departments spent less than budgeted, but that was offset by increased expenditures for special education ($4 million) and a high volume of requests for repairs from the Buildings & Grounds division.
  • No members of the Board asked Hal any questions, and there was no Board discussion about the financial report.

Click here to read the memo and click here to read the final financial report.  

Two Unions "Sunshine" Proposals
Before union representatives and the district begin negotiations for a new contract agreement, the parties are required to present their initial proposals for public review and comments ("sunshining") on the proposals. 

Representatives from the Buildings and Construction Trades Council of Alameda County (which represents "Buildings and Grounds Crafts" including electricians, carpenters, laborers, roofers, and gardeners) and the AFSCME, Local 257 (which represents custodians, food service workers and aides to the handicapped) each presented their proposals to the Board at the meeting.

Click here to read the Buildings and Constructions Trade Council proposal and click here to read the AFSCME proposal.  

OUSD Supports Measure Z
The Board adopted a motion to support Measure Z - The 2014 Oakland Public Safety & Services Violence Prevention Act, as part of its consent calendar.

Click here to read a memo from Board President David Kakishiba (District 2) on why OUSD should support Measure Z.  

Response to Grand Jury Report Approved
Also on the consent calendar, the Board voted to accept the district's response to a 2013-14 Alameda County Grand Jury report. In an examination of the district's financial audits, the report noted that OUSD's "lack of correct, comprehensive, and complete financial audits has led to numerous problems with serious consequences."

Click here to read an excerpt focused on OUSD from the grand jury report and click here to read the district's response.  

The next regularly scheduled OUSD Board meeting is Tuesday, September 23. Know anyone else who should be updated on what the OUSD school board is working on? Have them sign up here to receive email updates on every meeting!   

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GO School Board Watch: Closing of the Books for 2013-14

September 10, 2014

In this edition of GO School Board Watch, we'll take a look at the agenda for the regularly scheduled Oakland Unified School District Board of Education meeting on Wednesday, September 10. 

The meeting will be held in the Great Room of the La Escuelita Education Center (1050 2nd Avenue). Open session begins at 6 pm. We'll be there live tweeting, follow along on Twitter: @GOPublicSchools, #oakmtg.

On the agenda this Wednesday, the Board is scheduled to:
 
  • Vote on closing the books for the 2013-14 financial year.
  • Honor OUSD's 2014-15 Teachers of the Year.
  • "Sunshine" initial proposals from the Buildings and Construction Trades Council of Alameda County and the AFSCME, Local 257.
  • Hear a first reading on a budget development calendar for the year for the district's Local Control Accountability Plan.
  • Approve a response to the Alameda County Grand Jury report issued in June regarding audits and financial updates.
  • Approve a motion to support Measure Z - The 2014 Oakland Public Safety & Services Violence Prevention Act.

Click here to download the agenda.


Closing of the Books for Most Recent Financial Year
California school districts follow a July 1-June 30 fiscal year, with interim adjustments throughout the year. On Wednesday, district staff will present a final report on revenue and expenditures for the most recent financial year.

The district must submit the final report (Unaudited Actuals) to the ACOE by September 15. The ACOE then reviews and forwards that report to the California Department of Education by October 15.

According to a memo from Superintendent Antwan Wilson, Senior Business Officer Vernon Hal, and Chief Financial Officer Ruth Alahydoian:
  • Unrestricted revenue is down $323,973 (0.1%) from the third interim report estimation.
  • Unrestricted expenses are up $3.29 million (1%) from the third interim report estimation.
  • Unrestricted ending fund balance is down $57,707 (0.4%) from the third interim report estimation.
  • The District met the state CEA ratio requirement on the minimum percentage of general fund expenditures on classroom compensation at 55.01%.
  • Most school sites and departments spent less than budgeted, but that was offset by increased expenditures for special education ($4 million) and a high volume of requests for repairs from the Buildings & Grounds division.

Click here to read the memo and click here to read the final financial report.  

OUSD's 2014-15 Teachers of the Year 
The Board will honor Allison Streich, music instructor at Lafayette Elementary, West Oakland Middle and Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary; and Sarah Glasband, 9th and 10th grade humanities teacher at MetWest High School, with a resolutions naming them each an OUSD "Teacher of the Year" for this school year.

Click here to read the resolution.  

Two Unions "Sunshine" Initial Proposals 
Before union representatives and the district begin negotiations for a new contract agreement, the parties are required to present their initial proposals for public review and comments ("sunshining") on the proposals. 

On Wednesday, representatives from the Buildings and Construction Trades Council of Alameda County (which represents "Buildings and Grounds Crafts" including electricians, carpenters, laborers, roofers, and gardeners) and the AFSCME, Local 257 (which represents custodians, food service workers and aides to the handicapped) will each present their proposals to the Board.

Click here to read the Buildings and Constructions Trade Council proposal and click here to read the AFSCME proposal.  

LCAP Budget Development Calendar
Last spring, the Board approved the district's Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) for this school year. On Wednesday, the Board will hear a first reading of an LCAP budget development calendar for the year.

The calendar includes dates in which the Board will hear interim budget reports, progress reports on planning for community engagement, and first and final readings for next year's LCAP.

Click here to read the district's proposed LCAP budget development calendar.  

OUSD Supporting Measure Z 
On the consent calendar, the Board is scheduled to adopt a motion to support Measure Z - The 2014 Oakland Public Safety & Services Violence Prevention Act.

According to a memo from Board President David Kakishiba, Measure Z will authorize the City of Oakland to collect existing special taxes to pay for costs related to:
1. Reducing homicides, robberies, burglaries, and gun-related violence;
2. Improving police and fire emergency 911 response times and other police services; and
3. Investing in violence intervention and prevention strategies that provide support for at-risk youth and young adults to interrupt the cycle of violence and recidivism.

OUSD's rationale for supporting Measure Z, Kakishiba writes, is because: 

"The Oakland Unified School District directly benefits from the continuation of these existing special taxes through the provision of targeted services to youth that have resulted in increased school attendance and reduced recidivism among juvenile probationers; targeted services to children, youth, and families victimized by domestic violence and sexual exploitation; and by maintaining stable deployments of police officers focused on violent crime reduction. Discontinuation of these public safety services will have an immediate negative impact on children, youth, and families who attend Oakland public schools."

Click here to read the memo.  

OUSD Response to Alameda County Grand Jury Report
The 2013-14 Alameda County Grand Jury report found, in an examination of the district's financial audits, that OUSD's "lack of correct, comprehensive, and complete financial audits has led to numerous problems with serious consequences."

Click here to read an excerpt focused on OUSD from the grand jury report and click here to read the district's response.  

The next regularly scheduled OUSD Board meeting is Tuesday, September 23. Know anyone else who should be updated on what the OUSD school board is working on? Have them sign up here to receive email updates on every meeting!

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GO School Board Watch: District Technology Plan

August 13, 2014

In this edition of GO School Board Watch, we review the first regularly scheduled Oakland Unified School District Board of Education meeting of the 2014-15 school year on August 13. 

At the meeting, the Board:
  • Welcomed Superintendent Antwan Wilson.
  • Voted to approve a new school, French American Charter School of the East Bay.
  • Voted to adopt work plans for both the Board and Superintendent for the 2014-15 school year.
  • Heard a report on OUSD's technology plan for the next four years.
Click here to download the agenda.

French American Charter School of the East Bay 
The Board voted 5-2 to approve a new French language immersion school in Oakland. Directors Jody London (District 1) and Rosie Torres (District 5) voted to oppose.

During discussion, Board members discussed the state of district language programs and the place of charter schools. "I don't have a choice but to support this (charter petition)," said Director Jumoke Hinton Hodge (District 3), "because our system isn't doing what we know we need it to do."

Click here to watch video of Hinton Hodge's comments.

Click here to view the staff recommendation.

Work Plan for New Superintendent and Board
The Board voted unanimously to adopt work plans for both Superintendent Wilson and the Board for the 2014-15 school year.

Superintendent Wilson's plan has five goals:
1. Implement the Board Priority of Building Professional Culture.
2. Implement the Board Policy on Quality School Development.
3. Improve the transparency, accessibility, and reliability of OUSD budget development and financial management systems.
4. Implement the Board Policy on Physical Asset Management.
5. Produce an updated OUSD Strategic Plan.

Click here to read more.

The Board's plan has four goals:
1. Evaluate the Superintendent's work performance.
2. Provide for the transition and induction of new Board of Education officers and directors.
3. Ratify a new multi-year contract agreement with the Oakland Education Association.
4. Ratify new multi-year contract agreements with UAOS, SEIU, AFSCME, and the Building Trades Council.

Click here to read more.

District Technology Plan for Next 4 Years
In less than two years, OUSD will go from having no wireless internet for a majority of its classrooms to wireless access in every classroom.

That's according to the OUSD Technology Plan Overview, which was presented to the Board on Wednesday by Information Technology Services Officer John Krull. Many in the crowd applauded when Krull announced to the Board the plan to increase wireless access to every classroom. 

Sixty percent of OUSD classrooms reported lack of wireless before 250 Wireless access points were added in 2014. Before the district purchase Google Chromebook laptop computers this year, most computers being used by students were more than 4 years old, and most of the old computers were either in the back of classrooms or in labs. But OUSD since has purchased 10,000 Chromebooks, and the plan calls for every classroom to have wireless access by the end of the 2014-15 school year.

Read more about the district technology plan here.

The next regularly scheduled OUSD Board meeting is Wednesday, August 30.

Know anyone else who should be updated on what the OUSD school board is working on? Have them sign up here to receive email updates on every meeting! 

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GO School Board Watch: Work Plans for Board, Superintendent Wilson

In this edition of GO School Board Watch, we'll take a look at the agenda for the first regularly scheduled Oakland Unified School District Board of Education meeting of the 2014-15 school year, on Wednesday, August 13. This is also the first meeting for new Superintendent Antwan Wilson. 

The meeting will be held in the Great Room of the La Escuelita Education Center (1050 2nd Avenue). We'll be there live tweeting, follow along on Twitter: @GOPublicSchools, #oakmtg.

On the agenda this Wednesday, the Board is scheduled to:
  • Adopt a work plan for both the Board and Superintendent for the upcoming school year.
  • Hear a report on OUSD's technology plan for the next four years.
  • Vote on a staff recommendation to approve the charter petition from a proposed French-American school.
  • Hear proposed amendments to the Board's Quality School Development Policy.

Click here to download the agenda.


Work Plan for New Superintendent and Board
The Board will vote on adopting work plans for both Superintendent Wilson and the Board for the 2014-15 school year.

Superintendent Wilson's plan has five goals:
1. Implement the Board Priority of Building Professional Culture.
2. Implement the Board Policy on Quality School Development.
3. Improve the transparency, accessibility, and reliability of OUSD budget development and financial management systems.
4. Implement the Board Policy on Physical Asset Management.
5. Produce an updated OUSD Strategic Plan.

Click here to read more.

The Board's plan has four goals:
1. Evaluate the Superintendent's work performance.
2. Provide for the transition and induction of new Board of Education officers and directors.
3. Ratify a new multi-year contract agreement with the Oakland Education Association.
4. Ratify new multi-year contract agreements with UAOS, SEIU, AFSCME, and the Building Trades Council.

Click here to read more.

District Technology Plan for Next 4 Years
Sixty percent of OUSD classrooms reported lack of wireless before 250 Wireless access points were added in 2014. Before the district purchase Google Chromebook laptop computers this year, most computers being used by students were more than 4 years old, and most of the old computers were either in the back of classrooms or in labs.  

That's according to the OUSD Technology Plan Overview, which will be presented to the Board on Wednesday.

OUSD since has purchased 10,000 Chromebooks, and the plan calls for every classroom to have wireless access by the end of the 2014-15 school year.

Read more about the district technology plan here.

French American Charter School of the East Bay 
Superintendent Wilson and OUSD staff recommend the Board vote to approve a charter petition from French American Charter School of the East Bay, to begin operating on July 1, 2015.

The staff recommendation to approve is based on the following:
  • The founding group and advisory board is comprised of experts in the education field specializing in dual immersion, French language instruction, special education, and English Learner and intervention instruction/professional development.
  • The proposed school model provides a French-English dual immersion option that does not currently exist within the district.
  • Due diligence conducted to ensure that the establishment of the charter is consistent with sound educational practices.
Click here to read the staff recommendation.  

Amending Quality School Development Policy 
The Board will hold a first reading for new language to streamline the Board-approved Quality Schools Development Policy.


The next regularly scheduled OUSD Board meeting is Wednesday, August 30.

Know anyone else who should be updated on what the OUSD school board is working on? Have them sign up here to receive email updates on every meeting!

GO School Board Watch: Vote to Approve Parcel Tax

In this edition of GO School Board Watch, we preview the meeting for Wednesday June 25, the final Board meeting of the 2013-14 school year. The meeting will be held in the Great Room of the La Escuelita Education Center (1050 2nd Avenue). Open session begins at 6 pm. We'll be there live tweeting, follow along on Twitter: @GOPublicSchools, #oakmtg.

On the agenda, the Board is scheduled to:
  • Approve placing a parcel tax on the November ballot to support Linked Learning.
  • Adopt a budget for the 2014-15 school year. 
  • Approve the district's Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP). 
  • Honor outgoing Interim Superintendent Gary Yee.
  • Here a petition for a proposed charter school, French American Charter School of the East Bay.

Click here to download the agenda.

Parcel Tax Approval
The Board has been discussing a parcel tax measure for the November election, with revenue collected going to support Linked Learning programs.

This week, the Board will call the question and vote on whether to place the "Oakland Unified School District College and Career Readiness for All", which would collect $120 per homeowner for 10 years, on the ballot. 

Click here to download the resolution.

Budget Approval for Next School Year
The Board will hold a second reading and vote on adopting a budget for the 2014-15 school year.

According to the executive summary of the proposed budget:

  • Percentage of Costs of Education Expended for Classroom Compensation (CEA calculation) met at 55 percent. 
  • If Legislature's budget is signed by the Governor, OUSD can expect to see an additional $1.8 million of available unrestricted resources.

Click here to download a presentation of the district's proposed budget. 

LCAP Approval
The Board will hold a second reading, and vote on approving, OUSD's LCAP.  

For the 2014-15 school year, the district has $41 million in funds to support students in the pupil subgroups identified in California's new Local Control Funding Formula. This week, the Board will vote on adopting an accountability plan for the next three years for those funds.

Click here to download OUSD's proposed LCAP.

Acting Superintendent Yee to be Honored
The Board will read into the public record a resolution honoring outgoing Acting Superintendent Gary Yee as he nears the end of his term. The resolution also honors Dr. Yee for his decade of service as a Board member.

Click here to download the resolution.   

Charter Petition for French American School
The Board will hear a presentation on a proposed French language immersion TK-8 charter school.  

Click here to download the school's charter petition and here to download a presentation of its petition. 

Know anyone else who should be updated on what the OUSD school board is working on? Have them sign up here to receive email updates on every meeting!

GO School Board Watch: LCAP Discussion

In this edition of GO School Board Watch, we'll take a look at the agenda for the regularly scheduled Oakland Unified School District Board of Education meeting for June 11, 2014. The meeting will be held in the Great Room of the La Escuelita Education Center (1050 2nd Avenue). Open session begins at 6 pm. We'll be there live tweeting, follow along on Twitter: @GOPublicSchools, #oakmtg.

On the agenda this Wednesday, the Board is scheduled to:
  • Hear a first reading of the district's proposed Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP).
  • Hear a first reading of the district's proposed budget for the 2014-15 school year.
  • Vote on a staff recommendation to expand Achieve Academy to PreK-5.
  • Vote on a recommended amendment to Board policy that would allow for condoms to be distributed to some middle school students.
Click here to download the agenda.


LCAP First Reading
The Board will hear a first reading (and not be asked to vote) of the district's draft LCAP.

California's new Local Control Funding Formula mandates districts and charter schools draft a 3-year plan for how these new funds will be used. OUSD held community meetings each Saturday in March to gather input, and then district staff presented findings from those meetings, as well as a draft LCAP to the Board during special Board meetings in April. 

On Wednesday, the Board will further discuss the draft LCAP before voting on a final version at the final meeting of the 2013-14 school year, on June 25.

According to a presentation of the draft LCAP, OUSD was allocated $20.4 million from the state to serve the targeted student subgroups: English Language Learners, Low Income, and Foster Youth. Of that, $14.5 million was allocated to schools, with $5.9 billed as "centralized central support."

Though the state has listed three targeted student subgroups, the district draft LCAP lists five: adding "students with disabilities" and "Career Pathways for High School" to a list of "Five Action Areas of Differentiated Support."

LCAP actions.jpg

For a list of LCAP Actions & Services for the targeted student subgroups, click here for the district's draft LCAP.


Proposed Budget First Reading
Deputy Superintendent Vernon Hal will present a draft of the 2014-15 adopted budget. 

According to the executive summary in the budget:
  • Expenses are estimated at $515 million, down $53.9 million from the $568.9 million budget for 2013-14. The decrease is due primarily to $27.4 million less in central office spending and $28.4 million less in spending on capital projects.
  • LCFF is expected to generate an additional $26.6 million in funding for 2014-15, of which $20.5 million is the supplemental and concentration grants for the 77.6 percent of  OUSD students who are low income, English language learners, or foster youth.
  • The proposed budget includes an allocation of $14.5 million of additional LCFF funds directly to schools; progress toward TK-3 class sizes of 24:1; and increased contribution to pensions (STRS/PERS), as proposed in Governor Brown's May State Budget Revise.
Here are graphs charting OUSD's revenues and expenses for 2014-15:

Budget charts 7:11:14.jpg


Vote to Expand Achieve Academy
Acting Superintendent Gary Yee and Silke Bradford, Ed.D., Director - Quality Diverse Providers, are recommending the Board approve a revision to Achieve Academy (a recent California Distinguished School award winner) that would expand the charter school from a 4-5 school to a TK-5. Staff also recommend the closure of World Academy, which is also run by the same Charter Management Organization, Education for Change.

Achieve and World both share the same campus, and according to the staff report, "many families have children in both schools." Merging the two schools "will result in one school leader who will be able to provide a more cohesive educational program," the staff report reads.


Proposed Change in Policy to Allow Condom Distribution to Some Middle School Students
The current district policy allows for condoms to be distributed at high schools, but does not "explicitly authorize" the distribution of condoms at middle schools. 

According to a memo from Deputy Superintendent Maria Santos, the change in policy is necessary because allowing "healthcare providers to make condoms available to at-risk youth in middle schools will align OUSD health care practices with state law and help protect some of our most vulnerable students."

According to the memo, the major areas of revision include the following:
  • Condoms may be provided to middle school students but only by licensed health  care professionals, or clinical health educators supervised by licensed health care  professionals, and only in conjunction with a comprehensive psychosocial  assessment by a qualified healthcare professional to identify risks, including trauma and sexual exploitation, and to connect students to needed resources and support.
  • Condoms may be provided in high schools through licensed health care professionals, health educators, trained staff, and community based organizations that visit OUSD high schools to provide classroom or community-based health education and resources.

The next regularly scheduled OUSD Board meeting is Wednesday, June 25. Know anyone else who should be updated on what the OUSD school board is working on? Have them sign up here to receive email updates on every meeting!

GO School Board Watch: Early Childhood Report

In this edition of GO School Board Watch, we review the May 28 meeting of the Oakland Unified School District Board of Education.

At the meeting, the Board:
  • Heard a report on the district's Early Childhood Education program.
  • Voted to approve a 3-year strategic plan for special education.
  • Voted to approve a staff recommendation to deny the charter renewal application for E.C. Reems Academy.
  • Approved a new policy where Oakland law enforcement agencies are required to contact parents before a student is questioned by policy.
  • Heard both an interim financial report from staff, and a report on Governor Brown's proposed state budget for 2014-15.
Click here to download the agenda.


Early Childhood Education Program Report
Deputy Superintendent Maria Santos led a report to the Board intended to spark a discussion on the district's Early Childhood Education program entitled "College and Career Ready Graduates have Strong Starts."

The report and discussion focused on three questions:
  1. What is the value added of high quality strong starts?
  2. What does the data evidence as it relates to early education experiences and high school graduation rates?
  3. Why is it important to consider aligning our formal early education offerings to our TK-12 calendar, standards, instruction and enrollment practices?
Before diving in to the report, Santos noted the "number of partners" that worked on the presentation, specifically thanking Kathy Schultz, the Dean of the Mills College School of Education, and Susan True, Director of Education Strategy and Ventures for the Kenneth Rainin Foundation as well as OUSD staff. 

Schultz, also the chair of the 0-8 Early Childhood Committee for the Oakland Education Cabinet, presented to the Board on early childhood research "and its connection to college, community and career readiness," she said. 

Research has consistently shown that "quality preschool can dramatically improve high school graduation and college attendance rates for participants relative to their peers," Schultz said, while a graphic on the screen behind her presented these facts:
  • Children can be 18 months behind by kindergarten.
  • Children who are not kindergarten ready are half as likely to read well by third grade.
  • Children not reading proficiently by third grade are 4 more times likely to drop out.
Schultz said it was necessary to look at preschool programs in Oakland and what can be done to increase access. A 2013 First Five study found that only 23 percent of OUSD students enter kindergarten "academically strong."

First Five graphic.jpg

Lynne Martin, OUSD's Director of Early Childhood Education, said the district's Early Childhood Education (ECE) program (called "Strong Starts") serves approximately 1,600 students, all of whom come from families who earn less than $43,000 per year. In 2013, 73 percent of these students enrolled in a district kindergarten or transitional kindergarten program. The program has a structural deficit though,  due to it not meeting enrollment targets, rising costs and reduced reimbursement from the state.

The presentation to the Board kept returning to the same theme of high school graduation, and the ECE program's place in a long-term strategy for students. The importance of early reading was especially highlighted:

Early Reading graphic.jpg

True spoke to the Board about a plan to change disparate outcomes for OUSD students. "How do we position OUSD programs to create a birth-8 set of high quality experiences for children, so that we never miss the opportunity of their dramatic development?" True asked the Board, noting that a "solid" birth-8th grade plan would take around three years to develop and implement.

During Board discussion, President David Kakishiba noted that there was no plan or budget attached to the presentation. Santos responded that if this the direction the Board chooses to move in, a plan could be ready "for the following summer," she said, noting that the districts goals present "a financial issue" as the plan calls for increasing attendance and decreasing chronic absence. 


E.C. Reems Charter Petition Denied
The Board voted 4-2 to accept a staff recommendation that the charter application for E.C. Reems, a K-8 school in the Castlemont attendance area that opened in 1999. Directors Jody London (District 1), David Kakishiba (District 2), Jumoke Hinton Hodge (District 3) and Rosie Torres (District 5) voted for the staff recommendation. Director Anne Campbell-Washington (District 4) was absent from the meeting.

The staff report highlighted numerous issues with the school, including a sharp decline in enrollment and a nearly $300,000 debt to the district.

The vote came after a long board discussion, and numerous public speakers from the school community and others (including a representative of the N.A.A.C.P who implored the Board to renew the charter petition. 

Director James Harris (District 7) spoke in favor of renewing the charter petition, mentioning the school's 711 API score and that it serves a predominately African American student population. Harris asked for an extra 2 weeks for district staff and school leaders to work on the application, but was told by district staff that since the school was late in submitting its charter application, the window for the Board to make a decision would be closed after the meeting. School leaders also asked the Board to vote Wednesday night rather than extend the deadline. 

New Policy on Interrogation of Students
The Board voted unanimously to create a new policy on interrogation of students by police. Members of the Black Organizing Project had highlighted that the district did not have a formal policy about when families should be contacted when a student is interrogated by law enforcement.  

"This is a protection that we get to put around our young people and our families," Hinton Hodge said during Board discussion.


Special Education Strategic Plan Approved
The Board voted unanimously to accept a 3-year strategic plan for Programs for Exceptional Children, OUSD's special education program.

During Board discussion, each of the Directors who spoke thanked Sheilagh Andujar, the Associate Superintendent in charge of Programs for Exceptional Children, for her work in improving a vital district program that was the subject of a scathing report last year. Board president David Kakishiba added that in order for the work of the strategic plan to be fully carried out, it needs to be adequately funded, and that means that there are "trade-offs" during budget development discussions.

"It's not about assuming Ms. Andujar is going to make miracles happen with no resources," Kakishiba said. "We have a responsibility to either fund it, or know what we're not going to get in return."


Budget Update
Associate Superintendent Vernon Hal presented a budget update (authorizing budget increases, decreases and transfers through April 30).

In the Executive Summary, Hal reported that:
  • The General Fund Projected Unrestricted Revenue is down $1.9 million, primarily due to $1 million transferred to the District's Adult Education Fund, and $900,000 for a "revised LCFF calculation."
  • Expenditures increased about $300,000.  

The next regularly schedule OUSD Board meeting is Wednesday, June 11 at La Escuelita (1050 2nd Avenue). Open session starts at 6 pm. Know anyone else who should be updated on what the OUSD school board is working on? Have them sign up here to receive email updates on every meeting!

GO School Board Watch: Special Education Strategic Plan

In this edition of GO School Board Watch, we'll take a look at the agenda for the regularly scheduled Oakland Unified School District Board of Education meeting for May 28, 2014. The meeting will be held in the Great Room of the La Escuelita Education Center (1050 2nd Avenue). Open session begins at 6 pm.

On the agenda this Wednesday, the Board is scheduled to:
  • Vote on approving a 3-year strategic plan for Special Education.
  • Vote on a staff recommendation to deny the E.C. Reems Academy K-8 charter renewal petition.
  • Vote on a staff recommendation to expand Oakland Charter High.
  • Decide whether to direct Acting Superintendent Gary Yee to move forward with a parcel tax measure to support Linked Learning on the November ballot.
Click here to download the agenda.

Special Education Strategic Plan
The Board will vote on whether to approve a 3-year strategic plan for Special Education, officially known as Programs for Exceptional Children (PEC). 

The plan has six "high level" goals:
  1. Establish a shared mindset throughout the school district whereby all school communities and central office departments embrace students with disabilities and provide support and resources that ensure educational benefit.
  2. Improve educational outcomes and develop pre-referral intervention for both academic and social emotional functioning for all students.
  3. Create inclusive environments in schools and the community to enhance family engagement, communication and trust between stakeholders.
  4. Develop district positions to significantly reduce contractors and increase the capacity of current PEC staff through professional development to improve services to children.
  5. Utilize improved data management and communication systems to increase accuracy, efficiency and compliance.
  6. Increase special education participation in the least restrictive environment.
Click here to download a PDF of the Special Education strategic plan.

E.C. Reems Academy Charter Petition Recommended to be Denied
OUSD staff is recommending the Board vote to deny the charter renewal petition for E.C. Reems Academy, a K-8 school in the Castlemont attendance area that has been open since 1999.

According to the staff recommendation, the enrollment at E.C. Reems has declined by 33.9 percent over the past five years. "This is clear evidence of a decreased community demand for the program offerings at E.C. Reems," the staff report notes.

Click here to download the staff recommendation.

Click here to download the school's charter renewal petition.

Vote to Expand Oakland Charter High
The Board will also vote on a staff recommendation to expand Oakland Charter High to a second campus, splitting the school into one campus for 9-10 students and one 11-12.

According to the staff recommendation, the expansion is necessary because:
  1. The satellite campus is located in close proximity to the current campus that will now serve 9th and 10th grades only (2 blocks away).
  2. The new campus has a gymnasium that will be able to be utilized by both the middle school (Downtown Charter Academy) and high school students.
  3. Adequate support staff (Vice Principal and Administrative Assistant) will be assigned to the new satellite campus.
  4. The additional space allows for expansion of laboratories to meet science and technology instructional needs.
Click here to download the staff recommendation.

Next Step in Placing Linked Learning Parcel Tax on November Ballot 
At the May 14 Board meeting, Acting Superintendent Gary Yee presented his recommendation for a proposed parcel tax on the November ballot to support Linked Learning. On Wednesday, the Board will vote on his recommendation to establish "The Oakland College & Career Readiness For All Fund" to distribute and track money collected by the tax, and to draw up the "necessary legal documents" for the Board to approve placing it on the ballot.

Click here to download Acting Superintendent Yee's recommendation and click here to download survey results of likely voters.

The next regularly scheduled OUSD Board meeting is Wednesday, June 11. Know anyone else who should be updated on what the OUSD school board is working on? Have them sign up here to receive email updates on every meeting!  

GO School Board Watch: Effective Teaching Update, LCAP Meeting

- May 23, 2014

In this edition of GO School Board Watch, we review the May 14 meeting of the Oakland Unified School District Board of Education, and the Board's May 21 special meeting to discuss the district's proposed Local Control Accountability Plan.

At the May 14 meeting, the Board:
  • Discussed the results of a survey of likely voters on a proposed parcel tax to support Oakland high school programs.
  • Heard a second reading on the district's Balanced Scorecard.
  • Heard an update on the district's Effective Teaching effort to establish a comprehensive teacher and leader training, collaboration, and evaluation system.
Click here to download the agenda.

Proposed Parcel Tax Discussed
The Board heard a recommendation from Acting Superintendent Gary Yee on a proposed parcel tax to support Linked Learning and High School work. The district has a goal that 80 percent of students enroll in a Linked Learning program, and the cost of that is estimated to be $12 million per year.

Some of the goals of the parcel tax, according to Yee's presentation, are to increase the district graduation rate, decrease the dropout rate, improve student transitions to high school, ensure students are college and career ready when graduating and reduce disparities in student achievement and access. Yee's recommendation calls for the establishing of a five-person "College and Career Readiness Commission" that will help plan and evaluate the student and performance measures that will need to be established to track how the additional funds would be allocated. 

Click here to download Acting Superintendent Yee's recommendation and click here to download the survey results.

Update on Balanced Scorecard for Next Three Years
The purpose of the Balanced Scorecard is "to identify a small set of indicators to help measure (OUSD's) progress towards achieving (its) goals" and focus on "continuing improvement efforts."

Associate Superintendent David Montes de Oca led a presentation to the Board on the district's Balanced Scorecard that focused on this question: How can (OUSD) best identify a small set of District Priorities to measure year over year that align to the LCAP Priorities? A final copy of the Balanced Scorecard will be included in the LCAP that is submitted to the state in June. The Board is currently reviewing a draft LCAP proposed by staff and Acting Superintendent Gary Yee.

The state has 8 priorities under LCFF, and the district's Balanced Scorecard is in alignment with most of those goals, Montes de Oca told the Board.



school Balanced Scorecard is also in development.

Effective Teaching Update
Associate Superintendent Brigitte Marshall led an update on OUSD's Educator Effectiveness Systems, including the Teacher Growth and Development System (TGDS).  

Marshall said that with the data management system underway, OUSD now has the ability to report teacher turnover and retention rates, where teachers studied as undergraduates as well as "temporary and probationary employee demographics and outcomes." The district now collects data on performance, including for discipline. 

The data management system also allows for the district to identify data points it would like to follow over time. "These represent functions we were engaged in previously, but did not have an organized way of collecting the information that allowed us to analyze it," Marshall told the Board.

Aaron Townsend, OUSD's Director of Strategic School Support, led the update on the TGDS. Townsend talked about the three teacher evaluation pilots implemented this year at seven schools, and the pilot expansion next year to 25 schools, which is based on the Effective Teaching Framework that came out of the district's Effective Teaching Taskforce. "It's building, with an eye toward full implementation in 2015-16," Townsend told the Board, noting that expansion is pending an agreement with the Oakland Education Association.

Click here to download the Educator Effectiveness Systems progress report.

LCAP Update
On Wednesday, May 21 the Board reviewed a draft report of the district's Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP). 

School districts and charter schools are required to develop an LCAP to track how new funding from the state's Local Control Funding Formula is being allocated. On Wednesday, the Board met to review a draft of the LCAP.

OUSD is estimated to receive $28.3 million in LCFF funding for the 2014-15 school year. To keep track of that funding, there is an LCAP template that lists eight state priorities for the funding (student achievement, basic services, school climate, student engagement, parent involvement, Common Core, course access, and other student outcomes). OUSD is required to come up with goals that correspond to those priorities. 

District staff put forward 18 proposed goals. View slides of the goals here: Slide 1 Slide 2 Slide 3.

Click here to view the staff LCAP presentation.



GO School Board Watch: Parcel Tax, Linked Learning, and Effective Teaching

In this edition of GO School Board Watch, we take a look at the agenda for the regularly scheduled Oakland Unified School District Board of Education meeting for this Wednesday, May 14. The meeting will be held in the Great Room of the La Escuelita Education Center (1050 2nd Avenue). Open session begins at 6 pm.

Click here to download the agenda. 

On the packed agenda this week, the Board is scheduled to:
  • Hear the results of a survey of likely voters on a proposed parcel tax to support Oakland high school programs and vote on the Acting Superintendent's recommendation to put the parcel tax measure on the ballot in November.
  • Hear a presentation on the Balanced Scorecard, which tracks indicators of student success in Oakland Unified schools.
  • Receive a progress report on Linked Learning, the high school program that provides college-ready curriculum, work-based learning and support services.
  • Receive an update on the district's Effective Teaching effort to establish a comprehensive teacher and leader training, collaboration, and evaluation system.


The Proposed Parcel Tax
The district conducted a survey of likely voters to gauge support for a parcel tax that would generate funds to support a "College and Career Readiness for All" program. The funds would "pay for the implementation of a comprehensive approach to high school education in Oakland that integrates challenging academics with career-based learning and real-world work experiences." This program known as Linked Learning has been piloted in Oakland and these funds would enable it to be scaled across the district's high schools. The board will hear a progress report on Linked Learning later in the meeting.

The survey of likely voters indicates a 69-79% level of likely voter support for the parcel tax, which would need a two-thirds majority to pass. The survey also provides interesting longitudinal data on public attitudes toward public schools, traditional schools and charter schools.

You can view the survey results report here, and Acting Superintendent Yee's recommendation here.

The Balanced Scorecard
According to the district, "few tools... will prove to be more influential than the Balanced Scorecard. If done well, the Balanced Scorecard can serve as a compass to guide classroom, school, and central office decisions in a manner that truly results in improved outcomes for students. A School Balanced Scorecard is also in development with individual school level goals. By having a relatively small set of inter-related indicators as focus to monitor student performance year over year, schools and the district are more likely to make steady progress towards meeting their goals."

You can view the Balanced Scorecard presentation here.
This presentation is an update with no expected vote.

Linked Learning
Linked Learning is "a flexible approach bringing together college prep academics, demanding technical education, support services, and work-based learning that, together, help prepare students for success in college, career and life." Oakland Unified is one of nine districts that has been piloting the approach with grant funding and the support of the nonprofit agency ConnectEd. The proposed parcel tax would generate sustainable local funding to expand and sustain the program. The ConnectEd website provides comprehensive information about the program, including evidence for its effectiveness.

The district's presentation document was not available for download at the time of this email.
This presentation is an update with no expected vote.

Effective Teaching
This progress update on the Effective Teaching component of the Acting Superintendent's work plan focuses on two areas in which the district is working to build a system to support the continuous improvement of teaching:

1. A Human Capital Data Management System: This system collects and analyzes data about teaching to inform planning and decision-making, such as data on teacher turnover and retention. On average, 82% of OUSD teachers return to the district as a teacher in the following year, resulting in significant turnover in a 3-5 year period. Research has shown a correlation between high teacher turnover and low student performance, and some studies indicate that high teacher turnover disproportionately affects low-performing schools. The data would identify patterns to enable the district to develop strategies for retaining effective teachers.

 2. The Teacher Growth & Development System. A new system for giving teachers consistent, meaningful feedback on their teaching effectiveness has been piloted over the past year. The program was developed in partnership with the teacher union Oakland Educators Association (OEA) and designed with input from teachers, students, and parents. The current plan is to expand the pilot from the current six schools to over 20 schools next year.

You can view the Educator Effectiveness Systems progress report presentation here.
This presentation is an update with no expected vote.

GO School Board Watch: Plan to Improve Low Performing Schools

In this edition of GO School Board Watch, we review the April 23 meeting of the Oakland Unified School District Board of Education.

At the meeting, the Board:
  • Heard an update from staff on the district's Quality School Development policy.
  • Voted to expand Parker Elementary.
  • Heard a report from staff on the district's response to a letter from the Alameda County Superintendent's Office regarding "misstatements and inaccuracies" in the district's second interim budget report.
  • Voted to adopt new discipline policy language.

Click here to download the agenda.


Quality School Development Policy Update
The Board heard an update from Associate Superintendent David Montes de Oca on the implementation of the district's Quality School Development policy, with a focus on "the immediate strategies and intermediate strategies to dramatically improve the quality of low performing schools" in OUSD.

The district's proposed approach to "dramatically improving" the quality of low-performing schools is to create a method for identifying schools as either Tier I, II, or III, with each tier receiving different level of support. The Tier III schools, those with the greatest needs, would receive the greatest levels of support and intervention. These "require more significant changes and increased support over a longer period of time to dramatically improve in quality."  Montes de Oca stressed that the school communities would be deeply involved in the process and that the supports would be tailored to the needs of the school community.

Five initial schools were identified as being in need of Tier III level supports: Fremont, Castlemont and McClymonds high schools; Frick Middle School; and Brookfield Elementary. Oakland High was also listed as "fourth in line" after the other high schools listed here as needing additional support. The Board approved a plan to continue providing immediate supports to the five identified schools while creating a system for identifying any additional schools in need of Tier II or III level supports.

Representatives from each school were on hand to present information to the Board on work they're currently engaged in, and work planned for the future.

Monica Thomas, OUSD's Director of Instruction for Pre K-5, presented an update on Brookfield. "We do feel really urgent in the work (to transform the school) and it all feels too slow and not enough," Thomas said. "Yet it is also important to keep doing because we can not wait." The district is working on forming a revision team made up of members of the school community, and are "preparing for a new Brookfield experience for our students in the fall."

Click here to watch video of Thomas's remarks.

Mark Triplett, OUSD's Director of Instruction for Middle Schools, presented the update on Frick. Triplett said "despite incredible efforts (by educators and the Frick community) ... the status quo there is just not acceptable. We have to do something different there." Triplett mentioned the development of a strong Instructional Leadership Team (ILT), restorative justice work to change the culture at the school, and a strategic plan to address chronic absence.

Click here to watch video of Triplett's remarks.

Fremont High Principal Emiliano Sanchez led the Fremont presentation. Sanchez said that it has been "15 years of constant change and turmoil" for the Fremont community, and this year the school is focusing on "trying to heal." He said that means building trust by developing a strong ILT that is focused on professional development for teachers, and all teachers are now engaged in peer coaching. "Even though several individuals have been working here for several years, a lot of of us didn't know each other because of where we were in terms of trust," Sanchez told the Board.

Click here to watch video of Sanchez's remarks.

Click here to view a PDF of the Quality School Development Policy update presentation, and here for the district's more detailed report.

Unanimous Vote to Expand Parker
The Board voted 7-0 to expand Parker Elementary School from a K-5 to a K-8. 

Parker Elementary School will begin its expansion next year, with one sixth grade class. Over the next three years its student population from 220 to 370. Staff is scheduled to give a detailed plan to the Board regarding the expansion, including regarding professional development for teachers and school leaders, curriculum, enrollment, student discipline and culture, family and student engagement, resource allocation, and outstanding needs.

Click here to download the resolution authorizing Parker to change from a K-5 to a K-8 school.

Click here to read more about the Parker expansion on the GO Public Schools Leadership Center site.

Response to Budget Letter from County Superintendent
A letter from Alameda County Superintendent Sheila Jordan to Board President David Kakishiba states that there are "a number of misstatements or inaccuracies" in OUSD's second interim report, which was submitted to the Alameda County Board of Education in March.

District staff addressed concerns from the County Superintendent's office by reclassifying revenues and expenditures. Board President David Kakishiba (District 2) asked staff if the district "had the procedures in place" to avoid mistakes like this, and if not, what could be done better in the future. Acting Superintendent Gary Yee responded that he was focusing on the current year's budget and was not "fully being engaged in two years, three years out and the changes in the formulas that are there." Deputy Superintendent Vernon Hal added that "like the Superintendent, I typically focus in on current year fund balance, and cash. ... I know the multi-year is a piece we need to do, but in terms of needing to get the interims out when you're under a crunch my main focus is fund balance and cash."

Click here to download OUSD's letter in response to the Alameda County Superintendent's Office.

New Discipline Policy Language Adopted
The Board voted unanimously to adopt new disciplinary policy language. The new language places a limit on the kind of behavior that would warrant a suspension, eliminating defiance. The amended discipline policy takes effect on July 1. Click here to download the amended discipline policy.

Know anyone else who should be updated on what the OUSD school board is working on? Have them sign up here to receive email updates on every meeting!

GO School Board Watch: Quality School Development Update

In this edition of GO School Board Watch, we'll take a look at the agenda for the regularly scheduled Oakland Unified School District Board of Education meeting for April 23, 2014. The meeting will be held in the Great Room of the La Escuelita Education Center (1050 2nd Avenue). Open session begins at 6 pm.

Note: This week, the Board is also holding a study session regarding the development of OUSD's Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP). That meeting will be held on Monday, April 21 also at La Escuelita. We're reporting on what happens at this meeting both live on Twitter (@GoPublicSchools, #oakmtg) and in the next edition of Board Watch. Click here to download the agenda for the LCAP study session. 

On the agenda this Wednesday, the Board is scheduled to:

  • Vote on the nomination of Antwan Wilson as Superintendent of Schools.
  • Hear an update on the Quality School Development Policy from Acting Superintendent Yee's team.
  • Vote on a proposal to expand Parker Elementary.
  • Hear how staff plans to respond to a letter from the Alameda County Superintendent's Office regarding "misstatements and inaccuracies" in the district's second interim budget report.

Click here to download the agenda.

Antwan Wilson Confirmation Vote
After closed-session deliberations and interviews the previous week, the OUSD Board made an announcement on Wednesday, April 16 that Antwan Wilson has been selected as the finalist for Superintendent. Tony Smith, the most recent permanent Superintendent, resigned in April 2013.

The press release from OUSD stated "the Board will vote upon the nomination during its April 23 meeting." At this time however, no information regarding a confirmation vote for Mr. Wilson is on the agenda.

Mr. Wilson would officially begin July 1. Click here to read more on the GO Leadership Center site.

Quality School Development Policy Update
In April 2013, the OUSD Board passed a Quality School Development policy, which establishes quality standards, and a review and improvement process that covers both district and charter schools.

On Wednesday, OUSD Associate Superintendent of Quality, Accountability and Analytics, David Montes de Oca, will lead a presentation on the implementation of this policy, focusing on "the immediate strategies and intermediate strategies to dramatically improve the quality of low performing schools" in OUSD.

The district's approach to "dramatically improving" the quality of low-performing schools is to use a tiered system of intervention, where the schools with the greatest needs receive the greatest support. These schools are defined by OUSD as "Tier III" schools. These schools are those that "require more significant changes and increased support over a longer period of time to dramatically improve in quality."

To turn around these schools, OUSD is focusing on three strategies:
1. Relocating an existing high performing school, tied to clear measures of success, in place of a low performing school. 
2. Incubating a new district operated school or new charter school tied to clear measures of success. 
3. Transforming the existing school through managed, incremental changes and significant operational support, tied to clear measures of success. 

Click here to view a PDF of the Quality School Development Policy update presentation, and here for the district's more detailed report.

Vote on Parker Expansion
The Board will vote on a proposal to expand Parker Elementary from a K-5 to a K-8 school.

This is the second reading of the proposal. During the first reading at the most recent Board meeting, families and educators from the Parker community spoke in favor of the expansion. Click here to watch video of their testimony to the Board.

Click here to download a PDF of the presentation on expanding Parker.

Financial Report Revision
A letter from Alameda County Superintendent Sheila Jordan to Board President David Kakishiba states that there are "a number of misstatements or inaccuracies" in OUSD's second interim report, which was submitted to the Alameda County Board of Education in March.

The letter highlights include:
  • Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) revenues appear to be understated by approximately $60 million, $80 million, and $107 million in 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16, respectively.
  • Other State revenues appear to be overstated by approximately $67 million each year, including approximately $10 million each year of K-3 Class Size Reduction revenues.
  • The District's payroll and benefits expenditures for 2013-14 may be understated by approximately $13 million based on a comparison of the payroll expenditures in the District reports to ACOE's estimates.
No information regarding OUSD's response to the letter has been made available on the district website. Click here to download the letter.

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GO School Board Watch: Big Decisions on Schools

In this edition of GO School Board Watch, we review the April 9, 2014 meeting of the Oakland Unified School District Board of Education.

At the meeting, the Board:
  • Voted to accept a staff recommendation to deny the charter application for a new school, Conservatory of Vocal and Instrumental Arts (COVA) High School.
  • Heard public comment from a group of Brookfield Elementary parents raising awareness about deplorable conditions at their children's school and asking for district intervention.
  • Heard a first reading of a report on a recommended expansion of Parker Elementary.
  • Heard a first progress report on Measure J funded projects.

Click here to download the agenda.


Board Votes 4-3 to Deny COVA High School Charter Petition
COVA is K-8 charter school in Oakland that proposed to create a high school as well. A long line of students, parents, and school administrators testified in support of the petition, followed by a discussion in which each Board member gave their opinion. In the end, the Board voted to deny the charter petition for COVA Conservatory High School, as recommended by district staff.

Click here to download the staff recommendation.

Director Anne Campbell-Washington (District 4) submitted a subsequent motion to deny the staff recommendation and accept the charter petition, based on "a very clear record of past success" for the established COVA K-8 school.

"It's very different than looking at a stand-alone new school," she said, adding, "maybe that's something (the board takes) into account when we look at a charter school that's expanding."

The motion submitted by Campbell-Washington was voted down 4-3 as well, with the board voting to accept the staff recommendation right after. The four directors voting to deny the charter application were Jody London (District 1), Board President David Kakishiba (District 2), Jumoke Hinton Hodge (District 3) and James Harris (District 7).

This was the second time in about five months that the Board has voted to accept the staff recommendation to deny the COVA High charter petition. According to the staff recommendation presented in November, the COVA petition is missing "several legally required elements" and the petition "lacks a level of detail and thoughtfulness to be considered reasonably comprehensive, and demonstrates a lack of preparation required to implement a successful program." At that time, Dr. Valerie Abad, the lead petitioner for the school and the Executive Director of COVA, said she would accept the staff recommendations work to improve the application, and then re-submit at a later date.

The re-submitted charter petition "failed to meet established standards and provide a reasonably comprehensive description of the educational program" according to the staff report. As the Board was discussing whether to accept the staff recommendation at the meeting, David Montes de Oca, the Associate Superintendent of Quality, Accountability and Analytics, listed other Oakland charter schools that approved by the Board that were "not particularly prepared to operate" and then closed: Oasis High, Aviation High, Youth Employment Partnership High, University Prep High, Civicorps Elementary and Dolores Huerta Learning Academy.

"There is a history that tells us the readiness and preparation is a factor in successfully implementing a school program," Montes de Oca said.

Click here to download the COVA High charter petition.

During Board discussion, Director Christopher Dobbins (District 6) floated the idea of a two-year conditional approval for the school, but was told by OUSD General Counsel Jacqueline Minor that at this time, the Board could only authorize the charter for five years and then go through a revocation process after two years if the directors agreed it was appropriate to do so at that time because the school did not meet standards.

In her final remarks to the Board before its vote, Abad said she herself would close the school if it wasn't performing up to standards.

"I am here to provide an option for parents who want to do something else and if I can't do that, I'll close the school," she said. "I've told you from the beginning, 'Put me out of business.' Make your schools good and put me out of business, and I'll be happy."

Brookfield Parents Testify About Poor Conditions at their School
During public comment on all non-agenda items, more than a dozen parents of Brookfield Elementary students testified about the poor quality of facilities and instruction at their school, and asked for the district to intervene.

One parent held up a photo of a filthy water fountain and asked that the district eliminate all rats at the school. Another stood next to her son as she told the Board that though her family lives across the street from the school, she pulled him out of the school because the school lacked leadership and he was stuck in a class with an ineffective teacher. Another parent said her son's class has had a substitute teacher since December.

"We're here to ask for immediate change," a Brookfield parent told the Board. "Our children can't wait any longer."

Click here to watch video of Brookfield parents testifying to the Board.

Board Takes Step to Expanding Parker Elementary
The Board heard a first reading of a proposal to change Parker Elementary School from a K-5 to a K-8 over the next three years.

According to the proposal, four reasons are listed for expansion:
  1. Parker provides academic excellence in a safe and healthy school environment with strong family engagement and community partnerships.
  2. Parker is rated as the community's first choice school 100 percent of the time.
  3. Oakland needs more high achieving middle schools that respond to students' needs and support students to develop their intellectual curiosity and socio- emotional development.
  4. Staff, students and families support expansion.

Click here to download the presentation.

"By all traditional measures, the school is excelling," Montes de Oca told the Board, noting that Parker "serves a predominately African American student population in one of the areas of Oakland most plagued by violence and economic hardship. The school stands as a beacon of hope for many families."

Parker had the highest API score in 2012 and 2013 for an Oakland school serving a predominately African American population, Montes de Oca said, and also saw a 20 percent spike in enrollment over the past year. He also noted that Parker families have been discussing with district staff "for years" the possibility of expanding the school.

Parker Elementary Principal Koy Hill stood with school teachers, staff, parents and students as he testified to the Board about his school. "We produce scholars who are focused on having a positive impact in Oakland and in our world," Hill told the Board. He spoke about having "effective partnerships" with families and community members.

During Board discussion, Director London asked about adequate space for expansion. She was told that at its peak enrollment decades ago, the school served up to 600 students.

Director Jumoke Hinton Hodge became emotional while discussing expanding the school and providing more equitable outcomes for students living in East Oakland. "If this is a leader who can do it, we need to go all in," Hinton Hodge said.

Click here to watch a video of Hinton Hodge's remarks. 

The final vote on expanding Parker is scheduled for the next Board meeting, on April 23.
 
First Report on Measure J
The Board heard a first progress report on project plans funded by Measure J, a $475 million facilities bond approved by 85 percent of voters in 2012.

Staff presented a list of projects to the Board, some of which have yet to go before the Board for approval. That includes the most expensive of the projects listed (and the only one that costs north of $100 million), a $131 million replacement of Fremont High. Glenview Elementary is the only other school listed as having its building "replaced" with Measure J funds (at a cost of $46 million).

Click here to view a draft of the Measure J spending plan.

The next regularly scheduled OUSD Board meeting is Wednesday, April 23. Open session starts at 6 pm.

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GO School Board Watch: Measure J Projects Update

In this edition of GO School Board Watch, we'll take a look at the agenda for the regularly scheduled Oakland Unified School District Board of Education meeting for Wednesday, April 9. The meeting will be held in the Great Room of the La Escuelita Education Center (1050 2nd Avenue). Open session begins at 6 pm.

Click here to download the agenda.

On the agenda this week, the Board is scheduled to:
  • Vote on a staff recommendation to deny the charter petition for a proposed new school.
  • Hear a first reading of an item that would change Parker Elementary School to a K-8.
  • Hear an update on planned Measure J projects.
COVA High Charter Petition Recommended to be Denied
Silke Bradford, Director of Quality Diverse Providers, is recommending the Board vote to deny the charter petition from Conservatory of Vocal/Instrumental Arts High School. COVA High, which would provide a "comprehensive academic and performing arts program," would open in the fall of 2014 and initially serve 90 students in grades 9-11, and growing to serve 270 students in grades 9-12 by 2018.

Click here to download the staff report.

According to the staff report, "the areas in which the petition failed to meet established standards and provide a reasonably comprehensive description of the educational program include, but are not limited to, the following deficiencies:
  • Lack of targeted interventions to meet the needs of the target population being recruited from Program Improvement schools
  • Lack of a reasonably comprehensive curriculum development plan
  • Lack of a scope and sequence for any grades/subjects
  • Lack of a feasible plan to develop curriculum pacing guides and benchmark assessments
  • Lack of daily ELD, Math, and ELA intervention courses and curriculum
  • Lack of a targeted professional development plan to support implementation of "Teach Like a Champion" instructional techniques
  • Lack of a plan or designated person responsible for English Learner progress monitoring
Measure J Projects Update
About 85 percent of Oakland voters supported Measure J, a $475 million facilities bond, during the 2012 election. On Wednesday, Acting Superintendent Gary Yee is scheduled to present a report on Measure J projects. No further information on the presentation has been made available yet on the OUSD website.

Currently, only information regarding the Glenview Elementary School reconstruction project are available on the OUSD website under "Measure J Renovation Projects." Click here to view Measure J information from OUSD.

Parker Expanding to K-8?
The Board will hear a first reading of a proposal to change Parker Elementary School from a K-5 to a K-8 over the next three years.

According to the proposal, four reasons are listed for expansion:
  • Parker provides academic excellence in a safe and healthy school environment with strong family engagement and community partnerships.
  • Parker is rated as the community's first choice school 100 percent of the time.
  • Oakland needs more high achieving middle schools that respond to students' needs and support students to develop their intellectual curiosity and socio- emotional development.
  • Staff, Students and Families Support Expansion!
Click here to download the presentation.

GO School Board Watch: Actual vs. Average Teacher Salaries

In this edition of GO School Board Watch, we review the March 28 meeting of the Oakland Unified School District.

At the meeting, the Board:
  • Heard an update on the Special Education Strategic Plan.
  • Heard a report on the implementation of the new Results Based Budgeting policy.
Click here to download the agenda.

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Special Education Strategic Plan Update
Sheilagh Andujar, Associate Superintendent, Programs for Exceptional Children, led a presentation updating the Board on the Special Education Strategic Plan. "When we say all students graduate from Oakland Unified School District college, career and community ready, that means all students, including our students with disabilities," Andujar said as she began the presentation. Making that happen, she said, requires more collaboration with "the entire OUSD team."

A draft of the 3-year Special Education Strategic Plan was made available to the public in late March (click here to download). The final draft will go before the Board for adoption at a May meeting. Leading up to that date, Andujar and her team are vetting the draft with stakeholders. 

The bulk of Andujar's presentation focused on the six goals of the Special Education Strategic Plan:
  • Improve performance for students with IEPs
  • Address Social-Emotional Learning Needs for all students
  • Establish effective inclusive models for students with IEPs
  • Establish accountability for quality by using data and engaging with the community
  • Hire and retain highly qualified staff
  • Improve compliance
  • The Programs for Exceptional Children team is currently working on 13 separate work streams, including Transition to a new Special Education Information System (SEIS); Decentralization of Special Education Programs and Services; Negotiations with OEA; Mental Health Center Program Expansion; Extended School Year programs; and SELPA / Local Plan.
During questions from the Board, President David Kakishiba (District 2) asked about the final version the Board will vote on in May, and if it will have a budget attached and "actionable steps" for each objective over the three-year period. Acting Superintendent Gary Yee said there is a tentative budget in the works, but a complete cost analysis has yet to be completed. 

Click here to download the March Special Education Strategic Plan presentation to Board.

Results Based Budgeting Policy Update
Acting Superintendent Gary Yee presented an update to the Board on his implementation plan for the district's new Results Based Budgeting policy, which guides how (and how much) money is allocated to schools.

The update focused on answering seven questions from the Board. Click here to download the memo from Acting Superintendent Yee's office that answers each question (see list below).

During the Board discussion, Director Jody London (District 1) said that while the presentation sounds good, she is still getting emails from "people claiming their schools are being disadvantaged by the adoption of this policy." Acting Superintendent Yee responded that in the old system, some schools were able to "take advantage of salary and benefit savings, and other quirks at their school to increase the number of staffing."  Some school leaders, Yee added, have a different opinion than the district on what positions are part of the "core program" of a school. "Can I guarantee that nobody lost a dollar?" Yee said. "I actually can't do that. But I can assure you that we met the standards of equity." 

Director Kakishiba asked for a report on changes at each school. Yee responded that he's confident his team has the information and can publish it, but were waiting to do so after the March 15 budget development deadline.

Kakishiba also remarked that he thinks there could be years of debate about the adoption of a staffing formula, which is mentioned both in the memo Yee presented to the Board as well as in the Budget Development Handbook authored by Yee's team to assist principals in developing their budget. 

"The essential debate, probably more from a principal's perspective, is whether a school gets a cash allocation to budget, whether it's based on actual salary costs or average salary costs," Kakishiba said.

Click here to watch video of Director Kakishiba's remarks. 

The seven questions from the board on budgeting:
  1. What is the definition of the "base program" (i.e. staffing formula, discretionary dollar allocation) at each school? Are we using different budget allocation standards for elementary, middle, and high schools? Are we using different budget allocation standards for Tier III schools?
  2. What is the formula being used to allocate LCFF Supplementary and LCFF Concentration dollars to schools?
  3. What is the budget allocation (by dollars) difference for each individual school between their 2013-2014 actual budget allocation and their 2014-2015 proposed budget allocation? What schools are projected to receive fewer dollars in 2014-2015 than they received in 2013-2014?
  4. What is the proposed scope and flexibility school governance teams will have to budget and expand?
  5. What have school principals identified as the greatest benefits of and the greatest problems with the emerging new Results-Based Budgeting System?
  6. How are we planning to produce and disseminate accurate, comprehensive, and comprehensible financial management information at the school, department and district levels?
  7. What is the status of the proposed Superintendent's RBB Oversight Committee?

Know anyone else who should be updated on what the OUSD school board is working on? Have them sign up here to receive email updates on every meeting!

GO School Board Watch: Special Education Strategic Plan

In this edition of GO School Board Watch, we'll take a look at the agenda for the regularly scheduled Oakland Unified School District Board of Education meeting for Wednesday, March 26. The meeting will be held in the Great Room of the La Escuelita Education Center (1050 2nd Avenue). Open session begins at 6 pm.

On the agenda this week, the Board is scheduled to:
  • Hear a presentation on the district's Special Education Strategic Plan.
  • Hear an update from Acting Superintendent Gary Yee on his team's implementation plan for OUSD's new Results Based Budgeting Policy.
Click here to download the agenda.

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Special Education Strategic Plan Update
Sheilagh Andujar, Associate Superintendent, Programs for Exceptional Children, will lead an update on the district's efforts to ensure every child with a disability graduates from high school and successfully transitions into adult life. 

Andujar will present a 3-year strategic plan for Special Education, which has been in the works since the Spring of 2012. On March 21, the Special Education office released a draft of the 3-year plan. Click here to download a draft of the Special Education Strategic Plan.

The presentation on Wednesday will focus on the six goals of the Special Education Strategic Plan:
  1. Improve performance for students with IEPs
  2. Address Social-Emotional Learning Needs for all students
  3. Establish effective inclusive models for students with IEPs
  4. Establish accountability for quality by using data and engaging with the community
  5. Hire and retain highly qualified staff
  6. Improve compliance
Click here to download Wednesday's presentation on the Special Education Strategic Plan.

Results Based Budgeting Policy Update
Acting Superintendent Gary Yee and his team are scheduled to give a second and final update on the implementation of OUSD's Results Based Budgeting Policy. The first update was February 12.

Budgets for each school that were supposed to be posted to the OUSD website by March 15 are still not available to the public. Check back here, where you can also download the Budget Development Guide for Site Leaders.

The update this week will focus on answering seven questions from the Board. Click here to download the memo from Acting Superintendent Yee's office that answers each question.

1. What is the definition of the "base program" (i.e. staffing formula, discretionary dollar allocation) at each school? Are we using different budget allocation standards for elementary, middle, and high schools? Are we using different budget allocation standards for Tier III schools?

2. What is the formula being used to allocate LCFF Supplementary and LCFF Concentration dollars to schools?

3. What is the budget allocation (by dollars) difference for each individual school between their 2013-2014 actual budget allocation and their 2014-2015 proposed budget allocation? What schools are projected to receive fewer dollars in 2014-2015 than they received in 2013-2014?

4. What is the proposed scope and flexibility school governance teams will have to budget and expand?

5. What have school principals identified as the greatest benefits of and the greatest problems with the emerging new Results-Based Budgeting System?

6. How are we planning to produce and disseminate accurate, comprehensive, and comprehensible financial management information at the school, department and district levels?

7. What is the status of the proposed Superintendent's RBB Oversight Committee?

Know anyone else who should be updated on what the OUSD school board is working on? Have them sign up here to receive email updates on every meeting! 

GO School Board Watch: Second budget progress report

In this edition of GO School Board Watch, we'll take a look at the agenda for the regularly scheduled Oakland Unified School District Board of Education meeting for March 12. The meeting will be held in the Great Room of the La Escuelita Education Center (1050 2nd Avenue). Open session begins at 6 pm.

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On the agenda this week, the Board is scheduled to:
  • Hear the final of two scheduled progress reports from Acting Superintendent Gary Yee on his office's plan for implementing the district's new Results Based Budgeting policy.
  • Hear a progress report from Acting Superintendent Yee on his plan for enrolling 80 percent of OUSD students in a Linked Learning program.
  • Hear a second interim financial report for the 2013-14 school year.
Results Based Budgeting Progress Report
Acting Superintendent Yee and his team are scheduled to deliver their second progress report on how the district's recently approved Results Based Budgeting policy is being implemented.
Information on what will be presented is not available on the OUSD website. Check back here to see if it is updated before Wednesday's meeting. 

**UPDATE: The Results Based Budget item was pulled from this week's agenda on Tuesday, March 11. It has been rescheduled for March 26.**

In January, the OUSD Board approved a new Results Based Budgeting policy, which guides the annual budgeting process for the district and schools.

The Board did not vote on an implementation policy presented by Acting Superintendent Yee at that meeting. Instead, Yee and his staff were directed to present an implementation plan to the Board at two upcoming meetings (on February 12 and March 12) that related to these five principles of the new RBB policy:
  1. The allocation and expenditure of OUSD financial resources shall be aligned to achievement of continuous improvement in school quality and student outcomes.
  2. The allocation of OUSD financial resources to schools should be maximized.
  3. The distribution of OUSD financial resources to schools shall be maximized.
  4. School governance teams shall be empowered to budget and expend OUSD financial resources.
  5. The general public shall have timely access to accurate, comprehensive and easily comprehensible OUSD financial management information at the school, department, and district-wide levels.
GO Public Schools Leadership Center has been following along as the district changes its budgeting process with a series of articles to help the greater Oakland community understand what is at stake for schools and families. Click here to read the latest entry in the series.

Linked Learning Progress Report
OUSD has a goal of enrolling 80 percent of students in a Linked Learning program over the next three years. On Wednesday, Acting Superintendent Yee is scheduled to lead a second progress report on meeting that goal.

Among the "proposed actions to bring the system towards greater quality": expanding the master schedule to 8 periods for all 8,100 OUSD high school students; hiring a Pathway coordinator and Pathway coaches for 14 schools; developing school site advisory committees. The full cost of implementation is projected to be $2.7 million.

Click here to download a PDF of the progress report.

Second Interim Financial Report Presentation
District staff is scheduled to present a second interim financial report for the 2013-14 school year.

According to the executive summary of the report, "the district is projected to have a positive Unrestricted Fund Balance of $16.3M, which is a decrease of $3.6M from First Interim."

According to the report, unrestricted revenue is down by $1.08 million, while "expenditures and uses" increased by $2.5 million.

Click here to download a PDF of the report. 

Know anyone else who should be updated on what the OUSD school board is working on? Have them sign up here to receive email updates on every meeting!

GO School Board Watch: Student-Centered Balanced Scorecard

In this edition of GO School Board Watch, we'll take a look at the agenda for the regularly scheduled Oakland Unified School District Board of Education meeting for Wednesday, February 26. The meeting will be held in the Great Room of the La Escuelita Education Center (1050 2nd Avenue). Open session begins at 6 pm.

On the agenda this week, the Board is scheduled to:
  • Hear a staff presentation on a "student-centered" Balanced Scorecard.
  • Vote on moving $1.5 million from reserve fund to school budgets.
  • Hear a first reading on new disciplinary policy language that incorporates a restorative approach to managing behavioral issues.
  • Vote on a staff recommendation to renew the charter petition for Oakland Military Academy.

Click here to download the agenda.

Student-Centered Balanced Scorecard Introduced
In December, 2012 the OUSD Board voted unanimously to adopt framework for a district "Balanced Scorecard" which sets goals for "operational excellence" and "student achievement." Last October the Board set goals for the current school year.

This week, the Board will hear a first reading and will not vote on whether to accept a Balanced Scorecard focused on this question: "What is a relatively small set of key, inter-related indicators that provide a picture of how our students are progressing toward the graduate profile?"

There are 12 proposed indicators aligned to the graduate profile, including graduation rate, dropout rate, 12th grade grads with A-G completion, Linked Learning Pathway participation, chronic absence rate and suspension rate. There are also indicators for English Language Learners and students with disabilities. 

Click here to download a presentation of the Student-Centered Balanced Scorecard.

Vote on Moving $1.5 Million to School Budgets for This Year
At the January 29 Board meeting, Director Rosie Torres (District 5) requested that $1.5 million from OUSD's reserve fund be moved to school budgets 2013-14 school year. The Board was scheduled to vote on this  at its most recent meeting, February 12, but Torres announced early in that meeting that the item would be tabled till a later date. This week, the item is one of the first items on the agenda and likely will be heard early in the meeting.

Discipline Policies Up for Revision 
As part of its compliance agreement with the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights (the "Voluntary Resolution Plan"), OUSD has agreed to revise its discipline policies. If approved (Wednesday is a first reading and no action will be taken), schools will be charged with developing "a range of positive, preventative, and restorative approaches to behavioral management."

The "major areas" of revision include:
  • Limitations on the use of suspension.
  • Adoption of a Response to Intervention (RTI) approach. Schools must provide supports/interventions in a three-tiered framework to reduce loss of instructional time for disciplinary reasons.
  • Emphasis on positive, restorative practices.
  • All suspensions and classrooms referrals must be documented.
  • Starting in the 2014-2015 school year, all schools will use a universal referral form to more accurately track time that students spend outside of the classroom for discipline reasons.

Click here to download the proposed policy.

Oakland Military Academy Charter Recommended to be Renewed
District staff are recommending the Board grant a five-year renewal of the charter for Oakland Military Academy, a charter school in District 1 founded in 2001 by then-Mayor Jerry Brown. Click here to download the staff recommendation and click here to download the school's charter renewal petition.

Know anyone else who should be updated on what the OUSD school board is working on? Have them sign up here to receive email updates on every meeting!

GO School Board Watch: Suspensions of African American males "way down"

In this edition of GO School Board Watch, we review the regularly scheduled February 12 meeting of the Oakland Unified School District.

At the meeting, the Board:
  • Voted to approve renewal petitions from two charter schools managed by Aspire.
  • Heard an update from Acting Superintendent Gary Yee on progress implementing OUSD's recently approved Results-Based Budgeting policy.
  • Heard an update on efforts to reduce suspensions of African American male students.
  • Directed Acting Superintendent Yee to conduct a feasibility analysis for a parcel tax on the November 2014 ballot to support OUSD Linked Learning programs.
  • Postponed discussing and voting on an item that would move $1.5 million from the district's reserve fund to school budgets.
Click here to download the agenda.

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Suspensions "Way Down" for African American Males, According to Report
Chris Chatmon, OUSD's Director of African American Male Achievement, told the Board that during the first year of the district's Voluntary Resolution Plan, suspensions have "decreased dramatically" and the district is "moving in the right direction." Suspensions of African American students decreased by one-third over the previous school year (from 1,254 to 794), and expulsions were down 60 percent (from 28 to 12). 

This school year, district staff members are working on expanding programs that have shown initial success, like the "Manhood Development" program (now at 15 schools, up from 15) and restorative justice practices to more schools. Across the district, two dozen schools have been working to implement restorative justice practices that move away from "reactive discipline" and suspensions of students, to "proactive behavioral support" by setting "clear and culturally-relevant behavioral expectations."

Chatmon said the next "level of work" for the district around this work is building capacity to  transform culture inside classrooms, which requires "staying power" to maintain progress and continue to improve relational work between students, and between students and educators. 

Click here to watch video of Chatmon's comments to the Board.

Click here to download a PDF of the presentation.

Board votes to approve Aspire Monarch and Aspire ERES academies 
The Board voted to approve two charter renewal petitions, from Aspire Monarch Academy and Aspire ERES Academy. Both petitions were recommended to be approved by Silke Bradford, Ed.D., Director of OUSD's Quality Diverse Providers office. Director Jody London (District 1) was the lone "no" vote on either item, voting against the recommendation to renew Aspire Monarch Academy's petition. 

Click here to download the charter petition and here to download the staff recommendation for Aspire ERES Academy.

Click here to download the charter petition and here to download the staff recommendation for Aspire Monarch Academy.

Budgeting Presentation Lacking Information
Acting Superintendent Gary Yee was scheduled to give a presentation on the work conducted by his office to craft an implementation plan for OUSD's Results Based Budgeting policy, which guides how the district budgets resources and allocates money to schools.

Yee was directed to report progress to the Board in these five areas:
  1. The allocation and expenditure of OUSD financial resources shall be aligned to achievement of continuous improvement in school quality and student outcomes.
  2. The allocation of OUSD financial resources to schools should be maximized.
  3. The distribution of OUSD financial resources to schools shall be maximized.
  4. School governance teams shall be empowered to budget and expend OUSD financial resources.
  5. The general public shall have timely access to accurate, comprehensive and easily comprehensible OUSD financial management information at the school, department, and district-wide levels.
Yee began his report by admitting the presentation was not complete and not yet available on the OUSD web site (it is now and can be downloaded here). He then proceeded to present findings that were not supplied in any hard-copy version to the public, and were only available for the public to view on two television screens during the meeting. The text on the screens was difficult to discern from the second row in the audience.

Yee's presentation then focused on the allocation of new state money from Local Control Funding Formula, both this school year and projections for 2014-15. According to Yee's presentation, OUSD is receiving $283.1 million in LCFF funds this school year. Of that amount, approximately $233 million will go to school budgets, with $33 million for central administrative services. Next year, OUSD will receive $300.8 million from the state, with $247 million for school budgets.

Yee said more information will be given to the public on how staff are assigned to schools at the next scheduled report, on March 12. 

Parcel Tax Measure for Linked Learning Discussed
The Board voted unanimously to direct Acting Superintendent Yee's office to conduct a feasibility study of placing a $150 per household parcel tax measure on the 2014 ballot to support OUSD Linked Learning programs, called "The College and Career Readiness Act." 

OUSD needs $1,200 in per-student funding to enroll each student in a Linked Learning program, said the director of OUSD's Linked Learning program, Gretchen Livesey. Apparently, the study the Board voted for the Superintendent to conduct has already been completed -- the document board members and the public were provided to guide the discussion was in fact the results of a feasibility survey conducted by the district. Click here to download the study.

According to results from that study, most Oakland voters believe "improving outcomes for high school students should be one of the District's top priorities" and "local schools have a great need for additional funding." That's according to a feasibility assessment for a fall parcel tax, which included a survey of 500 Oakland voters likely to participate in 2014, by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates, a public opinion and research firm hired by OUSD.

Click here to download the feasibility assessment. 

The next OUSD Board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, February 26.

Know anyone else who should be updated on what the OUSD school board is working on? Have them sign up here to receive email updates on every meeting!

GO School Board Watch: Parcel tax in 2014 for Linked Learning?

In this edition of GO School Board Watch, we'll take a look at the agenda for the regularly scheduled Oakland Unified School District Board of Education meeting for Wednesday, February 12. The meeting will be held in the Great Room of the La Escuelita Education Center (1050 2nd Avenue). Open session begins at 6 pm.

On the agenda this week, the Board is scheduled to:
  • Discuss the feasibility of placing a parcel tax measure on the November 2014 ballot to support career pathways programs for students.
  • Approve an appropriation that would move $1.5 million more to school budgets this year.
  • Hear an update from Acting Superintendent Yee on his office's plan to implement the district's new Results Based Budgeting policy.
  • Vote on a staff recommendation to renew the charter petitions for two schools.
  • Hear a progress report on the district's compliance with the district's Voluntary Resolution Plan to resolve a complaint on disproportionate suspensions of African American students from the federal Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights.
Click here to download the agenda.

Parcel Tax to Support Linked Learning?
Most Oakland voters believe "improving outcomes for high school students should be one of the District's top priorities" and "local schools have a great need for additional funding." That's according to a feasibility assessment for a fall parcel tax, which included a survey of 500 Oakland voters likely to participate in 2014, by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates, a public opinion and research firm hired by OUSD.

The survey was conducted to study the feasibility of a 2014 ballot initiative for a parcel tax to support OUSD Linked Learning programs, called "The College and Career Readiness Act." Voters were also asked to consider the feasibility of such a measure if renewing Measure Y was also on the same ballot.

Click here to download the feasibility assessment. 

Vote on Moving $1.5 Million to School Budgets for This Year
Director Rosie Torres requested at the most recent Board meeting that $1.5 million from OUSD's reserve fund be moved to school budgets 2013-14 school year. This week, the Board will vote on this request.

Implementation Plan for Results Based Budgeting Policy
In January, the OUSD Board approved a new Results Based Budgeting policy, which guides the annual budgeting policy for the district and schools.

The Board did not vote on an implementation policy presented by Acting Superintendent Yee at that meeting. Instead, Yee and his staff were directed to present an implementation plan to the Board at two upcoming meetings (this Wednesday, February 12 and also March 12) that related to these five principles of the new RBB policy:
  1. The allocation and expenditure of OUSD financial resources shall be aligned to achievement of continuous improvement in school quality and student outcomes.
  2. The allocation of OUSD financial resources to schools should be maximized.
  3. The distribution of OUSD financial resources to schools shall be maximized.
  4. School governance teams shall be empowered to budget and expend OUSD financial resources.
  5. The general public shall have timely access to accurate, comprehensive and easily comprehensible OUSD financial management information at the school, department, and district-wide levels.
As of Monday afternoon, no further information on Yee's implementation plan was available on the district website. Check back here to see if the information has been made publicly available.

Board Recommended to Approve Two Charter Renewals
Silke Bradford, Ed.D., Director of OUSD's Quality Diverse Providers office, is recommending the Board renew the charter petitions for five years two schools managed by Aspire: Monarch Academy and ERES Academy. 

Click here to download the charter petition and here to download the staff recommendation for Aspire ERES Academy.

Click here to download the charter petition and here to download the staff recommendation for Aspire Monarch Academy.

Voluntary Resolution Plan Update
Chris Chatmon, OUSD's Director of OUSD's Office of African American Male Achievement, will present an update to the Board on the district's efforts to comply with a five-year agreement with the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights (OCR) on reducing disproportionate suspensions of African American students. 

The presentation on Wednesday will focus on gains made in 2012-13: suspensions of African American students decreased by ⅓ over the previous school year (from 1,254 to 794), and expulsions were down ¾ (from 28 to 12). 

Click here to download a PDF of the presentation.

GO School Board Watch: 2 new charter schools approved

In this edition of GO School Board Watch, we review the January 29 meeting of the Oakland Unified School District.

At the meeting, the Board:
  • Heard initial proposals for a new teacher contract from both the OEA and district
  • Approved two new charter schools
  • Heard a presentation from the district on engaging the public in Local Control Accountability Stakeholder Process (LCAP)
Click here to download the agenda.

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Click here to watch the video highlight from the meeting: Director Jumoke Hinton Hodge (District 3) discusses school choice for West Oakland families.

OEA and District Present Teacher Contract Proposals
Before a packed house, and hundreds of teachers from the Oakland Education Association, both district and union representatives presented initial contract proposals.

OEA President Trish Gorham told the Board the union has crafted a "reasonable" proposal that "aims in every way to make schools in Oakland more stable, better supported and managed more effectively through collaborative work and shared decision making, all of which will improve teaching and learning conditions for our students and help to fulfill the promise of full service community schools." She added the union's proposal is aimed at improving conditions to attract "career educators" the district needs.

A number of teachers gave testimony in support of the OEA, calling for more pay for teachers, smaller class sizes, and for the district to meet its legal obligation to allocate at least 55 percent of total expenditures on classroom-related spending (a target it has not met in recent years).

Click here to download a summary of OEA's initial proposal.
 
Click here to download OEA's initial proposal.

Troy Christmas, OUSD's Labor Relations Director, led the presentation of the district's proposal. Christmas opened by talking about a history of strained negotiations between the union and district, mentioning that last year was the first time in a decade no outside help was required to reach an agreement. Over that time, he said, relations between the two sides were "compromised" by a strike, a threatened strike, and the district imposing terms.  "We can do even better" this time, Christmas added.

The District is seeking to increase the teacher workday 1.5 hours to 7.5 hours, improve the evaluation process and eliminate the current process, while establishing a "career ladder" of leadership roles for teachers, and changing the way teachers are assigned to schools by "identifying schools that need additional support not capable within existing contract requirements" and "collaborating with OEA on a streamlined process to secure the contractual flexibility necessary to meet these additional support needs."
 
Click here to download a presentation of the district's initial proposal.

Board Approves New Aspire, Amethod Charter Schools
The Board voted 6-1 (Director Jody London, District 1, opposed) to approve Amethod Downtown Charter Academy, and 7-0 to approve Aspire Technology Academy. Both schools are scheduled to open in the fall.

Click here for Amethod Downtown Charter Academy's charter proposal and here for the staff recommendation.

Click here for Aspire Technology Charter Academy's charter proposal and here for the staff recommendation.

LCAP Framework Introduced
Deputy Superintendent Maria Santos led a presentation on engaging the community in the Local Control Accountability Stakeholder Process (LCAP). The California State Board of Education recently adopted regulations for plans required of every district and school that outline goals for school and student improvement and how resources and actions are tied to those goals. Development of plans require broad engagement from educators, families, and others in school communities. 

Santos told the Board that this Spring, the district's plan is to engage stakeholders, both at schools and at the district level, in developing this process. This means understanding students' needs, practices that have demonstrated gains, and understanding resource capacity and structures that will sustain improvement. 

Data collected will then inform the continuous LCAP planning process. Santos said it's important to build "community awareness" about the shift to Local Control Funding Formula. She also suggested that once the LCAP has been developed, it could become the district's new strategic plan. "It's time to look at where we are ... and what are the new areas to engage work in and build capacity," Santos said.

Regional LCAP conferences for families will be held this Spring at district schools on Saturdays from 8:30 am - 12:30 pm. Click here to download the proposed stakeholder engagement process for OUSD's LCAP.

Schedule of Spring Regional LCAP Conferences:
  • Region 1: March 1 at West Oakland Middle School
  • Region 2: March 8, at Urban Promise Academy 
  • Region 3: March 22, at Alliance/Elmhurst
  • Region 4: March 29, at Oakland Tech
P.S. Know anyone else who should be updated on what the OUSD school board is working on? Have them sign up here to receive email updates on every meeting!

GO School Board Watch: Teacher contract proposals "sunshined"

In this edition of GO School Board Watch, we preview the agenda for the regularly scheduled January 29 meeting of the Oakland Unified School District Board of Education.

The meeting will be held in the Great Room of the La Escuelita Education Center (1050 2nd Avenue). Open session begins at 6 pm.

 

On the agenda this week, the Board is scheduled to:

 
  • Hold public hearings to "sunshine" initial proposals from the district and the Oakland Education Association for a new teachers' contract

  • Outline the engagement process for LCAP (Local Control and Accountability Plan), which mandates community involvement in district and school goal-setting

  • Hear a report on Gov. Brown's 2014-15 state budget, and its "prospective" impact on OUSD

  • Vote on approving two new charter schools

 

Click here to download the agenda.


"Sunshining" of initial proposals from District and OEA

Representatives from both OUSD and the Oakland Education Association (which represents district teachers) are bargaining for a new three-year contract, and each side is required by law to make its initial proposal publicly available.

 

The District is seeking to increase the teacher workday to 7.5 hours, improve the evaluation process and eliminate the current process, while establishing a "career ladder" of leadership roles for teachers, and changing the way teachers are assigned to schools by "identifying schools that need additional support not capable within existing contract requirements" and "collaborating with OEA on a streamlined process to secure the contractual flexibility necessary to meet these additional support needs."

 

Click here to download a presentation of the district's initial proposal.

 

The OEA proposal asks for teachers to be involved in "discussing, designing, and adapting meaningful reforms in education" including implementation of the Common Core State Standards and new LCFF funding from the state designed to help students with the greatest needs. The OEA proposal also calls for professional development that is specifically designed to meet individual educators' needs, regular lesson planning time, and greater investment to reduce class sizes.

 

Click here to download a summary of OEA's initial proposal.

 

Click here to download OEA's initial proposal.

 

Stakeholder engagement for LCAP (Local Control and Accountability Plan)

California districts are receiving an influx of funding this year from Local Control Funding Formula. The California State Board of Education recently adopted regulations for plans required of every district and school that outline goals for school and student improvement and how resources and actions are tied to those goals. Development of plans require broad engagement from educators, families, and others in school communities. In Oakland, the goal for the district LCAP is to advance "learning and achievement" for English Language Learners, foster children, and low-income students (the three groups that receive targeted supplemental funding by LCFF), as well as programs for students with disabilities, Latino, and African American students.

 

This week, Acting Superintendent Gary Yee will present recommendations for engaging the public in the LCAP process. School teams and community members will be encouraged to take part in Spring Regional LCAP conferences on Saturdays in March.

 

Click here to download the proposed stakeholder engagement process for OUSD's LCAP, which includes dates of each regional conference.

 

Impacts of Proposed State Budget to Oakland Education

Gov. Jerry Brown is proposing the greatest increase in per-student average funding since 2001 in his proposed state budget for 2014-15. On Wednesday, a representative from School Services of California will give a presentation on how that will impact OUSD.

 

Click here to download a PDF of the presentation.

 

Staff recommendation to accept petitions to open two charter schools

District staff recommend the Board approve petitions from two proposed charter schools that would open in Fall 2014:

  1. Amethod Downtown Charter Academy
    Click here for the school's charter proposal and here for the staff recommendation.

  2. Aspire Technology Charter Academy.
    Click here for the school's charter proposal and here for the staff recommendation.

 





GO School Board Watch: New Budget Policy Approved

In this edition of GO School Board Watch, we review the January 15 meeting of the Oakland Unified School District.

At the meeting, the Board:
  • Approved a policy on Results Based Budgeting
  • Did not vote on Acting Superintendent Yee's implementation plan
  • Approved a new course sequence for mathematics, to align to Common Core standards
  • Heard a report on Teach Tomorrow in Oakland
Click here to download the agenda.

Results Based Budgeting Policy Approved
The Board voted unanimously to approve a policy to guide the district's annual budgeting process. The approved policy that seeks to maximize the amount of money schools will receive, caps spending by the central office at 12 percent, and keeps local decision-making authority over how to allocate resources intact. 

Educators, students and community members made it clear to the Board that more resources should be directed to kids who need them the most, and those that work closest with children should be the ones making decisions on how the money is best spent.

Click here to watch video of testimony from Greenleaf Elementary Assistant Principal Melanie Schoeppe.

Click here to download the Board's policy on Results Based Budgeting.

Implementation Plan for Budget Policy Still a Work in Progress
Board President David Kakishiba did not call for a vote on an implementation plan presented by Acting Superintendent Gary Yee. The Board instead directed Yee to have administrative regulations in place by the fall, and report back at two upcoming School Board meetings (on February 12 and March 12) on how implementation of the policy is going relating to five principals in the new Results Based Budgeting policy:
  1. The allocation and expenditure of OUSD financial resources shall be aligned to achievement of continuous improvement in school quality and student outcomes.
  2. The allocation of OUSD financial resources to schools should be maximized.
  3. The distribution of OUSD financial resources to schools shall be maximized.
  4. School governance teams shall be empowered to budget and expend OUSD financial resources.
  5. The general public shall have timely access to accurate, comprehensive and easily comprehensible OUSD financial management information at the school, department, and district-wide levels.

During the Board discussion about Yee's implementation proposal, Board President David Kakishiba talked about the intent of Board policy for "over two decades" to have a system that "gives schools the conditions, the power and the resources to make things happen."

Click here to watch video of President Kakishiba's remarks.   

New Math Course Sequence Approved
The Board voted unanimously to approve new math course sequences for district middle and high schools that is aligned to Common Core standards

Middle schools will have three separate "sequence" options, with different levels of rigor and support. Algebra will now be considered part of the high school course sequence (though still available to middle school students on an "accelerated" sequence. The approved high school math course sequence is: Algebra I, Geometry and Algebra II, "with opportunities to complete Math Analysis, AP Statistics, or AP Computer Science." An accelerated high school math sequence includes AP Calculus.   

Click here to download the Board policy on math course sequence aligned to the Common Core. 

Report on Teach Tomorrow in Oakland
The Board heard a report on Teach Tomorrow in Oakland, a partnership between OUSD and the Mayor's office that "demonstrates the mutual commitment to recruiting and retaining outstanding teachers who reflect the ethnic and cultural diversity of our city."

According to the presentation, African American and Latino students are 71 percent of the OUSD student demographic, while African American and Latino teachers make up only 28 percent of the teaching force. In fact, only 2 percent of OUSD teachers are Latino. Seventy-five percent of teachers recruited by TTO are African American or Latino, and there are currently 85 TTO teachers working in Oakland district and charter schools this year out of about 2,500 total teachers.

A number of Oakland teachers in the TTO program praised the program, telling the Board that TTO teachers understand the challenges faced by Oakland students because the teachers also attended Oakland public schools and understand the community.

Click here to watch video of two TTO teachers testifying to the Board about their ability to relate to their students.

TTO is supported mostly by two five-year federal grants that cover costs through 2016: a $2.1 million Transition to Teach grant that expires this summer, and a $2 million Transition to Teach STEM grant over the years 2011-2016, and OUSD covers the cost of one full-time employee and the facility costs. 

Click here to download the report on Teach Tomorrow Oakland and go to www.teachtomorrowinoakland.net for more information.

The next regularly scheduled OUSD Board meeting is Wednesday, January 29.

Know anyone else who should be updated on what the OUSD school board is working on? Have them sign up here to receive email updates on every meeting!

GO School Board Watch: Vote on new budgeting system this week

In this edition of GO School Board Watch, we'll take a look at the agenda for the regularly scheduled Oakland Unified School District Board of Education meeting for Wednesday, January 15. The meeting will be held in the Great Room of the La Escuelita Education Center (1050 2nd Avenue). Open session begins at 6 pm.

On the agenda this week, the Board is scheduled to:

  • Vote on adopting a new budgeting system that would alter how money (and how much of it) is allocated to schools.
  • Vote on a proposed implementation plan from Acting Superintendent Gary Yee for the new budgeting system.
  • Approve new budgeting language that would eliminate the "balancing pool."
  • Hear an update on adopting Common Core State Standards for Math.
  • Hear a presentation on Teach Tomorrow in Oakland.

Click here to download the agenda.

Proposed Board Policy on Updating Results Based Budgeting
From August through December, the Board's Special Committee on School-Based Management and Budgeting met to work on updating the district's Results Based Budgeting Policy, which mandates how funding is allocated to schools.

On Wednesday, the Board is scheduled to vote on the policy approved by that committee, which included Board President David Kakishiba (District 2), 2014 Vice President James Harris (District 7) and Director Anne Campbell-Washington (District 4). This proposal moves more money to schools, caps central office expenditures at 12 percent, deals with the schools in the "balancing pool" in advance by allocating more money up front, seeks outside help to develop a new budget system, and requires that the district publish additional information (such as school budgets).

Click here to download the proposed Board policy.

Sup. Yee's Budget Implementation Plan
If the Board votes to approve this policy, it will also vote on whether to accept an implementation plan from Acting Superintendent Gary Yee, which was unveiled at the most recent Board meeting in December but was not put up for a vote by the Board. During that meeting, many community members and school leaders said it was unclear from the presentation how the proposed policy would affect their school.

Yee has been charged by the School Board to ensure any implementation plan maximizes money allocated to schools. According to a PDF of Yee's proposal, which he is scheduled to deliver on Wednesday, the new budgeting proposal does so by:

  • Removing a school's average daily attendance percent from allocation formula (so a school is neither penalized nor rewarded for its attendance figures).
  • Increasing discretionary funding to sites with regards to Special Education students to 100 percent (instead of 20 percent).
  • Provide school sites with 87 percent of the revenues for staffing and school services in 2014-15.

Click here to download Interim Superintendent Yee's budget implementation proposal.

Fixing the Balancing Pool
The Board will also vote on an appropriation for the 2014-15 budget in order to eliminate the need of schools to access a "balancing pool." In the current Results Based Budgeting model, if the staff salary and benefits costs are more than a school's total budget, that school must request additional funds through what is identified as the "balancing pool."

Board President Kakishiba is recommending eliminating the need for balancing pool by allocating more money up front. The text of Kakishiba's recommendation:

  • Identify those schools whose initial Results-Based Budgeting allocation is insufficient to pay for a base level of staffing for teachers and attendance accounting personnel, as a result of their projected enrollment size and/or personnel cost structure.
  • Provide identified schools with additional revenue, without having to go through the existing Balancing Pool application process, to enable them to maintain a base level of staffing for teachers and attendance accounting personnel.
  • Document and report which schools required additional revenue; how much additional revenue each school required; and the specific reasons for the additional revenue allocation; and directing the Superintendent of Schools to utilize said assumptions in the development of the Budget.

First reading on Common Core State Standards for Math
California is one of 44 states to adopt the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for ELA and math. Standards guide the curriculum - the specific material and skills that schools teach students in each grade - and inform how student and school performance are assessed.

On Wednesday, the Board will hear a first reading of a proposed new course sequence for mathematics, which includes moving Algebra to be generally considered as a high school course.

Click here to download a PDF of the presentation on Common Core State Standards for Math.

Report on Teach Tomorrow in Oakland
Associate Superintendent Brigitte Marshall will lead a presentation on "Teach Tomorrow in Oakland," a partnership between OUSD and the Mayor's office that "demonstrates the mutual commitment to recruiting and retaining outstanding teachers who reflect the ethnic and cultural diversity of our city."

According to the presentation, African American and Latino students are 71 percent of the OUSD student demographic, while African American and Latino teachers make up only 28 percent of the teaching force. Seventy-five percent of teachers recruited by TTO are African American or Latino, and there are currently 85 TTO teachers working in Oakland district and charter schools this year.

Click here to download the report on Teach Tomorrow Oakland and go to www.teachtomorrowinoakland.net for more information.

P.S. Know anyone else who should be updated on what the OUSD school board is working on? Have them sign up here to receive email updates on every meeting!

GO School Board Watch: Review of final meeting of 2013

In this edition of GO School Board Watch, we review the last board meeting in 2013 of the Oakland Unified School District.

Click here to download the agenda.

Vote on Changes to How Schools Budget
The December 11 meeting was attended by approximately 400 members of the community. Many attended the meeting to speak out about a new budgeting proposal from Acting Superintendent Gary Yee. The Board did not take action on the proposed policy at this meeting, but is scheduled to vote on it at its next meeting, scheduled for Wednesday, January 15. We will keep you posted as more information becomes available.

Many community members and school leaders said it was unclear from the presentation how the proposed policy would affect their school. Click here to watch video of two OUSD principals, Amy Carozza of Coliseum College Prep Academy and Carmelita Reyes of Oakland International High, ask for more information on the policy, and time to discuss the proposed changes with the families at their schools.

Students Speak Out on LCFF Funds
During the student directors' report, a number of OUSD students told the Board that they should be a part of the decision-making process on how new money from the state's Local Control Funding Formula should be spent.

Click here to watch video of students speaking to the Board.

OUSD receives Golden Bell Award for Wellness Program
Director Jody London told the Board that OUSD received an award last week at the California School Board Association Annual Conference for the district's health and wellness program at schools. This program includes a range of programs, activities and initiatives, including nutrition education, Safe Routes to Schools programs, school gardens, family nutrition education, indoor air quality, staff wellness and physical activity breaks in the classroom.

London said OUSD was one of 59 districts (at of more than 1,000 in the state) that was recognized for its Wellness program. OUSD also received a $5,000 grant from Kaiser to support the program, London added.

Number of Students Accessing Financial Aid Rising
The Board heard a presentation from members of the East Bay College Access Network (EBCAN) on how more OUSD students can access financial aid for college, and gave an update on an effort launched last year to increase the number of students attaining financial aid at four target schools.

Last school year, OUSD students accessed more than $10 million in financial aid grants. The number of students applying for these grants also increased at the target schools: McClymonds (92 percent of seniors applied, up from 63 percent in 2012); Oakland High (74 percent applied, up from 56 percent in 2012); Fremont High (64 percent applied, up from 53 percent in 2012); and Castlemont High (79 percent applied, up from 53 percent in 2012).

This school year, EBCAN has expanded its program to all OUSD high schools, with a goal of raising the percent of students who apply for financial aid grants up 13 percent from the current district-wide rate of 60 percent.

Click here to download a PDF of EBCAN's presentation.

Physical Assets Management Policy Update
Acting Superintendent Gary Yee led a presentation on the implementation of the District's Physical Assets Management Policy, which is intended to guide how resources are allocated, and goals for planning future facilities. The district has both vacant property and "inefficiently used" property that could be used to generate more revenue according to the presentation.

The "loading framework" discussed at the meeting defines how all existing seats at schools, space and properties can be made available "for a variety of uses" that are aligned to district initiatives and OUSD's strategic plan. That includes how district facility space is allocated and shared with charter schools; classroom enrollment (to meet both the LCFF mandated 24:1 ratio in K-3 classrooms, as well as ensure enrollment doesn't exceed the provided space or compromise student class-size maximums); and the space requirements of programs and services for programs such as Special Education and Early Childhood Education.

The policy establishes "classroom criteria" that sets standards for classrooms, including size of the room, capacity and use of technology, as well as what a "classroom sized room" is (a room larger than 720 feet excluding gyms, libraries, etc.) for the district's 2,600 classrooms. The presentation also includes a working definition of "diverse providers," which includes charter schools.

Click here to download a PDF of the progress report on the Physical Assets Management Policy.

The next regularly scheduled meeting is Wednesday, January 15. We will examine that meeting's agenda in the next edition of GO School Board Watch.

Know anyone else who should be updated on what the OUSD school board is working on? Have them sign up here to receive email updates on every meeting!

GO School Board Watch: Vote this week on altering RBB

In this edition of GO School Board Watch, we'll examine the agenda for the final Oakland Unified School District Board of Education meeting on the 2013 calendar, which is scheduled for Wednesday, December 11. The meeting is located in the Great Room of La Escuelita Education Center (1050 2nd Ave.). Open session starts at 6 pm.

This week, the Board is scheduled to spend the bulk of the meeting discussing the district's budget. The Board will hear the first interim report on the current year's budget, as well as two proposals on next year's budgeting system that determines how money is allocated to schools, including a new proposal from Superintendent Gary Yee to alter OUSD's unique Results- Based Budgeting process for next year, as well as several related budget policy proposals.

Click here to download the agenda.

I. Approval by Board of Education of Board Policy 3150 - Business and Noninstructional Operations - Results-Based Budgeting
The Board is scheduled to hear two proposals under this item, one from Superintendent Gary Yee about replacing Results-Based Budgeting with a new system he is calling the "Student Needs-Based Budgeting System."

This new system would greatly alter the district'scurrent RBB system, which is designed to distribute resources fairly among schools and maximize school decision-making power over the use of funds.Supt. Yee's surprise proposal addresses challenges with RBB implementation and introduces new formulas for determining school funding levels.

Click here to download Superintendent Yee's proposal.

The other proposal on the table is from the Board's Special Committee on School-Based Budgeting and Management, which has been meeting for weeks to discuss how to update RBB. Last week the committee approved moving the proposal to the full board. This proposal makes some changes to the current RBB system, primarily to move more money to schools. It caps central office expenditures at 12 percent, deals with the schools in the "balancing pool" in advance, seeks outside help to develop a new budget system, and requires that the district publish additional information (such as school budgets). If the Board does not adopt Yee's proposal, it will act on adopting its own proposal.

At GO, we believe any budgeting system should default to giving the most decision-making power to those who work closest to children - school leaders and communities. Members of the GO network will be attending this meeting to let Board members know:

  • Schools need more money, now.
  • Schools need more decision-making power.
  • No changes to the budget system without data on how it will affect schools.

We invite you to join us. Please click here to let us know if you stand by these principles and if you can join us at the meeting.

II. Budget Development Assumptions for 2014-2015 District Budget
In a related budget agenda item, the Board will vote on whether to adopt three policy assumptions about the district's budget for the next school year. The assumptions all have to do with supplying some schools with extra funds. The policy assumptions are:
Identify those schools whose initial Results-Based Budgeting allocation is insufficient to pay for a base level of staffing for teachers and attendance accounting personnel, as a result of their projected enrollment size and/or personnel cost structure.
Provide identified schools with additional revenue, without having to go through the existing Balancing Pool application process, to enable them to maintain a base level of staffing for teachers and attendance accounting personnel.
Document and report which schools required additional revenue; how much additional revenue each school required; and the specific reasons for the additional revenue allocation; and directing the Superintendent of Schools to utilize said assumptions in the development of the Budget.

III. Proposal for Budget Operations Modernization
The Board will vote on a proposal that would create more tools to make the district's budgeting process more transparent and understandable by the general public.

Approving this motion calls for the superintendent to issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) for "professional services" to design:
District budget development procedures, tools, and training modules aligned to the Board Policy on Results-Based Budgeting
District budget information documents to be routinely disseminated electronically to the general public, including:

  • District Balanced Scorecard
  • District Local Control Accountability Plan
  • District Budget
  • Balanced Scorecards for each Central Administration department
  • Budgets for each Central Administration department
  • Balanced Scorecards for each school
  • Community School Strategic Site Plan Summary for each school
  • School Quality Review Summary for each school
  • Budgets for each school

IV. Approval by Board of Education of Resolution No. 1314-0069 - Ratifying Budgetary Increases/Decreases/Transfers through October 31, 2013 in the District's Fiscal Year 2013-2014 Budget

V. Adoption by Board of Education of Resolution No.1314-0071 - Amending the adopted District's Fiscal Year 2013-2014 Budget appropriating $4.5 million of unallocated Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) Revenue

The Board is scheduled to hear and vote on both of these items regarding the 2013-14 budget. As of Monday, December 9, no supporting documents for either of these items were available on the OUSD web site. Check back here before the meeting to see if they have been uploaded.

VI. Amendment of Adopted District's Fiscal Year 2013-2014 Budget - Appropriating Supplemental Education Services (SES) Money - CORE Waiver
OUSD was one of eight California school districts to receive a waiver (called the "CORE Waiver") from No Child Left Behind requirements from the Department of Education. This week, the Board will vote on how to spend $3.4 million in funds that previously were targeted for "Supplemental Education Services" at Title I schools. According to the staff proposal, exactly half of the funding ($1.7 million) will go directly to school sites that have been previously identified as priority schools.

Click here to download the staff recommendation for allocating $3.4 million to support implementing the CORE waiver.

GO School Board Watch: Update on Effective Teaching initiatives

In this edition of GO School Board Watch, we preview the regularly-scheduled November 20, 2013 meeting of the Oakland Unified School District Board of Education, which will be held at La Escuelita Education Center (1050 2nd Avenue). Open session starts at 6 pm.

During the meeting, the Board is scheduled to:

  • Hear an update on teacher evaluation pilot programs 
  • Vote on staff's recommendation to deny the charter petition from COVA High School
  • Vote on allocating $6.9 million from the state to implement Common Core State Standards
  • Hear an update on the state of the district's school libraries

Click here to download the agenda.

Work Plan Progress Update - Effective Teaching - Superintendent of Schools
The Board is scheduled to hear a presentation from Superintendent Gary Yee on the development of a "comprehensive teacher training, collaboration, and evaluation system that effectively informs and enhances teaching practice; informs and enhances District support to schools and classrooms; and contributes to the increased retention and professional growth of teachers."

At the request of Board president David Kakishiba (District 2), Yee has been asked that the report include answers to the following questions:

  1. What are the status and next steps for the development of a Human Capital Data Management system?
  2. What are the status and next steps for each of the three teacher evaluation pilot projects and the principal evaluation pilot project?
  3. What do we need in both professional time and talent to enable schools to effectively facilitate professional learning and collaboration among their teachers?

(Last spring, the GO network advocated for a better evaluation system for teachers that includes professional growth, as well as these new evaluation pilots.)

Click here to download the work plan update for Effective Teaching.

Decision - COVA Conservatory High School - Petition and Proposed Charter School (Grades 9-12)
Superintendent Gary Yee and Silke Bradford, Director of Quality Diverse Providers, are recommending the Board vote to deny the charter petition to establish Conservatory of Vocal/Instrumental Arts High School.

According to the staff recommendation, the COVA petition is missing "several legally required elements" and the petition "lacks a level of detail and thoughtfulness to be considered reasonably comprehensive, and demonstrates a lack of preparation required to implement a successful program." The staff recommendation also states that COVA's proposed instructional program "does not meet standards."

Click here to download the school's charter petition.

Click here to download staff's recommendation.

District's State Budget Allocation Fund of $6.9 Million for the Implementation of California Common Core Standards
The Board is scheduled to vote on the allocation of money from the state to implement new Common Core State Standards.

This is a second reading and will include more detail. At its most recent meeting on November 6, the Board voted to approve staff's plan to spend that money, but requested specific line-item expenditures. Those are:

  • $1.8 M for Classroom Libraries
  • $555,000 for Guided Reading Bookrooms
  • $344,850 for Elementary Professional Development
  • $250,000 for Secondary Professional Development
  • $522,000 for Stipends for English Language Arts (ELA), Math, and
  • Instructional Technology Teacher Leaders
  • $3.5 M for Chromebooks, carts, wireless access, and security

Click here to download staff's recommendation for allocating these resources.

State of the Libraries Report - District Librarian - Leadership, Curriculum and Instruction Department
Ann Gallagher, District Librarian, will lead a presentation on OUSD's libraries. No further information has been provided at this time. Check back here to download the State of the Libraries Report when it's made available.

GO School Board Watch: Quality schools, Unity Middle Charter denied

In this edition of GO School Board Watch, we review the regularly-scheduled Oakland Unified School District Board of Education meeting from Wednesday, November 6, as well as the Special Committee on School Based Management and Budgeting from Tuesday, November 12.

November 6 Board meeting

During the meeting, the Board:

  • Heard Superintendent Gary Yee's plan for implementing the Quality School Development Policy
  • Voted to deny the charter application of Oakland Unity Middle School
  • Adopted a policy on Social and Emotional Learning

Click here to download the agenda.

Discussion of Superintendent of School's Implementation Plan for Board Policy 6005 - Instruction - Quality School Development
Superintendent Gary Yee and David Montes de Oca, the Associate Superintendent for Quality, Accountability & Analytics, presented a progress report on the Quality School Development Policy, which was approved by the Board last spring. The policy establishes quality standards, and a review and improvement process that covers both district and charter schools.

The policy focuses on continued school improvement as well as support structures for the improvement plan. The policy has four steps:

  • Establishing standards and goals.
  • Assessing schools against those standards through the School Quality Review Process and Balanced Scorecard.
  • Continuous improvement planning for improvement.
  • Development of three-year plan that includes a school's strategy to improve.

A total of 36 schools have undergone a School Quality Review so far, with another 16 more going through the process this year. Click here to read School Quality Review reports.

Montes de Oca noted that the policy includes a term "Diverse Providers" and "Qualified Diverse Provider." He offered five preliminary definitions from staff. According to Montes de Oca, a Qualified Diverse Provider could be:

  • An education or community-based non-profit
  • A charter school operator
  • An organization with positive track record of measurable student performance
  • An organization with an interest and capacity for school improvement

During questions from the Board, Director Anne Campbell-Washington asked if district schools are intentionally paired with charter schools to improve schools. Montes de Oca answered by saying there is a Balanced Literacy Program with district schools and Aspire charter schools that shares instructional practices around literacy. Montes de Oca said the district wants to take advantage of more opportunities for "pairing and sharing."

Click here to read the Superintendent's implementation plan.

Click here to watch video of the staff presentation.

Decision - Oakland Unity Middle School - Petition and Proposed Charter School (Grades 6-8)
The Board voted to approve a recommendation from Silke Bradford, the Director of Quality Diverse Providers, to deny the charter application from Oakland Unity Middle School.

Bradford said an important reason for the denial were a lack of interventions in the school's plan. From the staff's recommendation:

"The petitioners specifically cite serving an English Learner population and socioeconomically disadvantaged East Oakland students, over half of which are not performing at grade level. The instructional program outlined in the petition does not adequately address the needs of the target population of ELs and/or underperforming students. In addition, the lack of daily interventions (ELD/Math/Reading), coupled with a lack of instructional minutes dedicated to core academic subjects, represents an unsound educational program."

Dozens of parents, teachers, administrators attended the meeting in support of Oakland Unity's petition. "I have a child who went to public school and private school, and did not do well until they went to Unity," a parent told the Board about Board-approved Unity Charter High School. "I have a child who is excited about going to school. She wants to be a doctor one day, and a photographer the next. But the point is, my child is excited about going to school."

There were also public speakers from the Frick Middle School community, located in the same neighborhood as the proposed Unity Middle School. Frick's Community School Manager told the Board her school community accepts the staff recommendation to deny the charter petition, noting that the Unity has a lower percentage of African American students compared to the percentage of African Americans living in East Oakland.

During the Board discussion, some of the directors expressed an interest in using the expertise of the Oakland Unity community to help Frick. "I'm hoping we can say, 'You know what, a denial is actually not bad in this case, because we can come back and maybe rebuild together," Director James Harris (District 7) told the Board. "And maybe this is the conversation we've been trying to have for the last five years."

"I really want us to think about what bold steps we can take to bring partnership together," Harris continued. "

Click here to watch video of public comment from Unity Middle School's presentation.

While the Board voted to deny the charter petition, they did instruct Superintendent Yee to meet with leaders from Frick and Oakland Unity to figure out a way they can work together. After the meeting, though, Oakland Unity tweeted to us: "We are going to appeal. Our base is clear about a new high quality middle school option."

Board Policy - Students - BP 5031 - Social Emotional Learning (SEL)
The Board voted to unanimously adopt a policy on Social and Emotional Learning.

OUSD defines Social and Emotional Learning as "a process through which children and adults develop the fundamental skills for life effectiveness. These are the skills we all need to handle ourselves, our relationships, and our work effectively and ethically."

Click here to download OUSD's Social and Emotional Learning policy.

November 12 Budget committee meeting
After weeks of discussing a plan to alter OUSD's Results Based Budgeting policy, the committee closed the November 12 meeting by deciding to not bring a new proposed policy before the Board in December.

Board president David Kakishiba (District 2) said that switching to a new "indexing" model of budgeting (click here to read the indexing proposal from OUSD staff), would be too difficult to pull off in "4-8 weeks after 10 years of RBB."

Click here to download the agenda.

Click here to read highlights from the meeting in a Storify presentation.

In this edition of GO School Board Watch, we'll preview the regularly-scheduled Oakland Unified School District Board of Education meeting on Wednesday, November 6, 2013 at La Escuelita Education Center (1025 2nd Avenue). Open session starts at 6 pm.

Included on the agenda this week, the Board will discuss:

  • The implementation of the Quality School Development policy
  • Funding for Common Core State Standards
  • A recommendation to deny the charter petition from Oakland Unity Middle School

Click here to download the agenda.

Discussion of Superintendent of School's Implementation Plan for Board Policy 6005 - Instruction - Quality School Development
Superintendent Gary Yee will lead a presentation on how he will implement OUSD's Quality School Development policy, which establishes quality standards, and a review and improvement process that covers both district and charter schools. The presentation on Wednesday will focus on four questions from Board president David Kakishiba (District 2):

  1. What is the intent of the Board Policy on Quality School Development?
  2. How does the Board Policy explicitly support and/or challenge the District's ability to comply with three major external mandates: NCLB Waiver, Local Control Funding Formula, and the Voluntary Resolution Plan?
  3. What is the current status of each of the six elements of the Board Policy on Quality School Development? (see Board Policy text below)
  4. What is needed in either Board Policy or budget development to advance Quality School Development policy implementation?

Click here to download the policy.

Public Hearing, review, discussion by the Board of Education on the District's Staff's proposed use of the District's State Budget Allocation Fund of $6.9 Million for the Implementation of California Common Core Standards
OUSD is required to hold a public hearing and discuss how $6.9 million in funds to help implement Common Core State Standards. Districts are allowed to use the funds in three areas:

  • Professional development for teachers and administrators
  • Instructional materials aligned to the new academic content standards
  • Integration of these academic content standards through technology-based instruction necessary to support the administration of computer- based assessments 

According to the presentation, the district is using the funds for all three areas. Technology is an area of great need: the presentation notes a survey of OUSD teachers where 49 percent noted "we don't have enough quality computers for students to use." The presentation recommends buying Google Chromebook laptop computers to help administer the tests.

Click here to download the presentation.

Decision - Oakland Unity Middle School - Petition and Proposed Charter School (Grades 6-8)
Superintendent Gary Yee and Silke Bradford, the Director of Quality Diverse Providers are recommending the Board vote to deny a charter petition from Oakland Unity Middle School.

According to the recommendation:
"The petition presents an unsound educational program; the petitioners are demonstrably unlikely to successfully implement the program set forth in the petition; and the petition does not contain reasonably comprehensive descriptions of all of the 16 elements required by the California Charter Schools Act."

Click here to download the school's charter petition.

Click here to download the recommendation to deny the charter petition.

Know anyone else who should be updated on what the OUSD school board is working on? Have them sign up here to receive e-mail updates on every meeting!

GO School Board Watch: Linked Learning, 2 new charter schools approved

In this edition of GO School Board Watch, we'll review the regularly-scheduled October 23 Oakland Unified School District Board meeting, and the October 28 meeting of the Board's Special Committee on School-Based Management and Budgeting.

October 23 School Board Meeting
The Board heard a presentation on Linked Learning, approved two new charter schools, and selected a firm to lead the search for a new Superintendent.

Click here to download the agenda.

Presentation by the Superintendent of Schools on Linked Learning Pathways entitled "Eliminating the Expectation Gap."
Kevin Taylor, High School Network Executive Officer and Gretchen Livesey, Director, Linked Learning High School Tactical Team led a presentation to the Board on Linked Learning Pathways. "Linked Learning" is a set of college-prep and work-based courses designed to lead to post-secondary options for students. OUSD defines Linked Learning as "a flexible approach bringing together college prep academics, demanding technical education, support services, and work-based learning that, together, help prepare students for success in college, career and life."

Click here to download the presentation.

Click here to watch a video of the Linked Learning presentation to the Board.

The district's Linked Learning presentation began with testimony from Lee Benson, a senior at McClymonds High. Benson told the Board he used to "fight all the time and threaten teachers" and rarely came to class. "When I did go to class, I used to play around and would get kicked out," he said. He used to have a 0.6 GPA. Through Linked Learning, he's upped that to a 3.36.

Click here to watch video of Lee Benson's testimony.

A powerful network is needed to keep the thousands of at-risk youth in Oakland in school and on track to graduate, district staff told the Board. OUSD has a goal that 80 percent of students participate in a Linked Learning Pathway, in order to meet a goal of each student graduating college and career ready. Currently, less than half of OUSD 10th, 11th and 12th graders participate in a Linked Learning program. The graduation rate for Linked Learning students was 84.2 percent, compared to a 58.3 graduation rate for students not in Linked Learning.

The time to get more kids in Linked Learning Pathways is now, Taylor told the Board. "We must graduate much more students ready to be successful in college and career," he said. "Our city needs them."

Decision - East Bay Innovation Academy - Petition and Proposed Charter School (Grades 6-12)
The Board voted 4-2 to approve a new charter school, East Bay Innovation Academy. Directors Jody London (District 1) and Rosie Torres (District 5) voted no, and Jumoke Hinton Hodge (District 3) abstained.

Director London told the Board and audience that she will not vote to approve any more charter school petitions. "If we continue to grant charter petitions, we are poaching from one another," London told the Board, "and we will be forced at some point in the near future to make the difficult choice that several of us sitting on this dais had to make several years ago around closing schools."

Click here to watch video of public comment and Board discussion on the school's charter petition. 

Click here to download the school's petition.

Click here to download OUSD staff's recommendation to approve the charter.

Decision - Education for Change - Epic Charter School - Petition and Proposed Charter School (Grades 6-8)
The Board voted 6-1 (with Director London voting no) to approve a new middle school for the Fruitvale District, Epic Charter School.

At the end of the Board's discussion on Epic, Director James Harris (District 7)offered a contrasting view to Director London regarding new charter schools. "When are we going to get it through our heads that we work for the same team," Harris said. "That as long as we sit up here and say, 'Well, you're wrong, that's a charter school, you're taking money.' At some point, we'll realize we're serving children. And that's why I vote - for children to have better opportunities than they have today."

Click here to watch video of public comment and Board discussion on the school's charter petition. 

Click here to download the school's petition.

Click here to download OUSD staff's recommendation to approve the charter.

Selection - 2013-2014 Superintendent of Schools Search Firm
The Board voted unanimously selected Leadership Associates of LaQuinta to lead the search for a new Superintendent.

Board President David Kakishiba said Leadership Associates was the clear choice because members of the firm listened well, while Director Hinton Hodge raised concerns that the firm doesn't fully understand OUSD's values. "They kind of overlooked a few things over and over and over again," she noted.

Click here to view the Board's decision.

Click here to download the Superintendent search schedule.

Click here to watch video of the search firms interviews by the OUSD Board.

October 28 Budget Committee Meeting
OUSD's Special Committee on School-Based Management and Budgeting met on Monday, October 28 to discuss possible alterations to the district's Results Based Budgeting policy. Several OUSD principals have testified to the Board that the equity values of RBB are indispensable, and how much they value the decision-making authority for their school.

Click here to read what was said at the meeting.

Click here to download a principal survey on RBB conducted by OUSD.

Best,
Ryan Phillips
Communications Manager
Great Oakland Public Schools Leadership Center

P.S. Know anyone else who should be updated on what the OUSD school board is working on? Have them sign up here to receive e-mail updates on every meeting!

GO School Board Watch: Charter decisions, Superintendent search firm chosen

In this edition of GO's School Board Watch, we'll preview the October 21 regularly-scheduled meeting of the Oakland Unified School District Board of Education. The meeting is at La Escuelita Education Center (1050 2nd Avenue). Open session starts at 6 pm.

Among items on the agenda, the Board will discuss:

  • Decisions on charter petitions from two schools
  • Select a firm to lead the search for a permanent Superintendent 
  • Adopt social and emotional learning standards

Click here to download the agenda.

Board Watch Logo.jpg

Decision - East Bay Innovation Academy - Petition and Proposed Charter School (Grades 6-12)
Superintendent Gary Yee and Silke Bradford, Ed.D., Director-Quality Diverse Providers, are recommending the Board approve a charter petition to establish East Bay Innovation Academy for five years, beginning July 1, 2014. The school would serve students in grades 6-12, and initially serve students in 6th and 7th grades.

According to the school's charter petition, the education program is "a collaborative model that incorporates technology to engage students in scientific, mathematical, literary, historical, and artistic pursuits. While emphasizing inquiry-driven, interdisciplinary, collaborative projects, significant time and resources will be invested into programs that develop students' social-emotional skills and character strengths."

A reason for the favorable decision is that the school's educational program "provides an innovative blended learning option to both middle and high school students in Oakland USD that does not currently exist within the district."

Click here to download the decision.

Click here to download the school's charter petition.

Decision - Education for Change - Epic Charter School - Petition and Proposed Charter School (Grades 6-8)
Yee and Bradford are also recommending the Board approve a charter petition from Education for Change for Epic Charter School, also for five years, beginning July 1, 2014.

"There is a need for a quality neighborhood middle school option to serve the growing Fruitvale community," the school's charter petition notes, adding that there are currently 700 4th graders in the Fruitvale, but only capacity for 400.

Education For Change, the nonprofit charter management organization that would oversee the school, "currently operates elementary schools that outperform district schools in the same area (Fruitvale) as the proposed Epic Charter School" as well as noting that "the blended learning model proposed extends beyond math instruction (which is the only current offering within Oakland USD) and encompasses all core content (English/History/Science)."

Click here to download the decision.

Click here to download the school's charter petition.

Board Policy - Students - BP (#TBD) - Social Emotional Learning (SEL) (First Reading)
According to OUSD, Social Emotional Learning is a "process through which children and adults develop the fundamental skills for life effectiveness. These are the skills we all need to handle ourselves, our relationships, and our work effectively and ethically."

There are five "anchor standards" that define what an individual needs to know to be successful in life: Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness, Relationship Skills, Responsible Decision Making. Each of the anchor is broken down skills and competencies, called "learning standards," that are divided up by grade.

Click here to download a PDF explaining the proposed SEL policy.

Selection - 2013-2014 Superintendent of Schools Search Firm
Last week, the OUSD Board interviewed five firms that applied to lead the search for a permanent Superintendent. This week, the Board will vote on one to lead the search.

The firms selected to interview are:

  • Leadership Associates (LaQuinta, CA)
  • Proact Search (Wilmette, Illinois)
  • McPherson & Jacobson, LLC (Omaha, Nebraska)
  • Ray & Associates (Cedar Rapids, Iowa)
  • Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates (HYA) (Rosemont, Illinois)

Click here for more information on the process, and a video of the interviews.

Best,
Ryan Phillips
Communications Manager
Great Oakland Public Schools Leadership Center

P.S. Know anyone else who should be updated on what the OUSD school board is working on? Have them sign up here to receive e-mail updates on every meeting!

GO School Board Watch: School-based budgeting, Balanced Scorecard and CORE Waiver

In this edition of GO School Board Watch, we'll review the October 9 regularly-scheduled OUSD School Board meeting, as well as the October 14 special meeting of OUSD's Special Committee on School-Based Management and Budgeting.

October 9 Board meeting
The OUSD Board heard presentations on the district's Balanced Scorecard and plans for a waiver from No Child Left Behind requirements (the CORE waiver), as well as two petitions for new charter schools.

Click here to download the agenda.

Presentation by the Superintendent of Schools of the Balanced Scorecard - 2013-2014 School Year - Summative Report - Goals for Student Achievement
David Montes de Oca, OUSD's Executive Director of Quality Community Schools Development, led a presentation on the district's Balanced Scorecard, which sets goals and targets for the current school year, and their metrics for student performance, school operational performance, and Central Services operational performance.

According to a report from OUSD, "The Scorecard aspires to focus on and prioritize specific indicators, while respecting that other indicators not represented here remain important." Click here to download a PDF of the report.

"Data helps us make better decisions, intervene and understand how our students are doing, without relying on intuition," Montes de Oca told the Board.

The report delivered by Montes de Oca focused on presenting a "refined" version of the Scorecard that was introduced last year - explaining what the Balanced Scorecard is and why particular metrics were chosen, with Montes de Oca telling the Board, "the first step is to aggregate the data" from last school year. In December, OUSD staff will present results from the 2012-2013 school year, along with some analysis.

Click here to download the Balanced Scorecard.

Click here to download a guide to the Balanced Scorecard from OUSD.

No Child Left Behind (NCLB, Title I) Waiver Through the California Office to Reform Education(CORE) - Implementation Plan(s)
CORE refers to a group of ten California school districts (including Oakland) that together were granted a waiver from the requirements of No Child Left Behind. As a result, these districts are not subject to federal sanctions for not reaching NCLB standards and have more flexibility in curriculum and related matters (NCLB mandates that all students be academically proficient by 2014). They are also required to implement a new teacher evaluation system.

On Wednesday, the Board heard a presentation on the CORE waiver. The waiver focuses on three principles aimed to drive change: college- and career-ready expectations for all students; differentiated recognition, accountability and support; and supporting instructional leadership. Deputy Superintendent Maria Santos noted that the CORE waiver aligns OUSD's strategic plan with federal guidelines.

Santos said an important part of the CORE waiver implementation is allocating resources to build a "strong parent leadership component" throughout the district "that really understands the Common Core, student assessments, and what it takes to graduate your child college and career ready."

Click here to download a PDF of the CORE waiver presentation.

Click here to download the CORE waiver.

October 14 budget committee meeting
The OUSD Board's budget committee had its fourth of five scheduled meetings on Monday night at KDOL studios. The committee has been discussing how the district makes budgets, and possible modifications that could begin this year. On Monday, the committee (which includes David Kakishiba (District 2), Anne Campbell-Washington (D4) and James Harris (D7) discussed a framework for school-based budgeting, and what sort of funding should be allocated to schools for their communities to decide how best to spend it.

Click here to download the agenda.

Click here to view a collection of live Tweets from the meeting in a Storify presentation.

Know anyone else who should be updated on what the OUSD school board is working on? Have them sign up here to receive e-mail updates on every meeting!

GO School Board Watch: Balanced Scorecard, CORE waiver

In this edition of GO School Board Watch, we preview the agenda for a regularly-scheduled OUSD board meeting on Wednesday, October 9 at La Escuelita Education Center (1025 2nd Avenue). Open session starts at 6 pm.

Among items on the agenda, the board will discuss:
• Balanced Scorecard goals for 2013-2014
• OUSD's CORE Waiver (waiver from No Child Left Behind)

Download the agenda here.

Balanced Scorecard - 2013-2014 School Year - Summative Report - Goals for Student Achievement
The OUSD Board will vote on setting goals and targets for the current school year, and their metrics for student performance, school operational performance, and Central Services operational performance.

According to a report from OUSD, "The Scorecard aspires to focus on and prioritize specific indicators, while respecting that other indicators not represented here remain important." Click here to download a PDF of the report.

This is the second year the Board has adopted the Balanced Scorecard, and the Board will review some of the results from 2012-2013 at Wednesday's meeting. Click here to download a PDF that includes Balanced Scorecard results from 2012-2013.

In the Scorecard there are three big goals for student achievement: every 9th grader graduates HS prepared to succeed in college and career, students attend school every day, and racial disparities in discipline are eliminated. And three big goals for operational excellence: high quality instruction in every class, every school a high quality full service community school, and solvency with maximization of financial resources for improving teaching and learning.

The student achievement goals are measured by 13 indicators of progress, of which three were met last year, including reducing suspensions of African American students by 20 percent, and a 10% gain in students making a year or more of progress in the Scholastic Reading Inventory. Among the goals not met was one to reduce the chronic absence rate by 10 percent, which increased from 10.4 percent to 11.2 percent last school year. Most other indicators made progress, but not to the targeted level.

The operational excellence scorecard is less straightforward. Several indicators are not yet available as programs are under development. The report indicated that teachers report their greatest needs for training or mentoring in serving special education students (73 percent), meeting student socio-emotional needs (71 percent), closing the achievement gap (63 percent), and serving English Language Learners (62 percent).

Click here to download a guide to the Balanced Scorecard from OUSD.

No Child Left Behind (NCLB, Title I) Waiver Through the California Office to Reform Education(CORE) - Implementation Plan(s)
CORE refers to a group of ten California school districts (including Oakland) that together were granted a waiver from the requirements of No Child Left Behind. As a result, these districts are not subject to federal sanctions for not reaching NCLB standards and have more flexibility in curriculum and related matters. They are also required to implement a new teacher evaluation system.

On Wednesday, Superintendent Gary Yee will lead a presentation to the Board on the CORE waiver called, "Understanding the CORE Waiver: School Quality Improvement System."

From the report:

With this waiver, CORE does not seek to escape FROM accountability. Instead, CORE is asking for a waiver INTO a new system with a higher level of shared responsibility and accountability but propelled by the right drivers to achieve the system's ultimate purpose:
1. All students prepared for college and careers
2. Elimination of disparity and disproportionality on multiple measures of student engagement and success.

Click here to download the report.

Click here to download the CORE waiver.

Best,
Ryan Phillips
Communications Manager
Great Oakland Public Schools Leadership Center

P.S. Know anyone else who should be updated on what the OUSD school board is working on? Have them sign up here to receive e-mail updates on every meeting!

GO School Board Watch: Common Core, VRP update and how our schools budget

In this edition of GO School Board Watch, we'll review the September 25 OUSD Board meeting, and the September 30 special meeting of OUSD's Special Committee on School-Based Management and Budgeting.

September 25 Board Meeting
A few key items of interest from the meeting:

  • A report on the implementation of Common Core standards
  • An update on the status of the Voluntary Resolution Plan

Common Core standards implementation
Deputy Superintendent Maria Santos and Associate Superintendent of Leadership, Curriculum and Instruction, Kyla Johnson-Trammell, led a presentation on how the Common Core is being implemented in Oakland.

Click here to download a PDF of the presentation on the Common Core.

Santos said the new standards were important for students to master so they can attain employment after graduation. "The industries require problem solving and communication skills," Santos told the board, "a key area of emphasis for these standards."

Santos also discussed key shifts in how students are instructed under the Common Core. For example, typically in English Language Arts courses for 4th graders, students spend the bulk of the class working on narrative material. Under the Common Core, 50 percent of class time focuses on narrative, and 50 percent on informational texts. Meaning students in younger grades are focusing on more complex and technical material. For math courses under the Common Core, students are asked to reason and critique their answers for why something is right. "They really have to master the concepts," Santos said.

New assessments come with the new standards. Traditionally, assessments would test students' basic skills, such as reading a section of text and then answering a multiple choice question that asks for the definition of a word in the text. ELA testing for the Common Core shifts that to focus more on students developing an argument by using the text. As for math, students won't just be asked to compute the answer to a problem, but also explain why it's correct.

Johnson-Trammell spoke about the timeline for implementing the Common Core across the district. Johnson-Trammell said OUSD staff have been working with "content experts" to come up with "a guide in terms of quality teaching and learning" and getting back to "what teachers have always known to be good, quality teaching and learning and having the space to do that."

Teachers in OUSD were given a "Core Curriculum Guide" which is intended to "support teachers as they move away from the script," Johnson-Trammell said. This includes student work examples for ELA and math, sample instructional planning tools and lessons, and instructional strategies. Principals were given a "Site Implementation Guide," for principals and school leadership to monitor teaching and learning.  

Johnson-Trammell said district staff are monitoring the implementation of the Common Core by "doing a better job of getting feedback from the sites" about what is and isn't working. She said more than 40 people have been trained as facilitators to help with the implementation.

During the comment period, Esperanza Elementary teacher Chaz Garcia noted that "teachers are really stressed," about the implementation of the Common Core. "They haven't been given a thoughtful, well planned out professional development." Most, she added (including herself) were given a half day of training. "In order for any change to work well for our students," Garcia told the Board, "we have to really be thoughtful and very strategic on how things are brought down, presented and implemented in the classroom." 



Update on Voluntary Resolution Plan
Chris Chatmon, the Executive Director for African American Male Achievement and the lead director for the Voluntary Resolution Plan, led a presentation on how OUSD is complying with an agreement with the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights (OCR) on reducing disproportionate suspensions of African American students.

Click here to download a PDF of the presentation.

The five-year agreement with OCR began last year. Chatmon said that many in the community didn't understand the meaning of "eliminating disproportionality," so explaining clearly that OUSD was developing the "culture, climate and conditions" for African-American males to be successful, and transforming disciplinary action from punitive to restorative justice. Also, lead staff were re-assigned to work on the VRP. That included Chatmon leading the work. Staff also identified a plan for reducing suspensions at the 38 schools identified in the plan, and identified modifications for district policy.

The Board also voted on an item allocating $700,000 to support the work of the VRP this school year. Superintendent Gary Yee proposed the money come from the unrestricted balance from OUSD's general fund, with the remaining of the balance of more than $2 million being allocated to school sites. 

During a discussion by the Board, Directors James Harris (District 7), Rosie Torres (D5), Anne Campbell-Washington (D4) and Jodi London (D1) all asked for greater detail on how that $700,000 will be spent. Director Jumoke Hinton Hodge (D3) asked if that was a one-time expenditure, and was told by Santos that the district is looking into making that an annual cost.



September 30 Special Committee on School-Based Management and Budgeting

This past Monday, OUSD's Special Committee on School-Based Management and Budgeting, featuring directors Harris, Campbell-Washington, and Board president David Kakishiba, met at KDOL studios.

The committee discussed four key policy issues relating to how schools in OUSD and around the state allocate resources, and how that could change.

The Policy questions are:

1. What Budget Models Are Being Used in Other California School Districts?

2. (Scenario #1) Using only LCFF Base and LCFF Class Size Reduction revenues, what happens if OUSD centrally pays for a staffing formula at each school that provides 1 teacher for every 24 students in a classroom for grades Kindergarten through 3rd; allocates teacher positions in grades 4th through 12th to meet OUSD/OEA contract maximums; and allocates other certificated and classified positions, as per collective bargaining agreements?  

3. (Scenario #2) Using only LCFF Supplemental, LCFF Concentration, and Measure G revenues (currently going to schools under "Class Size Reduction" and "Middle School Electives"), what happens if OUSD allocates these revenues, using LCFF Supplemental/Concentration definitions, to schools to budget.

4. Effective School Governance - What Does OUSD Need To Do? Discussion with the OUSD School Governance Implementation Task Force

Click here to read a Storify presentation of what was said at the meeting.

Know anyone else who should be updated on what the OUSD school board is working on? Have them sign up here to receive e-mail updates on every meeting!


GO School Board Watch: Superintendent search calendar, Voluntary Resolution Plan update

In this edition of GO's School Board Watch, we're taking a look at the regularly scheduled upcoming Oakland Unified School District Board of Education meeting for September 25, 2013. A few items of interest:

  • Calendar for Superintendent search
  • Common Core implementation
  • Report on Voluntary Resolution Plan

Click here to download the agenda.

2013-2014 Superintendent of Schools Search Process and Calendar
The Board will kick off the search for a new Superintendent by approving a calendar containing key dates in the search process.

The search process begins in early October with the board screening and then interviewing firms to help with the search. Click here to view the Request for Proposal for prospective search firms on the OUSD website. Click here to read a message from OUSD announcing the search.

A Superintendent profile is then scheduled to be completed in December. The position opening is advertised in January 2014, with applicant screenings and interviews beginning in February. A community forum for the final 2-3 applicants is scheduled for April 2, and a permanent Superintendent is scheduled to be selected April 16. The Board is scheduled to approve a contract for the new Superintendent on May 14.

Click here to download the calendar.

Gary Yee, the Acting Superintendent, has a contract that runs from July 1, 2013 - June 30, 2014. Click here to download Dr. Yee's contract.

Report - Implementation of Common Core Standards In the Oakland Unified School District
In an effort to increase college and career readiness for all students, the State of California joined 44 other states in adopting Common Core State Standards (CCSS),which are being implemented in Oakland schools this year.

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) describe what students are expected to learn and master at each grade level in English Language Arts and mathematics. They are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that young people need for success in college and careers. Later this week, GO Leadership Center will be producing a series with information and resources on the Common Core Standards.

On Wednesday night, Deputy Superintendent Maria Santos will lead a presentation focused on why the new standards are taking effect, and how instruction will change for math and English Language Arts.

Click here to download a PDF of the presentation.

Report - Status of the Voluntary Resolution Plan and Agreement To Resolve - U. S. Department of Education, Office For Civil Rights
In October 2012, the OUSD Board voted to enter into a Voluntary Resolution with the Federal Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights (OCR) regarding the district's disproportionate suspensions of African-American students.

Part of the district's strategy is adopting "Restorative Justice" principles, that "change the (district's) approach from punitive discipline to restorative practices, emphasizing the harm caused and supporting the offender in providing reparations to the victim." You can read the entire report here.

On Wednesday, OUSD legal counsel Jacqueline Minor will give a report on the status of the Voluntary Resolution Plan (VRP), and go through a timeline of the VRP's implementation.

Click here to download the timeline.

The Board will also vote on whether to allocate $700,000 for the 2013-2014 fiscal year to establish central infrastructure and "support the successful implementation" of the VRP.

Click here to read a memo from Superintendent Gary Yee to the Board about what that money would cover.

GO School Board Watch: Future of Results Based Budgeting, Teachers of the Year announced

In this issue of GO Board Watch, we'll review some items of interest from last Wednesday's OUSD board meeting and Monday's budget committee meetings, including:

  • OUSD's Results Based Budgeting process
  • A presentation on Local Control Funding Formula
  • 2012-2013 budget presentation (closing of the books)
  • OUSD Teachers of the Year 2013-2014

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Budget Committee Meeting
On Monday, the OUSD board's Special Committee on School-Based Management and Budgeting met at Lakeview Elementary to discuss the district's current Results Based Budgeting process, and identify "key policy issues" around "intent, funding formula calculations, budget decision-making process, and accountability standards."

Results Based Budgeting was introduced to OUSD in 1999 "as a solution for overcrowded and underperforming schools" and to give school communities more budget autonomy by staffing and allocating resources according to pupil enrollment. This process could have to be altered though due to regulations not yet in place regarding state money from Local Control Funding Formula (read more about LCFF below).

Click here to download a PDF on OUSD's Results Based Budgeting process.

Click here to read about what was discussed at that meeting.

Board Meeting - September 11
The OUSD Board held a regularly scheduled meeting at La Escuelita Education Center. Click here to download the meeting's agenda.

California K-12 Education Funding - Newly Enacted - Local Control Funding Formula
Ron Bennett, Chief Executive Officer, School Services of California, Inc., led a presentation to the OUSD board on California's Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF).

Bennett told the Board that LCFF funding is "a good thing for Oakland" because more than 80 percent of OUSD students are eligible for increased funds under this new formula from the state. The state average is 60 percent, Bennett said.

The problem, though, Bennett said, is if the state fails to fund the program, districts like Oakland "have a long way to fall" if they've budgeted millions of dollars in programs and services that won't arrive.

Click here to download a PDF of Bennett's presentation.

Click here to watch a video of Bennett's 25-minute presentation to the Board.

Annual Statement of All Receipts and Expenditures of the District for the 2012-2013 Fiscal Year (Unaudited Actuals), (aka Closing of the Books), and approval to file said Statement with the Alameda County Superintendent of Schools
Deputy Superintendent Vernon Hal lead a budget presentation on the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

The district's unrestricted general fund ending balance was approximately $7.4 million less than anticipated, Hal told the Board. The largest unanticipated hit came from nearly $3 million in expected Medi-Cal reimbursements from the federal government that is no longer being funded.

Click here to download a PDF of the budget presentation.

District Teachers of the Year - Jenny Clark - Oakland High School and Zachary Pitt-Smith - Edna Brewer Middle School
Click here to watch a video of Zachary Pitt-Smith receiving an award as a 2013-2014 OUSD Teacher of the Year.

Click here to watch a video of Jenny Clark receiving an award as a 2013-2014 OUSD Teacher of the Year.

Know anyone else who should be updated on what the OUSD school board is working on? Have them sign up here to receive e-mail updates on every meeting!

GO School Board Watch: Funding Matters, Grand Jury Response, and more

In this issue of GO Board Watch:

  • Committee on School-Based Management and Budgeting, Mon Sept 9
  • Full Board meeting, Wed Sept 11 - Highlights
  • Local Control Funding Formula
  • 2012-13 Budget Presentation
  • OUSD Response to Alameda County Grand Jury Report
  • East Bay Innovation Academy Charter Proposal
  • OUSD Teachers of the Year Recognized
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Upcoming Meetings
The Oakland Unified School District Board of Education has a regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, September 11 at La Escuelita Elementary School (1025 2nd Avenue). Open session begins at 6 pm.

Click here to download the agenda for Wednesday's school board meeting.

Tonight, Monday, September 9, the board's Special Committee on School-Based Management and Budgeting meets at 6 pm at Lakeview Elementary. At the meeting tonight, the committee will discuss the district's current Results Based Budgeting process, and identify "key policy issues" around "intent, funding formula calculations, budget decision-making process, and accountability standards."

Click here to download the agenda for tonight's budget committee meeting.

Full Board Meeting 9/11/13
The board has a long agenda for Wednesday's meeting. Read on for some key items of interest the board will be discussing.

California K-12 Education Funding - Newly Enacted - Local Control Funding Formula
Ron Bennett, Chief Executive Officer, School Services of California, Inc., will lead a presentation to the OUSD board on California's Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF).

On August 26, Bennett gave a presentation on LCFF to OUSD's budget committee. Click here to read about what they discussed at that meeting.

Annual Statement of All Receipts and Expenditures of the District for the 2012-2013 Fiscal Year (Unaudited Actuals), (aka Closing of the Books), and approval to file said Statement with the Alameda County Superintendent of Schools
Superintendent Gary Yee, Deputy Superintendent Maria Santos and Deputy Superintendent Vernon Hal will lead a budget presentation on the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

Click here to download a summary of the 2012-2013 Fiscal Year (Unaudited Actuals) Report.

Approval by the Board of Education of the District Response to the 2012-13 Civil Grand Jury Report, "Oakland Unified School District Challenges," which was issued June 2013
In June, an Alameda County Grand Jury examined OUSD's initiatives surrounding staffing reform, teacher assignment procedures, and teacher evaluations. Click here to read our column in Oakland Local about the Grand Jury report). OUSD is required to respond to the 10 recommendations in the report within 90 days of its release.

Click here to download OUSD's response to the Alameda County Grand Jury report.

East Bay Innovation Academy - Petition and Proposed Charter School (Grades 6-12)
Leaders from East Bay Innovation Academy will present a charter proposal to the board, to open a school serving students in grades 6-12, at a yet-to-be-determined location.

Click here to download East Bay Innovation Academy's proposal.

District Teachers of the Year - Jenny Clark - Oakland High School and Zachary Pitt-Smith - Edna Brewer Middle School
The board will read two resolutions, recognizing two OUSD teachers each with the district's "2013-2014 Teacher of the Year" award.

Click here to download the resolution honoring Jenny Clark.

Click here to download the resolution honoring Zachary Pitt-Smith.

Know anyone else who should be updated on what the OUSD school board is working on? Have them sign up here to receive e-mail updates on every meeting!

August 28 OUSD board meeting: The Impact of Policing on Oakland Youth

The Oakland Unified School District Board of Education held a regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, August 28 at La Escuelita Education Center.

Click here to download the agenda.

During the meeting, the board voted to approve a work plan for Acting Superintendent Gary Yee. Click here to download Superintendent Yee's work plan.

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Report - Special Education Framework - Superintendent of Schools
Sheilagh Andujar, OUSD's Associate Superintendent, Programs for Exceptional Children, began work this summer and led the board through a presentation on the status of OUSD Special Education for the 2013-2014 school year. OUSD has a total of more than 5,000 students in Programs for Exceptional Children and employs 1,000 people in the department, with an annual budget of $78 million.

"This complex work requires an urgent response," Andujar told the board. "There's a tremendous amount of work done, and work that needs to be completed."

Click here to download a power point presentation.

Report - 2013-2014 District Budget - Superintendent of Schools
Superintendent Yee gave an update on three budget items:

1. Human Resources Department's Plan to use $300,000 in one-time resources to leverage non-District funding to develop an integrated Human Capital Data Management System and implement performance evaluation pilots
Yee's recommendation is the board allocate $100,000 towards the design of the data management system, and $200,000 to fund teacher evaluation pilots (read more from the GO Leadership Center site).

2. The Quality, Accountability & Analytics Department's Plan to use $500,000 in one-time resources to leverage non-District funding to implement continuous improvement for schools identified through School Quality Review
Yee's proposal is to tie money from an innovation fund to schools initiating an improvement process that is tied to the quality school review process.

3. Status of Local Control Funding Formula final 2013-2014 Revenue Allocation and Accountability Requirements
OUSD CFO Vernon Hal gave a brief presentation on LCFF, which provides additional funding for districts that have a high number of students who receive free and reduced lunch, and students who are learning English (80 percent of OUSD students). OUSD will receive $12.5 million in 2013-2014, Hal said. The district is going through the process of verifying all students who receive free and reduced lunch. However, the district is waiting for the State Board of Education to develop accountability measures for how to use the additional funds. 

Oakland Unified School Police Department - Bi-Annual Report - Public Complaints Process and Complaints Reports Policy - January 2013 - June 2013
The Oakland School Police is required to produce a bi-annual report on complaints made by the public, as well as the process and the complaint report policy.

Chief James Williams will present a summary of the complaints made to the department from January until June 2013.

Click here to download a PDF summary of the complaints.

Report - The Impact of Policing On Oakland Youth 
Members of the Black Organizing Project led the board through a presentation that describes disproportionate arrests for Black youth.

According to the report, in Oakland, Black youth are six times more likely than Hispanic youth, and 23 times more likely than White youth to be arrested and referred to Alameda County Probation. Black youth make up 30.5 percent of OUSD's population, but accounted for 73 percent of Oakland School Police's 85 arrests.

Click here to download the executive summary of the report.

August 28 OUSD board meeting preview: Special Education Framework

The Oakland Unified School District Board of Education will hold a regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, August 28 at La Escuelita Education Center, located at 1025 2nd Avenue. Open session starts at 6 pm.

Click here to download the agenda.

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City of Oakland Council - Board of Education Election Districts - Decennial Redistricting
Every 10 years, the City of Oakland adjusts the boundaries of its City Council districts to reflect population change. The city is currently in the midst of this process, with the City Council adopting criteria for the process in June, and the city began holding town halls for residents in July. The second round of town halls begin September 5.

For more information on the redistricting process, and the dates and times of the town hall meetings, click here.

Report - Special Education Framework - Superintendent of Schools
Acting Superintendent Gary Yee and Sheilagh Andujar, Associate Superintendent, Programs for Exceptional Children will lead a presentation on the status of OUSD Special Education for the 2013-2014 school year in these areas:
  • A work plan to implement recommendations cited in Dr. Marilyn Shepard's Special Education Framework Report 
  • A spending plan for the use of $700,000 in one-time resources
  • A calendar for Community Advisory Committee reports to the Board of Education
Click here to download a power point presentation on Special Education.

Report - 2013-2014 District Budget - Superintendent of Schools
Superintendent Yee will lead a presentation on the District's 2013-2014 budget in these areas: 
  • The Human Resources Department's plan to use $300,000 in one-time resources to leverage non-District funding to develop an integrated Human Capital Data Management System and implement performance evaluation pilots (GO advocated for this funding last spring - click here to read more)
  • The Quality, Accountability & Analytics Department's Plan to use $500,000 in one-time resources to leverage non-District funding to implement continuous improvement for schools identified through School Quality Review
  • Status of Local Control Funding Formula final 2013-2014 Revenue Allocation and Accountability Requirements
Report - District's California Standardized Test Results - 2012-2013 Academic Year - Superintendent of Schools
Superintendent Yee will lead a presentation on 2012-2013 California Standardized Test (CST).

According to Yee's presentation, "overall, OUSD showed modest loss in the percent of students scoring Proficient or Advanced on the California Standards Test/California Modified Assessment (CST/CMA) for 2013."

That includes:
  • A 2.1 percent loss in Proficient/Advanced on the CST/CMA English Language Arts, for grades 2-11 (from 44 percent to 42 percent)
  • A 3.3 percent loss in Proficient/Advanced on the CST/CMA Mathematics, for grades 2-11 (from 43 percent to 40 percent)

Click here to download a PDF of the presentation.

Oakland Unified School Police Department - Bi-Annual Report - Public Complaints Process and Complaints Reports Policy - January 2013 - June 2013
The Oakland School Police is required to produce a bi-annual report on complaints made by the public, as well as the process and the complaint report policy.

Chief James Williams will present a summary of the complaints made to the department from January until June 2013.

Click here to download a PDF summary of the complaints.

Report - The Impact of Policing On Oakland Youth 
The Black Organizing Project, ACLU of Northern California and Public Counsel Law Center will present their report "From Report Card to Criminal Record: The Impact of Policing Oakland Youth."

According to the executive summary, the report "reveals disturbing trends in disproportionate arrests and law enforcement contacts with youth of color, coupled with the underfunding of counselors, mental health professionals, and others whose presence could work to reduce the need for law enforcement."

The information from the report comes from data obtained directly from OUSD, the Oakland School Police Department, the Oakland Police Department, and Alameda County Probation.

Click here to download the executive summary of the report.

August 14 OUSD board meeting preview: First meeting of new school year

The Oakland Unified School District Board of Education will hold its first meeting of the 2013-2014 school year on Wednesday, August 14 at La Escuelita Education Center, located at 1050 2nd Avenue. 

Click here to download the agenda.

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Decision - Oakland Unity Middle School - Petition and Proposed Charter School (Grades 6-7)
Acting Superintendent Gary Yee and Silke Bradford, Director of  Quality Diverse Providers, are recommending the board deny a charter petition from Oakland Unity Middle School. The school proposed to open in the fall of 2014 and serve 80 students in grades 6-7.

The reason for the denial, according to a report from Yee and Bradford is because: "The petition presents an unsound educational program; the petitioners are demonstrably unlikely to successfully implement the program set forth in the petition; and the petition does not contain reasonably comprehensive descriptions of all of the 16 elements required by the California Charter Schools Act."

Click here to download Oakland Unity Middle School's charter petition.

Board Policy 7350 - Facilities - Physical Assets Management
The Board will vote on whether to adopt a physical assets management policy for "Oakland's publicly funded schools," according to the guiding principal of the policy. 

"To support the District's educational and operational functions, the District shall also use its properties to realize unrestricted revenue to support programs and services for District students," the policy reads.

Click here to download the Physical Assets Management policy.

Budget Development Calendar - 2014-2015 Fiscal Year
The Board will vote on whether to adopt a financial calendar submitted by David Kakishiba, the Board president and District 2 director.

The calendar includes key dates through the end of the 2013-2014 school year, such as December 11, when the Board is scheduled to adopt a policy on Results-Based Budgeting (RBB), and adopt the first Interim Budget Report for 2013-2014. There are three key sets of dates on the calendar: developing an updated RBB policy, the timeline for adopting the budget for the whole year, and implementing Local Control Funding Formula.

Click here to download the Budget Development Calendar.

June 26 OUSD board meeting preview: Voting on 2013-14 budget

The Oakland Unified School District Board of Education will hold a regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, June 26 at La Escuelita Education Center (1050 2nd Avenue). Open session starts at 6 p.m. 

Click here to download the agenda.

Public Hearing and Adoption by the Board of Education of the District 2013-2014 Fiscal Year Budget - all Funds - in the amount of $548,608,161.00
This week, the board will vote to adopt a budget for the 2013-2014 fiscal year. The district has an additional $12.4 million in unrestricted general fund, $5.5 million of which is ongoing revenue that has yet to be allocated.

The board has directed staff to allocate these funds in five areas:
  1. Common Core Standards
  2. Transforming School Culture
  3. High School Graduation
  4. Innovative Continuous Improvement Fund 
  5. Strategic Improvement for Special Education.
Click here to download a PDF of the proposed budget.

Also on the agenda Wednesday night:

Special Education Framework
Deputy Superintendent Maria Santos will present information on the district's framework for special education programs. 

According to a PDF of the presentation, "there was a comprehensive review of operations in the special education department as well as a broad stakeholder engagement process to ascertain the strengths, issues and challenges with the program for exceptional children."

Click here to download a PDF of the presentation.

District's Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) Annual Service Plan and Budget Plan for Fiscal Year 2013-2014
OUSD receives federal and state special education funds. In order to be in compliance with both federal and state education laws, OUSD must come up with an annual budget plan, and hold a special hearing to discuss how those funds are being used.

Click here to download a PDF presentation of the district's SELPA budget.

City of Oakland Council - Board of Education Districts - Decennial Redistricting
The board will hear a presentation on the city's redistricting plans this year. The Oakland City Charter requires a redistricting of city council districts (which are the same as school board districts) every decade to reflect population change. The goal of redistricting, according to the city's website, "is to make the population in each district as equal as possible, following Federal, state and local law."

The city council adopted a schedule of workshops on the redistricting process, the first one of which begins July 10. 

Click here for more information on the process, and for a schedule of the workshops. 

Know anyone else who should be updated on what the OUSD school board is working on? Have them sign up here to receive e-mail updates on every meeting!

State audit report at tonight's special OUSD board meeting

The OUSD board will hear from state auditors tonight regarding a 2011 Audit Report. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. at La Escuelita Education Center (1050 2nd Avenue).

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Click here to download the 2011 State Audit Report.

According to a letter from the California State Controller's Office, 

"The audit disclosed instances of noncompliance, including some that would affect the amount of State funding the District received during the year. Pursuant to Education Code section 41344, you have 60 days from receipt of this letter to appeal any significant audit findings to the Education Audit Appeals Panel." 

The audit includes this statement: 

"Based on our review of the District's fiscal condition, we have concluded that there continues to be substantial doubt about the District's ability to continue as a going concern."

The audit report also states:

"The audit also identified approximately $18.5 million in questioned costs that related to federal and state programs. These questioned costs consist of $7.6 million in federal and state program funding that could require the District's repayment and $10.9 million for a classroom teachers' salaries deficiency that could require the District to reallocate funds."

Know anyone else who should be updated on what the OUSD school board is working on? Have them sign up here to receive e-mail updates on every meeting!

June 5 OUSD board meeting preview: New District 4 director, effective teaching update

The Oakland Unified School District will hold a regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at La Escuelita Education Center, located at 1050 2nd Avenue.

The board has a packed agenda with numerous items of interest - including: making a provisional appointment of the new District 4 director, hearing a Balanced Scorecard update on effective teaching goals, and adopting a work plan for the incoming Acting Superintendent, Dr. Gary Yee.

Click here to download the agenda.

Provisional Appointment - Board of Education - District 4 Trustee Vacancy - Term Ending January 5, 2015
The OUSD board will vote on a replacement for Dr. Yee, who begins work as Acting Superintendent July 1.

The board has nine candidates to consider for the position. Last week, most of the candidates attended a forum hosted by the Oakland Education Association, and each of the candidates were interviewed during a special OUSD board meeting. 

At each forum, the candidates were asked for their views on a variety of Oakland education topics, including their thoughts about the district's strategic plan, a replacement for outgoing Superintendent Tony Smith and critical issues they'd address on the board.

We attended both meetings and live-tweeted what the candidates said. Click here to read a collection of tweets from last week's OEA forum and OUSD board meeting.

Click here  to read statements from each candidate.

Balanced Scorecard Accountability Report - Teaching Effectiveness
The board will hear an update on Teaching Effectiveness, the first measurable goal for "operational excellence" in the Balanced Scorecard initiative. 

The board will focus on five study session questions and hear from members of the Effective Teaching Task Force, which is made up of teachers, principals, parents and students. 

The study session questions are:
What is the status of the development of an Oakland Effective Teaching Framework?
What is the status of the development of a Teacher Learning Survey?
What is the status of the development of a teacher evaluation system that
incorporates the use of multiple student performance and achievement measures?
What is the status of the development of a teacher performance evaluation
tracking tool?
What is the status of the development of a human capital data system to track
teacher retention?  

Click here to read feedback from the Effective Teaching Coalition (a group of community organizations, including GO Public Schools Leadership Center) on the district's proposed Teacher Growth and Development System.

Please join us us at this meeting to demand that the board prioritize resources for the new teacher professional growth and development system.

Click here to download a PDF of the study session on effective teaching.

Oakland Unity Middle School - Petition and Proposed Charter School (Grades 6-7)
School and teacher leaders of Oakland Unity High School, a charter school in East Oakland operating since 2003, are seeking to open an middle school for grades 6-8. 

According to the school's proposal, it would begin with 80 6th and 7th grade students and grow to a school with a total of 225 students in the next five years. OUMS would open in 2014 at the site of OUHS (6038 Brann Street), which is moving to a new campus.

Click here to download the school's proposal.

2013-2014 Work Plan - Gary Yee - Acting Superintendent
The board will discuss and vote on a proposed work plan for incoming Acting Superintendent Gary Yee.

Yee's plan has six goals, each with assessment indicators and deadlines:
  • Goal 1: Demonstrate progress in each assessment indicator of the Board's Balanced Scorecard Goals for Student Achievement.
  • Goal 2: Produce the following deliverables associated with the Board's Balanced Scorecard Goals for Operational Excellence:
    -Establish a working framework for a comprehensive teacher training, collaboration, and evaluation system that effectively informs and enhances teaching practice; informs and enhances District support to schools and classrooms; and contributes to the increased retention and professional growth of teachers.
    -Establish an implementation plan of the Board Policy on Quality School Development.
    -
    Establish a modernized Results-Based Budgeting system, which includes the implementation of the Local Control Funding Formula, and the Board policies on School Governance and on Quality School Development.
  • Goal 3: Implement a Program Quality Improvement Plan for Special Education.
  • Goal 4: Implement the Board Policy on Asset Management.
  • Goal 5: Implement corrective actions identified by Independent Audit reports for FY 2010-2011, FY 2011-2012, and FY 2012-2013.
  •  Goal 6: Implement the Board/Superintendent Communication protocols established through the planning process facilitated by the Panasonic Foundation.
Click here to download the proposed work plan. 

June 5 OUSD board meeting: District 4 School Board Seat candidates to be interviewed

The Oakland Unified School District Board of Education will hold a special meeting tonight at 5 pm at La Escuelita Education Center, located at 1050 2nd Avenue.

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Click here to download the agenda.

The board is scheduled to interview applicants for the District 4 director position tonight. Next week, they will vote to name a director in a provisional appointment, and that person will serve in the position until the 2014 election.  

Last week, the board voted unanimously to interview each of the 10 preliminarily eligible candidates, while also determining the format for the interviews and some "base level questions." Board members discussed questions and topics they would ask and discuss with the candidates this week, and will ask the candidates three questions today.

Click here to watch a video of the board discussing the interview process.

Click here to read bios on each of the candidates from our sister site, GO Public Schools.

Tonight, the board will interview each of the 10 candidates.  The format is as follows:
A 3 minute opening statement
10 minutes for standardized questions from board members
A 1 hour panel discussion among the candidates, moderated by a third party 
A 2 minute closing statement

Last night, nine of the candidates participated in a forum hosted by the Oakland Education Association. We attended the meeting and Tweeted the candidates answers. 

Read it at http://twitter.com/GOPublicSchools.

Know anyone else who should be updated on what the OUSD school board is working on? Have them sign up here to receive e-mail updates on every meeting!

May 22 OUSD board meeting: Vote on Aspire charter petition

The Oakland Unified School District Board of Education will host a regularly scheduled meeting today at the La Escuelita Education Complex, located at 1040 2nd Avenue. Open session starts at 6 pm.

Click here to download the agenda.

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Decision - Aspire College Academy - Petition and Proposed Charter School (Grades K-5)
Superintendent Tony Smith, and Silke Bradford, Ed.D., the coordinator of OUSD's Office of Charter Schools, are recommending the board approve a petition and establish a charter for Aspire College Academy, located at 8030 Atherton St.

The school opened in the fall of 2011 as an Alameda County Office of Education approved charter school. The county recommended Aspire pursue a charter with OUSD. According to the school's proposal, when the school was "pursuing the renewal of the countywide charter for 2013-2018, it became clear that the school serves predominately Oakland students and not students throughout the county."

The OUSD Office of Charter Schools is recommending the board authorize Aspire's charter for three reasons:
  1. The school currently operates within the boundaries of OUSD
  2. 93% of the students at the school are Oakland residents
  3. Due diligence conducted to ensure that the establishment of the charter is consistent with sound educational practices
Click here to download the recommendation.

Balanced Scorecard Accountability Report - High School Graduation
For the second meeting in a row, the board will hear a presentation on high school graduation, as part of its Balanced Scorecard initiative, which sets measurable goals for "student achievement" and "operational excellence."  

The May 8 board meeting focused on "college and career pathways." At this meeting, the study session will look at graduation rates, with a presentation from OUSD Executive Officer of High Schools, Allison McDonald, and Deputy Superintendent Maria Santos.

The agenda for the study session includes a section on cohort graduation rates, graduates on track to complete A-G requirements, and how many 11th graders took the Early Assessment Program this year.

Click here to download the report.

Creation, Repeal, Update and Revision, or Reclassification of Positions - Central Office Organization
The OUSD Central Office Departments are undergoing a reorganizing. According to a report from Superintendent Tony Smith, the reorganization is part of a "continuous effort to ensure every position has an approved job description and to address the long-term project to analyze the coherence of OUSD's job classification structure."

Click here to download the report.

Reclassification of Certain Classified Represented Positions
As part of the reorganizing effort, the OUSD Human Resources Department has begun the process of analyzing credentialed, administrative positions to determine if they are required to be certificated. In cases where positions are identified where the person does not supervise and evaluate certificated staff, OUSD is seeking to reclassify them as classified administrative positions.

Click here to download the report.

Elimination and Layoff of a Classified Management Position for the Fiscal Year 2013-2014
According to a report from Superintendent Tony Smith, "based on the projected staffing needs through the Budget Development process of sites and departments commensurate with projected revenue for Fiscal Year 2013-2014, it is necessary to reduce and/or eliminate certain classified positions due to lack of funds or lack of work."

Click here to download the report.

Know anyone else who should be updated on what the OUSD school board is working on? Have them sign up here to receive e-mail updates on every meeting!

May 8 OUSD board meeting: What are College and Career Pathways?

The Oakland Unified School District held a regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, May 8.

Click here to download the agenda.

At the meeting, the board voted to approve a contract for Acting Superintendent Gary Yee, and heard an update on high school graduation, as part of the board's Balanced Scorecard initiative.

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Balanced Scorecard Accountability Report - High School Graduation
The board heard a report on OUSD high school graduation, as a part of an update on the Balanced Scorecard initiative, which sets measurable goals for "student achievement" and "operational excellence." The first goal for student achievement is: "Every 9th grader graduates high school prepared to succeed in college and career."

Click here to read more about the Balanced Scorecard initiative.

The report at the May 8 meeting focused on "college and career pathways" - also called "linked learning" are courses designed to lead to post-secondary options for students.

In order to meet the graduation goal, OUSD has set a goal that 80 percent of its students enroll in pathway programs. Currently, 42 percent of OUSD students participate.

Gretchen Livesey, the director of OUSD's College and Career Readiness Office, took the board through the presentation, touching on what "college and career pathways" are, taking a look at some of the best programs in the district, and how the program will move forward.

Click here to download a PDF of the presentation. 

Click here to watch a video of Gretchen Livesey defining "college and career pathways" to the board.

The board also heard from two OUSD teachers who work in pathways academies. 

Click here to watch video of Skyline High teacher Tracy Ostrom discussing the Green Energy Academy.

Click here to learn more about Skyline's Green Energy Academy.

Click here to watch video of Castlemont High teacher Timothy Bremner discussing the Sustainable Urban Design Academy.

Click here to learn more about Castlemont's Urban Design Academy.

Employment Agreement for Services of District Acting Superintendent - Gary Yee, Ed.D. - Oakland Unified School District
The board voted unanimously to approve a contract for incoming Acting Superintendent Gary Yee.

According to language in the contract, from Jacqueline Minor, General Counsel for OUSD, Dr. Yee will serve on a .5 FTE ("half-time employee") basis from May 9 until June 30, and then full time as Acting Superintendent from July 1 until June 30, 2014. 

During the initial period, Dr. Yee will work with the board and district staff on the transition for outgoing Superintendent Tony Smith. The contract is for a total of $250,000.

Click here to download the contract.

The next board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, May 22 at the La Escuelita Education Center, located at 1050 2nd Avenue. Open session starts at 6 pm.

Know anyone else who should be updated on what the OUSD school board is working on? Have them sign up here to receive e-mail updates on every meeting!

May 8 OUSD board meeting preview: Report on high school graduation


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The Oakland Unified School District Board of Education will hold a regularly-scheduled meeting on Wednesday, May 6 at La Escuelita Education Center, located at 1050 2nd Avenue. Open session begins at 6 pm.

During the meeting, the board will hear an update from the Balanced Scorecard Initiative on high school graduation, as well as vote on approving a contract for the incoming Acting Superintendent, Gary Yee.

Click here to download the agenda.

Presentation by the Superintendent of Schools of Balanced Accountability Scorecard Report - High School Graduation
The board will hear a report on OUSD high school graduation, as a part of an update on the Balanced Scorecard initiative, which sets measurable goals for "student achievement" and "operational excellence." The first goal for student achievement is: "Every 9th grader graduates high school prepared to succeed in college and career." 

On Wednesday, Deputy Superintendent Maria Santos will present a report on "college and career pathways." 

Click here to download a PDF of the presentation.

"College and career pathways" - also called "linked learning" are courses designed to lead to post-secondary options for students. According to a PDF of the presentation, OUSD students who engaged in "College and career pathways" (2,552 students) had a graduation rate of 84.2 percent, compared to the graduation rate of non-pathway students (58.3 percent). OUSD's goal is to engage at least 80 percent of its students in pathway programs.

The agenda for the presentation has seven questions:
  1. What is a college and career pathway?
  2. How do college and career pathways contribute to increasing the percentage of students graduating high school prepared to succeed in college, career, and community?
  3. What are the programmatic elements that characterize a high-quality college and career pathway?
  4. What college and career pathways do we currently have; where are these pathways; how many students are participating in these pathways?
  5. What is the plan to design, evaluate and sustain expanded college and career pathway options at each high school?
  6. What are the organizational challenges and potential undesired consequences involved in maintaining, expanding and sustaining college and career pathways in our schools?
  7. Board Discussion - What is OUSD's plan to expand and sustain the number and diversity of high-quality college and career pathways in every high school?

Approval by the Board of Education of the Employment Agreement for Services of District Acting Superintendent between District and Gary Yee, Ed. D.
The board will vote on whether to approve a contract for Dr. Gary Yee, who last week was named Acting Superintendent for the 2013-2014 school year.

Click here to download the memo.

According to a memo from Jacqueline Minor, General Counsel for OUSD, Dr. Yee will serve on a .5 FTE ("half-time employee") basis from May 9 until June 30, and then full time as Acting Superintendent from July 1 until June 30, 2014. 

During the initial period, Dr. Yee will work with the board and district staff on the transition for outgoing Superintendent Tony Smith. The contract is for a total of $250,000, according to the memo.

April 24 OUSD board meeting: Gary Yee named Acting Superintendent

The Oakland Unified School District held a regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, April 24 at La Escuelita Education Center.

Click here to download the agenda.

The meeting began with the board unanimously voting to appoint Dr. Gary Yee as Acting Superintendent for the 2013-2014 school year. In order to take the position, Yee resigned from his job as District Four director. Yee takes over for Tony Smith, who resigned and is moving to Chicago due to a family health emergency.

During his comments after accepting the Acting Superintendent job, Yee said he was committed to OUSD's Thriving Students strategic plan and said he believes the district is on the right track. "We have truly become results based, and I want you to hold me accountable to those results," Yee said, "because that's we worked on together. That's what I believe."

Click here to watch video of Yee's first remarks as superintendent

Teacher Tributes
The board adopted three resolutions honoring teachers:


Adoption by Board of Education of Board Policy - Instruction - BP 6005 - Quality School Development
The board voted unanimously to adopt the Quality School Development policy, which establishes quality standards, and a review and improvement process that covers both district and charter schools.

Superintendent Tony Smith said the policy was necessary because it will ensure "each and every Oakland child a quality school."

Click here to download the policy.
Click here to download video of Superintendent Smith discussing the policy with the board.
Click here to view video of public comments on the policy.

Presentation by the Superintendent of Schools to the Board of Education on the proposed 2013-2014 District Budget
At the request of the board, the Superintendent Smith presented a report on his recommendations for increased investments for the 2013-2014.

Click here to download the report.

Superintendent Smith praised the "local control funding" formula proposed by Governor Jerry Brown, which would increase funding flexibility and accountability at the local level and student needs are part of the allocation of resources. 

Deputy Superintendent Maria Santos presented on the recommendations, and updated the board on return on investments. Santos said the Superintendent's office is guided by the board's priorities adopted in the strategic plan, while also dealing with a $14 million spending reduction, when deciding which areas need further investment. 

The Superintendent is recommending the district increase spending in three core areas to better support strategic priorities, at a total coast of $3.05 million:
Common Core State Standards
Voluntary Resolution Plan implementation
Improve High School Graduation Rate

The next board meeting is scheduled for 5 pm on Wednesday, May 8.


April 24 OUSD board meeting preview: Gary Yee to be considered for Acting Superintendent

The Oakland Unified School District will hold a regular scheduled meeting on Wednesday, April 24, 2013 at the La Escuelita Education Center, located at located at 1050 2nd Avenue.

Click here to download the agenda.

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The board will consider appointing Director Gary Yee (District 4) as the Acting Superintendent of Schools for the 2013-204 school year, and is scheduled to take a vote on this issue.

In a letter to OUSD staff, OUSD board president David Kakishiba noted that, 

"Yee's roots, relationships, academic background, and professional experience make him uniquely positioned to take the reins of the District. His understanding of the governance role can help us navigate this transitional period with the discipline required to meet the Board priorities, attain our Balanced Scorecard goals, provide a high-caliber education for all students, and produce better outcomes for Oakland's children."

Click here to download a press release announcing Yee as a candidate for Acting Superintendent, and click here to view a letter from our Executive Director Jonathan Klein about this news.

Teacher Tributes
There are three items on the consent calendar honoring teachers. The board is scheduled to adopt: 
  • A resolution that selects Zachary Pitt-Smith, a 6th-8th grade music teacher at Edna Brewer Middle School, and Jenny Clark, a 9th and 11th grade English Language Arts and 9-12th grades drama teacher at Oakland High School, each as Oakland Unified School District's 2013-2014 "Teacher of the Year."
  • A resolution recognizing 2012-2013 National Board Certified Teachers: Emily Blossom of New Highland School, Ana Ferrus Garcia of Manzanita SEED Elementary School, Jessica Jung of Bridges Academy and Jessica Tyson of Oakland Technical High School.
  • A resolution recognizing May 7, which is National Teacher Day, as "Day of the Teacher" in the district.
Click here to order an "I Hella Love Oakland Teachers" sticker to be mailed to you for free to celebrate Oakland teachers.

Adoption by Board of Education of Board Policy - Instruction - BP 6005 - Quality School Development
The board will vote on whether to implement the Quality School Development Policy.

The board spent the bulk of the March 27 meeting discussing this proposed policy, which would establish quality standards, and a review and improvement process that would cover both district and charter schools.

Click here to download the proposed policy.

Click here to watch video of board president David Kakishiba discussing the Quality School Development policy.

Presentation by the Superintendent of Schools to the Board of Education on the proposed 2013-2014 District Budget
The board will hear a presentation on Superintendent Tony Smith's recommendations for increased investments for the 2013-2014 school year.

The Superintendent is recommending the district increase spending in three core areas to better support strategic priorities, at a total coast of $3.05 million:
Common Core State Standards
Voluntary Resolution Plan implementation
Improve High School Graduation Rate

Click here to download a PDF of the presentation.

Best,
Ryan Phillips
Communications Manager
Great Oakland Public Schools Leadership Center

Know anyone else who should be updated on what the OUSD school board is working on? Have them sign up here to receive e-mail updates on every meeting!

April 10 OUSD board meeting: Board discusses Tony Smith's resignation

The Oakland Unified School District Board of Education held a regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at La Escuelita Education Center.

Click here to download the agenda.

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The meeting was the first since Superintendent Tony Smith announced he was resigning because of a family health emergency, and moving to Chicago. His last day will be June 30.

President David Kakishiba gave his report to the board at the beginning of the meeting in order to talk about the resignation while there was still a packed house. 

President Kakishiba said the OUSD school board "unanimously supports" Smith, and that "matters of family are matters we can all relate too" while also noting that the board members "applaud the superintendent for his leadership."

The board remains committed to the five-year Thriving Students strategic plan passed last year, Kakishiba said. "It is guiding the work of this school district," he said.

Click here to watch a video of Kakishiba's remarks.

The board has begun deliberations on Smith's replacement. Kakishiba said the board will be looking for a leader who will embrace Smith's "vision and strategic plan." 

During the public comment period, Oakland parents and students talked about the need for high quality, effective teaching in every Oakland classroom. 

Click here to watch West Oakland parent Vashti Means talk about the importance of effective teaching for her kids.

Click here to watch a video of Fruitvale parent Aurora Barajas tell the board why it should grow its teacher effectiveness pilot program currently happening at four Oakland middle schools.

Public Hearing - Aspire College Academy - Petition and Proposed Charter School (Grades K-5)
Representatives from Aspire College Academy, a K-5 school located at 8030 Atherton Street, presented a proposal to the board for the school to convert from county control to OUSD. 

The Alameda County Office of Education recommended Aspire pursue a charter with OUSD. According to the proposal, when the school was "pursuing the renewal of the countywide charter for 2013-2018, it became clear that the school serves predominately Oakland students and not students throughout the county."

Click here to download Aspire's proposal.

Decision - Bay Area Technology School - Petition and Proposed Charter School (Renewal) (Grades 6-12)
The board voted unanimously to renew the charter for Bay Area Technology School, a 6-12 school located at 8251 Fontaine Street, for a period of five years, with conditions. Those conditions include benchmarks to ensure student performance and school leadership is continuously improving, and financial and sustainability issues are resolved.

Click here to download the recommendation.

Balanced Scorecard Accountability Report - School Quality
The board held a study session on standards for school quality, one of the six Balanced Scorecard goals for "operational excellence" and a top strategic priority for the board this year, and heard from a panel of school and district representatives who have been through a new, piloted School Quality Review process.

The panel included OUSD's Executive Director for Quality Schools Development, David Montes de Oca, and Valorie Hutson, the Executive Director of Eagle Village Community Center at Westlake Middle School, Misha Karigaca , the principal at Westlake and Jonathan Mayer, principal of Chabot Elementary.  

The School Quality Review process includes a three-day site visit and interviews by district staff with key school stakeholders, including teachers, parents, students and administrative staff. The goal of the process is to adopt a set of standards and then apply the standards district-wide. 

Click here to download the report on school quality.

Click here to download the Balanced Scorecard.

GO Public Schools, our sister organization, is following the progress of the Balanced Scorecard as its policies are implemented. Next week, we'll be taking a deeper look at School Quality, and how the School Quality Review process works.

Click here to read the first entry in the series, OUSD Scorecard Updates: What is OUSD's Balanced Scorecard Policy?

Superintendent's Report
Superintendent Tony Smith said that according to recent graduation data, the district's graduation rate is now at 62.6 percent, up from 59 percent in 2011.
 
Smith also thanked the board for their support, and said he looks forward to being an ally of Oakland and will finish strong. "It really is hard to say goodbye," the Superintendent said in closing.

Know anyone else who should be updated on what the OUSD school board is working on? Have them sign up here to receive e-mail updates on every meeting!

April 10 OUSD board meeting preview: Tony Smith's resignation to be discussed

The Oakland Unified School District Board of Education will hold a regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, April 10, at the La Escuelita Education Center.

Click here to download the agenda.

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At the meeting, the board will consider the resignation of Superintendent Tony Smith. On Friday, Smith wrote a letter to the OUSD Board of Education announcing he was resigning due to a family health emergency, and moving to Chicago. His last day will be June 30.

Click here to read a letter from the OUSD Board of Education to the Oakland community

Click here to read a letter from Superintendent Smith to the OUSD school board explaining his reasons for resigning.

Click here to read a note from GO Public Schools Leadership Center on Tony's resignation.

Public Hearing - Aspire College Academy - Petition and Proposed Charter School (Grades K-5)
Representatives from Aspire College Academy, a K-5 school located at 8030 Atherton Street, will present a proposal to the board for the school to convert from county control to OUSD. The presentation was previously scheduled for March 27.

The Alameda County Office of Education recommended Aspire pursue a charter with OUSD. According to the proposal, when the school was "pursuing the renewal of the countywide charter for 2013-2018, it became clear that the school serves predominately Oakland students and not students throughout the county."

Click here to download Aspire's proposal.

Decision - Bay Area Technology School - Petition and Proposed Charter School (Renewal) (Grades 6-12)
The OUSD Office of Charter Schools is recommending the board renew the charter for Bay Area Technology School, a 6-12 school located at 8251 Fontaine Street, for a period of five years, with conditions. 

The Office of Charter Schools had previously recommended the board not renew the charter, and the board was scheduled to hear that recommendation at the most recent board meeting, on March 27. But on the Monday before that meeting, district and school representatives agreed to reschedule the hearing for this week.

The recommendation the board will hear Wednesday includes performance benchmarks the school will need to meet in order to stay open. They include continuously improving student performance and school leadership, and improving financial and sustainability issues.

Click here to download the recommendation to renew the charter

Balanced Scorecard Accountability Report - School Quality
The board will hold a study session on standards for school quality, one of the six Balanced Scorecard goals for "operational excellence" and a top strategic priority for the board this year.

The school quality study session will focus on the Quality School Review Process, which is intended to:

Evaluate extent to which quality standards are present in schools
Provide meaningful feedback to drive continuous improvement
Engage broad range of stakeholders in school improvement process
Inform central office re: strengths and challenges of schools and the system
Provide vehicle for central office and school communities to work together in service of quality community schools

Click here to download the report on school quality.

Click here to download the Balanced Scorecard.

Adoption by Board of Education of Resolution No. 1213-0133 - Supporting Adoption of Education Local Control Funding Formula
The board will discuss a resolution that supports Governor Jerry Brown's "Local Control Funding Formula" which would increase funding for OUSD if specific targets are reached.  

Click here to read more about Local Control Funding  and how the money will impact schools.

Click here to download OUSD's proposed resolution in support of Local Control Funding

Stay in the know about the board's decisions! Sign up here to receive e-mail updates on every meeting.

March 27 OUSD board meeting: Quality School Development first reading

The Oakland Unified School District Board of Education held a regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, March 27 at the La Escuelita Education Center. 

Click here to download the agenda.

Adoption by Board of Education of Board Policy - Instruction - Quality School Development 
Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for GO_Board_Agenda_Watch_Logo.pngThe board spent the bulk of the meeting discussing a policy that would establish quality standards, and a review and improvement process that would cover both district and charter schools.

Click here to download the policy.

Board President David Kakishiba (District 4) told the board the process would take an "external look at what's going on in the school, not just test scores, and involves parents, community partners and students."

Kakishiba said schools that receive lower ranks would be encouraged to examine "promising and evidence-based" practices from other schools, and incorporate those strategies into that school's improvement plan.

Click here to watch a video of Director Kakisihiba discussing the proposed policy.

Click here to watch a video of Director Gary Yee (District 2) discussing the need to define "diverse providers" for the proposed policy.

The board will vote on whether to implement the Quality School Development Policy at its April 24 meeting. Before that meeting, Superintendent Tony Smith will analyze the policy and give his recommendation.

Charter School Proposals 
The board delayed votes on two charter school decisions, from Bay Area Technology School and Aspire College Academy, to a later date. Representatives from Aspire College Academy were scheduled to go before the board to propose the school convert from a county-authorized charter to OUSD. No date was given for when the board will vote on Aspire's charter status.

Click here to download Aspire's proposal.

OUSD's Office of Charter Schools previously recommended the board deny the charter renewal petition from Bay Area Technology School. According to the decision, Bay Area Technology School "presents an unsound educational program" and "the petitioners are demonstrably unlikely to successfully implement the program." 

Early last week, though, representatives from Bay Area Technology School and OUSD agreed to extend the charter renewal decision deadline for the school until "on or before April 10."

Click here to read why the renewal decision deadline was extended

The next board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, April 10 at the La Escuelita Education Center.

Stay in the know about the board's decisions! Sign up here to receive e-mail updates on every meeting.


March 27 OUSD board meeting preview

The Oakland Unified School District Board of Education is holding a regularly scheduled meeting tonight at 5 pm at the La Escuelita Education Center, located at 1050 2nd Avenue. 

Click here to download the agenda.

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Public Hearing - "Sunshining" - California School Employees Association (CSEA) Oakland Chapter 1 Initial Proposals to the District
The board will hold a hearing, and the public will be able to comment, on a proposal for a new contract from CSEA, which represents district classified school employees.

Included in the proposal, CSEA is seeking:
  • Increase the percent allocated to PERS safety retirement from 2% to 2.75% at age 55.
  • Salary parity with other Bay Area Law Enforcement Agencies.
  • A change in contract language to reflect eligibility for Health and Welfare Benefits from date of hire.
Click here to download CSEA's proposal.

Aspire College Academy - Petition and Proposed Charter School (Grades K-5)
Representatives from Aspire College Academy, a K-5 school located at 8030 Atherton Street, will present a proposal to the board for the school to convert from county control to OUSD.

The Alameda County Office of Education recommended Aspire pursue a charter with OUSD. According to the proposal, when the school was "pursuing the renewal of the countywide charter for 2013-2018, it became clear that the school serves predominately Oakland students and not students throughout the county."

Click here to download Aspire's proposal.

Decision - Bay Area Technology School - Petition and Proposed Charter School (Renewal) (Grades 6-12)
On Monday, representatives from Bay Area Technology School and OUSD agreed to extend the charter renewal decision for the school until "on or before April 10."

OUSD's Office of Charter Schools previously recommended the board deny the charter renewal petition. According to the decision, Bay Area Technology School "presents an unsound educational program" and "the petitioners are demonstrably unlikely to successfully implement the program."

Click here to download an affidavit explaining why the charter renewal decision is being extended.

Click here to download the Office of Charter Schools earlier decision.

Board Policy - Instruction - Quality School Development (First Reading)
To help the district achieve goals in its five-year strategic plan, which was adopted in 2011, the board will vote on whether to adopt a Quality School Development Policy. 

According to the proposed policy, in order to supply OUSD students with "a continuum of high quality schools" the board would:

  • Establish comprehensive school quality standards, outcomes, and measures by which all schools are expected to make steady progress toward and achieve.
  • Establish a school quality review process in which all schools continuously participate to assess the state of their school in relation to established school quality standards, outcomes, and measures, and to identify key priorities for school improvement.
  • Establish a school quality improvement process in which all schools, through their school governance team, are held accountable to develop a rigorous three-year school quality improvement plan (Community School Strategic Site Plan). The school quality improvement process shall engage, guide, and support school governance teams to identify, as necessary:
  • Evidence-based or promising strategies and practices that are relevant to the conditions and needs of their school;
  • Qualified Diverse Providers to implement one or more elements of their school quality improvement plan; and
  • Resource Utilization Plan to describe how school resources - people, programs, money, and time - are coherently aligned to achieve the school quality improvement plan's goals, theory-of-action, and strategies.
  • Authorize the implementation of three-year school quality improvement plans, which have been recommended for approval by the Superintendent.
  • Establish a "Quality School Development Innovation Fund" to provide targeted investments to catalyze implementation of Board-approved school quality improvement plans.
  • House qualified public charter schools and contract schools in Oakland Unified School District school facilities.
  
Click here to download the proposed policy.

Board Watch: Balanced Scorecard report on suspensions, and AIMS decision

The Oakland Unified School District Board of Education has held two meetings over the past two weeks - a regularly scheduled meeting on March 13, and a special meeting on March 20. 

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Continue reading for a brief synopsis of key items covered at each meeting:

March 13 meeting
Click here to download the agenda.

Balanced Scorecard Accountability Report - Suspensions and Voluntary Resolution Plan
Superintendent Tony Smith and a panel of OUSD staff and four principals presented a Balanced Scorecard regular accountability report on suspensions.

The presentation at the meeting focused on where the district currently is in its efforts to reduce suspensions, what the targets are, and strategies, causes of suspensions, and what staff is learning.

Part of OUSD's Thriving Students strategic plan, which was approved in 2011, is to look at the district suspension rate and lower it and is a key goal for the Office of African American Male Achievement, which opened in 2010. 

The Balanced Scorecard target for 2012-2013 is for OUSD to "reduce suspension rates for African American males at all levels (elementary, middle school, high school) and reduce suspension rates for African American and Latino males in middle school and high school by 5 percent."

Suspension rates for African American students in the district is highly disproportionate, according to the report. African American students make up 1/3 of the district's population, but 2/3 of its suspensions. African American male students, meanwhile, make up 16 percent of all OUSD students, but were 41 percent of those suspended. No other ethic group had disproportionate suspensions, and all others were underrepresented. 

The district's strategies to reduce suspensions focus on improving school culture and climate through "supports for students" (such as "Positive behavioral expectations defined and taught for every context") as well as "supports for adults" ("Training and professional learning focused on Social and Emotional Learning and competencies" is an example) and "District-wide policies, systems, frameworks" (including "Development of a data system to capture on-campus referrals and interventions.") 

So far this year, the most notable reductions in suspensions have come in grades 6-9, according to the report. 

Through February, the overall percentage of students receiving one or more out-of-school-suspension is lower than the same time period from 2012: 

Elementary: 0.9% in 2013, compared to 1.6% in 2012 (-0.7%) 
Middle School: 9.4% in 2013, compared to 13.0% in 2012 (-3.6%)
High School: 7.3% in 2013, compared to 8.9% in 2012 (-1.6%)

While the suspension rates for African American and Latino males has gone down, it has not reached the targeted 5 percent reduction rate:

African American Male: 10.3% in 2013, compared to 14.5% in 2012 (-4.2%)
Latino Male: 4.0% in 2013, compared to 5.7% in 2012 (-1.7%)

Click here to download the report.

March 20 meeting
Click here to download the agenda

Special meeting - Final Decision - Notice of Intent To Revoke Charter - American Indian Public Charter School, American Indian Public Charter School II, American Indian Public High School
The OUSD board voted 4-3 to revoke the charter of three schools managed by American Indian Model Schools (AIMS).

The board voted 6-1 at its January 23 meeting to issue a "Notice of Intent to Revoke/Notice of Facts In Support of Revocation" to three schools managed by American Indian Model Schools - American Indian Public Charter School, American Indian Public Charter School II and American Indian Public High School.

The board then had 30 days after the notice was issued to schedule a public hearing, which is why this item went before the board on March13. The board had 60 days after its initial ruling on January 23 to decide whether to close the schools.

AIMS management has two appeals left - to the Alameda County Board of Education later this month or in April, and if the county supports OUSD's decision to revoke the charter, to the State Board of Education in either May or June. Revocation would take place on June 30.

Click here to download the final decision.

March 13 OUSD board meeting preview

The Oakland Unified School District Board of Education will hold a regularly-scheduled meeting on Wednesday, March 13, 2013 in The Great Room of the La Escuelita Education Center located at 1050 2nd Avenue.

Click here to download the agenda.

Some items of interest the board will be discussing:

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Second Report - Emergency Contracts - Paul Robeson Administrative Building - Water Damage
The district's main administrative building was badly damaged by water on January 7. At its February 13 meeting, the board approved the use of "emergency contracts for abatement repairs and relocation." That resolution requires the board to review the status of the emergency regularly at meetings until the emergency plan is terminated. Superintendent Smith will present a report to the board during Wednesday's meeting.

Balanced Scorecard Accountability Report - Suspensions and Voluntary Resolution Plan
Superintendent Tony Smith will present a report that focuses on school discipline, and "transforming school culture." 

The Balanced Scorecard target for 2012-2013 is for OUSD to "reduce suspension rates for African American males at all levels (elementary, middle school, high school) and reduce suspension rates for African American and Latino males in middle school and high school by 5 percent."

Click here to download the report.

Adoption by the Board of the Education of Resolution No. 1213-0107 - District's Second Interim Financial Report for Fiscal Year 2012-2013
OUSD Chief Financial Officer Vernon Hal will present a report to the board on the district's finances. According to the report, "The District is projected to have a positive Unrestricted Fund Balance of $33M, with no significant change from 1st Interim."

Click here to download the report.

District 2013-2014 Fiscal Year Budget
The board and Superintendent will discuss the development and preparation of the District's Budget for Fiscal Year 2013-2014.

Click here to download the report.

Board Bylaw - BB 9131 - Advisory and Oversight Committees
If the board votes to approve this item, it will establish "advisory or oversight committees for the purpose of meeting legal requirements and to provide advice and involvement concerning matters of interest and welfare to the District."

The committee would have nine members, including: 

  • One member who is a parent or guardian of a child enrolled in the District.
  • One member active in a business organization representing the business community located in the District.
  • One member active in a senior citizen's organization.
  • One member active in a bona-fide taxpayers association.
  • One member who is both a parent and guardian of a child enrolled in the District and active in a parent-teacher organization, such as the Parent- Teacher Association or a school site council.
  • At least three members of the community-at-large appointed by the Board.
Click here to download the report.
 
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February 27 OUSD board meeting: Quality School Development Policy introduced

The Oakland Unified School District Board of Education held a regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at the La Escuelita Education Center.

Click here to download the agenda for the meeting.

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The meeting was packed with supporters and students from three charter schools managed by American Indian Model Schools, as the board held a hearing on whether "substantial evidence" exists to revoke the schools' charters. After listening to dozens of speakers, including many students, the board did not hold a vote. The board has 60 days from its initial ruling January 23 to issue a "Notice of Intent to Revoke/Notice of Facts In Support of Revocation" to decide whether to close the schools.



Presentation by Board President and Superintendent of Schools on status of the development of a Quality School Development Policy
One of the board's five strategic priorities for 2013 is establishing a Quality School Development Policy, in order to "foster the development of higher-quality, higher-performing full-service community schools by integrating School Quality Review, School Governance, and Diverse Provider frameworks and standards" according to OUSD's 2013 Work Plan.

Board president David Kakishiba said the policy would "address and integrate existing policy frameworks the board already has" such as: 
Kakishiba and Superintendent Tony Smith both briefly gave an update on the policy, and each spoke about using the policy to integrate different groups in the city together to work for the best interests of children. Click here to watch the video.

Kakishiba said he, board member Gary Yee (District 3) and Superintendent Tony Smith will bring a report to the board on the policy for a first reading on March 27.


Balanced Accountability Scorecard Report - Pupil Attendance
In September, the board unanimously approved the Balanced Scorecard initiative - "measurable goals for student achievement," and "measurable goals for operational excellence" at the recommendation of Director David Kakishiba (District 2).

On Wednesday, the board heard a report on attendance, especially the district's response to chronic absenteeism, which is defined as a student missing more than one month of school or more. 

The district's satisfactory attendance rate dropped this year, according to the report. Click here to watch a video of the presentation.


Reduction and/or Elimination of Particular Kinds of Service - Certificated Layoff, based upon the needs of the District for the 2013-2014 School Year
The board voted 6-1 (Rosie Torres opposed) to approve a resolution that would cut an estimated $1 million from Adult Education programs. 

Two years ago, OUSD made substantial cuts to its Adult Education program "to reach fiscal solvency" according to a staff report.

Because of an anticipated federal funding reduction of $14 million, Superintendent Tony Smith is recommended the district eliminate "all of the teaching, teacher on special assignment and certified administrator positions for OUSD's Adult Education program." The cuts would save an estimated $1 million, according to a report from Superintendent Smith's office.







February 27 OUSD board meeting preview

The Oakland Unified School District Board of Education will hold a regularly-scheduled meeting on Wednesday, February 27 in The Great Room of the La Escuelita Education Center located at 1050 2nd Avenue.

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On the agenda this week, the board will discuss whether "substantial evidence" exists to revoke the charters of three schools managed by American Indian Model Schools, if Adult Education programs should be further scaled back to save money for other programs, a report on attendance in the district (as part of OUSD's Balanced Scorecard initiative), and a presentation by on the status of developing of a Quality School Development Policy.

Public Hearing - Revocation - American Indian Public Charter School, American Indian Public Charter School II, American Indian Public High School
The OUSD board voted 6-1 at its January 23 meeting to issue a "Notice of Intent to Revoke/Notice of Facts In Support of Revocation" to three schools managed by American Indian Model Schools - American Indian Public Charter School, American Indian Public Charter School II and American Indian Public High School.

The board then had 30 days after the notice was issued to schedule a public hearing, which is why this item will go before the board on Wednesday. The board has 60 days after its initial ruling on January 23 to decide whether to close the schools.

Click here to read our report from the January 23 meeting.

Click here to download a letter from Superintendent Tony Smith to the AIMS community about why he supports revoking the charters.

Reduction and/or Elimination of Particular Kinds of Service - Certificated Layoff, based upon the needs of the District for the 2013-2014 School Year
Two years ago, OUSD made substantial cuts to its Adult Education program "to reach fiscal solvency" according to a staff report.

Because of an anticipated federal funding reduction of $14 million, Superintendent Tony Smith is now recommending the district eliminate "all of the teaching, teacher on special assignment and certified administrator positions for OUSD's Adult Education program." The cuts would save an estimated $1 million, according to a report from Superintendent Smith's office.

Click here to download the report

Presentation by Board President and Superintendent of Schools on status of the development of a Quality School Development Policy
One of the board's five strategic priorities for 2013 is establishing a Quality School Development Policy, in order to "foster the development of higher-quality, higher-performing full-service community schools by integrating School Quality Review, School Governance, and Diverse Provider frameworks and standards" according to OUSD's 2013 Work Plan.

Click here to download the board's 2013 Work Plan.

Balanced Accountability Scorecard Report - Pupil Attendance
In September, the board unanimously approved the Balanced Scorecard initiative - "measurable goals for student achievement," and "measurable goals for operational excellence" at the recommendation of Director David Kakishiba (District 2).

On Wednesday, the board will hear a report on attendance, especially the district's response to chronic absenteeism.


February 13 OUSD board meeting: EOLA Charter High renewal petition denied

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The Oakland Unified School District Board of Education held a regularly-scheduled meeting on Wednesday, February 13, 2012, at the La Escuelita Education Complex.

During the meeting, the board voted unanimously to deny the charter renewal petition for East Oakland Leadership Academy Charter High School (EOLA), which opened in 2008. 

Click here to download the agenda for the meeting, and continue reading for a brief synopsis of some items of interest.

Decision - East Oakland Leadership Academy/High - Petition and Proposed Charter School (Renewal) (Grades 9-12)
After conducting a thorough review, the OUSD Office of Charter Schools issued a report recommending the board vote to deny the school's charter renewal petition.

Phil Dotson, the acting coordinator for the Office of Charter Schools, said staff was recommending the charter be denied because a number of reasons, including the school was "significantly under-enrolled" and doesn't have a plan for attracting new students, "failed to retain students from 9th through 12th grade with a significant attrition rate," and overall academic performance, including a declining API score in three of the previous four years. 

Click here to download the report.

Emergency Contracts - Paul Robeson Administrative Building - Water Damage
The board voted unanimously to authorize two emergency contracts for the amount of $325,000 for Restoration Management Company and Corovan Moving and Storage to begin emergency repairs on the building.

The contract would come without competitive bids and would exceed the district's $250,000 deductible, according to the text of the item, with remaining costs covered by OUSD's insurance. Further costs associated with the damage will also be covered by OUSD's insurance, OUSD general counsel Jacqueiline Minor, told the board. 

Click here to download the report.

Ratification of appointment by the President, Board of Education of the Chair, Members of Special Committee on Property Asset Management and its Charge
The board voted unanimously to ratify a Special Committee on Property Management to examine the strategic use of OUSD properties.

There are around 1,000 spare classrooms in OUSD facilities, aging portables, as well as growth and economic trends for the region that have an impact on how OUSD facilities are put to use, Director Jody London (District 1) told the board. London said the ultimate goal is to have the committee put together policies that "lead to our schools being fully inhabited and us realizing revenue where we can from buildings that we have that aren't being used for our immediate educational purposes."

Click here to download the report.

Presentation to the Board of Education of the Annual Report on the Oakland Unified School District Police Department Public Complaints Process and Complaints Reports Policy
Lt. James Williams, the head of OUSD Police, presented to the board a report on complaints investigated by school police over the past year.

In June of 2012, the OUSD board approved Complaints Process and Complaints Report Policy. This is the first annual, required report, which includes a summary of each complaint investigated over the past year. There were four total complaints.

Williams said in the future he'd like to use information from the complaints to help inform him where the department "may be failing in our policy, other training we may need to undergo, and our procedures, if we need to enhance or eliminate procedures."

Click here to read the complaints.

February 13 OUSD board meeting preview: EOLA Charter High up for renewal

The Oakland Unified School District Board of Education are scheduled to hold a regular meeting on Wednesday, February 13, 2013 in The Great Room of La Escuelita Education Center, located at 1050 2nd Avenue.

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Click here to download the agenda.

A few items of interest:

Decision - East Oakland Leadership Academy High - Petition and Proposed Charter School (Renewal) (Grades 9-12)
The board will discuss, and have the opportunity to vote, on renewing a charter petition from East Oakland Leadership Academy (EOLA) High.

Superintendent Tony Smith is recommending the board vote to deny the charter renewal. In a report authored by Superintendent Smith and Philip Dotson, the Acting Coordinator for OUSD's Office of Charter Schools, EOLA Charter High has "failed to meet 3.5 of its 5 measurable pupil outcomes as set forth in their charter." 

Click here to download the report recommending the charter be denied.

Click here to watch video of EOLA students presenting to the board in January.   

Emergency Contracts - Paul Robeson Administrative Building - Water Damage
OUSD's main administrative building was badly damaged during the winter break by flooding. On Wednesday, the board will vote on whether to authorize an emergency contract for Restoration Management Company and Corovan Moving and Storage to begin emergency repairs on the building.

The contract would come without competitive bids and would exceed the district's $250,000 deductible, according to the text of the item, with remaining costs covered by OUSD's insurance.

Click here to download the report.

Ratification of appointment by the President, Board of Education of the Chair, Members of Special Committee on Property Asset Management and its Charge
Director David Kakishiba (District 2), the board's president, is requesting the forming of a special committee to examine the strategic use of OUSD properties.

Director Kakishiba is recommending Director Jody London (District 1) and Jumoke Hinton Hodge (District 3) be appointed to the committee, which would deliver its policy recommendations on June 26.

Click here to download the report.

Presentation to the Board of Education of the Annual Report on the Oakland Unified School District Police Department Public Complaints Process and Complaints Reports Policy
In June of 2012, the OUSD board approved Complaints Process and Complaints Report Policy. This is the first annual, required report, which includes a summary of each complaint investigated over the past year. There were four total complaints.

Click here to download the report.

February 6 OUSD board meeting: Strategic priorities for the year outlined

The Oakland Unified School District Board of Education held a special meeting on February 6, 2013 at the studios of KDOL TV, located in the La Escuelita Education Center. The meeting was crowded, with many people spilling out into the hallway because the studio could only accomodate 50 people.

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The board met for less than two hours, and reviewed four agenda items: a charter renewal presentation from Bay Area Technology School; two special presentations, one on programming offered for OUSD students and teachers at the Chabot Space and Science Center and another on accessing financial aid from the East Bay College Access Network.

Click here to download the meeting's agenda, and here to download a PDF of the presentation given by Chabot's Executive Director, Alexander Zwissler.

2013 Board of Education Strategic Priorities and Calendar
The board voted unanimously to approve a 2013 calendar of its strategic priorities. There are five listed strategic priorities for the year, and applicable key dates for important events, like study sessions for each of the listed priorities.

The board's priorities for the year:

  • Evaluate OUSD's progress toward achieving goals and objectives for the board's Balanced Scorecard for: A. Graduation; B. Attendance; C. Discipline; D. Quality & Effective Teaching; E. Quality & Effective Schools; F. Fiscal Responsibility
  • Establish a Quality School Development policy to foster the development of high-quality, higher-performing full-service community schools.
  • Ratify a contract agreement with the Oakland Education Association that is consistent with the intent of the board's initial proposals.
  • Establish a comprehensive Property Asset Management policy for OUSD properties and to guide long-term use.
  • Improve the board's governing effectiveness by establishing internal operating norms and organizational structures. 
During the meeting, Director Jumoke Hinton Hodge (District 3) told the board she would like to see more structure in the calendar, and "more assessment along the way." Click here to watch a video of Director Hinton Hodge's comments.

Director David Kakishiba (District 2), the board's president, said the calendar and priorities remain a "work in progress" but the directors will be keeping track of how each of the priorities is implemented. "We're not looking just for a ninth inning score," Director Kakishiba told the board. Click here to watch video of Director Kakishiba's comments.

Director Jody London (District 1) added that the board is also concerned with issues not on The Balanced Scorecard, such as a district middle school strategy, the future of the Oakland Athletic League, and special education programming in the district. Click here to watch a video of Director London's comments.

We at GO Public Schools Leadership Center believe a tool like this is essential to give the Oakland education community clear expectations about the district's priorities for the year. We would also like to see more frequent reporting intervals, which would ensure the board and staff remain in clear communication relative to the annual objectives. We also recommend that, due to this late stage of the 2013-1014 budget process, the board should request a report on how Balanced Scorecard objectives adopted this past December will be resourced in the coming year.

The first study session for a Balanced Scorecard item - Attendance - is on February 27.

Click here to download the board's 2013 Board Strategic Priorities Calendar.  

Bay Area Technology School - Petition and Proposed Charter School (Renewal) (Grades 6-12)
The board heard a renewal presentation from BayTech, a charter school in the East Oakland hills that has been open since 2004 and currently serves 198 students in grades 6-12. The board now has 60 days to decide on whether to approve or deny the charter. 


Special Presentation - East Bay College Access Network
Last year, 277 OUSD seniors were selected to receive $700,000 from the East Bay College Access Network, according to a presentation to the board on Wednesday. Most of those students received about $2,500, and 90 percent of those students also received an additional $2.1 million in scholarship money from federal and state student aid programs.

Still, just 55 percent of OUSD seniors filled out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) last year. EBCAN's goal is that "every student at Castlemont, Fremont, McClymonds and Oakland High" completes a FAFSA by this year's March 2 deadline.

Click here to download a PDF of the presentation.

February 6 OUSD board meeting preview: Priorities for the year

The Oakland Unified School District Board of Education will hold a regularly-scheduled meeting at 5 pm Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at the KDOL television studios, located at La Escuelita Education Center, 1050 2nd Avenue.

There are only four items on the agenda this week: a petition to renew the charter for Bay Area 
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Technology School; a presentation on programming at the Chabot Space & Science Center; a presentation on financial aid by the East Bay College Access Network; and the approval of the board's strategic planning and priorities for the year.

Click here to download the agenda.

A brief synopsis:

Bay Area Technology School - Petition and Proposed Charter School (Renewal) (Grades 6-12)
The board will hear a renewal presentation from a representative of BayTech, a charter school in the East Oakland hills that has been open since 2004 and currently serves 198 students in grades 6-12. The board will not be voting this week on whether to approve or deny the charter. 

Click here to download the school's petition.

Special Presentation - Chabot Space & Science Center
Alexander Zwissler, the Executive Director of the Chabot Space & Science Center, will present information about programming of interest for OUSD. 

The center offers free classes and exhibits for OUSD students, and professional development for K-12 teachers. 

Click here to download a PDF of the presentation

Click here to visit the Space & Science Center's website for a listing of events.

Special Presentation - East Bay College Access Network
The East Bay College Access Network (EBCAN) is a college access network of nonprofits, OUSD and the Peralta College, which "helps facilitate the overall scope of the financial aid and college selection experience for students in Oakland" according to its Facebook page.

On Wednesday, the EBCAN will present a report "Focus on Financial Aid" to the board. One of the goals of EBCAN is that every OUSD senior at Castlemont, Fremont, McClymonds and Oakland High fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or California's Dream Act application, by the March 2 deadline.

Click here to download EBCAN's report "Focus on Financial Aid."

2013 Board of Education Strategic Priorities and Calendar
The board will vote on whether to approve a 2013 calendar of the board's strategic priorities. 

The board has five listed strategic priorities for the year, listed below. The calendar lists dates those priorities are featured in an item being discussed at a board meeting.

The board's priorities for the year:

  • Evaluate OUSD's progress toward achieving goals and objectives for the board's Balanced Scorecard for: A. Graduation; B. Attendance; C. Discipline; D. Quality & Effective Teaching; E. Quality & Effective Schools; F. Fiscal Responsibility
  • Establish a Quality School Development policy to foster the development of high-quality, higher-performing full-service community schools.
  • Ratify a contract agreement with the Oakland Education Association that is consistent with the intent of the board's initial proposals.
  • Establish a comprehensive Property Asset Management policy for OUSD properties and to guide long-term use.
  • Improve the board's governing effectiveness by establishing internal operating norms and organizational structures. 

Click here to download the calendar.

January 23 OUSD board meeting: AIMS schools issued notice to revoke charter

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The Oakland Unified School District Board of Education held a regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, January 25. The meeting was held at La Escuelita Elementary School, across the street from the usual location at OUSD's main office, which was damaged by flooding over the winter break.

On Wednesday, the board agreed with recommendations from Superintendent Tony Smith to renew the charters for five years for three schools, and to issue a notice to revoke the charter from American Indian Model Schools, which manages three charter schools.

Click here to download the agenda.

Approval by the Board of Education of the Aspire Public Schools - Golden State College Preparatory Academy - Petition and Proposed Charter School (Renewal)
The board voted unanimously to renew the charter for Aspire Golden State College Preparatory Academy, with conditions. 

Click here to read a report from Superintendent Tony Smith recommending the renewal.

Click here to watch video of acting coordinator of OUSD's Office of Charter Schools Phil Dotson reporting to the board why Aspire Golden State's Charter should be renewed.

Approval by the Board of Education of the East Oakland Leadership Academy - Petition and Proposed Charter School (Renewal)
The board voted unanimously to renew the charter of East Oakland Leadership Academy.

Click here to read a report from Superintendent Tony Smith recommending the renewal.

Click here to watch video of acting coordinator of OUSD's Office of Charter Schools Phil Dotson reporting to the board why East Oakland Leadership Academy's charter should be renewed.

Approval by the Board of Education of the Amethod Public Schools - Oakland Charter Academy Middle School - Petition and Proposed Charter School (Renewal)
The board voted unanimously to renew the charter of East Oakland Leadership Academy.

Click here to read a report from Superintendent Tony Smith recommending the renewal.

Click here to watch video of acting coordinator of OUSD's Office of Charter Schools Phil Dotson reporting to the board why Amethod Oakland Charter Academy Middle School's charter should be renewed.

Approval by Board of Education of Notice of Intent to Revoke/Notice of Facts In Support of Revocation to American Indian Public Charter School, American Indian Public Charter School II and American Indian Public High School, under Education Code Section 47607(e)
The board voted 6-1 to issue a Notice of Intent to revoke the charter of three schools managed by American Indian Model Schools.

Click here to watch a video of a lawyer from the firm Burke, Williams and Sorenson reading through a list of alleged violations by AIMS leadership.

Director Jody London (District 1) said she was voting to issue the notice to revoke the charter because AIMS leadership "violated the public trust."

Click here to watch video of London's comments.

Director Gary Yee (District 3) said though AIMS director Ben Chavis "took a failing charter school and significantly turned it around" he holds Chavis and the former AIMS board responsible for the violations, calling it an "egregious violation of the charter law."

Click here to watch video of Yee's comments.

Director Christopher Dobbins (District 6) was the lone board member to vote against issuing the notice. Dobbins said he thought the board was "yanking the charter for the wrong reasons" because of a personal dislike for Chavis. 

"If there actually was fraud or theft, throw the book at these guys. The district attorney has lawyers. If I'm trying to defend someone over $3.8 million, that's unconscionable," he said. "But the fact is the District Attorney hasn't jumped in."

Click here to watch video of Dobbins' comments.

The next board meeting is Wednesday, February 5.

January 23 OUSD board meeting preview

The Oakland Unified School District Board of Education will hold its second meeting of 2013 tonight, Wednesday January 23, at 5 pm. The meeting will be held at La Escuelita Elementary School at 1100 Third Avenue, across the street from OUSD's main office.

Among items on the agenda, the board will vote on three charter renewal applications as well as whether to revoke the charter of American Indian Public Charter School, American Indian Public Charter School II and American Indian Public Charter High School. 

Click here to download the agenda for tonight's meeting.

Public Hearings
Unfinished Business

Decision - Aspire Public Schools - Golden State College Preparatory Academy - Petition and Proposed Charter School (Renewal) (Grades 6-12)
The board will vote on a recommendation from Superintendent Tony Smith and Philip Dotson, the Acting Coordinator of OUSD's Office of Charter Schools, that the charter petition from Aspire Public Schools Golden State College Preparatory Academy be approved, with conditions, for five years. 

The rationale for a conditional approval, according to the report, is because "a recommendation for unconditional renewal at this time would ignore evidence of poor past performance in the realms of student achievement that has put the school, and its students, at risk. Although some corrective steps have been taken, conditions on renewal will ensure that the school continues to progress toward becoming a fully effective and viable organization," the report states.

Click here to download the report.

Decision - East Oakland Leadership Academy - Petition and Proposed Charter School (Renewal) (Grades K-8)
The board will vote on a recommendation from Superintendent Tony Smith and Philip Dotson, the Acting Coordinator of OUSD's Office of Charter Schools, that the charter petition from East Oakland Leadership Academy be approved, with conditions, for five years. 

The rationale for a conditional approval, according to the report, is the same as that of because "a recommendation for unconditional renewal at this time would ignore evidence of poor past performance in the realms of student achievement that has put the school, and its students, at risk. Although some corrective steps have been taken, conditions on renewal will ensure that the school continues to progress toward becoming a fully effective and viable organization," the report states.

Click here to download the report.

Decision - Amethod Public Schools - Oakland Charter Academy Middle School - Petition and Proposed Charter School (Renewal) (Grades 6-8)
The board will vote on a recommendation from Superintendent Tony Smith and Philip Dotson, the Acting Coordinator of OUSD's Office of Charter Schools, that the charter petition from Oakland Charter Academy Middle School be approved for five years. 

"It is the recommendation of staff, based on its thorough analysis of the charter school's performance, to approve the charter renewal petition for Oakland Charter Academy, as revised per Attachment II, because the charter school has sufficiently met the standards and expectations set forth in the OUSD Charter Renewal Standards, as well as the standards and criteria set forth in the California Charter Schools Act, Education Code 47605, which governs charter school renewals," the report states.

Click here to download the report.

Notice of Intent To Revoke Charter (NOITRC) - American Indian Public Charter School, American Indian Public Charter School II, American Indian Public High School - Public Hearing W/I 30 Days of NOITRC - Final Decision W/I 60 Days of NOITRC
Superintendent Smith is recommending the board close three schools run by American Indian Model Schools (AIMS). The AIMS board was notified by OUSD in September of a series of violations, and had until November 28 to respond.

If the board agrees with Smith's recommendation, it would vote to issue a Notice of Intent to Revoke the Charter, the board would have 30 days to schedule a public hearing, and then 60 days for a final decision on whether to close the school.

Click here to download a letter from Superintendent Smith to the AIMS community.

Click here to download the report recommending the charter be revoked. 

Best,
Ryan

P.S. Do you know others who should be receiving updates about the OUSD school board? Have them sign up at http://www.goleadershipcenter.org/forms/BoardWatchUpdates to stay in the know about the board's decisions.

January 9 OUSD board meeting: New board members seated

The Oakland Unified School District Board of Education held its first regularly scheduled meeting of 2013 on Wednesday, January 9. 

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The meeting was the first for two new school board directors - Rosie Torres (District 5) and James Harris (District 7), as well as the first meeting led by new board president David Kakishiba (District 2). Flooding at OUSD's main office also caused the meeting to be held in the gym of La Escuelita, a new OUSD elementary school, across the street.

Click here to download the agenda, and read on for notes on items of interest.

Open Forum
Oakland Education Association president Trish Gorham addressed the board, welcoming new directors, and bringing up negotiations between the board and the OEA on a new contract.

Click here to watch video of Gorham addressing the board.

Each of the board members were given the opportunity to address the audience.

Click here to watch the first remarks from director James Harris.

Click here to watch the first remarks from director Rosie Torres

Public Hearings
East Oakland Leadership Academy/High - Petition and Proposed Charter School (Renewal) (Grades 9-12)
The governing board of East Oakland Leadership Academy High School (EOLAH) presented a charter renewal application to the board. Click here to read the application.

EOLAH is a small school, with 53 students (19 9th graders, 19 10th graders, seven 11th graders, eight 12th graders), with 100 percent of the student population eligible for free or reduced lunch. The school "seeks to educate low income, minority students from East Oakland" according to the school's petition. 

Click here to watch EOLAH students telling the board why their school should remain open.

Amendment of Board Policy - School Attendance Boundaries - Crocker Highlands Elementary School and Cleveland Elementary School
The board voted unanimously to reduce the boundaries for Crocker Highlands Elementary School and expanding the boundaries of nearby Cleveland Elementary School.

Crocker Highlands is likely to have a "chronic oversubscription" issue with incoming kindergarten classes for years to come if the boundaries are not revised, OUSD staff recommended. The boundary changes apply to 2013-2014 enrollment applications.

Click here to read the report from Superintendent Tony Smith and Executive Director of Quality Community Schools Development David Montes de Oca.

Click here to watch a video of a Crocker supporter addressing the board.

New Business
Decision - Legacies of Excellence - Petition and Proposed Charter School
The board voted unanimously to deny a charter petition from Legacies of Excellence, a proposed charter school that would serve 120 students in grades 5-6, and eventually expanding to 300 students in grades 5-8 by 2018. The vote came following a recommendation from OUSD Office of Charter Schools to deny the petition. 

The school's leadership presented the petition to the board at a public hearing on November 14, and the board had 60 days after the petition was submitted to take action.

Among the key findings, the report states that OUSD believes Legacies of Excellence "presents an unsound educational program" and "the petitioners are demonstrably unable to successfully implement the program."

Click here to read the report.

January 9 OUSD board meeting preview

The Oakland Unified School District board of education will hold its first meeting of 2013 on Wednesday, and will welcome two new members and a new president.

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The directors elected in November - Rosie Torres (District 5) and James Harris (District 7) - will be attending their first meeting. Directors Jody London (District 1) and Jumoke Hinton Hodge (District 3) were also re-elected, joining David Kakishiba (District 2), Gary Yee (District 4) and Christopher Dobbins (District 6).

On Monday, the new board members were inaugurated during a ceremony at city hall. Click here to watch video of the inauguration, and speeches from each newly elected board member. At the inauguration, the board members voted to elect Kakishiba as the board's president for a one-year term.

Click here to download the full agenda for Wednesday's meeting, and scroll through for more information on items of interest.

Public Hearings

East Oakland Leadership Academy/High - Petition and Proposed Charter School (Renewal) (Grades 9-12)
The governing board of East Oakland Leadership Academy High School (EOLAH) will present to the board a petition to renew the school's charter.

EOLAH is a small school, with 53 students (19 9th graders, 19 10th graders, seven 11th graders, eight 12th graders), with 100 percent of the student population eligible for free or reduced lunch. The school "seeks to educate low income, minority students from East Oakland" according to the school's petition. 

Click here to read EOLAH's petition.

Amendment of Board Policy - School Attendance Boundaries - Crocker Highlands Elementary School and Cleveland Elementary School
The board will hear a second reading, and then have the opportunity to vote, on reducing the boundaries for Crocker Highlands Elementary School, and expanding the boundaries of nearby Cleveland Elementary School.

Crocker Highlands is likely to have a "chronic oversubscription" issue with incoming kindergarten classes for years to come if the boundaries are not revised, OUSD staff is recommending. 

Any boundary changes the board agrees to would be applied to 2013-2014 enrollment applications.

Click here to read the report from Superintendent Tony Smith and Executive Director of Quality Community Schools Development David Montes de Oca

California State Board of Education - General Waiver Request - QEIA funding
The Quality Education Investment Act (QEIA) is aimed at boosting student achievement at low-performing schools. In 2007, 488 low-performing schools in California were selected to receive QEIA funding. OUSD has 13 QEIA schools - four middle schools and nine elementary schools. 

"QEIA schools have demonstrated meaningful to significant growth in academic achievement over-all as a result of implementing the various strategies outlined in the QEIA program" the report states.

However, in order to maintain funding for these schools, OUSD must request a General Waiver for non-compliance reports at schools receiving QEIA funding. 

There are three non-compliance issues: 
  • Class Size Reduction Targets: (Acorn Woodland Elementary, Bridges at Melrose Elementary, Brookfield Elementary, Garfield Elementary, Horace Mann Elementary, Manzanita Community Elementary, Markham Elementary, New Highland Elementary, Parker Elementary, Frick Middle School, Madison Middle School, Urban Promise Middle School); 
  • Teacher Experience Index Averages: (Acorn Woodland, Manzanita) 
  • Highly Qualified Teacher: (Brookfield, Claremont Middle School) 
  • Class Size Maximum Enrollment: (Parker, Madison, Frick, Urban Promise).
Download the agenda to read a report on each school.

New Business

Decision - Legacies of Excellence - Petition and Proposed Charter School
The OUSD Office of Charter Schools is recommending the board vote to deny a charter petition from Legacies of Excellence, a proposed charter school that would serve 120 students in grades 5-6, and eventually expanding to 300 students in grades 5-8 by 2018.

The school's leadership presented the petition to the board at a public hearing on November 14, and the board had 60 days after the petition was submitted to take action.

Among the key findings, the report states that OUSD believes Legacies of Excellence "presents an unsound educational program" and "the petitioners are demonstrably unable to successfully implement the program."

Click here to read the report.

December 12 OUSD board meeting: Gallo signs off at final meeting of 2012

The Oakland Unified School District Board of Education held its final meeting of 2012 on Wednesday. The board made its way through an agenda filled with reports, first readings and presentations, without making any major final decisions.

Download the agenda here.

Some items of interest:

Public Comment

Before the meeting, a large group from American Indian Model School (AIMS) protested outside 
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of the board meeting, and then attended the public comment portion of the meeting. In late September, the OUSD board notified the AIMS board of a series of violations at the school, and officials had until November 28 to respond. 

Though there was nothing on Wednesday's agenda regarding the notice of violation, Jason Chu, the executive director of AIMS, spoke to the board during the public comment period. Chu talked about positive changes the school has made, including adding new board members, and more training and legal support.

Click here to see Chu's comments.  

Petition and Proposed Charter School Renewal for: Aspire Golden State College Preparatory; East Oakland Leadership Academy; Amethod Oakland Charter Academy Middle School
The board heard presentations from representatives from each of the three schools on why their petition should be renewed. Board members were able to ask questions, but no vote was taken on renewing any of the charters.

Click here to watch video of Aspire Golden State College Prepatory's presentation.

Click here to watch video of East Oakland Leadership Academy's presentation.

Click here to watch video of Amethod Oakland Charter Academy Middle School's presentation.

Unfinished Business
Adoption by Board of Education - Balanced Scorecard baseline measures and annual growth targets

The board voted unanimously to adopt framework for its Balaced Scorecard policy, which sets measurable goals for "student achievement" and "operational excellence."

Click here to download a list of "progress indicators" approved by the board.

Click here to see comments made by OEA President Trish Gorham on the Balanced Scorecard.

Remedy - Oversubscription of Kindergarten Seats at Crocker Highlands

The board heard a first reading of a proposal from Superintendent Tony Smith to change the boundaries for Crocker Highlands Elementary School. The board will cast a final vote on a boundary change in January. 

Click here to download the proposal.

Click here to see video of Crocker parents commenting on the proposed change.

First Interim Financial Report - Fiscal Year 2012-2013

State law requires school districts prepare financial and budget reports for the period ending on October 31, so the public can be made aware if the district will be able to meet its obligations for the rest of the fiscal year and the next two fiscal years.

The district will meet its financial obligations for each of the next three fiscal years, according to the report. 

Click here to download the report.

Tribute to Noel Gallo - Retiring Board Member - District 5

The meeting closed with final remarks from Noel Gallo, the longtime District 5 board member who was elected to serve that district in the Oakland City Council starting in January.

Gallo said it has been an "honor and a privilidge" serving Oakland as a school board member, and won't be going to far with his new job. I'm going to continue to be real close," Gallo said.

Click here to watch video of Gallo delivering his closing remarks.

December 12 OUSD board meeting preview: Last meeting of the year

On Wednesday, the Oakland Unified School District Board of Education will hold its final meeting of 2012. There are a number of items of interest on this tightly-packed agenda: three charter school renewal applications, a report on targets and indicators for student achievement, a proposal for how to fix an oversubscription of kindergarten seats at Crocker Highlands, and an interim report on the district's budget for 2012-2013 fiscal year.

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Click here to download the entire agenda.

Public Hearings

Petition and Proposed Charter School Renewals: Aspire Golden State College Preparatory; East Oakland Leadership Academy; and Amethod Oakland Charter Academy Middle School
The board will hear a presentation concerning renewing the charter for three schools: Aspire Golden State College Preparatory Academy (grades 6-12); East Oakland Leadership Academy (K-8) and Oakland Charter Academy Middle School (6-8). Click on the school's name to read its petition. 

Unfinished Business


Adoption by Board of Education of Balanced Scorecard - Baseline Measures and Annual Growth Targets
Director David Kakishiba (District 2) is recommending the board adopt framework for each of 18 progress indicators of the board's Balanced Scorecard. In September, the board voted to approve the Balanced Scorecard, which lists measurable goals for "student achievement" and "operational excellence."

Each goal has a few listed progress indicators now. For example, one goal for student achievement is that "students attend school every day." The corresponding progress indicators for that goal are: "# and % of students who are absent 10% or more days in a year disaggregated by school and demographic population."

Click here to read the report and see the indicators.

New Business

Remedy - Oversubscription of Kindergarten Seats at Crocker Highlands 
In March, after the options process, Crocker Highlands Elementary had more kindergarten students than it had seats. A fourth kindergarten class was created to temporily fix the problem, but did not address future years.

In a late October board meeting, Kakishiba requested Superintendent Tony Smith examine the problem and present possible solutions at the December 12 meeting.  On Wednesday, the board will vote on whether to accept the report.

In a report Smith will present to the board on Wednesday, district staff agree the problem is likely to continue if action isn't taken. The best solution, according to the report, would be to revise the current boundaries for both Crocker Highlands and Cleveland Elementary, so that Crocker's area is reduced and Cleveland's is expanded. 

First Interim Financial Report - Fiscal Year 2012-2013
State law requires school districts prepare financial and budget reports for the period ending on October 31, so the public can be made aware if the district will be able to meet its obligations for the rest of the fiscal year and the next two fiscal years.

The district will meet its financial obligations for each of the next three fiscal years, according to the report. Click here to read the report.

November 14 OUSD board meeting: Mynette Theard honored

The Oakland Unified School District Board of Education held a meeting on Wednesday, November 14. 

Here are some items of interest reviewed by the directors:

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In Memoriam - Mynette Theard, President, Service Employee International Union (SEIU), Local 1021
The board honored Mynette Theard, the President of SEIU Local 1021 and a School Security officer who passed away in October.

Board president Jody London (District 1) read a resolution honoring Theard that was unanimously adopted by the board as Rita Bailey, the SEIU Local 1021 vice president, looked on. A number of Theard's former coworkers, directors and Superintendent Tony Smith gave heartfelt remeberances of Theard.

Watch a video of London reading the resolution here.

Renaming "Nondiscrimination/Harassment Policy" to "Nondiscrimination/Harassment and Transgender policy"
The directors approved new language in the district's nondiscrimination policy - adding "gender, gender identity or gender expression" to the existing policy.

Report - Balanced Scorecard - Baseline Measures and Annual Growth Targets
The board was scheduled to discuss framework for its Balanced Scorecard policy, but the directors voted to postpone the item until a special meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 5 at 6 pm.

The recommendation came from "staff and board leadership" that there be more discussion on the policy, London told the board.

District Pupils 2011-2012 Academic Performance Reports

Deputy Superintendent Maria Santos presented a report on how district students are performing on California Standard Tests. The presentation is titled: "Student Achievement: Continuing to Move in the Right Direction."

According to the report, 45 percent of OUSD students are "at or above proficient" on both the state English-Language Arts (ELA) and math exams. You can read the report here.

Maria Santos restorative justice practice in December 2010, and in 2011 increase graduation requirements at OUSD schools in order to meet state A-G requirements so all students graduated meeting college-eligibility requirements.

The district is "moving in the right direction with modest gains," Santos told the board. There have been gains in elementary school science scores, in the overall graduation rate and the number of students meeting A-G requirements, she listed as the highlights.

The district has also seen gains in cohort graduation rate, which improved from 55.2 percent of the student population in 2010, to 59.1 in 2011, and A-G completion rate (for UC/CSU eligibility), which increased from 36.8 percent of OUSD graduates to 39.7 percent, according the report.

Santos said the district also measures the impact of the policy by the number of chronic absences, suspensions and drop outs. She said fewer students are dropping out, but that also means that many students who remain have significant challenges, like reading or behavioral problems. She said strategic reading courses are one way the district is trying to hold on to students while also making academic gains.

Legacies of Excellence - Petition and Proposed Charter School
The board held a public hearing to review the charter application of Legacies of Excellence, a proposed school that would serve students in grades 5-8. The petitioner is Nabeehah Shakir, the school's executive director.

Shakir took questions from the directors. Director Jumoke Hinton Hodge and London both asked if questions from previous petitions from Legacy Charter had been addressed. Shakir answered that she has properly revised the charter herself, that the school's curriculum meets standards.

Presentation of Report to the Board of Education on District 2012-13 Pupil Enrollment
David Montes de Oca, director of OUSD's Quality Community Schools Development, presented a report on the district's enrollment numbers for this school year.

Check the GO Leadership Center YouTube channel soon for video on the presentation.

The next OUSD board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, December 12 at 5 pm.

November 14 OUSD board meeting preview: Mynette Theard honored, presentations on student academic performance and enrollment

The Oakland Unified School District Board of Education has a full slate for its meeting on Wednesday, November 14.

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There are several items of interest on the agenda, including: recognizing former SEIU Local 1021 president Mynette Theard, discussing a petition for Legacies of Excellence Charter School, amending the board's non-discrimination policy, an update on the Balanced Scorecard, and hearing presentations on OUSD student academic performance and enrollment. 

In Memoriam - Mynette Theard, President, Service Employee International Union (SEIU), Local 1021
The directors will read a resolution recognizing Mynette Theard, who worked as a School Security Officer and President of SEIU Local 1021, and passed away in October.  

"Mynette was a fighter, for her union, for students, and against the illness which she faced, but which did not diminish her spirit," the resolution states.

Click here to read the full text.

District's Five Year Deferred Maintenance Plan - Fiscal Years Ending June 30, 2017
In order to upgrade existing facilities, including laboratories, specialized instruction rooms, and spaces for physical education, and receive matching funds for the state, the Department of Building and Grounds has submitted a five-year plan for the board's approval, at a total of just under $10 million.

Click here to read the plan.

Legacies of Excellence - Petition and Proposed Charter School
The board will hold a public hearing to review the charter application of Legacies of Excellence, a proposed school that would serve students in grades 5-8. The petitioner is Nabeehah Shakir, the school's executive director.

According to materials from the school which will be presented to the board Wednesday, the school would be open to all students and aims to specifically serve underserved students from Social Service Systems: Foster Care, Juvenile Justice, Group Home, and those with poor attendance and behavior problems.

Click here to view a presentation on the school's charter proposal.

Renaming "Nondiscrimination/Harassment Policy" to "Nondiscrimination/Harassment and Transgender policy"
The directors will vote on whether to amend district policy to include a transgender policy. The new language adds "gender, gender identity or gender expression" to the existing policy. 

Click here to read the report.

Report - Balanced Scorecard - Baseline Measures and Annual Growth Targets
Director David Kakishiba (District 2) is proposing the board adopts framework for the board's Balanced Scorecard policy. At its September 12 meeting, the board unanimously voted to approve the Balanced Scorecard, which lists measureable goals for "student achievement" and "operational excellence."

At the September 12 meeting, Director Gary Yee (District 4)  requested more indicators be added to a list of goals which included measurable achievements like: "Every 9th grader graduates high school prepared to succeed in college and career" and "Every school is a high-quality full-service community school."

In the current report, each goal now lists up to five "progress indicators." 

Click here to read the goals and indicators.

District Pupils 2011-2012 Academic Performance Reports

Deputy Superintendent Maria Santos will present a report on how district students are performing on California Standard Tests. The presentation is titled: "Student Achievement: Continuing to Move in the Right Direction."

According to the report, 45 percent of OUSD students are "at or above proficient" on both the state English-Language Arts (ELA) and math exams.

The district has also seen gains in cohort graduation rate, which improved from 55.2 percent of the student population in 2010, to 59.1 in 2011, and A-G completion rate (for UC/CSU eligibility), which increased from 36.8 percent of OUSD graduates to 39.7 percent.

Click here to view a presentation on student academic achievement.

Presentation of Report to the Board of Education on District 2012-13 Pupil Enrollment
Superintendent Tony Smith will present a report on the district's enrollment numbers for this school year.

According to the report, there are a total of 36,262 students enrolled in OUSD schools this year, and 10,228 students enrolled in district public charter schools. 

The report includes information on district restructuring after five elementary schools closed at the end of last school year. The report states that 119 students (19 percent of the total population at the five schools) left the district.

Click here to view a presentation on student enrollment.

October 24 OUSD board meeting: Oversubscription of kindergarten seats at Crocker Highlands

The Oakland Unified School District held a regularly-scheduled meeting on Wednesday, October 24.
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The meeting was brief by the board's standards-around three hours-with a majority of the audience present for an item from Director David Kakishiba (District 2) regarding the oversubscription of kindergarten seats at Crocker Highlands Elementary School.

Kakishiba wrote a letter last week that outlined the issue: in March, after the close of the options process, Crocker had a significantly greater number of kindergarten students than it had spots for, coming after the school's boundary was expanded after the school closures last year. The district temporarily fixed the problem by creating a fourth kindergarten class at the school for this year, but the issue remains for future years.

Click here to watch a video of Kakishiba explaining the letter.

Kakishiba's request, which was approved by the board, was for Superintendent Tony Smith to examine "recommended remedies to effectively mitigate the incidence of over-subscription of available kindergarten seats by children residing within the Crocker Highlands Elementary School attendance area" at the Dec. 12 board meeting.

A large number of parents--26--both of current Crocker students and parents who hope to send their kids there when they're older, signed up to speak on the oversubscription issue at Wednesday night's meeting. That included District 2's city councilmember, Patricia Kernighan.

Kernighan said there are "twice as many kids in the area as the school can handle," and that she thinks the "net result will be fewer families choosing Oakland public schools" if a permanent alternative solution can't be reached. 

"I think that many of families, in the face of that uncertainty, will choose to move or go to private schools," Kernighan told the board.

Click here to watch a video of Kernighan and some Crocker parents speaking to the board.

Also at the meeting, the board voted to approve a new contract between the district and School Police Officers

According to Alameda County Superintendent Sheila Jordan, who reviewed a tentative agreement between the board and the officers' union, the new deal provides:

  • An annual uniform allowance of $800 for each officer
  • A five-percent pay increase for a shift worked with a canine or on a motorcycle
  • A quarterly dues contribution of $150 for each officer
  • Payment of all costs associated with care of canines utilized by the district

The total cost to the district over the next two years will be approximately $65,000 according to Jordan.

October 24 OUSD board meeting preview

The Oakland Unified School District will hold a regularly-scheduled meeting on Wednesday, October 22. A rundown of some of the key items on the agenda:

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Oversubscription of Kindergarten Seats - Crocker Highlands Elementary School Attendance Boundaries
According to a report from the David Kakishiba, the District 2 Director, Crocker Highlands has too many applicants for kindergarten classes. At the end of the options process this January, the elementary school had 113 applicants, but only 75 seats available. An additional kindergarten class was added this year to mitigate the problem.

One way to remedy the problem, Kakishiba writes in his report, would be to move the Western boundary of the school from Grand Avenue to Lakeshore Avenue. No action on the boundary will be taken this week though--Kakishiba is recommending the board vote to allow Superintendent Tony Smith to take possible action on the oversubscription problem at the December 12 board meeting.

Click here to read the letter.

Collective Bargaining Agreement - California School Employees Association (representing school police officers)
The board will vote on whether to accept a tentative agreement between the district and the union that represents School Police Officers.

According to Alameda County Superintendent Sheila Jordan, who reviewed the tentative agreement, it provides:

  • An annual uniform allowance of $800 for each officer
  • A five-percent pay increase for a shift worked with a canine or on a motorcycle
  • A quarterly dues contribution of $150 for each officer
  • Payment of all costs associated with care of canines utilized by the district

The total cost to the district over the next two years will be approximately $65,000 according to Jordan.

Click here to read the report.

Memorandum of Understanding between the District and Youth Together
The board will vote on a recommendation from the Superintendent's office that the district enter into an agreement with Youth Together for after school programs at Skyline High. The programs include math intervention, homework support, student supervision and a variety of enrichment services. Skyline is one of four sites in the East Bay supported by Youth Together. Castlemont, Fremont and Richmond are the others. The one-year contract is for $176,480.

Click here to read the contract.

Professional Services Contracts and other fiscal items
For each of the remaining items on the agenda, the board will vote on items that concern the district's budget.

A majority of the items are professional service contracts with various organizations that provide services including tutoring for students in foster care and group homes, conflict resolution, analyzing student performance data, counseling services, and over a dozen more.

Go here to see the entire agenda

October 10 OUSD board meeting: Special Education, text books and restructuring of Youth Ventures JPA

The Oakland Unified School District school board held a regularly-scheduled meeting on Wednesday, October 10. Video of each item will be available shortly. 
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For the second week in a row, a large number of elementary school parents and teachers, from Kaiser and Cleveland attended the board meeting to speak about consolidated teaching positions, and raise concerns about the process. 

Proposed restructuring of Youth Ventures Joint Powers Authority
The Youth Ventures Joint Powers Authority (JPA) is a partnership between OUSD, the City of Oakland and Alameda County that works to serve the needs of disadvantaged youth by creating "collaborative partnerships to leverage resources, eliminate duplication and deliver accessible services to the most disadvantaged and vulnerable populations." According to Director Jody London, OUSD pays $150,000 annually in membership dues to the JPA.

The JPA board is discussing whether to restructure, and Director Jody London (District 1), who serves on the committee along with Director Alice Spearman (District 7) brought this item to the board to discuss before the JPA board votes.

Board members had various recommendations for the JPA. Director Noel Gallo (District 5) said he thought the two OUSD director seats on the JPA should be rotated every two years. Director David Kakishiba (District 2) said he thinks the JPA needs more clarity on its goals, and just why it exists. 

Sufficiency of Textbooks and Instructional Materials for 2012-2013 school year
Board members voted to OK textbooks and instructional materials for the current school year. The current cost to the district for those materials is $1.6 million. According to Deputy Superintendent Maria Santos, "every child in Oakland has a textbook" for core academic areas for the 2012-2013 school year.

Presentation on Special Education Services and Strategic Planning
During the summer, the board hired a new director for Programs for Exceptional Children, Karen Mates. Over the past two months, Mates has been meeting with community stakeholders to craft a plan for her work, and she presented a plan to the board during the meeting.

Mates comes from Tamalpias Union High District, where she has worked for the past decade. Santos called Mates' work "innovative" and credited her with developing early intervention programs and model support programs for studetns and parents, among her accomplishments.

Mates said it's important to "bring students back home to their communities" by designing innovative programs for special needs students.

October 10 OUSD board meeting preview

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The Oakland School Board will hold a regularly-scheduled meeting on Wednesday, October 10. A few key items on the agenda:

Sufficiency of Textbooks and Instructional Materials for 2012-2013 school year
The State of California requires school districts to give a report on its textbooks and other instructional materials, including a list of publishers for each subject, when the books were ordered and for what school, and the cost. 

As of September 10, the total cost to the district for textbooks and instructional materials for 2012 was $1.6 million. 

You can see a complete list of textbooks ordered here.

Proposed restructuring of Youth Ventures Joint Powers Authority
The Youth Ventures Joint Powers Authority (JPA) is a partnership between OUSD, the City of Oakland and Alameda County that works to serve the needs of disadvantaged youth by creating "collaborative partnerships to leverage resources, eliminate duplication and deliver accessible services to the most disadvantaged and vulnerable populations."

A committee has been working since May on "key questions" and "alternative paths" the JPA can take in its next phase. The questions include: "What should be the roles and responsibilities of the JPA?" and "How should the JPA be structured? How does it work with both elected officials and staff at the same table?"

Read the report here.

Presentation on Special Education Services and Strategic Planning
Children with a disability make up 13 percent of the OUSD student demographics. The board will hear a report from Karen Mates, the district's executive director for Programs for Exceptional Children on special education in the district, including demographic information, graduation rates, as well as objectives for students and academic services.

According to the report, special education students have a lower graduation rate (62 percent compared to 39 percent) and a higher dropout rate (34 percent to 27 percent) than general education students. 
 
Read the report here.

September 27 OUSD board meeting: Sunshining OEA proposal and federal investigator visits

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for GO_Board_Agenda_Watch_Logo.pngThe Board of Education for Oakland Unified School District met on Thursday, September 27. Here's a brief recap of the key decisions:

"Sunshining" of the Oakland Unified School District's initial proposals in negotiations with Oakland Education Association

Board president Jody London (District 1) presented the board's proposal for a new contract with the union that represents teachers, the Oakland Education Association. The proposal is the board's "direction to our staff as it engages in negotiations in the months to come with the OEA."

In response to the presentation, Trish Gorham, the OEA's new president said, "I believe the OUSD school board has given a very responsible and reasonable proposal of their interests. So now we begin. Just because they're reasonable and responsible doesn't mean we're going to agree on everything, but we are going to recognize respectively the interests of both parties. In doing so, we can come to a negotiated agreement."

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You can see a power point on the district's proposal here, and OEA's proposal here.

Agreement To Resolve U.S. Department of Education Complaint regarding the District's Discipline of African-American Students

The board spent much of the meeting discussing whether to enter into a Voluntary Resolution with the Federal Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights (OCR) regarding the district's disproportionate suspensions of African-American students. The Board voted 6-0 (with District 5 director Noel Gallo absent) to enter into the agreement.

Denise Sadler, a longtime district employee, presented a historical background for the district's voluntary resolution plan. Watch a video of her presentation here.

Part of the district's strategy is adopting "Restorative Justice" principles, that "change the (district's) approach from punitive discipline to restorative practices, emphasizing the harm caused and supporting the offender in providing reparations to the victim." You can read the entire report here.

Superintendent Tony Smith also showed a video that centered around suspensions. Barbara McClung of the OUSD Behavioral Youth Unit, said that for many students who are suspended multiple times, "they receive additional suspensions, and the result is one, they're out of school, but second, they become disengaged with the school setting, as do the parents. They feel like there is a bias against them ... and become disenchanted by education in general."

Art Zeidman, the Regional Director of OCR, was present to answer questions from the board. Zeidman said the OCR attorneys will be in "constant contact" with the district. 

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"The next few years will be an effort by my office and your district to work together to see what the trends are and to identify the successes and failures, and bring all the failures up to successes," he said.

Notice of Violation to American Indian Public Charter School, American Indian Public Charter School II and American Indian Public High School

The board voted 4-2 to notify three charter schools managed by American Indian Model Schools of violations after OUSD's the state's Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistant Team (FCMAT) issued a report that found "significant violations of various laws and regulations by the charter schools." According to the report, the AIMS governing board "failed to maintain institutional or fiscal control over the operation of the three AIMS charters." 

The report states that the founder, Ben Chavis, and his spouse, Marsha Amador realized "approximately $3.9 million in financial benefit through contracts and other financial agreements between the AIMS board and organizations in which one or both had a financial interest."

Watch a video of Director David Kakishiba (District 2) responding to the complaint here.

The AIMS board now has 60 days to respond to the complaint.

September 27 OUSD board meeting preview

The regular-scheduled meeting of the Oakland Unified School District Board of Education will instead take place on Thursday, September 27 because of the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur.
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Public Hearing
"Sunshining" of the Oakland Unified School District's initial proposals in negotiations with Oakland Education Association
The district will present its initial proposal to the OEA, and receive public comment. The proposal states the district's goal is "to reach an agreement with the Oakland Education Association on key objectives and strategies that strengthen the effectiveness and leadership of all teachers and schools."

The proposal outlines the board's position on: Assignment and Transfer; Performance Evaluation; Compensation; and School Governance. 

You can also see OEA's proposal here.

Unfinished Business
Agreement To Resolve U.S. Department of Education Complaint regarding the District's Discipline of African-American Students
The board will discuss a proposed resolution to resolve a complaint from the DOE's Office of Civil Rights concerning the disproportionate suspension of African American students in the district. The board was scheduled to discuss the complaint at the September 12 meeting, but delayed in order to allow directors more time to study the report and meet with community members.

Under the proposed agreement, the district is "committed to  applying school discipline policies and practices in a manner that is in compliance with Title VI, and its implementing regulation." The district will immediately focus resources on schools with the highest disproportionality in suspension by race." 

New Business
Notice of Violation to American Indian Public Charter School, American Indian Public Charter School II and American Indian Public High School
The Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistant Team (FCMAT) has issued a report that found "significant violations of various laws and regulations by the charter schools." According to the report, which was delivered to the American Indian Model Schools (AIMS) governing board on September 20, the AIMS governing board "failed to maintain institutional or fiscal control over the operation of the three AIMS charters." 

The report states that the founder, Ben Chavis, and his spouse, Marsha Amador realized "approximately $3.9 million in financial benefit through contracts and other financial agreements between the AIMS board and organizations in which one or both had a financial interest."

If the board approves the notice of violation, the charter schools will have 60 days to "remedy stated violations and provide a written response."

Letter of Support to U.S. Congress - Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program for Children
OUSD receives federal funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP). At 23 OUSD schools, the FFVP provides fresh fruit and vegetable snacks, and has contributed $400,000 worth of fresh produce to the district. Language in the proposed 2012 Farm Bill, though, proposes to eliminate the "fresh" requirement for the program. District staff is asking the board to sign a letter from the National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity's letter to congress asking that the language "fresh" still be used in the current bill.

Special Recognitions and Presentations-District Teachers of the Year
The board will recognize Stephen Davis, a kindergarten teacher at Global Family Elementary School, and I'asha Warfield, a seventh grade English Language Arts teacher at Frick Middle School, with a resolution confirming them as OUSD Teachers of the Year for 2012-2013. The board unanimously approved the resolution. 

September 12 OUSD board meeting: Balanced Scorecard and new policy on bullying

Here is a synopsis from the OUSD Board of Education Meeting on Wednesday, September 12.

Compliance review of the district's discipline of African-American students
Under the recommendation of OUSD staff, the board decided to postpone discussing how to respond to an inquiry by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights into disproportionate suspensions by race in the district.
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Superintendent Tony Smith told the audience staff requested more time to ensure the board has the "time and space to be engaged deeply, and engage with the community." The board will now discuss the review, and vote on how to respond to the inquiry, at the next board meeting on September 26.

Board of Education Balanced Scorecard
The board voted unanimously to approve  "measurable goals for student achievement," and "measurable goals for operational excellence" at the recommendation of Director David Kakishiba (District 2).

The goals for student achievement are:
Every ninth grader graduates high school prepared to succeed in college and career
Students attend school every day
Racial disparities in student discipline are not evident

The goals for operational excellence are:
There is high quality instruction in every classroom.
Every school is a high-quality, full-service community school
Oakland Unified School District is solvent and its financial resources are maximized to improve teaching and learning.

Director Gary Yee (District 4) commented that he thought the Balanced Scorecard was "a good idea" but asked for more indicators to be listed along with the goals. Go here to read the resolution and see the current list of indicators.

New Board Policy for Bullying

The directors voted unanimously to adopt a new district policy in regards to bullying. The district's bullying policy is outdated after the state passed new legislation this summer regarding school district's responsibilities, Superintedent Tony Smith told the board.

The new district policy adopts the new state standards for bullying, which include:
Physical (pinches, slaps, hits, damage to belongings)
Verbal and Non-Verbal (threats, insults, teasing, menacing)
Relational (rumors, social exclusion)
Cyber Bullying 
Retaliation (intimidation, reprisal, or harassment directed against a person who witnesses, reports and/or aids in the investigation of bullying)

Smith commented that the "Cyber Bullying" addition was especially important and new. He also added that every OUSD student in grades 6-12 will see the movie "Bully," part of The Bully Project, which aims to "end bullying and ultimately transforming society." For more on The Bully Project, go here.

Award of bid with Sunpower Corporation Services
Under the recommendation of Tony Smith and Timothy E. White, the Assistant Superintendent of Facilities Planning & Management, Buildings & Grounds and Custodial Services, the board voted to enter into an agreement with energy company Sunpower. The two sides agreed to a 25-year, $40.8 million deal that will "provide and install energy conservation measures at multiple school sites that will result in a reduction of energy consumption or demand and a net cost savings to the District."

After the board voted, Directors Jumoke Hinton Hodge (District 3) and Jody London (District 1) both celebrated by applauding.

Next board meeting: Wednesday, September 26 at 1025 2nd Avenue.

September 12 OUSD board meeting preview

Wednesday, September 12 is the first Oakland Unified School District Board of Education meeting of the 2012-2013 school year.

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New Business

Compliance review of the district's discipline of African-American students


The board will vote on whether to accept a resolution recommended by Superintendent Tony Smith and legal counsel Jacqueline Minor concerning a federal investigation of OUSD's discipline of African-American students.

The Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights has been conducting a compliance review of OUSD's discipline of African-American students. While the OCR has not released any findings, Superintendent Tony Smith and district legal counsel Jacqueline Minor are recommending the district take immediate action and look closer at disproportionate suspensions by race.

Without agreeing to any violation of the law, OUSD has agreed to a five-year agreement with OCR that will focus "immediate resources" on 38 district schools with "the highest disproportionally in suspension by race." If the board votes to accept the report, the first phase would begin this school year, and could lead to a district-wide Student Discipline Handbook.

Board of Education Balanced Scorecard


Under the recommendation of Director David Kakishiba (District 2), the board will look at proposed "measurable goals for student achievement," as well as "measurable goals for operational excellence." The three listed goals for student achievement are:

Every ninth grader graduates high school prepared to succeed in college and career

Students attend school every day

Racial disparities in student discipline are not evident

New Board Policy for Bullying


The district's bullying policy is outdated after the state passed new legislation this summer regarding school district's responsibilities. The new district policy would adopt the new state standards for bullying, which include:

Physical (pinches, slaps, hits, damage to belongings)

Verbal and Non-Verbal (threats, insults, teasing, menacing)

Relational (rumors, social exclusion)

Cyber Bullying 

Retaliation (intimidation, reprisal, or harassment directed against a person who witnesses, reports and/or aids in the investigation of bullying)

Public Hearings

Award of bid with Sunpower Corporation Services


Tony Smith and Timothy E. White, the Assistant Superintendent of Facilities Planning & Management, Buildings & Grounds and Custodial Services, are recommending the board enter into an agreement with energy company Sunpower on a 25-year, $40.8 million agreement to "provide and install energy conservation measures at multiple school sites that will result in a reduction of energy consumption or demand and a net cost savings to the District."

August 22 OUSD board meeting: Diverse Providers and School Governance Operational plan

GO_Board_Agenda_Watch_Logo.pngNote: Video of the meeting was not immediately available. We will add video clips from the meeting early next week.

During the President of the Board of Education Report, Director Jody London (District 1) 
announced the board is forming a task force on diverse providers, and tasked the committee with coming back with a report back to the board by the second week in October. The board members serving on the committee are:  Alice Spearman (District 7), Gary Yee (District 2) and Christopher Dobbins
(District 6).

Superintendent Tony Smith announced during the Superintendent's Report that the Oakland Raiders donated $54,000 to OUSD over the summer.

Smith also briefly addressed the recent reassignment of special education teachers, noting "staffing is driven by student need." Many of the speakers--both parents and teachers--during the public comment period voiced their displeasure on the reassignments. Some teachers said they were upset to be assigned multiple schools.

A brief update of the Implementation Plan for that Board's School Governance Policy (Board Policy 3625 granting increased local site decision making) was delivered by Smith during New Business. Smith said the district has been contact with community-based organizations to help develop the plan. Smith said praised the work done so far.  He noted that a committee structure to implement the policy was under development and highlighted a couple of areas for their consideration such as the implementation of the common core.  Further, he noted that this Board Policy supported the "regional governance" structure that is part of the district's Strategic Plan. The committee is due to report back to the council in January.

The board also unanimously passed a resolution to support two state ballot initiatives--Support of Schools & Local Public Safety Protection Act (Proposition 30) and Our Children Our Future: Local Schools and Early Education Investment Act (Proposition 38). Alice Spearman was not present at the meeting.

The board approved a number of contracts with schools and private entities during the Consent Calendar. Director Noel Gallo (District 5) raised questions about a $350,000 annual contract with Urban Strategies Council for Executives on Loan. OUSD general counsel Jackie Minor noted that the money goes to cover a number of jobs in key district vacancies that OUSD has had trouble filling because it can't offer a competitive salary. 

The board also voted to table a decision on Minor's suggestion that members accept training in parliamentary procedure.

Upcoming Board Meeting: Wednesday, September 5th - Regular Meeting

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June 27 OUSD Board Meeting: New Budget, New Bond, & Same Site for Lazear

Here is a synopsis from the OUSD Board of Education Meeting on Wednesday, June 27.

2012-2013 Budget
The Board held a hearing for the District's 2012-2013 budget. This item was reviewed alongside the discussion of the special education budget because Director Gallo submitted an addendum to rescind the cuts to special education programs and services (The original addendum was to rescind all $4 million dollars of the cuts, however the amendment was changed during Board discussion to only restore the $1.75 million dollars for the preservation of special education program dollars and not to restore the $3.25 million dollars for transportation).

Director Yee asked for an explanation from Superintendent Smith as to whether restoring the $1.75 million dollars of special education cuts would be the best way to maximize funds.

Superintendent Smith responded that he believed that OUSD should include more community engagement, assessment of programs, and collaboration with the Special Ed Community Advisory Committee. His recommendation was to only utilize $400,000 to restore the four program specialist positions. He expressed fear about spending too much or all of the $665,000 structural surplus dollars. The Board voted 4 to 3 to approve the 2012-2013 budget with the amendment to restore $1.75 million dollars for special education programs & staff.

Facilities Bond
Multiple speakers presented on the importance of ensuring that technology is included in this plan in order to enhance instruction, improve opportunities for differentiation, and provide greater equity within OUSD. There was Board discussion over whether or not charter school facilities would have access to the funds collected by the bond funds. It was concluded that, such as prior projects, any OUSD owned facility could be enhanced through these facilities funds. The Board did not amend the bond language to allow for privately owned buildings to receive facilities funds, even if they are serving Oakland students in charter schools. The Board unanimously approved the General Obligation Facilities Bond. 

Charter Issues
The Board unanimously approved the facilities request for the Lazear Charter School to remain at current Lazear site. This charter was approved by Alameda County on June 14th.

The Board will be in recess until August.

Preview: June 27th School Board Meeting

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The Oakland Board of Education has a busy agenda for its final meeting of the 2011-2012 school year.

OUSD's Budget


  • The Board will hold a budget hearing and vote upon the District's 2012-2013 budget of $589,122,109.00. Click here to watch the first reading of this budget. 

Special Education

  • The Board will complete its annual review Oakland's special education budget and service plan. The special education budget is $59.4 million dollars, which reflects a $4.3 million dollar cut (or seven percent decrease). These cuts have been attributed to an accounting error, in which stimulus funds were counted as revenue beyond the length of the one-time grant.   

Facilities Matters

  • The Measure B Citizen's Oversight Committee will share its annual report. This committee is chartered to provide oversight and share information with the public on facilities projects that have been paid for by Oakland's two most recent bond measures, Measures A and B. 
  • The board will vote on a bond measure that would yield $475 million dollars for OUSD to fund a portion of the District's new Facilities Master Plan. This bond would require voter approval of fifty-five percent on the November 6th election. Here is the langauge that voters would see on their ballot:

"To improve the quality of Oakland schools and school facilities to better prepare students for college and jobs, to upgrade science labs, classrooms, computers and technology, improve student safety and security, repair bathrooms, electrical systems, plumbing and sewer lines, improve energy efficiency and earthquake safety shall the Oakland Unified School District be authorized to issue $475 million in bonds, with an independent citizens oversight committee and annual audits to guarantee funds are spent properly to benefit Oakland children?"

Review of Student Policies

  • The Board will amend the District's technology policy so that it aligns with new state regulation from the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA). The new OUSD policy would also require school administrators to provide training to their students on the prevention cyberbullying and discriminatory uses of the internet. Click here to read the full policy. 

Charter School Items

  • The Board will hold a charter hearing for a petition submitted by the Legacies of Excellence Charter School. Click here to view their charter application. 
  • The Board will vote on a facilities request for the Lazear Charter School to remain at current Lazear site. This charter was approved by the Alameda County Board of Education on June 14th.

Board Governance

  • The Rules and Ethics committee has put forth legislation to repeal the Board's Coherent Governance policy with a new by-law that would make the Board responsible for eight specific powers and responsibilities:

1. Establish measurable Goals for Student Achievement.
2. Establish a Theory-Of-Action, a coherent strategy for achieving its student achievement goals.
3. Establish policies consistent with the Goals for Student Achievement and the Theory-Of-Action, and systematically monitor the implementation and effectiveness of such policies.
4. Adopt a comprehensive and aligned district curriculum, and systematically monitor disaggregated student academic performance by grade and school.
5. Adopt a fiscally responsible district budget, and systematically monitor the district's fiscal health.
6. Advocate on behalf of students and public education at the local, state, and federal levels.
7. Hire, support, and evaluate the Superintendent, General Counsel, and Board Executive Assistant.
8. Evaluate the Board of Education's own performance and effectiveness. 

The Board will resume meetings in August.

June 13th School Board Meeting: Family Engagement, OEA Contract, and New OUSD Budget

Here is a summary of OUSD's Board of Education meeting on June 13th.

Public Comment
Many people spoke to advocate in opposition to the Program Specialist layoffs given by OUSD's special education department this week. Program Specialists play an integral role in supporting teachers, special education services, and IEP compliance. Click here to view their comments.

Second reading of the Family Engagement Standards [Video]
OUSD's Family Engagement Collaborative explained how increased parent engagement positively influences student attendance and other important student success factors. They also explained how the Family Engagement rubric effectively measures the progress of a school's proficiency of the six standards. The Board raised important questions about the implementation, accountability, and staffing needed to support family engagement at school sites. The Board unanimously approved this policy.

First Reading: OUSD's 2012-2013 Budget [Video] [Slides]
OUSD's Budget Director reviewed a draft of OUSD's 2012-2013 budget.

Here are a few key highlights: 

  • Recognition that OUSD will not need to take mid-year cuts if the Governor's tax initiative does not pass in November. This is because the District has preserved $13 million dollars into its reserve funds. (However, these are one-time funds. If the initiative does not pass, there will be major reductions in 2013-2014.)
  • OUSD's proposed 2012-2013 budget is $522.7 million dollars. This is $89.1 million dollars less than last year's budget, due to a projected loss of students, and due to cuts in federal special education funding and state general education funds.
  • Per state law, fifty-five percent of District funds must be spent on classroom purposes. The Board reaffirmed its commitment to staying in compliance by meeting this target.
  • OUSD is undergoing an audit, which is expected to be released in late July.

Board Legislative Reorganization:
The Board voted to revise their meeting schedule so that it allows for one Agenda Review Session and one regular action oriented meeting per month, rather than 2 action meetings per month. The board will pilot this model from August 2012 through January 2013.

Public Hearing: "Sunshining" of the OEA's Initial Proposals to the District [Video] [Memo]
Members of the OEA's bargaining committee requested that seven articles of their contract be reviewed during their contract negotiations, which are set to begin later this year. The group repeated the mantra "our working conditions are students learning conditions" multiple times throughout their presentation. Here are the key articles within their contract that OEA would like to re-negotiate:  

 Article 7 - Site Professional Development Planning

OEA wants professional development topics to be requested by teachers.
• Article 9 - Academic Freedom
OEA would like less rigid pacing guides and assessment schedules.
 Article 12 - Assignment, Transfer, and Vacancy Consolidation
OEA would like a more efficient and transparent system. 
• Article 13 - Performance Evaluation
OEA wants a evaluation system that "values teachers and doesn't punish them." They want the goal of performance evaluations to be about "strengthening teacher skills to improve student learning."
• Article 15 - Class Size and Caseloads
OEA wants OUSD to limit class sizes and caseloads, specifically in special education, music, and P.E. 
• Article 24 - Compensation

OEA is requesting a 4 percent raise.
 Article 25 - PAR (Peer Assistance Review)
OEA wants to add a subsection regarding New Teacher Support into the contract. 
• Click here to view the comments shared by newly elected OEA President, Trish Gorham. 

Other highlights:

  • The Board tabled their discussion on the facilities bond measure until their June 27 meeting. We expect they will vote at that meeting to put a $475 million bond measure on the November 6, 2012 ballot.
  • The Board Meeting was dedicated to Alejandro Aguilera, a Life Academy student who was murdered on June 1st. Click here for comments from Life Academy's family coordinator. 
  • The Board also voted to approved the 100 Black Men of the Bay Area Charter School's lease of the Thurgood Marshall school site.

Thank you for your interest and commitment to Oakland students and public schools. 

Casey Farmer
Great Oakland Public Schools Leadership Center

May 23rd Board Watch Preview

There are 2 key items on this week's agenda for the OUSD Board of Education.

1) The Board complete a second reading of the Facilities Master Plan. The key questions that were discussed during the last meeting were related to the prioritization of the projects and the securing the necessary funding.

  • Click here to view the notes & videos from the first reading of the Facilities Master Plan on May 9th.
  • Click here to see the financial breakdown of the proposed projects. 
  • Click here to read the draft of the Facilities Master Plan.

2) The Board will complete a first reading of a set of standards to gauge family engagement at each school site. These standards have been developed by the OUSD Family Engagement Collaborative.

Here are the 6 Standards for Meaningful Family Engagement:

1) Parent & Caregiver Education Program
2) Communication with Parents and Caregivers
3) Parent Volunteering Program
4) Learning at Home
5) Shared Power and Decision Making
6) Community Collaboration & Resources

  • Click here to read the slides that The Family Engagement Collaborative will present to the Board. 
  • You can also find the draft Family Engagement Standards policy here.

Videos from this Week's School Board Meeting

Here are some important highlight's from this week's OUSD Board of Education meeting.

Facilities Master Plan: (Click the links for video)

  • Tim White, Assistant Superintendent of Facilities, gave an overview of the plan. He explained that the Facilities Master Plan is "an exhaustive list of OUSD's greatest facilities needs," however, the schools have not yet been listed in order of priority. When asked about how the plan would support technology, White clarified that the plan will only provide the general infrastructure - for example, more power outlets to allow for upgraded schools to enhance their computer labs. White was also asked about the funding of the plan, to which he explained how funds would be generated through a proposed bond measure ($475 million) and through state and federal grant funding (amount to be determined).
  • Zenobia Barlow, from the Center for Ecoliteracy, spoke to the need to prioritize the infrasture for nutrition and quality food service in the plan.
  • Michelle Gonzalez, Nidya Baez, Mickel Calderon, Lisa Shafer, and Principal Daniel Hurst from Fremont High School spoke about the impacts of poor facilities on learning and enrollment. 
  • Elaine Guarnieri-Nunn, from the California Charter Schools Association, spoke about the need to include charter schools within the plan.
  • The Facilities Department is accepting community feedback on the plan through their website and Board Members can be reached individually via email.

Polling on a potential November 2012 Bond Measure:

  • The polling was completed by Gene Bergman & Associates, who has been doing this type of polling for OUSD since 1994. The poll interviewed six hundred likely Oakland voters residents about their perceptions of Oakland Unified and likelihood to support a bond measure. Click here for the presentation slides. 
  • This 2012 poll was the first year that more respondents said that OUSD Schools were performing "excellent or good" than respondents who stated that OUSD schools were doing "poorly." 
  • A Proposition 39 bond measure requires a 55% passage rate. On average, 67% of respondents stated that they would vote in favor of a bond. Residents in Districts 1, 3, and 5 were more likely to vote yes for a bond measure
  • Mr. Bergman suggested the possibility of complimenting a bond measure with a parcel tax, as the combined measures would be more likely to pass together. The proposed parcel tax would be $20 per parcel and would generates $2 Million to support the maintenence of the facilities. However, the Board only requested draft ballot language for a bond measure. Director Kakishiba stated that pursuing a parcel tax would not worthwhile, since he thought that there were other ways to pay for the maintenence fees and he wants to support a larger parcel tax that is more progressively structured. 
  • Hugh Morrison, an Oakland parent, shared his insight on revenue generation for facilities. Click here to see his speech.

Superintendent's Report:

  • Mr. Smith read a letter from the SD Becthel Jr. Foundation Letter, honoring OUSD for its progress and great work. Bechtel has granted over $3 Million over the past 2 years. Click here to see this video.
  • School Recognition Presentation: Principal Carin Geathers shared the strategies she has implemented to create success at Burckhalter Elementary School, which was recently announced as a Title 1 Achievement School for the second year in a row. She attributed this success to holistic care for students and increased opportunities for students to raise their concerns. Burckhalter has also reduced its absenteeism. Click here to see her presentation.
  • Supt. Smith recognized the 2012 California Distinguished Schools, Kaiser and ACORN-Woodland elementaries, as well as the California Title 1 Academic Achievement Award Recipients: Lincoln, Cleveland, Burckhalter, Lighthouse Community Charter School, and American Indian Charter School II.

Other updates:

  • The LPS R&D Charter School was approved by a vote of 6-1. This charter will overtime phase out the LPS College Park. The school will focus on Linked Learning and blended learning. The school plans to move in the spring of 2013 to a new campus near the Oakland airport. 
  • The Board removed the mandate that required the Oakland Athletic League Commissioner to be held by someone with an administrative credential.

Just minutes ago, the school board voted...

The All Kids coalition has been organizing since October for a policy that increases local school decision-making.

Just a few minutes ago, it passed at the school board by a vote of 7 to 0!

It did not happen by accident. Over the last several months, more than 2,500 Oaklanders signed petitions, hundreds came to organizing and school board meetings, dozens testified, and many organizations and leaders worked to support them. Information on the campaign can be found here: 1) the new policy, 2) implementation resolution, and 3) "All Kids" coalition values.

Superintendent Smith will now create a specific plan to implement the policy (including negotiating aligned agreements with labor unions) and give school communities a greater say in how to educate their children in the areas of Budget, Curriculum, Staffing, and Schedule. In addition, implementation of the new policy will allow school staff more freedom to innovate while advancing OUSD's Thriving Students vision of full service community schools.

Thanks for all that you did to make this happen. Today is a day to celebrate.

Board Watch Preview: School-Site Management, Lazear's Charter & More

GO_Board_Agenda_Watch_Logo.pngThere are two major issues to be voted upon at this week's OUSD Board of Education meeting on Wednesday, April 25th.

1) Board Policy on School Governance
After a thorough study session on this issue last week, the Board will vote on a policy that would increase school-site decision making opportunities. Upon the approval of this policy, the Superintendent will be responsible for creating a plan that reflects the framework outlined in this Board policy. Follow these links to read the 1-page proposed policy or a summary of implementation questions.

2) Decision on the proposed conversion of Lazear Charter School
The Lazear Charter application also includes a request to maintain the Lazear families, to continue the usage of the current Lazear school site, and to become a partnership school with Oakland Unified. OUSD Partner Schools, which include ASCEND and Learning Without Limits, are managed by an independent charter management organization, however, they contract many school services, such as nutrition and custodial support, through Oakland Unified.

Here are a few other key pieces of business:

  • A presentation from Vernon Hal, Deputy Superintendent for Business and Operations, on the successful sale of the District's Bonds.
  • A vote on three Prop 39 charter school site determinations.
  • A recognition ceremony for Oakland's two teachers of the year - Mr. Stephen David and Ms. I'asha Warfield.
  • A vote to approve OUSD's 2012-2013 Calendar.

School-Site Decision Making on the Agenda at Board Study Session

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This Wednesday, the Board will hold a study session to review a policy on school-site decision making, which was approved within the Special Committee on School-Based Management & Budgeting on April 9. The Board will vote on whether or not to adopt the policy at the April 25th regular Board meeting. 

Here are a few key components of the policy:

  • A rationale for school-site decision making:
    "The Board of Education believes that those closest to students at a school - employees, parents, students, community partners - are generally in the best position to know the specific academic, social, and emotional needs of their students, and how best to address those needs."

  • The creation of school site governance teams:
    Each school site will have a committee which will be responsible for "(1) engaging the school community, (2) establishing the school's strategy for attendance, academic achievement, and wellness, and (3) aligning and managing resources."

  • A framework for distributing funding:
    "Allocate funding to schools in a manner that equitably distributes financial resources based on the different need and life circumstances of students and maximizes the percentage of all OUSD revenues to be distributed to schools."

Click here to read the 1 page policy.


It's Spring Break but the School Board is in Session

Committee on School-Based Management and Budgeting
Tonight's meeting has 2 components. This committee consists of David Kakishiba, Chris Dobbins, and Alice Spearman.

  1. They will be discussing the District's community engagement outcomes regarding this potential policy.
  2. The board will review and vote upon the School-Based Management and Budgeting. Click here to read that policy. If the policy is approved in this committee, it will be brought into a study session with the full board on Wednesday, April 18th and then to the full board at the regularly scheduled meeting on April 25th.


Quick update from last week's special Board meeting - Wednesday, April 4th
 
COVA - Renewal Approved

The Board unanimously approved the charter renewal of the Conservatory of Vocal Arts (COVA) with the conditions recommended by the OUSD Office of Charter Schools, regarding improved governance, more inclusive admissions policies, and enhanced Measurable Pupil Outcomes.
 
American Indian Charter Public School II - Renewal Approved
This school was up for its charter renewal. The OUSD Office of Charter Schools has recommended that the Board deny this charter renewal on the grounds of poor governance practices, lack of fiscal responsibility, and multiple violations of charter and school management law. This recommendation partially stemmed from a FCMAT investigation on the school's founder and former leader, Ben Chavis. The charter management organization's Director of Finance and the Board Chair both rejected the allegations of financial and governance violations. This FCMAT report will not be finalized until the end of April. The board engaged in over three and a half hours of debate over whether the allegations were just "concerns" or "proven faults." Click here to read Katy Murphy's live blog of the AICPS Renewal Vote. In the end, the board voted 4 votes to 3 to approve the charter renewal American Indian Charter School for two years with some conditions.
 
The April 4th meeting included 3 important reports. Click below to see the videos:

Update from OUSD Staff on Secondary Literacy Program

Update from OUSD Staff on Adult Education

Recognition Ceremony for three OUSD Police Officers who served as first responders in the Oikos University attack on April 2nd.
 

Last Week's School Board Meeting & Preview of Tonight's Meeting

Here's a recap from last week's Board meeting
Wednesday, March 28 and Thursday, March 29th, 2012

This regularly scheduled Board Meeting was divided over two days, due to a protest lead by BAMN organizers that caused the meeting to go into recess until the following afternoon. For a more detailed breakdown of why the meeting was recessed, please see this article by Oakland North.

The BAMN protest was largely related to the school closures and the charter petition submitted by the Lazear Elementary families and Education for Change. The Lazear Charter Academy's petition to become an independent charter school was supposed to be voted upon during this meeting, however, due to a very in-depth debate about whether Lazear should participate as an OUSD Partner School (like Ascend and Learning Without Limits elementary schools) the Board unanimously voted to table the decision until a later date. Click here for the original charter petition.

Brigitte Marshall, Associate Superintendent of Human Capital, gave a quick synopsis of her department's School Showcase, which teachers from the closing schools attended in order to explore their options for new placements. She explained the showcase here.

New Business (Thursday, March 29th)

  • The Board voted unanimously to approve Prop 39 facilities agreement for Arise High School to be relocated to the former Edward Shands Adult School.
  • The Board voted to lease the Santa Fe Elementary Site to Emery Unified for three years while they build a new high school in Emeryville. Click here to view the explanation from Tony Smith and Board discussion.

Public Hearing

  • The LPS Oakland R&D Charter School presented on the plans for its new charter school, which is intended to replace the existing LPS College Park high school that currently exists on the Castlemont campus. LPS R&D infuses more technology and blended-learning models, such as the College Launch Pilot, which allows high school students to take online college courses. The CEO of Leadership Public Schools also noted that the new location of the school, near the Port of Oakland, would assist in the school's mission in providing "Linked Learning" career development opportunities. Since LPS College Park is acting under its existing charter and Title 1 grant funding, LPS R&D would serve only freshman in its initial year and eventually grow to phase out the LPS College Park High School. Click here to watch the presentation.

What's up at this week's meeting?

Financial and Human Resources Matters

  • There will be an update on Measure B funds for school facilities.
  • The board will hear a report on Tier 3 Flexibility Outcomes for the Fiscal Year 2012-2013.

Teaching and Learning Matters


New Business

Decision on the charter renewal of American Indian Charter School II

  • Click here to read American Indian's charter petition.
  • The OUSD Office of Charter Schools has recommended that the Board deny this charter renewal on the grounds of poor governance practices, lack of fiscal responsibility, and multiple violations of charter and school management law. You can read their recommendation here. These and other allegations were recently noted in The Education Report (Katy Murphy's blog).

Decision on the charter renewal of Conservatory of Vocal Arts (COVA)

  • Click here to read COVA's charter petition.
  • The OUSD Office of Charter Schools has recommended conditional approval of COVA's Charter Renewal, citing the need for creating Measurable Pupil Outcomes, developing their Board governance, as well as changing their application process to be more inclusive. Read the full recommendation here.

Preview: March 28th School Board Meeting

Here is brief synopsis of the key topics for this week's regular School Board meeting on Wednesday, March 28th at 5pm. 

Special Presentation: 


  • The Board will hold a recognition ceremony for the Skyline High School Baseball Program in honor of their new stadium.

Unfinished Business:

  • The Board will vote on whether or not to approve the Lazear Charter Academy's petition to become an independent charter school. Click here to read the recommendation Lazear's charter petition from OUSD's Office of Charter Schools.

New Business

Financial and Human Resources Matters:

  • The board will hear a report on the outcomes of the Tier 3 Flexibility Funds for the Fiscal Year 2012-2013. Click here for the presentation.

Teaching and Learning Matters:

  • The Board will discuss policy and administrative regulations regarding academic grading and evaluation of student achievement. Here are links to OUSD's existing policy and regulation
  • The Board will hear a School Portfolio Management report from district staff regarding Kaiser and Burckhalter Elementary Schools. Click here to read the memo regarding plans for both schools.  

Facilities Matters:

  • The Board will vote on facilities agreements for five charter schools and on an agreement to lease the Santa Fe Elementary Site to Emery Unified for three years. 

Intergovernmental Relations: 

  • OUSD will get an update from their lobbying firm regarding pending legislation in the California State legislature. This presentation may lead to opportunities for the School Board to approve recommendations on certain pieces of legislation that impact OUSD. Click here to read the report from K Street Consultants. 

Public Hearing:

  • The Board will hold a public hearing for the LPS Oakland R & D Charter School (Note, this is a new charter intended to replace the existing LPS College Park high school.) Click here to read the presentation from Leadership Public Schools.

We'll post the notes and key video clips from this meeting later this week.

Board Agenda Watch Notes & Video - Wednesday, March 14th

Below is a recap of Wednesday's board meeting.

Important updates from Superintendent Smith:

  • First, in light of the infamous "March 15th pink slip date," Superintendent Smith formally announced that there will be zero anticipatory layoff notices given this year. You can see his presentation here or below.



  • Second, there was a presentation by Principal Rosette Costello from Peralta Elementary School about the successes that they have seen at their site. Click here or below for the presentation, which includes a student-created digital arts project about the geological formation of Yosemite. 


New Business 

  • The Board unanimously approved a continuation of the PARS program that offers an early retirement incentive to classified and certificated staff. Superintendent Smith explained that this had been requested as an option by some OUSD teachers, particularly ones in schools that are closing this year. 
  • Vernon Hal gave a long update during the Second Interim Financial Report on that status of OUSD's financial health. Alice Spearman led discussions on increasing the reserve funds to 4% (from the current 3%), which was Mr. Hal state was not feasible since the State of California was deferring funds to OUSD (as has been customary in recent years). This does not imply that there are financial challenges, but that OUSD's cash flow is altered at times due to the deferral of funds from the state. The Board and Tony Smith also discussed the impact that potential 2012 ballot initiatives would have on the District's revenue. Click here to watch that conversation. 

General Consent Report

  • Specific point of interest: This item was a contract approval of up to $50,000 to provide implementation support for the opening and operation of the 100 Black Men of the Bay Area Community School. This is a school that tried to negotiate being an in-district charter school, however, these agreements were never reached and thus the organization submitted an independent charter application and was approved unanimously the current OUSD Board. The funds for this contract will come from OUSD, which Director Kakishiba called a "strategic investment" to support the success for what all Board members recognized as a disadvantaged population of students. The Board and the District have concentrated their efforts to support African American males through the creation of The Department of African American Male Achievement and an emphasis on ensuring the success of this population in the district's strategic plan, Thriving Students. This item was approved through the supporting votes from Directors Gallo, Spearman, Kakishiba, and Hinton Hodge.

Next Board Meeting: Wednesday, March 28th - Regular Meeting



Board Watch: OUSD Approves Partner School Agreement

On Wednesday night, the OUSD School Board approved an agreement to create OUSD Partner Schools -- approving charter conversion petitions for Learning Without Limits K-5 and ASCEND K-8 and partnering with the charter management organization, Education for Change. Click here to see video of the presentation from Principals Leo Fuchs and Larissa Adam.

The schools will operate under Education for Change, which already manages 3 charter schools Oakland (Cox, World, and Achieve Academies). Learning Without Limits and Ascend will contract with OUSD for many services, including custodial, facilities, nutrition, and new teachers support. These schools will also continue to pay for the debt incurred before State Administration and lease their facilities from OUSD at a rate higher than required under charter law. The schools were granted a five year charter, however, OUSD has requested that the schools consider returning to OUSD after two years if the district has been able to improve the local decision-making conditions for staffing, budget, curriculum, and schedule.

For more details - please refer to the following videos:

The vote to support this partnership was unanimously approved. Click to view video of comments by President Jody London and Vice-President Jumoke Hinton Hodge.

Preview - Special School Board Meeting on Partner Charter Schools

Tomorrow, the Oakland School Board will review revised charter school petitions from the Ascend K-8 and Learning Without Limits Elementary school communities.

Under the revised petitions, these schools will become district "Partner Schools." This new concept will provide the schools certain autonomies sought in their original charter petitions, however, the schools will remain in a close relationship with the district (i.e., continue to use and pay for many OUSD services such as custodial, nutrition, technology, and maintenance). Should these agreements be approved by the Board, LWL and Ascend will contribute their students' share to the District's State Emergency Loan payment.

Click here to read the charters and detailed agenda. Below is a video where principals Larissa Adam and Leo Fuchs present their revised petitions to the board on February 22nd.

The Board will also review a facilities and operations agreement between OUSD and the 100 Black Men of the Bay Area Community School.

We will post notes and video from this meeting later this week


Summary - OUSD School Board Meeting - February 22, 2012

There were 3 key moments that we would like to draw your attention to this week.


 

Timothy Bremner, Teacher and Academy Director from Castlemont and formerly YES, was awarded the Green Star Teacher Award from the Bay Area Environmental Schools Conference. The Board recognized his efforts and Tim gave a speech about the Sustainable Urban Design Academy and his experience as a teacher in East Oakland over the past 10 years.

 

Superintendent Smith gave a few quick updates, including his thoughts on OUSD's partnership with the education programs at Mills College and the efforts of the Thriving Students Work Groups (which came out of the task forces
 from last year's strategic planning process.)

 

Principals Leo Fuchs and Larissa Adam both submitted revised charter petitions on behalf of their schools - Learning Without Limits and ASCEND, respectively.

February 22nd - Board Watch Preview

This week's Board of Education meeting agenda is very light and there are no special presentations planned.

Here are a few meeting items to note:

  • Recognitions:
  • Tim Bremner, Green Star Outstanding Teacher of the Year
  • Michael Carroway, Jr., Founder of Mickey's Meals for the Homeless
  • Carter G. Woodson Black History Bowl


  • Regular Business

  • Human Resources
  • Finance
  • Public Comment
  • California School Boards Association - Delegate Election (Alameda County)

    • The Board will select and vote to approve 4 Oakland delegates
The Board will nominate and appoint someone to serve on the City of Oakland's Redevelopment Successor Agency Oversight Board

Thank you for interest GO's School Board Agenda Watch. We will follow up with notes and video from this meeting later this week. Previous Board Agenda Watch notes are always available on our blog and videos of important School Board moments can be found on our YouTube page.

If you are interested in volunteering to write Board Watch Previews, take notes during the meetings, or cut video footage from meetings, please email Casey Farmer.

Feb. 8th - School Board Preview

This week's OUSD School Board meeting starts on Wednesday at 5:00 at 1025 2nd Ave (click here for the agenda).  Of particular interest is:

  • the petition for conversion to charter school  by Lazear Elementary, which is a currently an OUSD slated for closure, 
  • the district's application for Exemption From the Required Expenditures for Classroom Teachers' Salaries, and
  • an update on the district's cash flow for this fiscal year.

For details, see below.

Unfinished Business
Teaching and Learning Matter(s)

Facilities Matter(s)


New Business
Teaching and Learning Matter(s)

Intergovernmental Relations Matter(s)

Finance and Human Resources Matter(s)

  • 12-0489 Report - District's Cash Flow - Fiscal Year 2011-2012
  • 12-0492 Application for Exemption From the Required Expenditures for Classroom Teachers' Salaries - FY 2007-2008 (Revised) [Materials not Posted]


Public Hearing(s)
Teaching and Learning Matter(s)

Dec. 14th Board Meeting Summary

On Wednesday, the Board of Education lasted  into the early morning hours.  They dealt with several important issues including attendance boundaries, mutual matching, budget information, approving a new meeting structure, and adopting a new Theory of Action.

Additionally, the Board was presented with petitions to recall 5 of the seven members (those who voted to close schools) by a community group upset with the process.  Click here to see the group present their petitions.

The Superintendent Smith's report contained three items of interest:
1. Howard Elementary:  Principal Howard of Howard Elementary described her school's exit from program improvement.  Click here to see Ms. Howard speak.
2. Transitioning Families: Denise Saddler presented the results of the outreach efforts to the families from the closed schools who will be transitioning to other schools.  This included that 98% of all affected families have been contacted directly.  Click here to see her presentation.
3. Mutual Matching: Tony Smith and Brigitte Marshall, updated the board about their efforts to help establish a mutual matching process for teacher placement in which both teachers and school communities have a say in teacher placement.
Grade Level Change - Greenleaf and Sankofa Elementary Schools
The Board passed resolutions to change Greenleaf Elementary and Sankofa Elementary Schools from a K-5 to K-8 schools.  Greenleaf and Sankofa will add one grade level per year, starting in the Fall of 2012, until each reach PreK-8 school by 2014-15.

Theory of Action
The Board briefly discussed and passed a Theory of Action document that was developed to co-exist with the District's strategic plan and guide Board and District policies.
  • For more on last week's study session, check out GO's Board summary here.
Change in Board Meetings:
The Board passed a resolution to suspend the committee structure.  They will instead keep their current meeting schedule and the add study sessions.  They will re-evaluate this policy in June.

Charter Schools:
The Board approved the petition to renew CivicCorp and KIPP Charter schools.
Additionally, the Board also held a public hearing for the renewal of:
Public Hearing:  First Reading of the School Attendance Boundaries
policy

The Board asked questions of David Montes D'Oca regarding his process for creating a set of options proposed.  For those interested, the video of this section starts at marker 5:07 and runs until 5:38.  The Board is set to adopt new boundaries at the January 11th meeting.  At that point District staff will present a recommended option. 

Budget Priorities
The Board passed a resolution which directs the Superintendent to achieve the following in the 2012-13 budget:
  1. Establish McClymonds High School as a high-performing anchor public education institution in West Oakland, as demonstrated by increased student enrollment (600 by the start of the 2015-2016 school year); increased student retention from year-to-year; increased graduation rate; and full offering of A-G and Advanced Placement courses; and
  2. Maintain stable certificated and classified staffing levels at all schools; and
  3. Establish strategic and operational performance objectives tied to proposed Fiscal Year 2012-2013 budget allocations for Central Office departments and divisions, commencing with Leadership, Curriculum, & Instruction, Human Resources, Police Services, and Financial Services.
Director's Spearman and Kakishiba explained that McClymonds was selected to emphasize secondary education and in order to level playing field because it has been very under resourced by comparison to other high schools.

For context, last year's budget priorities were:
  • Increased employee compensation
  • Increased teacher retention
  • Decrease the structural deficit
Supt. Smith reminded the Board that they directed the district to embed last year's priorities into the district's strategic plan.  Thus, they will remain priorities. 

First Interim Financial Report
The Board listened to the First Interim Financial Report for authorization for submission to the Alameda County Superintendent of Schools.  According to presentation, the District is projected to have a fund balance of $33 million, down from $45 million at the time of budget adoption.   The General Fund unrestricted revenues decreased by $6.2 million because of (a) $7.1 million in revenue sources ($6.1 million due to mid-year state cuts), (b) loss of other revenue sources accounting for $1.7 million and (c) a $2.6 million increase in the transfers from Adult Ed for the early retirement program.

Right now they are projecting a revenue reduction of $189 per student.  According to the state the cut may only be $13 per student.  The district will not know which it will be for certain until January.  Therefore they will maintain the prediction of an $189 cut.

The Ending Fund balance is comprised of :
  • 12.6 million for the anticipated per pupil cuts.
  • 7.5 for audit findings
  • 12.9 million for state deferred payments
Currently the district does not have a structural deficit (spending more that you receive) as long as it is able to "flex" the adult education funds.

School-Based Management and Budgeting
The Board passed a resolution to establish a Special Committee on School-Based Management and Budgeting.  The committee would present a recommendation for Board Policy by the second board meeting in March 2012.  It would be comprised of Directors Spearman, Kaishiba, and Dobbins.  Director Kakishiba noted that the committee would be in part linked to the commitment in the theory of action around site-based management.

Dec. 14th Board Meeting Preview

Wednesday's Board of Education meeting (agenda) will be begin at 5 p.m. and will discuss a wide variety of items, including mutual matching, grade level changes, the district's theory of action, attendance boundaries, and current and future budget issues.

Supt.'s Report - Mutual Matching
Superintendent Smith will update the Board on the state of a current proposal to create a mutual matching process for teachers this spring. Mutual matching means that both teachers and school communities would have a say in a teacher's placement.

Theory of Action
At last week's study session, the Board discussed a Theory of Action document that was developed to co-exist with the District's strategic plan and guide Board and District policies.

For more on last week's study session, check out GO's Board summary here.

Grade Level Change - Greenleaf and Sankofa Elementary Schools
The Board will hear a resolution that would change Greenleaf Elementary and Sankofa Elementary Schools from a K-5 to K-8 schools.  The grade level expansions are part of the District's restructuring plan that resulted in five elementary schools closing.

If passed by the Board, Greenleaf and Sankofa will add one grade level per year, starting in the Fall of 2012, until each reach PreK-8 school by 2014-15.

Budget Priorities
The Board will also hear a resolution stemming from a November 28 study session centered around budget priorities.  Out of that meeting came a resolution that directs the Superintendent to achieve the following in the 2012-13 budget:
  1. Establish McClymonds High School as a high-performing anchor public education institution in West Oakland, as demonstrated by increased student enrollment (600 by the start of the 2015-2016 school year); increased student retention from year-to-year; increased graduation rate; and full offering of A-G and Advanced Placement courses; and
  2. Maintain stable certificated and classified staffing levels at all schools; and
  3. Establish strategic and operational performance objectives tied to proposed Fiscal Year 2012-2013 budget allocations for Central Office departments and divisions, commencing with Leadership, Curriculum, & Instruction, Human Resources, Police Services, and Financial Services.

First Interim Financial Report
Vernon Hal will present the First Interim Financial Report for authorization for submission to the Alameda County Superintendent of Schools.  According to presentation, the District is projected to have a fund balance of $33 million, down from $45 million at the time of budget adoption.   The General Fund unrestricted revenues decreased by $6.2 million because of (a) $7.1 million in revenue sources ($6.1 million due to mid-year state cuts), (b) loss of other revenue sources accounting for $1.7 million and (c) a $2.6 million increase in the transfers from Adult Ed for the early retirement program.

Establishing a School-Based Management and Budgeting Committee
The Finance and Human Resources Committee has put forth a motion that would establishing a Special Committee on School-Based Management and Budgeting.  The committee would present a policy recommendation by the second board meeting in March 2012.

Attendance Boundaries
Wednesday night there will be a public hearing regarding the proposed attendance boundary changes stemming from closure of five elementary schools.  District staff will present three options that have been proposed.  To date the District has held 5 community outreach meetings to present the options and hear public input.  The Board is expected to vote on boundary changes at the January 11, 2012 meeting.   

Charter Petitions
The Board is expected to vote on the renewals of the following charter petitions:
Additionally, the Board will hold a public hearing for the renewal of:

Dec. 5th Board Meeting Summary - Theory of Action

Monday evening's Board meeting was a study session that focused on the proposed Theory of Action document that will go before the Board at next week's meeting.  The Board focused on the macro-level framework articulated in the bullet points at the end of the document.  The Theory of Action document is meant to align with the strategic plan and guide Board and District policies.

 

In particular, the Board focused on the bullet point dealing with providing high quality options for students. 

AND to ensure high quality options in every neighborhood, we partner with diverse providers in alignment with our criteria.

 

Much of the Board's discussion the proper scope of the document and as well as defining and discussing the possibility of partnering with a "diverse provider." 

 

 

While the Board did not reach a consensus, they discussed the role of charter schools within this framework, including the two District schools (ASCEND and Learning Without Limits) looking to leave the District and become a charter.

 


 

Additionally, the Board discussed prioritizing the following bullet points at the end of the document:

  • [High Quality Instruction] - AND we ensure that there is high-quality and effective instruction in every classroom that results in high-quality learning for every student,
See Human Resources Director Brigitte Marshall address the need for a comprehensive system which supports OUSD staff.
  • [Site-based decision making] - AND in service of high and equitable standards and outcomes for students, we maximize school site-based decision-making regarding staffing, finances, calendars, and programs,
  • [Diverse Providers] - AND to ensure high quality options in every neighborhood, we partner with diverse providers in alignment with our criteria,
  • [Facilities] - AND we ensure that all facilities are used in service of quality outcomes for students, including constructing and maintaining facilities in accordance with principles of sustainability,
  • [Central Office and Schools Portfolio] AND we apply those criteria in ways that maximize fiscal and academic opportunities by operating a central office and the number and type of schools that we can sustain over time,

 

Only five of the seven board members were present Monday night (Directors Gallo and Spearman were absent), and the Board will continue their discussion at the December 14 meeting, and possibly vote on the Theory of Action.  District staff will likely make some changes to the document prior to the next meeting.

Dec. 5th Board Watch Preview: The Board's Theory of Action

Tomorrow's Board meeting starts at 6:30 and is a study session to discuss the Board's Theory of Action.  See below for the text of the latest draft of the Board's Theory of Action, or click here for a PDF. Click here for the agenda.

DRAFT • For Board Discussion
OUSD Board of Education, Theory of Action Discussion 1

Presented for Board discussion for the November 16, 2011 Regular Board Meeting

I. CONCEPT
The theory of action is a framework for the district to ensure that our policies, decisions, and work are aligned and drive toward the same outcomes for all students and families. This theory reflects the mission, vision, and values of the organization. The Board of Education uses this theory of action as a macro-level guide to develop high-level policies which the organization operationalizes through design, decision making, and implementation. Embedded in the theory of action are key principles of equity, sustainability, scalability, fiscal and academic solvency, and maximizing the potential of every public school student in Oakland.

II. BACKGROUND & REFERENCES
This draft theory of action paper for Board discussion enhances and builds upon previously adopted Board policies. The Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) has discussed and adopted policies related to strategic priorities and school-based decision-making in service of high quality teaching and student achievement. For relevant discussion references, please see: School Site Decision-Making Policy: A Policy to Promote High Quality Teaching and High Student Achievement (Draft 3A, Oakland Unified School District; June 9, 1999) and Strategic Priority to Accelerate Student Learning & Achievement (OUSD, Legislative File ID No.09-6666; January 14, 2009).

III. STRATEGIC PLAN - Community Schools, Thriving Students
The Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) believes that all students deserve a high quality education that prepares them for academic success and for social, emotional, and physical well-being. In June 2011, the Board of Education of OUSD adopted the following vision for all of its students:

All students will graduate from high school. As a result, they are caring, competent, and critical thinkers, fully-informed, engaged and contributing citizens, and prepared to succeed in college and career.

To accomplish this, we adopted a mission for OUSD to serve the whole child, eliminate inequity, and provide each child with excellent teachers for every day. This district strategy requires all schools to become Full Service Community Schools that ensure every student will:

  • Attend a SAFE, HEALTHY, and SUPPORTIVE SCHOOL, that collaborates with civic and community partners to reduce violence in the community and schools, thereby creating secure campuses where a culture of calm prevails. (Goal Area 1)
  • Learn the knowledge, skills, and abilities to be PREPARED for SUCCESS in COLLEGE and CAREERS when they graduate from high school, to ensure that they can read, write, speak, think critically, and reason mathematically for post‐secondary success. (Goal Area 2)
  • Have HIGH QUALITY and EFFECTIVE INSTRUCTION with excellent teachers for every day of the school year. (Goal Area 3)

To support each Full Service Community School, OUSD will:

  • Become a FULL SERVICE COMMUNITY DISTRICT that is in service of and fully supporting the success of community schools and thriving students. (Goal Area 4)
  • Be ACCOUNTABLE for HIGH QUALITY for its schools and in its work across the organization. (Goal Area 5)

IV. THEORY of ACTION • MACRO-LEVEL FRAMEWORK
With a universal set of desired student outcomes and performance standards based on the Community Schools, Thriving Students strategic plan, we want to move decisively and fundamentally to transform our district. We recognize that incremental changes will not create the conditions for success for all.

We adopted a strategic plan that outlines the fundamental changes required to fulfill this vision for our future, and that takes sequenced steps that must be planned and evaluated to move us powerfully to create such educational opportunities in each Oakland neighborhood. Some of these changes are in existing systems that will be reviewed, improved, and institutionalized, including: new school incubation; results based budgeting; regional networking of schools; and the Options school choice process. Other proposed changes are new systems that address specific aspects of fundamental change: African American Male Achievement; Linked Learning in High Schools; RTTI; quality school reviews; and powerful scorecard tools for district accountability.

The document begins our Board discussion for a comprehensive theory of action that guides the Board in its policy-making and decision-making. The Board of Education hereby endorses this macro-level framework:

  • IF we use our adopted sets of criteria for high quality and effective academic and social support for students,
  • AND we apply those criteria in ways that maximize fiscal and academic opportunities by operating a central office and the number and type of schools that we can sustain over time,
  • AND we ensure that all facilities are used in service of quality outcomes for students, including constructing and maintaining facilities in accordance with principles of sustainability,
  • AND we include and partner with the community to ensure quality options in each neighborhood throughout Oakland,
  • AND to ensure high quality options in every neighborhood, we partner with diverse providers in alignment with our criteria,
  • AND we ensure that there is high-quality and effective instruction in every classroom that results in high-quality learning for every student,
  • AND in service of high and equitable standards and outcomes for students, we maximize school site-based decision-making regarding staffing, finances, calendars, and programs,
  • THEN Oakland public schools will operate on principles of equity and ensure that all students have the academic, social, and fiscal supports that they need to succeed.

November 28, 2011 Board of Ed Summary

The OUSD School Board held a special meeting Monday night to discuss budget priorities, particularly given the dire news out of Sacramento.  Come January, OUSD could face $8.3 million in funding cuts from the state because of the state's revenue shortfall.  The District's power point presentation contains a wealth of financial information for those interested in the budget allocation centrally v. the site, etc.

With the last state budget, there was an assumed increase in state revenue of $4 billion, and it appears that $3.7 billion of that will go unrealized.  As a result, massive cuts statewide could automatically be "triggered," including upwards of $1 billion of mid-year cuts for K-12 schools statewide.

However, Vernon Hal, Deputy Superintendent for Business Services and Operations, and Superintendent Tony Smith, said the District would be able to absorb the cuts without making any mid-year adjustments.  Hal said the District was fiscally conservative with the 2011-12 budget, which will allow the district to absorb any cuts by the money set aside in the general fund balance.

The District will not know if the cuts will in fact be "triggered" until January 10, when Governor Jerry Brown announces the budget.
Enrollment Projections: 2012-13
In looking ahead, District staff included an enrollment projection for 2012-13 school year that included an increase of 126 students over 2011-12.  Those projections were based on five assumptions:(1) school closures, (2) grade configuration changes, (3) new charter schools, (4) change in starting age for kindergarten students, and (5) an increased seat capacity at a number of existing schools (because of school closures). 


The Board spent significant time discussing the projections.  Early in the school closure process, District staff cited a potential loss of up to 20% of students (per closing school), based on nationwide trends.  However, Monday night the District staff said they expect to lose 5-10% of students from each of the closing schools.  One of the reasons cited for minimizing the students leaving the District was the one-on-one attention transitioning students have been given through the closure process.

Additionally, the District hopes that reconfiguring some schools to K-8 will help reduce the number of students who leave OUSD after elementary school.  Despite the potential of two District schools converting to charter schools - and likely taking a significant portion of their current enrollment - and several other new charter schools potentially opening up, District staff anticipates a district-wide enrollment of 38,166.

Director Kakashiba cautioned the board in looking at the numbers, saying he felt they were "overly optimistic."

Budget Priorities
Before adjourning to closed session, Director Kakashiba asked Superintendent Tony Smith what he believes the District's budget priorities should as the Board prepares to discuss next year's budget.

Smith said spending priorities should focus on two areas: high schools and fifth grade.  In devoting additional resources to high schools, Smith hopes to increase graduation rates as well as college and career readiness.  Smith said it was crucial that the District "get high school right."  

Additionally, Smith believes the District should focus on fifth grade because it is the "fulcrum" as students transition to middle school.  Because the District loses a significant number of students in the transition to fifth and sixth grade, he believes the District can increase enrollment by boosting efforts to engage fifth grade students across the district.

November 21, 2011 Board of Ed Summary

The OUSD School Board held a special meeting on Monday, November 21, to hear the petitions for seven charter schools.  Two of the petitions, ASCEND and Learning Without Limits, are seeking to convert from OUSD schools to autonomous charter school. Lazear, which submitted a charter petition, withdrew it prior to the meeting with a note which mentioned resubmitting it at a later time.  100 Black Men of the Bay Area Community School is looking to open a new charter school.  

The remaining four petitions - Lionel Wilson College Prepatory Academy (Aspire), Arise High School, Civicorps Corpsmembers Academy, and Kipp Bridge Charter, are seeking to renew their petitions.

The Board took no action at Monday's meeting.  Each school was given an opportunity to the present its petition.  The Board asked each school questions and offered brief discussion.  

ASCEND and Learning Without Limits
Ascend and Learning Without Limits have teamed with Education for Change--a charter management organization that currently runs three Oakland charters,--in presenting their petitions.  Both schools say they are seeking to leave the District because many of the school site autonomies that they need have been slowly removed by or are in jeopardy of removal by the District.  In order to maximize student learning, the petitioners say they need control over the following:
  • Staffing Decisions
  • Budget
  • Curriculum
  • School Calendar
According to Larissa Adam, principal at ASCEND, discussions about a possible conversion came about last spring when 60 percent of their staff was hit with layoff notices.  Adam said her school is unique for a variety of reasons - a 24:1 student-teacher ratio, a higher degree of differentiation, and a inquiry-based program with a multicultural and arts focus - which is challenge to maintain without the four autonomies they need.

This video is of Principal Larissa Adam answering the board's questions:




While Director Alice Spearman voiced displeasure with the petition, Directors David Kakashiba and Jumoke Hinton Hodge indicated a desire to find common ground.   Spearman said ASCEND's application was driven by "adult issues" and a case of ASCEND staff not wanting to play by District rules.  

Meanwhile, Directors Kakashiba and Hodge asked Ascend what would need to be done in order to keep the school in the District.  Adams said that if the more autonomies were granted, her school would consider staying under the auspice of OUSD.  

A team of teachers and parents from Learning Without Limits presented their petition to the Board, echoing many of the demands of Ascend.  Morgan Alconcher, a fifth grade teacher at LWL, said the move to a charter was done so to protect the students and families

Echoing the statement of Oakland Education Association's Benjie Achtenberg of, Director Kakishiba said the potential of two successful District schools seeking to leave should serve as a wake-up call.  

100 Black Men of the Bay Area Community School
The Board heard a presentation for a proposed new school with the backing of the 100 Black Men of the Bay Area organization.
The organization's plan is to start with a kindergarten class and fourth-seventh grade classes in 2012, and grow incrementally each year.  Their growth model estimates an enrollment of 375 students in 2012, and be a full K-12 school by 2017-18 serving 975 students.

The school would be build around the organization's "Four for the Future" programmatic initiatives: mentoring, educational achievement, health and wellness, and economic empowerment.  As part of their model, each student within the school would be paired with a mentor within the 100 Black Men of the Bay Area organization.

Alice Spearman, who said she is anti-charter, vowed to support the 100 Black Men charter petition.

Several other Directors voiced support for the proposal, and President Jody London said she would like to see the school not as a charter, but within OUSD.

Director Kakishiba also asked them what it would take for them to open their schools as a district school rather than a charter school.  Petitioners echoed many of the themes raised by the Learning Without Limits and ASCEND communities.  

Charter Renewals
The Board also heard presentations for the renewals of four existing charter schools.  No action was taken on any of the petitions Monday night.

November 16 Board of Ed Agenda Summary

Theory of Change
The Board discussed the first reading of the "District's Theory of Change."  Director Yee introduced the document, and called it a definition of the District's "essential values." The Theory of Change is, according to Director Yee, a framework to ensure district policy and actions are aligned. The document is a revision of a similar document approved by the Board in January of 2009 in an effort to make the document aligned with the Thriving Students strategic plan.  

The Board will make some modifications to the document and then hold a study session prior to the Dec. 14 Board Meeting.

To view the document, click here.

Click here for a video of Director Yee explaining the need for a revised Theory of Action.

LIFE Academy Grade Configuration Change
As part of the District's restructuring plan, the Board unanimously voted to expand Life Academy from a traditional 9-12 high school to a 6-12 school.  Starting next fall, Life will enroll up to 75 sixth graders and do the same for the following two years, until it is a full 6-12 grade school.  Life Academy of Health and Bioscience currently serves 260 students, and the District anticipates the expansion will grow the enrollment to approximately 400 students. 

Directors Gallo and Spearman voiced concern that the middle school expansion of Life Academy could result in an enrollment decline at United for Success Middle School, which is on the same campus as Life Academy.

Click here for a clip of Life Academy Principal Preston Thomas discussing the expansion.  Starting at 8:30 he also discusses conversations he had with United for Success' community in which they express unequivocal support for their school and principal.

2007-2008 District Audit
The Board will heard a presentation by the State Controller's Office of their audit of the District from the 2007-08 fiscal year.  The State Controller's office is next moving forward in an audit of the 2010-11 school year in an effort to provide a more timely audit (instead of doing the 2008-09 audit).

Click here to read the SCO's report.  

Click here for a clip of Director Kakishiba explaining the background for the SCO's audit of OUSD.

Click here for Clip of Director Yee explaining why OUSD is still responsible for fines incurred while under state receivership.

Resolution Supporting Parcel Tax Amendment
The Board voted unanimously in support of State Senate Constitutional Amendment 5, which, if passed by the state legislature, would trigger a statewide ballot measure that if approved by voters, would lower the threshold for school districts, community college districts, and county offices of education parcel taxes to pass from two-thirds to 55%.

Charter School Applications
Oakland Unity High School submitted an application to renew their charter.  The Board will hold a special meeting on Monday, November 21 at 6 p.m., at which 8 other charter school applications will be presented.  The new applications will be:
  • ASCEND School (conversion)
  • Learning Without Limits (conversion)
  • Math, Science and Technology Bilingual Charter Academy (conversion, currently Lazear Elementary)
  • 100 Black Men of the Bay Area Charter School
  • Lionel Wilson College Preparatory Academy (renewal)
  • Arise High School (renewal)
  • Civicorps Corpsmember Academy (renewal)
  • Kipp Bridge Charter School (renewal)

November 16 Board of Ed Agenda Preview

This Wednesday's School Board meeting (agenda) will be held in Board Room at the District Offices (1025 2nd Avenue) beginning at 3:30 p.m.  

2007-2008 District Audit
The Board will hear a presentation by the State Controller's Office of their audit of the District from the 2007-08 fiscal year.  Despite the District regaining local control in 2009, these audits will take place annually by the State Controller's Office until the loan from the state is repaid.

Resolution Supporting Parcel Tax Amendment
The Board is expected to vote on a resolution in support of State Senate Constitutional Amendment 5, which, if passed by the state legislature, would lower the threshold for school districts, community college districts, and county offices of education parcel taxes to pass from two-thirds to 55%.

LIFE Academy Grade Configuration Change
Adoption by Board of Education of Resolution No. 1112-0082 - School Portfolio Management - Life Academy - Grade Configuration Change From 9-12 to 6-12 - Effective School Year 2012-2013.

Theory of Change
The Board will hear the first reading of the "District's Theory of Change."

Charter School Applications
The Board will hold a special meeting on Monday, November 21 at 6 p.m., at which 8 charter school applications will be presented.  The new applications will be:
  • Ascend School (conversion)
  • Learning Without Limits (conversion)
  • Math, Science and Technology Bilingual Charter Academy (conversion, currently Lazear Elementary)
  • 100 Black Men of the Bay Area Charter School
  • Lionel Wilson College Preparatory Academy (renewal)
  • Arise High School (renewal)
  • Civicorps Corpsmember Academy (renewal)
  • Kipp Bridge Charter School (renewal)

Oct 26-Board of Ed. Summary

School Closures
With a 5-2 vote, the School Board adopted a resolution that will close five schools as part of OUSD's restructuring plan.  The following schools will be closed at the end of the current academic year: (1) Lakeview, (2) Lazear, (3) Marshall, (4) Maxwell Park, and (5) Santa Fe.

Additionally, the adopted resolution will expand Burckhalter and Kaiser elementary schools, merge Sobrante Park Elementary and Madison Middle School, and unite several of the small high schools on the Fremont and Castlemont campuses.

By closing schools, District officials expect to save the $2 million annually.  "Currently we are spread way too thin," Smith said.  "Having too many underfunded schools is not a good strategy."

While Smith and his staff have said the closures and reconfigurations are necessary from a financial standpoint, Gallo questioned the numbers the District has put forth.  "I'll be honest, I don't believe the budget numbers," he said.  

Directors Noel Gallo and Alice Spearman voted against the resolution. Director Spearman noted the need to close some schools, but said, "Superintendent, I can't go with it. I don't have it in me."

The vote, which took place just after 11 p.m., came after hours of public comment and board discussion. Public comment was unanimously opposed to the closures and at times was contentious.

During the meeting Smith responded to the public outcry opposing the closures.  "I will say, quite frankly, the things that were said tonight reflect our inadequacies as a central office," he said.  "This district has not produced quality outcomes."

Prior to passing the resolution, the Directors made a few minor changes to the language in the document.  The original resolution can be found here:

Transitioning Students
The District released a plan for transitioning students attending schools that will be closed. The plan explains the process--including expected timelines--transitioning families will go through in getting a new placement.  Key highlights include:
  • By October 31, 2011 families will be provided with all estimated spaces available throughout all District schools for 2012‐13.
  • Families will have the opportunity to go through the Options process prior the rest of OUSD families, and they will select their top four school choices.
  • By the week of December 19th, Families will be provided with a confirmation of their best matched assignment for 2012‐13.
  • If the top four schools are not available, the District will, at a minimum, place students at the nearest higher performing school.
  • Transition Coordinators will be at each closing school site to work with families through the process.
To view a letter from Smith explaining the Transitions process, click here:

To view the Parent Guide for Transitioning students the District released, click here:

Charter Petitions
Lazear Elementary, ASCEND, and Learning Without Limits, presented petitions to convert to charter schools.

In presenting Lazear's charter to the Board, Clementina Duron, a former Lazear principal, said, "We are willing to be a part of the Oakland Unified School District.  But if not, Lazear parents have written up a charter and we are presenting it tonight."

In addition, teachers and parents from ASCEND and Learning Without Limits said that their decision to convert to a charter school was because they do not feel that the conditions were right for them to be as successful inside of the district as outside of it. Viridiana Mendoza, a parent at ASCEND, told the Board, "With the ongoing budget crisis we don't see things getting better anytime soon . . . as parents we must take action now."

Lillian Lopez, as well as other organizers from Oakland Community Organizations (OCO), said the petition to submit charters was born out of a need for school-site autonomy.  Lopez said, "We demand that each school site be recognized with institutional autonomy."  OCO advocates urged the Board to give school sites control over the:
  • Educational programs/curriculums
  • School site Budget
  • Staffing needs
  • School calendars/schedules
The Board took no action on the petitions.

Audit
In new business, the Board approved a contract that enabling the State Controller's Office to perform an audit of the district for the 2010-11 fiscal year.  The audit will confirm whether or not the District's financial statements are accurately presented, and will be the first complete audit of the District since 2003. The District will pay the State Controller's Office $400,000 and the audit will begin in early November and be completed by the end of July 2012.

The audit is a stipulation of the 2003 $100 million loan from the State to the District. 

Oct 26-Board of Ed. Preview

The OUSD School Board is expected to vote on Superintendent Tony Smith's proposal to close five schools at Wednesday's Board meeting.  The meeting will be held at Oakland Technical High School auditorium, located at 4351 Broadway, at 5 p.m.

The proposed resolution, which has dominated the Board's agenda for the last month, includes closing five schools (Lakeview, Lazear, Marshall, Maxwell Park, and Santa Fe elementary schools) and the consolidation of several smaller middle and high schools.

The text of the resolution is included below, or click here.
For GO's school closure coverage click here.

Aside from school closure, the Board has a relatively light agenda.  Of interest:

New Business: State Audit
The Board will vote on a contract that would enable the State Controller's Office to perform an audit of the district for the 2010-11 fiscal year.  The audit will confirm whether or not the District's financial statements are accurately presented, and will be the first complete audit of the District since 2003. If approved, the District will pay the State Controller's Office $400,000 and the audit will begin in early November and be completed by the end of July 2012.

The audit is a stipulation of the 2003 $100 million loan from the State to the District.  

For more information on the State audit, click here:


TEXT OF BOARD RESOLUTION REGARDING RESTRUCTURING AND SCHOOL CLOSURES:

Resolution of
GOVERNING BOARD
OF THE OAKLAND UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT

Resolution No 1112-0066
School Portfolio Management & District Restructuring Decisions - Effective School Year
2012-2013
    
WHEREAS, the District has thriving children in many wonderful schools and has improved faster than all other urban districts in California over the past six years; and

WHEREAS, the District has nonetheless not met the needs of all children and does not have high quality schools in every neighborhood, and the City remains divided by predictable patterns of low performance, high incidence of violence, and lack of connection through its public schools; and

WHEREAS, the District operates a number, type and size of schools that is not fiscally and academically sustainable for the number of students in the district; and

WHEREAS, the ongoing operating costs of 30 or more schools annually requires the additional provision of up to $3 million dollars through the Results Based Budgeting system; and

WHEREAS, currently, the district has reduced its operating budget by more than $120 million dollars over the past two years and expects continued revenue reductions from the state over the next year; and

WHEREAS, in order to provide more children with quality school options, encourage more families to choose Oakland public schools, create a sustainable school district that produces results for all children, and deploy staff and money more efficiently and use the savings to invest more resources in Oakland public schools to better serve all students, it is necessary that the District's portfolio of schools be more effectively managed and restructured to accomplish the goals of the Strategic Plan approved by the Board of Education on June 18, 2011; and

WHEREAS, the District's timeline for restructuring includes:
  • 2009-2011: School Closures: Paul Robeson, BEST, Explore, Tilden
  • 2009-2011: Public Acknowledgements by Superintendent of need for reduction in schools
  • 2010-11: Development of Strategic Plan
  • June 18, 2011: Unanimous Board Approval of Strategic Plan
  • Summer 2011: Development of Restructuring Criteria based on Strategic Plan
  • Aug 24: Restructuring Criteria Unanimously Approved by Board of Education
  • Sept 7: Study Session: Criteria Applied by staff up to STEP 4 without Recommendations
  • Sept 27: Superintendent's Restructuring Recommendations: 1st Reading
  • Oct 12: Superintendent's Restructuring Recommendations: 2nd Reading
  • Oct. 26: Final Date proposed for Decision-Making re: School Closure
  • Nov 1-30: On-site Alternate Schools Options Fairs
  • Nov 1-30: Alternate Schools Options Bus Tours
  • Nov 1-Dec 5: Separate Options Process: Closing Schools
  • Dec 20: Closing Schools: Preliminary Placement Notice
  • Jan 1-30: Closing Schools: Preliminary Placement Appeals
  • Dec 5- Jan. 20: District-wide Options Process Opens
  • Feb-March: Closing Schools: Placement Appeals Response
  • Oct-Jun: Receiving Schools Preparation and Transition Support

WHEREAS, in establishing the criteria to restructure the District's portfolio of schools, the District was guided by the following principles that were approved by the Board of Education on August
24, 2011:
  • Reinforce quality neighborhood schools by focusing decision‐making on where children live, attend school, and where facilities are designed to sustain quality programs long‐term, and
  • Integrate school closure among multiple strategies to achieve goals by transforming low performing schools in high density areas and consolidating multiple schools into high quality single‐school options in some cases, and
  • Increase student and family access to quality alternatives by expanding capacity and investing in existing quality schools, and
  • Increase quality options by considering innovative program designs, the possible relocation of some school programs intact, and the unique needs of the special education program continuum of service.

WHEREAS, the District identified specific initiatives, aligned to the goals of the Strategic Plan wherein schools that were already engaged in these initiatives would be excluded from consideration for school closure that included: planning and implementation of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Corridor wherein schools within a geographic feeder pattern from elementary, middle school to high school are working in collaboration; planning and development of proposed grade configuration changes to result in schools serving grades K-8 or 6- 12; and specific high schools are undergoing a yearlong Transformation process wherein site-based design teams are developing plans for a single high quality school option in place of multiple small schools; and

WHEREAS, in applying the Board adopted criteria, all District schools were rank ordered from where schools are least needed to where schools are most needed based on population density, enrollment, and facility capacity; and

WHEREAS, based on the application of the Board adopted criteria generated an preliminary list of schools for possible school closure, further consideration was given to determine a final list of schools for possible school closure that included: consideration of instances where the academic performance of schools within the preliminary list were demonstrably higher than the district norm and aligned to the goals of the Strategic Plan; consideration of the likely receiving school capacity students may attend, and consideration of the needs of Special Education Programs likely to be impacted by a school closure recommendation; and

WHEREAS, the Superintendent set forth final restructuring recommendations to the Board of Education on September 27, 2011 that included the closure of five elementary schools, the closure of six high schools, the expansion of enrollment capacity of two elementary schools, and the change of grade configuration of one elementary school; and

WHEREAS, as a part of the process, the following community engagements meetings were held at schools recommended for school closure:
  • Marshall Elementary: Wednesday, October 5, from 6:00pm to 8:00pm
  • Santa Fe Elementary: Thursday, October 6, from 5:30pm to 7:30pm
  • Maxwell Park Elementary: Saturday, October 8, from 2:00pm to 4:00pm
  • Lakeview Elementary: Monday, October 10, from 6:00 to 8:00pm
  • Lazear Elementary: Tuesday, October 11, from 6:00 to 8:00pm

WHEREAS, families in schools that are being recommended for closure will have priority placement in a priority Options process for the 2012-13 school year, to include scheduled tours, Regional school information fairs, personalized assistance, and consideration of specific transportation and safety needs, as a part of the new school placement process; and

WHEREAS, students in schools that are being recommended for closure will have priority placement in the Options process for the 2012-13 school year that will include parent/guardian submission of four top school preferences to which placement will be prioritized and that at a minimum placements will be made in the nearest available highest performing school based on API; and

WHEREAS, families that receive a placement that is not satisfactory will have the opportunity to appeal their placement both through the District-wide open enrollment Options process, as well as subsequent to that process, as part of the general appeals process - wherein priority placement into available space will continue; and

WHEREAS, Staff in schools that are being recommended for closure will be provided with on-site assistance in the transition process, receive frequent and accurate communications and, subject to collaboration with the District's union partners, will have priority consideration for new placements; and

WHEREAS, decisions related to the reuse, repurposing and disposition of all school buildings associated with schools recommended for closure will, consistent with AB 677 enacted by the Legislature and signed by the Governor in August 2011, include community engagement;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT, upon the recommendation of the
Superintendent of Schools, the Board hereby approves and adopts the implementation of the following school portfolio strategies:
Closure of the following schools as of June 30, 2012:
  • Lakeview Elementary CDS Code: 01612596001986
  •  Lazear Elementary CDS Code: 01612596002000
  • Marshall Elementary CDS Code: 01612596001952
  • Maxwell Park International Academy CDS Code: 01612596002067
  • Santa Fe Elementary CDS Code: 01612596002166

Closure of the following schools as of June 30, 2012:
  • Business Information and Technology CDS Code: 01612590102954
  • East Oakland School for the Arts CDS Code: 01612590102962
  • Leadership Preparatory Academy CDS Code: 01612590107417

Closure of the following schools as of June 30, 2012, pending CDE confirmation as to the assignment of a new CDS code for purposes of the establishment of a single 9-12 high school:
  • College Preparatory and Architecture Academy CDS Code: 01612590101063
  • Mandela Academy CDS Code: 01612590100826
  • Media Academy CDS Code: 01612590100834

Closure of the following school as of June 30, 2012;
  • Far West High School CDS Code: 01612590110361
The district will establish a Fashion Academy as an academy of Oakland Technical High School to begin operation at the current Far West High School Campus beginning July 1, 2012.

Closure of the following school as of October 5, 2011*;
Youth Empowerment School CDS Code: 01612590100859
* This action is due in part to CDE's authorizing the transfer of the afterschool program funding to Castlemont to serve students previously enrolled in Youth Empowerment School, therefore eliminating the necessity to continue operation of this school in the current year. Students previously enrolled in the Youth Empowerment School have thus been enrolled in the existing schools currently operating on the Castlemont High School Campus. The date of closure ensures accurate enrollment reporting to the CDE.

Establishment of a single school serving grades 9-12 located at the Castlemont High School campus beginning July 1, 2012.

Establishment of a single school serving grades 9-12 located at the Fremont High School campus beginning July 1, 2012.

Establishment by August 2013 of Kaiser Elementary and Burckhalter Elementary schools within facilities located either at their current location or an alternate suitable location that will allow for the continued growth of each school's enrollment up to at least 380 students.
  • A progress report on the proposed plans for the establishment of Kaiser Elementary and Burckhalter Elementary in the aforementioned facilities will be provided to the Board of Education by the Superintendent not later than March 1, 2012.
  • A final report on the intended facility plan for each school will be provided to the Board of Education by the Superintendent not later than February 1, 2013.
Closure of Barack Obama Academy school as of July 1, 2011 and Establishment of the Barack Obama Academy program as a program component of Community Day Middle School in partnership with Seneca Center, serving non-expelled referral-based students in grades 7-8 pursuant to established referral criteria, to operate on the satellite campus of Toler Heights Elementary School.
  • Conduct an evaluation and provide report to the Board of Education on the academic and financial cost benefits of the Barack Obama Academy program, not later than May 15, 2012.
Initiate the development of a grade configuration change plan to expand the grade configuration of Sobrante Park Elementary and Madison Middle School such that, by August 2013, a single school operates serving students in grades Pre-K through 12.
  • Presentation to the Board of Education of a proposal and recommendation to establish Madison Middle School as a secondary school serving students in grades 6-12 not later than December 15, 2011.
  • Presentation to the Board of Education of a proposal and recommendation to establish Sobrante Park elementary as the Pre-K - 5 Component of Madison secondary school not later than December 15, 2012, thus establishing a single PreK-12 school to operate on both the current Sobrante Park and Madison Middle School campuses.

Passed by the following vote:
AYES:
NOES:
ABSTAIN:
ABSENT:
I hereby certify that the foregoing is a full, true and correct copy of a Resolution adopted, at a Regular Meeting of the Governing Board of the Oakland Unified School District held on October 26, 2011.
____________________________
Edgar Rakestraw, Jr.
Secretary, Board of Education
 

Oct 12-Board of Ed. Summary

Wednesday's School Board meeting was dominated the school closure discussion.  Over 80 speakers voiced concern and discontent with Superintendent Tony Smith's plan to close five elementary schools for the 2012-13 school year.
 
The meeting, which was held at Castlemont High School, had four hours of school closure discussion by the Board and community members, but no action was taken.  The Board is expected to vote on Smith's proposal at the next meeting on October 26 at Oakland Technical High School.
 
Community Concerns
Between the September 27 and October 12 meetings, District staff has conducted community meetings at all five of schools potentially closing.  Denise Saddler, OUSD's Director of Community Engagement, said several themes emerged from each of the community meetings:
  • Safety: In addition to safety of potentially longer walking or driving commutes, community members voiced concern about the safety of students at different school sites.
  • Transportation: Parents were concerned about how students will get to their new school.
  • Community Engagement: Many people said there should have been more communication from District staff about the shortcomings of the closing schools and decision-making process.
  • Trust: As echoed in public comment at Wednesday's meeting, community members voiced a lack of trust for OUSD staff and Board members throughout the decision to close schools.
 Sadler said the displaced students would receive "personalized" and "priority treatment" as they get placed in new schools.  Normally families who go through the options process hear their placement in March, but Sadler said the District will notify displaced students of their placement by the Winter Break.
 
Board Discussion
Following public comment, the Directors had four minutes each to comment on, and raise questions of Smith's proposal.  When Board President Jody London said, "It is important to acknowledge that there are many people in general community that believe we operate too many schools in Oakland," members of the audience expressed their opposition while Director London spoke; she recessed the meeting for approximately 15 minutes.
 
Follow the link below to view each School Board member's four-minute comment:
  • Director Kakishiba said he was curious how the financial impact of a potential 20% attrition rate compares with the expected financial savings of closing schools.
  • Director Spearman focused her comments on the potential closing of Marshall, where she first got involved in OUSD.
  • Director Yee distilled the public comments from the community meetings and Board meetings into four broad messages.
  • Director Gallo said he doesn't believe the District should close one school.
  • Director Dobbins centered his comments on schools within his district and those neighboring.
  • Director Hodge said she wants a clear picture of what the next step would be if the Board votes to close schools.
  • Director London said there are people within Oakland that do believe the District operates too many schools.
Smith responded to many of the concerns and questions raised by the Directors.  He said the District would have transition managers at each school site to help students and families in the process.  He also said they expect Kaiser and Burkhalter - both originally slated for closure - to expand.

Click here for a video of Smith discussing the challenge of balancing the options process and establishing quality neighborhood schools.
 
New Business:
Textbook Sufficiency
:
The Board approved a resolution certifying that students in OUSD have been provided "sufficient" textbooks and instructional materials.

 
Board Meeting Changes:
The Board approved a proposal to suspend the standing committees for six months, effective January 1, 2012.  The Board will continue to hold two regular scheduled meetings a month, but with exception of the Disciplinary Hearing Committee, the regular committees will be suspended on a trial basis.
 
· Tabled for another meeting:
Many of the other agendized items, including Director Gallo's proposed policy to set a process for future school closures, and a presentation honoring OUSD Teacher of the Year, Lisa Hiltbrand, were tabled on Wednesday night.

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Oct 12th School Board Meeting Preview

OUSD Teacher of the Year:
The Board will honor Lisa Hiltbrand, a sixth grade humanities teacher at Urban Promise Academy, as Teacher of the Year.

School Closure/Reconfiguration (Second Reading):
The Board will again discuss Superintendent Tony Smith's recommendation to close five schools, beginning in the 2012-13 school year.  Click here for a copy of his presentation and here for the appendices. Since the September 27th meeting, the District has held community meetings at the schools up for closure (Lakeview, Lazear, Marshall, Maxwell, and Santa Fe).

Additionally, the Superintendent has proposed:

  • Transforming the following schools for the 2012 school year:  Business, Information & Tech; East Oakland School of the Arts; Leadership Preparatory Academy; Youth Empowerment School College Prep & Architecture; Mandela Academy Media Academy; Barack Obama Academy. 
  • Expanding Burckhalter and Kaiser
  • Changing the grade level configuration of Sobrante Park and Madison Middle School by August 2013.

It is not expected the Board will vote on the potential closures and transformations until the next meeting, on October 26.

Public Hearing about the Sufficiency of Textbooks and Instructional Materials:
The Board will hold a public hearing and hear evidence from district staff regarding whether students in OUSD have been provided "sufficient" textbooks and instructional materials.

New Business
Closing, Relocation, or Major Expansion of a School Facility:

The Board will hear and possible adopt proposed Board Policy 7315 dealing with school closures. This policy requires the district to (1) collect and present certain types of information, and (2) establishes minimum deadlines before the board can take action to close a school (e.g. 60 days notice to schools prior to the Board taking any action).

Changes to how/when the Board meets and operates:
The Board will discuss potentially changing the format, the types, and the frequency of Board meetings.  The proposal, which may eliminate the committee system, would be used on a trial basis for six months starting January 2, 2012.

Fiscal Oversight Report:
The Board will receive a report from the district about the district fiscal management goals and whether it is meeting those goals.

Sept 27 Summary - School Closures

Tuesday's School Board meeting was dominated by a public hearing about the proposed restructuring plan. The Board did not take any action on the recommended closures. It is expected that the Board will hold additional discussions at its October 12th meeting with a final decision to be made at its October 26th meeting. Regarding the restructuring, below is information regarding Superintendent Smith's recommendations (click here for a video), transitioning students, themes from the public comments, and the school board members' comments. Each Board member gave a four minute comment followed by a two minute comment.

There is a new board president.  Gary Yee resigned as Board President.  Director London is now the School Board President and Director Hodge is Board Vice President.

In good news, Korematsu was honored by the board for their extraordinary gains they have made over the past years.  Click here for a video of their presentation.

Below the school closure coverage is additional information about:

  1. A Board Policy on how the Board and District staff should respond to "discriminatory or harassing remarks or comments made by a member of the public" during a public meeting.
  2. A report from the Rules and Ethics Committee, and discussion of the District's Strategic Plan.
  3. A Report from the Teaching and Learning committee of the 2010- 2011 STAR Results and Preview of District Academic Performance Goals for 2011-2012.


SCHOOL CLOSURES:
1. Superintendent's Report
Recommendations: Superintendent Tony Smith gave a powerpoint presentation detailing the schools recommended for closure, transformation, expansion and reconfiguration. "We have too many schools for the number of children we have," Smith said, "We have too many under-enrolled schools. We do not provide a quality program with adequate services to meet student and family needs in every neighborhood."
 
Rationale:  The push to restructure the schools is driven by an effort to improve quality programs and save money.  Smith said the District will save over $2 million a year by closing and consolidating schools.  For the financial impact of the restructuring, see page 23 of the report.  (Please click here to download the Board meeting presentation.)

Transitions:  Smith said closing the five elementary schools would displace 882 students. He hopes the Board will make a decision by the end of October, which will allow the District to put those displaced students at the front of the "Options" process this winter. "Our commitment is to build a transition process and be ahead of the options process," Smith said. "Every child would have an option before the regular options process."

2. Public Comment:
Approximately 88 community members, primarily from the five elementary schools targeted for closure, implored the Board to keep the schools open.  The Board heard public comments for two and a half hours and several common themes emerged:

  • Critiques of the Criteria: Many community members felt that the District's approach did not capture the true value of the schools slated to be closed and felt that the approach was too numbers driven.
  • Transportation: Many parents criticized the recommended closures because they failed to take into account those who take public transportation to their current schools.  Several parents said that moving to another school will make their commute on public transportation significantly longer.
  • Charters Schools: Many who spoke during the public hearing, called on the Board to close charter schools instead of the public schools targeted.  [It should be noted that, charter schools cannot be closed by the District, unless the charter is up for renewal by the OUSD board.]  Others said they fear the Board will sell or lease the facilities of the closed schools to charter schools. 
  • Class Size:  Many speakers feared that the students from the closed schools would be placed in classes of up to 40 students.  [The impact on class sizes is unclear, but according the District's presentation, the same number of teachers would be employed following the closures which means that class size would not necessarily rise.]
  • Lack of Transparency: Additionally, community members spoke about the perceived lack of transparency by the District and Board in the school closure process. Several felt that the community was left out of the process altogether and did not receive enough notice of the process.

3. Board Comments:
Each Board member gave a four minute comment followed by another two minutes. The purpose of their comments was to share their concerns, direct staff to answer questions, and advance the conversation. (It should noted that the Board's comments followed nearly three hours of public comments and soemtimes reflected/referenced those comments.)  Click here for a link to the district's video, the comments start at 3:27 and end at 4:18.

  1. Director Gallo:  4 min / 2 min
  2. Director Dobbins:  4 min / 2 min
  3. Director Hodge: 4 min  / 2 min
  4. Director Kakishiba: 4 min / 2 min
  5. Director Spearman: 4 min / 2 min
  6. Director London: 4 min / 2 min
  7. Director Yee: 4 min / 2 min
  8. Superintendent Tony Smith: 4 min / 2 min

BOARD POLICY ON HARRASSING REMARKS:
After a brief discussion, the Board adopted a Board Policy on how the Board and District staff should respond to "discriminatory or harassing remarks or comments made by a member of the public" during a public meeting.  It was amended to subtract section B of the prposed policy.

THE DISTRICT'S STRATEGIC PLAN:
A report from the Rules and Ethics Committee, and discussion of the District's Strategic Plan as well as a proposal to alter the current committee structure of the Board.  This was referred back to committee for further discussion.

STAR TEST AND NEW PERFORMANCE GOALS:
The Board heard a report regarding the 2010- 2011 STAR Results and Preview of District Academic Performance Goals for 2011-2012.  Report included information on gains, losses, achievement gaps, and highly successful schools.  Click here for a video of the presentation.

ABOUT GREAT OAKLAND PUBLIC SCHOOLS
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GO's work providing information to the Oakland education community and advocating on behalf of students and public schools requires resources. We need your support.  Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to the GO Public Schools Information Center and becoming a member of GO Public Schools to ensure GO can continue its important work.

Sept 27 Preview - School Closures

Tuesday's School Board meeting will begin at 5 pm in the Oakland High School Auditorium (1023 MacArthur Blvd.). The meeting is expected to be dominated by the first reading of Superintendent Tony Smith's recommendation to close five schools, beginning in the 2012-13 school year. It should be noted that the discussion on restructing has been moved to the beginning of the meeting. While the Board is not expected to vote on a recommendation, it is the first time they will be discussing which schools could be potentially closed.

The District has shared a lot of information regarding these decisions. Included below are: (1) links to the presentation materials as well as an outline highlighting the contents below, and (2) a list of the schools proposed for various types of restructuring (including closures).

In addition to school district restructuring, the Board will review the following issues:

  • A Board Policy on how the Board and District staff should respond to "discriminatory or harassing remarks or comments made by a member of the public" during a public meeting.
  • A Report from the Rules and Ethics Committee, and discussion of the District's Strategic Plan.
  • A Report from the Teaching and Learning committee of the 2010- 2011 STAR Results and Preview of District Academic Performance Goals for 2011-2012


1.  THE DISTRICT LEADERSHIP'S PRESENTATION (2 PARTS):
a.  The District's Main Presentation has a great deal of information about possible changes in the coming years and months.  It is worth taking some time to read to better understand what is happening in OUSD. 

  • Part 1 explains why the changes need to happen.
  • Part 2 recaps the criteria. 
  • Part 3 explains the recommendations.
  • Part 4 explains the financial impact. 
  • Part 5 explains next steps.

b. The Appendices contain the following information:

  • Appendix I: Locations of Restructuring Recommendations
  • Appendix II: Restructuring Recommendations Supporting Rationale
  • Appendix III: Portfolio Overview of Middle Schools
  • Appendix IV: Transition Support for School Closure Recommendations
  • Appendix V: Overview of Preliminary Site Disposition Analysis
  • Appendix VI: School Portfolio Recommendation DRAFT Expenditures
  • Appendix VII: Overview of Grade Configuration Change Recommendations
  • Appendix VIII: DRAFT Criteria for evaluation of Grade Configuration Change Plans Proposed Decision‐making timeline: by December 14, 2011
  • Appendix IX: Overview of STEM Corridor Schools
  • Appendix X: Overview of School Transformation Process
  • Appendix XI: Overview of implications for using 2010 Census data for school specific population density analysis
  • Appendix XII: Overview of Strategic Plan and School Portfolio Objectives
  • Appendix XIII: Lists of Schools as of 2011‐12
  • Appendix XIV: District Board Approved Restructuring Criteria August 24, 2011
  • Appendix XV: Overview of Restructuring Criteria Steps applied in support of Board Study Session: September 7, 2011

2. SCHOOL PORTFOLIO MANAGEMENT & DISTRICT RESTRUCTURING DECISIONS
The following is a list of the suggested closures, and transformations that will be discussed on Tuesday:

a. LIST OF RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FIRST READING:
The list--for a first reading--of proposed recommendations (including for closure) is as follows:

  • School Closure in 2012:  (1) Lakeview Elementary; (2) Lazear Elementary; (3) Marshall Elementary; (4) Maxwell Elementary; (5) Santa Fe Elementary
  • Transformation in 2012: (1) Business, Information & Tech; (2) East Oakland School of the Arts; (3) Leadership Preparatory Academy; (4) Youth Empowerment School College Prep & Architecture; (5) Mandela Academy Media Academy; (6) Barack Obama Academy (begun in 2011)
  • Quality Expansion by 2013: (1) Burckhalter Elementary; (2) Kaiser Elementary
  • Grade Configuration Change by Aug. 2013: (1) Sobrante Park; (2) Madison Middle School
  • Academy Expansion of Oakland Tech: (1) Far West High School

b.  KEY DEFINITIONS:

  • School Closure:  Closing a school program and providing alternate placements for students and staff with access to higher performing schools.
  • Quality Expansion:  Maintaining staffing, (including classified, certificated, and administration) student enrollment, and the integrity of all program components and partnerships. Expand existing facility and/or relocate school to a facility in support of manageably increasing enrollment resulting in at least: District Avg. -380 students.
  • Transformation: A process of re‐designing an existing school program or multiple school programs to establish an improved program with greater likelihood to meet the educational needs of all students.
  • Grade Configuration Change: Changing the grade configuration of a school to serve; grades PK‐12, PK‐8, 6‐12, and/or PK‐12.
  • Consolidation:  Establishment of a single school program in place of two or more existing school programs. In most cases as the result of phasing out one school program and increasing the capacity of another school program. In some cases as the result of a newly designed program to serve all students.
  • Campus Closure:  Represents a school facility in which the district currently will not operate a district school.

Sept 14 Board Meeting - NAACP, Budget, and Facilties Bonds

The next school board meeting will be held on Tuesday, September 27, 2011 instead of the customary Wednesday meeting time in honor of Rosh Hashanah.

Highlights from the Sept. 14th 2011 OUSD School Board meeting include the following:

NAACP Presentation: 
The Board heard public comment following the NAACP's presentation detailing the condition of African-American students in Oakland schools.  The NAACP included a series of recommendations, including the demands of the Black Student Union at Skyline High School and wants the Board to address systematic inequities at McClymonds High School.  Here is a video of the presentation:



Click here for a copy of the presentation.


Honoring Rise: 
The Board recognized Rise Community School's principal, Connie Tillman, for improved student achievement and exiting program improvement.  Rise's API score jumped from 706 in 2010 to 746 in 2011.  See the school being honored:



Public Comment
Following last week's Board study session about closing schools, nearly forty people--most from Kaiser--many of whom were protesting the list of proposed closures. The Board will hear District staff give their recommendations at their next meeting, on September 27.  

Closing the 2010-11 Books
:  The Board closed the books for the 2010-11 fiscal year by voting to approving the Annual Statement of All Receipts and Expenditures of the District for the 2010-11 Fiscal Year.  Click here for a copy of the presentation.
Highlights from the report's included:
• The District's unrestricted general ending fund balance is approximately $27.8M dollars, $0.9M lower than anticipated.
• The reserve for economic uncertainty is $12.6M which reflects the 3% required per Board Policy.
• OUSD spent $54,382,095 on consultants in 2010-11, with the largest chunks being restricted funds designated for special education services.  For more information on the amount spent on consultants, see page 22 of the report.
• For a summary of OUSD enrollment dating from the 2007-08 school year through 2011-12, see page 54 of the report.
• To see how individual schools spent their unrestricted funds, see page 28-32

Pursuing a Bond?:  The board directed staff to poll city residents to see the viability of a facilities bond or parcel tax for either June or November 2012.  The District has not decided if they will pursue a Prop. 39 election, which would require 55% of voter approval, or a General Obligation Bond Measure, which would require 66% approval.

OUSD staff talked about the need for a new facilities bond to generate $500 million, which would be used for modernization and seismic upgrades.  Tim White explains the need for this bond:


Sept. 14 Board Meeting - Agenda Preview

Below is a summary of some key items on the agenda for Wednesday's School Board meeting (click here for the full agenda).  Of particular interest:
  • The NAACP gives a presentation about the condition of African-American Students in OUSD (with recs)
  • There is a budget summary from the 2010-2011 school year.  The PDF includes information about school site budgets, consultant contracts, and an abundance of other useful/interesting financial information.
  • Implementation of the Board's Strategic Initiative (The materials are not available as of Monday).
Of note, there is no dedicated time for the school closure process. There is, however, time for public comment at which the community can share their thoughts, appreciation, and critiques with the Board.

Best,
Marc Tafolla
Policy Director
GO Public Schools


Reports:
• 11-2257 - Presentation of Report by the NAACP - Oakland Branch regarding District administrative practices impacting academic standards for African American and Low Performing Students (Board Bylaw 9322; Education Code Section 35140.5).

New Business
Board of Education
• 11-2536 Nomination - Charles T. Ramsey - Board of Directors, California School
Boards Association

Finance and Human Resources Committee - Report -David Kakishiba, Chair
• 11-2106 State Controller's Report - District Audit - Fiscal Year 2007-2008
• 11-2108 Annual Statement of All Receipts and Expenditures of the District - Fiscal Year 2010-2011(Unaudited Actuals) (Closing of the Books)
• 11-2489 District's Gann Limit - Fiscal Year 2010-2011 and Projected Gann Limit for the 2011-2012 Fiscal Year

Facilities Committee - Report - Noel Gallo, Chair
• 11-1862 New General Obligation Bond Measure and/or Parcel Tax for Maintenance of for District Facilities - Facilities Planning and Management
• 11-2443 Measure "B" Independent Citizens' School Facilities Bond Oversight Committee - Appointment of Individuals to Fill Unexpired Terms

Intergovernmental Relations Committee Jody London, Chair
• 10-2765 Board of Education - Implementation - District's Strategic Initiative
• 11-2538 Endorsement of SB 753 - California English Language Development Test (CELDT) Date Change & Proficiency (Padilla)

Board Study Session Recap - School Closure Criteria

Purpose of the meeting:
Last night the School Board met in a special study session to review the application of the school closure criteria that the Board adopted at its August 24th meeting. The purpose was not to take action to close schools. This meeting was for the purpose of examining what happens when district staff applied the data to the first four steps of a six step process to consider school closures.

District staff presented helpful information on the reason for closing schools:


District staff also shared information on the criteria for choosing which schools to close:


Information was shared about the fiscal impact of closing schools:


Key Outcomes:
The Board agreed to the following general outline for moving forward:
1.  Sept 27th Board Meeting: District staff will present to the Board--for a first reading--a list of schools it recommends should be considered for closure. District will take feedback from the Board and bring back a list for another reading before the Board takes any action.
2.  Oct. 12th (or Oct. 27th) Board Meeting:  Board will consider taking action to adopt a final list of schools for closure.

Key Highlights:
Supporting Transitioning Families
:
• Director Kakishiba shared that a national standard is that up to 20 percent of students at closing schools may choose not to attend a district school. He suggested using money from the unallocated reserve to support transitioning families. He also wanted to set specific goals around ensuring that the district loses as few students as possible.
• Director Spearman raised concerns about the number of students who may leave the district as a result of closing schools.
• Director Yee asked how many closing schools the district staff could support.  David Montes replied that the entire district would have to support the families.  Supporting families would also be an element of the staff's presentation to the Board when it makes it recommendations.
• Mr. Montes supported the Board's ideas about holding staff accountable for effectively supporting families. He said that staff have a framework for supporting families, but need to create a set plan for each school.

School Closure Time lines and Community Engagement:
• Director Gallo proposed a Board policy adopting time lines for the school closure process. The proposal will move to the Ethics Committee for further discussion and possible movement to the full Board as policy.
• Superintendent Smith noted that there has been talk about school closures for nearly two years.  Additionally, the district used the feedback it received during its outreach for creating its strategic plan (Thriving Students) for creating the criteria guiding principles.

School Consolidations:
• Director Spearman asked about consolidating schools in the West Oakland STEM Corridor.
• Vernon Hal explained that from a financial standpoint, consolidating schools on the same campus does not offer the same level of financial savings as closing campuses.

School Expansions:
• Director Kakishiba asked for clarification on the process on how schools were selected for expansion. He expressed concern that it should have been a systematic selection process rather than based on school's expressing interest.
• Directors requested that more information on expansions and consolidations be presented at upcoming meetings.

Fiscal Concerns:
• Superintendent Smith expressed concerns about discussing the closures in terms of financial savings rather than restructuring the district to better serve students.  The Directors echoed this sentiment.
• Projected savings of unrestricted funds for the closures on the list is $4.7 Million annually ($3.4 Million for elementary; $1.1 Million for Middle Schools; and $0.2 Million for Castlemont/YES) (page 13-15 of the PowerPoint)[NOTE - middle schools were omitted from the PowerPoint slide regarding financial savings]
• Director Yee asked about the financial savings from the Central Office not having to service the closed schools.

Click here to receive summaries of OUSD School Board meetings.

School Closures - The Preliminary List of Schools for Consideration

Oakland district staff has posted an initial list of "schools identified for possible closure consideration based on Board of Education approved criteria" for discussion at tonight's 6:00 School Board meeting.


This list was produced after applying steps 1-4 of the Board's adopted criteria. Before any decisions are made, the Board must still look at  "Step 5: consider impact on Special Education Program and analyze possible receiving school consideration" and "Step 6: Superintendent makes final closure recommendations for 2012-13, by adopting Guiding Principles." (see page six of PowerPoint for list of "Guiding Principles")

The district staff presentation includes (1) a PowerPoint presentation which contains a lot of general information as well as helpful explanations of the process, and (2) a PDF with the information they used in their initial analysis.

To be clear, tonight's discussion is about board members reviewing an initial report of how the criteria they established were used to generate a preliminary list of schools for "possible closure consideration." OUSD's process includes additional discussion and engagement before the Superintendent will make final recommendations next month. The preliminary list includes: (see page 35 of PowerPoint presentation)

  • Marshall Elementary
  • Burckhalter Elementary
  • Lakeview Elementary
  • Santa Fe Elementary
  • Kaiser Elementary
  • Lazear Elementary
  • Maxwell Park Elementary
  • Sobrante Park Elementary
  • Frick Middle School
  • Claremont Middle School

Whether or not your child attends, or you teach or work at a school which may be closed, the Board's actions that result from this process will have profound districtwide effects as thousands of families move to new school communities. This is not easy work for our leaders on the board, the central office, or at school sites. Our community needs to be prepared and supportive of each other.

P.S. If you want to stay updated on school closures and restructuring, and other education issues, we will be posting information as we get it on our Facebook and Twitter pages. You can also get email updates about what happens at school board meetings by signing up here.


Other Helpful Links and Updates:


GO's letter to the School Board: School Closures and Mergers

Below is the letter GO recently shared with the Oakland School Board regarding possible school closures, mergers, and expansions. We raise seven key questions about how the Board will support transitioning families and receiving schools as well as the financial impact of the Board's changes. Click here for a PDF of the letter in English, here for Spanish or here for Chinese.

The Board will meet tomorrow night at 6:00 p.m., in a special study session, to discuss timelines, and what specific types of changes to make. GO understands that the Board will apply the criteria it adopted at its last meeting to develop possible scenarios.

This is another opportunity for your voice to be heard in this important process.

Best,

Marc Tafolla
Great Oakland Public Schools
Policy Director
________________________________________________________________
September 6, 2011
Board of Education
Oakland Unified School District
1025 2nd Avenue, Suite 320
Oakland, CA 94606-2212

Dear Board of Education Members:

As the Board of Education embarks on its school portfolio management and restructuring process, GO Public Schools writes with appreciations of work done so far and questions about how the district will fully support communities and schools affected by the closures going forward.

First, we appreciate the thoughtful criteria developed by the Quality Community Schools Development Group. We also appreciate the leadership required of Board Members, Superintendent Smith, and district staff to grapple with and make tough decisions regarding school closures.

GO is asking the district to further clarify its approach to three issues: (1) Transitioning Families; (2) Receiving Schools; and (3) Financial Considerations.

(1) Transitioning Families: GO shares OUSD's concern about supporting transitioning families to make the best decisions for their children to ensure that they set their children up for success at a new school.

a. What is the specific action plan (including timelines, funding, number of staff, etc.) for supporting and communicating with transitioning students and families who participate in the options process?
-Will students from closing schools be given preference in the Option Process, especially for in-demand schools?
-Will OUSD give transitioning families information about high-quality charters in their neighborhood? How many students does the district estimate will move to charter public schools as a result of this process?
-What steps will the district take to sustain enrollment in district schools throughout this process?
- Our understanding is that the district has budgeted for but not hired five family engagement specialists? Can their hiring be expedited to support transitioning families?
 
b. How will families be placed who don't participate in the options process?

c. Where two different academic programs are being replaced by one academic program in a neighborhood, how will the district ensure that families have access to at least as high a quality program of the kind they currently participate in?

(2) Receiving Schools: GO is concerned with ensuring that receiving schools will either remain or become high-quality schools as they increase in size.

a. What specific supports (including timelines, funding, number of staff, etc.) will be given to schools receiving students to ensure they are strengthened as a result of this process?
- Which specific schools have been identified as "Receiving Schools" and will receive supports?
- Who has the decision-making power regarding how much larger these receiving schools will become following the closures? Will school communities decide or will these numbers and targets be set by the board or central office?
- What steps will be taken to ensure that receiving schools can expand to serve larger number of kids effectively (e.g.. a school might have a counseling services partner that is limited to serving 35 students and might not be able to maintain quality with more students)?

b. How will priority placements and other staffing issues be handled to improve student outcomes?
- Will the district use mutual consent placements (meaning that both the principal or school hiring committee and the teacher have to agree to the placement) during the school closure and transition process?

(3) Financial Considerations:

a. What are the actual costs savings associated with closing each school? Overall? In the first year? Projected over five years?

b. Is the Board committed to ensuring that financial savings that result from the closures will be allocated directly to school-site budgets?

GO respectfully requests that the Board direct district staff to address these questions during the Board's impending school portfolio management special study session, as well as, during subsequent presentations at impacted school communities

GO appreciates the hard work and dedication of the Oakland staff in creating a thoughtful process. We also agree with the district staff's assessment that the "real work" begins after the closure list has been finalized. However, we hope that further addressing the above questions and concerns will allow for the Oakland education community to manage a difficult process and emerge better able to serve children.

Sincerely,

Jonathan Klein                              Marc Tafolla
Co-Founder                                  Policy Director

Cc: Tony Smith, Superintendent, OUSD
       Vernon Hal, Deputy Superintendent, Business Services & Operations, OUSD
       Maria Santos, Deputy Superintendent, Instruction, Leadership &. Equity-in-Action, OUSD

Wednesday's Board Meeting: Criteria for School Closures, Mergers, and Other Changes

This week's School Board meeting includes discussion and possible adoption of the criteria for the closing, transforming, or merging of OUSD schools.

What: OUSD Board of Education Meeting,
Where: 1025 2nd Avenue
When: 5 pm, Wednesday, August 24, 2011

School closures can be among the most difficult times and choices for any school community.  The District needs your feedback (attend Wednesday's School Board meeting and/or send feedback and support to the Quality Schools Development Group or your School Board member) to make sure our students and schools get the support they need.

We at GO look forward to the coming months as a time when the Oakland education community can be sensitive, deliberate, and thoughtful. We must make choices that will keep our children as our focus. This includes ensuring that, if schools must be closed, families at those schools are cared for during transition and schools receiving those families are also supported to ensure they are strengthened by the process and remain high-quality schools.

It is our understanding that the following will happen:
(1) OUSD staff present criteria to the Board for adoption;
(2) if the Board adopts the criteria, then district staff will present a list of schools for recommended closure/merger;
(3) with Board approval, district staff will begin reaching out to affected school communities (meetings, info, etc.);
(4) the Board approves a final list of changes by Wednesday, October 26; and
(5) OUSD begins working on the transition process for the 2012-13 school year.

At this Board Meeting, the District will present the following.

First: The OUSD staff is proposing a set of guiding principles that will help the district meet its goals with this process. The list in the Board Presentation has additional explanation:


GUIDING PRINCIPLES

  • Reinforce neighborhood schools
  • Increase access to quality alternatives
  • Reduce displacement of students and families
  • Consider a variety of factors in decision-making
  • Integrate school closure among multiple strategies to achieve goals

Second: The OUSD Staff is proposing a six-step process that will help them decide which schools to close. There is much more detail in the Board Presentation (PDF).  GO includes a few quick clarifying comments below. The PDF has a more detailed explanation of the process.

SIX STEP PROCESS
1: Where do we need to operate schools?

This step looks at many factors (such as, the number of students who live close to a school) and ranks schools from high to low.  Schools with a low ranking may be placed on a closure list.

2: Which schools listed have been included in another restructuring strategy?
This means that "transformation," STEM schools, and others will be excluded from the list.

3: Which schools listed had the lowest ranking (based on step one, above) with the greatest distance from other low ranking schools on the list?

4.1: Which schools listed are located in greatest proximity to one another?

Are there schools that are ranked low and close to another low ranked school?

4.2: What if low ranked schools share a boundary?

If there are low ranked schools that share a boundary then OUSD will look at three factors:  Performance, School Choice, and Fiscal Health

4.3: Which schools, when considering other factors, ranked lowest in one or more of these additional categories?
This step will identify schools that are (1) low-ranking (based on step one) and (2) are close to another low-ranking school, and rank them based on Performance, School Choice, and Fiscal Health. If they are low ranking on those factors, then they will stay on the closure list.

5: (optional) Which schools, when considering other factors, nonetheless represent viable options as receiving schools for students displaced by school closure?

6: Which schools are the Superintendent and staff recommending to the Board of Education for Closure beginning Fall 2012?

The top left sidebar of the OUSD website includes a link to watch the meeting live on Wednesday if you can't make it in person.

First Board Meeting of the Year

Family and associates of Raheim Brown (a young man killed during an altercation with Oakland school police officers) attended the public comment section of the Board meeting to protest the District's handling of the incident. Director Yee called a brief recess to restore order.
 
Charter Schools:
Urban Montessori:  The Board of Education voted to hear the Urban Montessori charter petition (the Teaching and Learning Committee had previously voted to reject the OUSD staff's recommendation to approve the charter).  After hearing from the staff's positive recommendation, the Board voted to reject the charter.  (Members Dobbins, Gallo, and Hodge voted in favor, and Members Yee, Kakishiba, Spearman, and London voted against).
 
Rocketship:  The Board of Education voted unanimously to reject Rocketship's charter petition.  They accepted the staff recommendation.
 
Impartial Administrative Hearing panel:  The Board unanimously adopted a resolution to hire two part-time retired administrators to the handle the disciplinary hearings.  Director Gallo pointed out that action will speed disciplinary hearings for students (potentially limiting their out of school time) and keep principals focused on being instructional leaders because they will no longer need to participate on the panels.
 
Budget Development Calendar:  The Board approved the OUSD budget development calendar which will guide the development and assessment of OUSD's budget.  Superintendent Smith pointed out that the budget calendar includes a discussion in October regarding the goals and priorities of the Board and Thriving Students.
 
AB 114:  The Board moved to adopt a letter to the governor regarding their concerns surrounding AB 114. Director Kakishiba expressed that the OUSD Board and Supt have been working hard to prepare OUSD for what happens in case of mid-year budget cuts.
 
Joint Powers Authority:  The Board tabled a motion to pay the Joint Venture Authority to pay the membership fees by "in kind donations" instead of $150,000 cash.
 
From the Consent Agenda:
Noel Gallo pulled the following items from the consent calendar (the consent calendar is reserved non-controversial items).  He raised the issue about whether this was an appropriate use of funds given the severe budget crisis.
 
Amendment No. 2- Professional Services Contract - The Podesta Group - General Counsel
Approval by the Board of Education of Amendment No. 2 to the Agreement between the District and The Podesta Group, Washington, DC, for the latter to 1) advise the District on issues related to federal education laws, regulations and funding, 2) educate members of Congress and staff on how policy proposals are delivered at the school/district level, 3) gain the support of the congressional delegation for initiatives and potential funding for the District, and 4) arrange site visits in the District for members of Congress, congressional staff, and Administration officials as described in Paragraph 1 'INTENT", for the period March 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012, in an amount not to exceed $71,750.00.
 
Dr. Smith and Director Hinton-Hodge pointed out there is value to this contract because it helps OUSD gain access and information that has been helpful in receiving additional grants.  Director London requested that the Board gain more value from the information provided by the Podesta group.
 
The contract was passed unanimously.
 
Place at Prescott:  Parents and staff at Place at Prescott attended the Board meeting to ask the Board for its support to retain three key staff members who have been long-term fixtures within the school community.

Board To Discuss Cyberbullying, Budget Possibilities, and Charter Petitions

This Wednesday's School Board meeting will feature discussion on key items including:

  • The Teaching the Learning Committee's recommendations on petitions for two charters:

o    The Urban Montessori:  The Teaching Learning Committee rejected the staff's recommendation to approve the Urban Montessori charter; the School Board must first decide whether it wants to hear the petition as a whole board, if so, then it can approve or reject the petition.

o   Rocketship:  The Teaching and Learning Committee voted to accept the staff's recommendation to reject Rocketship's proposal.

  • Information state policies including the impact of AB 114. AB 114 was passed as a part of the this year's state budget.  It lays out the possibility of substantial mid-year budget cuts, limits county oversight of the District's budget process, and requires districts to assume the same level of funding for the 2011-12 school year as they had for the 2010-11 school year.  For a summary of the law, click here.
  • Adopting the budget development calendar for the upcoming year
  • Approval by the Board of creating various contracts to provide services for the district.

To receive email updates when we post about the activities of the Oakland Board of Education, please click here.

Board To Discuss Budget, Consider Three Charter Proposals, and More

This Wednesday's Board of Education meeting will feature discussion on key items including:

  • A public hearing and adoption vote by the Board of the 2011-2012 Fiscal Year Budget for $527.4 million. The Board will also vote on whether to adopt adjustments to the budget including maintaining current year level of expenditures and programming for Adult Education services and allocating proposed Measure G expenditures for middle school electives to high schools to "maintain courses that help students quality for college" and provide middle schools one-time only bridge funding from the Ending Fund Balance.
  • The Measure "B" Citizen's Bond Oversight Committee will present their annual report to the Board and Oakland residents
  • A public hearing for three charter schools: Urban Montessori, Rocketship, and Legacies of Excellence
  • Approval by the Board to eliminate and create various district employee positions

To receive email updates when we post about the activities of the Oakland Board of Education, please click here.

Board Reviews 11-12 Budget, Superintendent's Contract, and More

Budget
The bulk of last night's board meeting dealt with the ongoing struggle to arrive at a balanced 2011-12 budget. Vernon Hal shared a presentation on the current budget proposal. Right now, OUSD is basing its budget plans on Governor Brown's May Revised state budget and assumes a best-case-scenario of flat funding from 2010-11 and no Average Daily Attendance (ADA) revenue loss. OUSD's cuts are now estimated at $10.6 million (to eliminate the structural deficit). These state budget numbers are still dependent on iffy tax extensions.

The district's target budget adoption date is June 29. The three charts below show the unrestricted general fund expenditures for this year, the unrestricted general fund budget for next year, and the change in each category from this year to next.

Director Spearman raised a concern that the budget reflects the state-mandated minimum 2% set-aside for economic uncertainty (rainy day fund), while the Board had previously adopted a policy of a 3% set-aside in the past. Director Gallo asked for a more concise budget summary, including the estimated ending fund balance at 2010-11, the estimated beginning fund balance for 2011-12, and the enrollment projections for the coming year.

Director Kakishiba pointed out that the Board established three budgetary priorities in January: eliminating the structural deficit, increasing teacher retention, and increasing teacher compensation. The current budget addresses only the structural deficit. The Board had a discussion about whether the Board's January priorities and the five priorities in the Superintendent's Strategic Plan were at odds with one another. Superintendent Smith said that the Board's priorities were explicitly contained within the Strategic Plan.

Director Yee pointed out the importance of including the discussion of school site closures in budget conversations, and noted that next year's budget does not include any changes in RBB funding rules, though the Board has clearly expressed a desire to change RBB.

Superintendent's Contract
The Board unanimously passed an amendment to the employment agreement with Superintendent Smith, extending his term of employment with the district to 2015. The Board members expressed their support for the Superintendent, and their desire that he stay at the helm to implement the Strategic Plan.

Legislative Endorsements
Director London discussed two proposed endorsements from the Intergovernmental Relations Committee. AB 9 is anti-bullying legislation that promotes restorative justice and alternatives to expulsion, and SB 128 prioritizes state funds for new construction and school modernization for green building projects. The Board unanimously endorsed both pieces of legislation.

Professional Services Contracts
Director Spearman pulled from the consent calendar several professional service contracts with the Oakland Schools Foundation, complaining that  the money was poorly spent ($155,000 on this agenda), the dates on the contracts were wrong, and that the vendor had lied in their contracts. In response to concerns about school site authority over funding, Ms. Spearman said, "RBB is a practice, not a policy, and this Board should have enough guts to say enough is enough." When Director Dobbins expressed concern about conducting an evaluation, Ms. Spearman responded, "You were elected as a Board Member. You have the authority to do whatever you please." One contract was unanimously sent back to the school to verify the dates. The other contracts were held pending a report from the Superintendent. The motion passed despite "no" votes from Directors Hodge and Yee.

Public Comments
In notable public comments, parents and teachers from Sequoia and later from Brookfield Elementary Schools came to express their concern regarding the effects of teacher layoffs, increasing class sizes, and the introduction of combination classes at their schools. Several counselors and representatives from BAMN came to protest the proposed layoffs of counselor positions. One counselor from Skyline High School noted that the district is contracting with retirees to provide counseling services while simultaneously laying off or consolidating current counselors. Another group of community members asked the Board to remove OUSD police from the schools.

Important dates for June:
•    June 18 - study session on the Strategic Plan
•    June 29 - budget adoption date
 
 

Teaching and Learning Committee Meeting Notes

This week's Teaching and Learning Committee meeting included a brief discussion about the districts five-year strategic plan, Community Schools, Thriving Students. Deputy Superintendent Santos explained that the stakeholder response to the district's plan has been positive. Director London called for more development on budgeting detail and school choice processes before adoption of the plan by the board.

Representatives from The Center for Effective Philanthropy presented the results of a student survey conducted at 13 OUSD high schools in January of this year. The survey, Youth Truth, is intended to give student voice to the district's strategic vision as well describe trends in student perceptions of OUSD. The survey found that students felt positively about smaller class sizes, personalized help, and supportive teachers. The greatest gap areas most frequently mentioned were students' attitudes and better teachers.  The OUSD data presented was compared with a larger dataset to illustrate how OUSD students' perceptions were similar to other districts.

Director Hodge was absent.

Teaching and Learning Committee to Review Thriving Students

This week's Teaching and Learning Committee meeting will address the adoption by the Board of Education of the district's five-year strategic vision, Community Schools, Thriving Students. With a goal of complete implementation set for May of 2016, this strategic vision aspires to create full service community schools throughout OUSD.

Maria Santos, Deputy Superintendent, Instruction, Leadership & Equity-in-Action, will share the results of Youth Truth, a report that describes trends in student perceptions for OUSD as a whole and identifies specific schools that have disproportionately positive or negative student perceptions in selected areas.

Board Discusses Student Engagement, Aspire Charter Denial, Thriving Students, and More

Several important items were discussed at last night's Board of Education meeting.

Meaningful Student Engagement
Following the student board director's discussion on meaningful student engagement, many public comments arose from students in support of meaningful student engagement in the strategic plan. One individual asked for specific goals on student engagement in the plan, and another person credited the conversation on the need for an ethnic studies curriculum made possible due to student engagement. Kitty Kelly Epstein also later spoke in support of meaningful student engagement.

OUSD's Strategic Plan
Superintendent Smith's report clarified that the strategic planning task forces are ongoing, and that goals will still be represented in the plan. He indicated that the framework of youth and families is throughout the plan. Smith later clarified that the first draft of the strategic plan was submitted last week with the goal of June 18th for final approval by the Board. He invited community members to visit www.thrivingstudents.org for all relevant information regarding the strategic plan.

Public Comment
Public comment on non-agenda items included many representatives speaking in support of adult education, citing that adult education is necessary for families to help their children with homework. Parents and adult education teachers came out to speak to the Board. The mother of a shooting victim in front of Skyline High also expressed her sentiment to the board regarding the police investigation. Rocketship and Urban Montessori each submitted their charter school petitions to the Board. In addition, counselors being laid off spoke about the need for counselors and the state's high student to counselor ratio.

Aspire Charter School Denial
Next, Gail Greely of the Office of Charter Schools presented to the Board on Aspire College Academy, stating that their staff recommendation is for approval of the charter, even though an additional K-5 school is not needed to serve Oakland students. However, she stated, this is not grounds for denial. The office concluded that the program is not unsound, and that Aspire's petition is strong because of its experience. President Yee questioned the need for such a school and had a concern about a partnership with Aspire because he believed they had no intention to expand, asking whether it was a "partnership of convenience or integrity."

Board discussion on the matter included Director Spearman commenting that Aspire is competition for Oakland schools. Director Dobbins had questions for Greely, asking for clarification that Aspire met all the legal requirements and questioned the potential principal of Aspire, asking if the school would stay K-5. Dobbins shared Spearman's concerns but said that the law is the law. Director Gallo's perspective was that public schools need to try to win over Oakland students and need to compete.  Director London was unhappy with the application and said excellent things are happening in public schools, not just charters. Yee also asked about the special education population being lower in Aspire schools, citing statistics for each Aspire school in Oakland. The Superintendent of Aspire Schools cited that Aspire works to have a comprehensive Response to Intervention (RTI) program. Greely commented that she cannot say the lower special education population is due to RTI. Yee also asked about the ethnic diversity of Aspire schools and the Superintendent of Aspire attributed it to interest in the schools.  Aspire has followed lottery rules and laws. The potential principal of Aspire College Academy said that the goal of her recruitment plan is to have the students and teachers reflect the diversity of the community. In the end, the motion to approve the charter failed.

District Finances
Vernon Hal, Deputy Superintendent, Business Services & Operations, presented the third interim financial report. The district projected to meet the required two percent reserve for economic uncertainty for 2010-2011.

School Improvement Grants
The final public agenda item was the approval of the School Improvement Grant (SIG) schools. Superintendent Smith recommended the Transformation Model. A representative presented the implications of this model with schools engaged in designing programs to make changes for students. She believed this to be aligned with full service community schools, focusing on academic language and literacy.  The representative also mentioned that reorganizing schools would include a new Community School Director, which Gallo later asked for clarification on. Extensive professional development, extended learning time for students, and a partnership with Youth Uprising are also part of this Transformation Model. Board discussion included Gallo asking what would be different with the school and how attendance might change. Spearman also asked how the staff of failing schools would develop a vision if they have not changed anything thus far. The Interim School Improvement Grant Coordinator also reported that they gave a baseline report for the state. The motion was adopted unanimously.

Board to Discuss Charter Renewals, SIG Schools at Tonight's Meeting

Tonight's Board of Education meeting will feature discussion on key items including:

May 11th OUSD Board Meeting: Adult Ed Funding, Certificated Layoffs, SIG Updates


Tonight's OUSD Board Meeting will include discussion and decisions on some urgent items including the reallocation of adult education money, certificated staff layoffs and SIG updates for Alliance Academy and Roots International Academy.
 
The Board is being asked to discuss and recommend direction regarding the development of the 2011-2012 Fiscal Year budget, including possible options for use of $3 million Flexed Adult Education for high school education, use of $1 million Flexed Adult Education for adult education services, use of funds by LCI for professional development and presentation of information reports on Non-Mandated testing services.

The Board is being asked to approve Resolution No. 1011-1100 - Proposed Decision of Administrative Law Judge Relating to Reductions In Certificated Positions - Adopting in whole or in part the decision of the Administrative Law Judge, in OAH Case Number 2011030787, dated on or about the 4th of May 2011, relating to the dismissal of certificated employees; authorizing the Superintendent of Schools to issue final layoff notices pursuant to the ALJ decision as a result of the reduction in and/or elimination of services, and further authorizing the Superintendent of Schools to release certificated temporary employees.
 
The board will hold the first of two public hearings to determine, with input from staff, parents, and the school communities of Alliance Academy and Roots International Academy - which Intervention Model or option the Board will select to address "persistently lowest-achieving" student performance at these schools and/or select the School Improvement Grant (SIG) Applications to raise substantially the academic achievement for the pupils of said schools. Options include the following:
 
  • School Closure: Close the school and enroll students in other, higher performing schools
  • Restart: Close the school and restart the school under a charter school operator
  • Turnaround: Replace the principal and at least 50% of the staff and adopt new supervision structure for school and new instructional programs
  • Transformation: Extend school time, enhance community engagement, improve effectiveness of principal, teachers, and instructional programs, provide increased flexibility and support (replace principal if hired more than two years prior)
 

Finance and HR Committee Blog - May 5, 2011

Staff from the district's office on Supplemental Education Services gave a presentation on the impact evaluation proposal for evaluating the effectiveness of Title I SES providers. The SES office is looking at ways to change MOUs with SES providers to allow for more accountability (and for the termination of the contract if student achievement does not increase). Initial recommendations include
•    Evaluating student effectiveness,
•    Monitoring attendance,
•    Aligning OUSD individual learning plans (ILMs) with SES provider ILMs,
•    Conducting focus groups with parents, and
•    Creating a better system for conducting announced and unannounced site visits.

The goal is to have a working plan in place by August. However, the SES office lost a program manager position in the newest round of budget cuts, so implementation will be difficult.

As a part of ongoing district budget development, OUSD staff presented a proposal for the district to use $3 million of adult education flexible dollars to move toward "a-g" compliance. These needs will be funded by the flex dollars taken from adult education. Staff identified over $3 million in strategic interventions:
1.    Central office counselors (7 positions, total $700,000)
2.    Literacy specialists (13-15 positions, total $1.3 million)
3.    Male achievement ($200,000) - including mentorship and ethnic studies
4.    Expansion of AP courses ($400,000)
5.    Career and college pathways from high school ($500,000)

The current budget proposal leaves $1 million in funding for adult education. The Complimentary Learning and Full-service Community Schools departments will be merged, and the resulting department will use the remaining adult ed funds for family literacy and GED courses. All of the budget items were forwarded on to the full Board for review, except for the classified and certificated staffing plan.

The committee approved the district's request for temporary borrowing between funds. The district has used this borrowing for the past several years to ensure that the district does not run out of funds before June 30.

Teaching and Learning Committee: May 2nd Meeting Notes

This week's Teaching and Learning Committee meeting included a report on Community Day Middle School Programmatic Changes for the 2011-2012 school year. This report was a program evaluation and inquiry on Barack Obama Academy, which is an experimental model, intended to provide intense social and emotional supports integrated with academics for middle school students as risk for dropping out. The evaluation found that the program as implemented has not resulted in significantly changed outcomes for its students due to challenges with leadership and staff as well as the need for deeper development with partners and outside organizations. Because OUSD's Strategic Vision aims to provide full service community schools to all students in the district, a program redesign is necessary. For example, the Seneca Center will be the mental health partner for the Barack Obama Academy as well as the existing Community Day program and staff will receive specialized training. The new program redesign is currently underway.

Also presented was a report from the District's Pupil Counseling Program. This report explained that for school year 2011-2012, the district would begin the use of central counselors to be deployed throughout the district on the basis of need. Due to the current budget crisis, there is no longer adequate funding to provide essential teaching staff plus a counselor at every school site therefore counselors are being cut. The College and Career Readiness Office will oversee this transition and provide training and supervision to the centralized counselors. The committee members expressed concern that this redesign could provide an "inadequate situation" for both the counselors and the students involved. This discussion will continue at the next committee meeting.

Finally, the committee approved a motion to designate Lisette Averhoff and Lisa Hiltbrand as 2011-2012 OUSD's Teachers of the Year.

5/2/11 Teaching and Learning Committee - Special Location

Teaching and Learning Committee: May 2, 2011 at 5pm

This week's Teaching and Learning Committee meeting will be held at the Roots International Academy Havenscourt Auditorium at 1360 66th Avenue in Oakland.

The brief agenda includes a report from the District's Pupil Counseling Program on planned programmatic changes and anticipated outcomes for Pupil Counseling and Advisory Programs effective in the upcoming school year 2011-2012.

Also on the agenda, the Board will select both Lissette Averhoff and Lisa Hiltbrand as Oakland Unified School District's 2011-2012 "Teacher of the Year."

Board to Discuss State Budget Week of Action at This Wednesday's Meeting

The Board of Education will meet in the Board Room (1025 Second Avenue) on Wednesday, April 27 at 5pm for a regular meeting. Highlights from this week's agenda include:

  • Adoption of a Resolution declaring May 9-13, 2011 a California 2011-2012 State Budget Week of Action.
  • Ratification of a Professional Service Contract for the New Teacher Center "to provide professional development, i.e., facilitate four (4) focus groups for teachers and other education stakeholders for the purpose of improving teaching conditions within the District, and consultation, i.e., consult with district leaders around content design for both the focus groups and teacher conference and support the review and synthesis of learning from the convention and determination of next steps, at a cost not to exceed $75,000.00, for the period of March 1, 2011 through June 30, 2011."

Special Board Meeting Tonight: Teacher Layoffs Revisited


At tonight's special OUSD board meeting, board members will be discussing the following:

  • Petition and proposed charter for Aspire Public Schools College Academy.
  • Approval of Resolution No. 1011-0142A. This resolution is an amendment to the Reduction and/or Elimination of Particular Kinds of Service - Certificated Layoff resolution that was passed originally on March 9.

"The revised resolution reflects continued efforts to keep the funding cuts away from the classroom to the extent possible. The proposed reductions in positions are based on site decisions made through the results-based budgeting process to reduce particular program areas. In addition, as provided by State law, this resolution provides for the full flexing of adult education funds to ensure that the District has flexibility in the event of continued State budget uncertainty. Thus, in view of the uncertainty, all adult education staff are being issued notices of possible layoff. The resolution also helps to enable the District to meet its state and federal requirements for serving English Learners by laying off K-12 teachers who do not have any form of English Learner (EL) authorization, but retaining teachers, regardless of seniority, who have the specialized certification necessary to teach in bilingual classrooms. The resolution also provides that persons who hold credentials to teach in Special Education, which is a specialized area of high need within the District, will not be subject to layoff. In addition, persons with specialized training in the Seneca Integrated Mental Health Model and experience in teaching in an integrated mental health classroom setting, will not be subject to layoff, as these skills have been highly valuable in serving students assigned to community day schools."

BOE Meeting Recap: K-5 Teachers to Keep Jobs

Tonight's Superintendent's Report was shared by Maria Santos. (Superintendent Smith is in Washington, DC attempting to secure funding for Full Service Community Schools)

Elementary teachers to keep their jobs
Santos shared that OUSD staff has been working diligently to provide information to the community regarding teacher layoff notices. After reviewing the results of RBB, known exits, and possible elementary returns, she announced that OUSD will not need to issue May 15 notices to elementary (K-5) teachers and at least 17 music teachers. Elementary teachers without English Language Learner Certification will still receive notice. Staff is working diligently to have more information as it relates to other positions as soon as possible.

General counsel clarified that there were two types of March 15 layoff notices issued:
  • the 231 K-5 layoff notices are the ones that will be rescinded.
  • Probationary non-reelect notices (applicable when staff determines that a probationary teacher will not continue with the district toward tenure) will not be rescinded.

Teacher Convention Update
The over 200 teachers in attendance at the April 7-9 teacher convention had an opportunity to look at conditions that would enable effective practices to come alive in OUSD. Key take-aways included teachers having a more active voice and role in curriculum, instruction, assessment and professional development decisions. A teaching conditions survey was launched to all Oakland teachers earlier this week, and results will be shared publicly in June.

OUSD Board Meeting Wednesday at 4pm


Note: This Wednesday's board meeting is scheduled for 4pm in the Board Room at 1025 Second Avenue.

While there is neither new nor unfinished business on this Wednesday's board agenda, the board will be approving many professional services contract in the general consent report.


Special 2011-12 Budget Meeting Recap

On Wednesday evening, OUSD's Board of Education convened for a 2011-2012 budget study session. District leadership shared a Special Presentation to the Board, along with corresponding documents: 2011-12 Budget Development: Unrestricted General Fund Assumptions, and Summary of Consultants.

Click here to watch a video of the meeting.

The special budget study session began with some reminders regarding the severity of the crisis facing OUSD today. 

A Snapshot

Vernon Hal, the District's CFO, shared that OUSD had been preparing for a $349 per pupil funding cut ($12.5 M reduction overall), but that with the breakdown of budget talks in Sacramento, is now preparing for $844 per pupil cuts ($30.5 M reduction overall).  

It Could Get Worse

Hal stressed that the $844 per pupil cut assumes that (1) the proposed tax extension does not pass in November, and (2) education does not receive additional cuts in the state budget process.  Almost 90% of the OUSD budget comes from the state and we do not know how much we will be receiving.

The Board's Priorities

For the purposes of Wednesday's study session, the question of how to cut the budget focused around the Board's three priorities: (1) Increase Teacher Retention, (2) Eliminate the Structural Deficit, and (3) Increase Employee Compensation.

Options

According to Hal, there are four strategies to manage the projected cuts:

  1. Increase the General Fund ("Revenue Enhancement")
  2. Spend Less ("Expense Decreases")
  3. Use the OUSD Fund Balance (Money the district has for unanticipated expenses, etc.)
  4. Decrease "Proposed Expense Increases"


1. Increase the General Fund. (The General Fund is the budget category that is used to fund School Sites and the Central Office.)

  • Flex Adult Education ($6.2M): This option would cut $6.2M of Adult Education funding and add it to the General Fund so it can be used by K-12 school sites.
  • Flex Adult Education's Unallocated Budget ($2.5M): This option would cut Adult Education's $2.5M Unallocated Fund Balance and add it to the General Fund so it can be used by K-12 students.
  • Use the State Loan ($2.1): This option would use $2.1M that OUSD has remaining from its $100M loan from the state and put it into the General Fund so it can be used by K-12 students.

2. Spend less.

  • Cut to School Sites ($14.6M): This option would reduce OUSD's expenses by keeping the $14.6M cut to school site budgets under Results Based Budgeting. This is the cut that was made when the district asked schools to prepare a budget based on a $349 per pupil funding cut.
  • Cut Early Retirement Fund ($2M): This option would reduce OUSD's expenses by not spending $2M of the $6.4M Early Retirement Fund this year.
  • Music Teachers ($320,000): This option would reduce expenses by eliminating 4 of the 20 centrally-funded music teachers. Centrally funded means that these teachers are paid by the central office rather then the school site.
  • Maximize Elementary Class Sizes ($6.6M): This option would reduce OUSD's expenses by maximizing elementary school class-sizes to contract maximums. This would mean approximately 90 fewer full time teachers at school sites.

3. Use the Fund Balance.

  • Fund Balance (Up to $19M): This option would allow OUSD to use some of the 19M "Fund Balance" to pay for expenses at the school sites and Central Office. A "Fund Balance" is money that OUSD has, but has not spent (for a variety of reasons, such as to pay audit fines, in case of economic uncertainty, etc.).

4. Decrease Proposed "Expense Increases." (These are expenses that OUSD planned to increase, but Hal is suggesting we could choose not to go forward with the increase.)

  • Salary Increase ($2M): OUSD had proposed to give its staff a 2% salary increase.  Choosing not to give this raise would save OUSD $2M.
  • Flex Adult Ed. Funds ($3M): OUSD had planned to use $3M in Adult Education Funds to pay for Secondary Counseling, Literacy, and A-G offerings.  Not offering these services would save OUSD $3M.
  • Summer School Funding ($543,000): OUSD had budgeted $543,000 for non-salary expenses related to summer school. Cutting these expenses would save $543,000.

Hal recommends that OUSD does the following:

1. Increase the General Fund

  • Flex all Adult Education Funds except for $1M
  • Flex Adult Education's Unallocated $2.5M
  • Use $2.1M of the State Loan

2. Spend Less

  • Reduce School Site budgets by $349 per pupil.
  • Keep the Early Retirement Fund fully funded
  • Do not eliminate the 4 centrally funded music teachers
  • Do not maximize elementary schools to class-size maximums

3. Fund Balance

  • Use $8.5M of OUSD's Fund Balance. This leaves $10.5M in the fund.

4. Reduce Proposed increases

  • Do not give employees a 2% raise
  • Do not cut the funding increase for Secondary Counseling, A-G, etc.
  • Do not cut the budget for Summer School

After the presentation, the Board engaged with Hal on several points.

  • The current $349 cuts to school sites: Hal said that the district would not re-open the RBB process to reduce the cuts to school sites.
  • Furlough Days: Staff presented information that district-wide furlough days would result in savings of $1.3M per day, but noted that this would have to be negotiated with unions. Instructional days would be preserved as much as possible, with furloughs proposed for non-instructional days. Director Dobbins asked what other districts are doing regarding furlough days. Hal replied that some were using up to 10 days.
  • Classified Staff (non-teachers): Alice Spearman asked about classified staff, expressing concern that adequate levels of services would not be provided to students at school sites if schools cut classified staff to save teacher jobs. Hal replied that some classified services, such as custodians, were centrally funded, and that the district worked with school sites to make sure minimum standards were followed. School sites do, however, have flexibility around how they spend their money on classified staff.
  • Adult Education: Jody London asked what would be left of Adult Education if we flexed all but $1M of the funding, and wondered what other districts are doing regarding Adult Ed. funding. Maria Santos replied that most services would be gone, except for a few such as basic GED, and that many districts have cut it entirely.
  • A-G Requirements: Spearman asked whether it is possible that OUSD would relax or suspend the A-G graduation requirement. Hal said 'no.'    
  • Strategic Plan: Gary Yee asked how the budget impacted the district's strategic plan. Maria Santos replied that the resources necessary to implement the strategic plan had been protected.
  • Facilities: Jumoke Hinton-Hodge asked if the district was going to "flex" any of the money used for facilities upkeep. Hal said 'no' because the district needs to take care of its buildings.

Regarding Teachers:
Barbara Gee, Director of Human Resources, acknowledged the great concern and anxiety in the district over the number of teacher layoff notices issued. She presented information about a group of schools with over 25% turnover rate. Regarding the teacher layoffs, Gee shared with while there is still uncertainty, if the district uses its' one-time monies (flexing adult education, for example), it should be able to hold steady and reduce the number of layoffs significantly. There would still be layoffs.

According to Gee, when school sites designed their budgets, it resulted in approximately 137 consolidated positions. Note: a consolidated position occurs when a teacher's position is cut due to budget or program cuts. Over the past few weeks, the HR Department has collected information about the number of teachers who are: (1) retiring, (2) not being asked to return, and (3) temporary teachers. They discovered that there are at total of 233 teachers who are not, at present, returning to the district.

Jody London asked about the timeline for rescinding layoff notices. Jacqueline Minor, OUSD's attorney, said they were waiting for a hearing to happen on April 15. Superintendent Smith indicated that they would move as quickly as possible.

Our Questions:
1. Central Office Cuts: Why were no Central Office budget cuts presented among the possible choices? 

There are currently $33.7M of unrestricted funds for the Central Office. The only option presented that dealt with the Central Office budget was to cut centrally funded teachers. At previous meetings, district staff had indicated that they were looking at a 2-3% cut centrally.

We did notice, on slides 41-42 of Hal's presentation, that the total unrestricted funds for central offices had been reduced from $40.6M to $33.7M - a reduction of $6.9M. Does this indicate that there is a reduction in funding overall for central office, or have restricted funds been increased, hereby making up the difference?

Has the district, as the sites have done, closely evaluated each program to ensure it is core and adding value to students? GO respects and recognizes the importance of the Central Office and understands that it needs to be resourced to enable the district to function and advance the strategic plan. However, each department's budget needs to be closely examined to ensure that it is providing an indispensable service.

2. Diminished School Site Cuts: Given the range of options for cutting the budget, why isn't reducing the current level of cuts at the school sites among the options presented? 

For example, if the District flexed $3M of the Adult Ed. funds into the General Fund (against Hal's recommendation), school site cuts could be reduced from approximately $14M to $11M, thus sparing teacher positions and support staff.

3. Last year, the district hired both permanent and temporary teachers with similar credentials. What is the plan to help temporary teachers return to their school sites? 

4. How will OUSD work to address the long-term structural deficit prior to another year of budget cuts? Note: structural deficit refers to when, over time, the district spends more than it brings in. We can eliminate pain this year, but what happens next year?  

5. How is information about the budget and staff layoffs being communicated district-wide to ensure that those who received layoff notices know that they are valued and that the district is doing eveything it can to retain them?

Resources


Please note: The above information reflects our best understanding of what was presented on Wednesday evening. We have tried to characterize the main points from the conversation, and provide links to relevant resources. If you have comments, questions, or further ideas, please share them here. 

Board Committee Discusses Complementary Learning and Teacher Convention

This week's Teaching and Learning Committee meeting included an in-depth presentation from the Complementary Learning Department regarding summer and after school education. The department explained the use of the Youth Program Quality Assessment Tool (YPQA) within its infrastructure, which is used to monitor the quality of after school programs. The presentation also discussed the partnerships with outside community organizations that provide after school services for OUSD students. There was discussion among the committee members and the presenters from the Complementary Learning Department regarding how to go about creating an infrastructure to hold partners outside OUSD accountable to the same high quality standards. Out-of-school services are an important aspect of the wrap-around services outlined in the district's strategic vision.

The Effective Teaching Task Force will hold its teacher convention April 7th through 9th at the Hilton Garden Inn Hotel in Emeryville. Director Hodge asked Deputy Superintendent Santos if there was an agenda for the convention. While Santos referenced no specific agenda, she did mention that the convention would include discussion on the Focal 15 Initiative, Thriving Students, a student panel, various task force sessions, and breakout sessions. It is anticipated that about 200 OUSD teachers will be in attendance, representing most schools in the district.

Finance and HR Committee Discusses SES, Audit Findings

Natalie Clay, the former program director in charge of Supplemental Education Services (SES) providers, reported to the committee about evaluating SES programs. The district spends approximately $5 million per year on contracts with SES programs, and the committee would like to evaluate these programs to ensure that only effective programs receive district funding. Director Kakishiba recommended that staff should return to the committee with a proposal to institute and contractually bind service providers to a 2-year evaluation cycle. Deputy Superintendent Hal said that implementing such an evaluation mechanism in the next school year would be difficult with the current funding situation - Ms. Clay stated that the SES department is under-staffed, and SES funding will be reduced next year. The committee will return to the item next week.

The Superintendent's response to the findings of the Internal Audit Committee includes ways that the district is addressing audit findings in the following areas:

  • Attendance
  • School site cash handling
  • Associated student body procedures
  • Payroll concerns
  • Mandated cost recovery
  • Special projects
  • Title I SES funding

The committee discussed ways that the district can fix or streamline procedures in each area to ensure that no money is lost accidentally. However, Mr. Hal noted that while these findings need to be addressed, they are small relative to the bigger financial problems in the district, which should take priority.

The committee noted that the state budget situation has changed since the last budget numbers released by Mr. Hal, and that Mr. Hal was working on updated budget numbers for the April 6 meeting of the full board.

There was no discussion about the Results-Based Budgeting item this week.

Finance and HR Committee to Discuss School Funding Issues


While this week's committee meeting will not directly address the state budget problems, the three substantive items on the agenda all relate to district or school site funding.

The discussion of Results-Based Budgeting policy, first raised two sessions ago, will continue this week. Also, the committee will once again review the Superintendent's response to the findings of the Internal Audit Committee. This response was already recommended favorably to the full Board by the committee in January.

In response to Director Kakishiba's request in November, the committee will hear an overview of Title I funded Supplemental Education Services (SES) programs. The presentation will include an explanation of the funding of SES programs.

Items of interest from the General Consent Report:
  • Acceptance of a Farm to School grant to help create markets for specialty crops in schools.
  • A grant application for just under $1 million in funding from the US Department of Education for teacher professional development.

Teaching and Learning Committee Revisits After School Program Quality Standards


This week's Teaching and Learning Committee meeting will address March 14th's unfinished presentation from the Complementary Learning Department regarding summer and after school education. The department will explain the use of the Youth Program Quality Assessment Tool (YPQA) within its infrastructure, which is used to monitor the quality of after school programs. This presentation will also discuss the partnerships with outside community organizations that provide after school services for OUSD students.


OUSD Board of Education to Hold Special Budget Meeting on April 6

OUSD's Board of Education is holding a special meeting this Wednesday, April 6, from 5-8pm to focus on the 2011-2012 budget. Click here to view the presentation that will be shared.

Here's the agenda:

5:00: Review Meeting Objectives
  • Increase the Board's understanding of budget planning assumptions
  • Provide Superintendent direction on budget priorities
5:10pm: Overview of Major Planning Assumptions for 2011-2012 OUSD Budget

6:00pm: Status of Budget Priority #1: Increase Teacher Retention

  • What has teacher turnover looked like in our schools over the past three years? (By school: 3-Year trend for turnover & 2010/2011 number and % of 1st & 2nd Year teachers)
  • What does teacher turnover look like for the 2011-2012 school year? (Incorporating RBB results, Early Retirement, Non Re-Elects, and Temporary Contracts)
  • What is the Superintendent's recommendation on the use Measure G revenues? (Provide list of Measure G funding recommendations)
  • What is the fiscal impact of reducing the number of non-instructional workdays?(Provide analysis of how much money is saved by reducing one to six workdays)
  • What strategies are feasible to mitigate disproportionate impact of teacher layoffs at high-need schools?
6:30pm: Status of Budget Priority #2: Eliminate Structural Budget Deficit
  • What is the amount of our structural budget deficit?
  • What are the proposed 2011-2012 budgets, including funding sources, for each central department? (Provide budget sheets for each department, including funding sources)
  • Are we spending too much money on contractual services within central departments and schools? (Provide list of consultant/contractual services by location and funding source for 2010-2011)
  • How are Tiered III Flexible Funds being used in 2010-2011? (Provide list of all Tier III funds and their current year uses)
  • What have we spent on Audit Findings and what amounts are outstanding? (Provide list of all audit finding payments made, and list of outstanding claims and their status)
  • How much do we have in reserve and for what purposes are they designated?
7:00pm: Status of Budget Priority #3: Increase Employee Compensation

7:15: Public Comment
 

7:45: What is the Sense of the Board on Budget Priorities?

Board Discusses District Assets at March 26 Special Meeting

On Saturday, March 26, the OUSD Board of Education held a special meeting to review a presentation by MK Think regarding aligning the district's assets with its strategic initiatives. Click here to watch a video of the meeting.

From the memorandum for the meeting: "Among the key purposes of the District's Facilities Master Plan is to provide an academic environment for the Oakland community that will give every student, educator, and community member using our facilities the best possible opportunity for learning. Through implementation of the Facilities Master Plan, the District intends to improve the District's facilities in terms of structural integrity, safety, reliability of operating (mechanical) systems, access to modern resources, number and type of appropriate laboratories and specialized instruction rooms, opportunities for physical education, and attractiveness, such that the Oakland Public Schools are second to none. Operation of the District schools under the planned approach is intended to ensure safety, cleanliness, and orderliness for all individuals participating in the learning process. The basic facility needs of students such as proper lighting, functional roofs, noise control and well maintained buildings, not only convey the message that we value our students and teachers."

Resources


Special Board Meeting Saturday will Address Facilities, Enrollment, and Demographic Data


At noon tomorrow, Saturday March 26, the OUSD Board of Education will convene for a special presentation by Tim White, Assistant Superintendent of Facilities Planning and Management, Buildings & Grounds and Custodial Services. MK Think's Facility and Real Property Asset Management Study will provide the focus for discussion. Also participating in the discussion will be: Art Taylor, MK Think Consultant; Tony Smith, OUSD Superintendent; David Montes de Oca, Executive Director Quality Schools Development Group; and Maria Santos, Deputy Superintendent of Instruction.

Resources



Board Discusses Budget and Layoff Crisis

Discussed at last night's OUSD Board meeting was the upcoming study session on the current budget crisis to be held on Wednesday April 6th from 5pm to 8pm. Superintendent Tony Smith had no new news to share about the budget crisis in light of last week's potential lay-off notices that went out to over 600 district employees. Smith expressed that the district is "in a holding pattern" regarding how much money the state will provide for schools and if there will be a measure on the June ballot.

The Parent Leadership Action Network (PLAN) spoke about how some schools could be potentially "gutted" by the lay-offs. For example, 12 out of 15 teachers at RISE Community School received pink slips. This is a small school founded in 2005 that has been improving outcomes for students. Teachers and parents from the school expressed dismay at the thought of having all their hard work in creating a successful school dismantled if teachers in the district are laid off and shuffled around. The group appealed to the board to seek cuts elsewhere by examining other options outside OUSD classrooms.

Director Dobbins mentioned an upcoming meeting this Monday, March 28, 2011 at the Oakland Community Organizations (OCO) headquarters at 6:00pm. Dobbins, who attended the last OCO meeting on these issues, stated that it was both necessary and beneficial to get the community concerned about education in Oakland.

Director Hodge put the current crisis in a larger context, mentioning that close to 20,000 pink slips have been issued statewide. Furthermore, Hodge acknowledge that the current budget crisis is a federal issue. The Board was in agreement that the district and the community should be looking to Sacramento and our representatives in Washington for solutions.

To learn more about the potential lay-offs and the budget crisis in OUSD please click here.

OUSD Board Meeting Tonight

Tonight's OUSD board meeting is likely to be tense due to the 657 lay-off warning notices sent out on March 15th to certificated, classified, and administrative staff. Final lay-off notices will be sent out on May 15th.

Over the last 18 months, the district has cut $22 million from the budget, and is anticipating cutting another $12.6 million overall. In an open letter to all OUSD employees, Superintendent Tony Smith states, "The outlook for schools will worsen substantially if the Governor is unable to get a proposed tax extension measure on the ballot, or if this measure ultimately fails at the polls." To read this letter and view information about the budget crisis and the March 15th notices, click here.

There are likely to be a variety of community organizations, teachers, parents, and students themselves present to speak out against these cuts. Click here to view a profile of an Oakland teacher who received a lay-off notice.

Note: A special board meeting has been called for April 6 to deal specifically with layoff and budget issues.

Teaching and Learning Committee Discusses Special Education and Summer Learning

This week's Teaching and Learning Committee meeting included a presentation by members of the Program for Exceptional Children and the Special Education Local Planning Area (SELPA). Federal law states that every school district must provide a continuum of special education services for qualifying students. The presenters gave an update of programs and services and explained that OUSD does not go outside the district for services, unlike other neighboring districts. Director London requested an overview of special education programs in OUSD.

There was concern expressed about too many complaints regarding compliance issues. Is every school in the district providing the special education services that students are required to receive under federal law? The presenters suggested that more professional development was the answer. However, teachers and learning specialists feel understaffed and overwhelmed.

A second and very alarming concern that was raised is the disproportionate amount of students with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) in OUSD compared to other districts. Furthermore, a high percentage of African American male students with IEPs are being diagnosed as severely emotionally disturbed. Director Yee suggested that this issue be built into the work of the African American Male Achievement Task Force.

Also included in this meeting was a presentation about Summer Programs in OUSD. There are a variety of programs from Pre-K to adult aimed at intervention, enrichment, and credit recovery. OUSD partners with various community organizations to provide these programs, and is outperforming the national average in this area. The presenters made the important point that these programs connect to wrap-around services for full service community schools, a focal point of the district's new Strategic Vision. Click here to learn more about summer programs in OUSD.

Finance and HR Committee Reviews Agreements and Challenges with RBB

At this evening's Finance and HR Committee Meeting, Sele Nadel-Hayes presented three agreements and three challenges from the Results-Based Budgeting task force:

Agreements:
1.    OUSD should offer quality programs at all schools.
2.    School communities should be effectively engaged in the process of how resources are allocated.
3.    Every school needs to offer a base program before discussing the quality of that base program.

Challenges:
1.    The District lacks sufficient funds to offer quality programs in every school.
2.    The Task Force has internal disagreement about whether equal inputs will yield equal outcomes.
3.    Schools have varied capacity to participate in the decision-making process.

The Task Force has talked extensively about "turning on the lights" by building a transparent process to allocate balancing pool funds (the money that some school sites get above their initial per-student funding allocation). That process will involve criteria to determine which schools have priority access to balancing funds, so that principals can hold their colleagues accountable for any "extra" funds they receive.

Director Kakishiba noted that the discussion of RBB connects directly to District decisions about school closures. Deputy Superintendent Vernon Hal said that "the biggest obstacle to RBB is the size and number of our schools." Ms. Hayes will address the committee again next week.

Director Kakishiba laid out an agenda for the April 6 Board Budget retreat. The Board will discuss the state of the governor's budget proposal, the degree to which the board's budget priorities are reflected in proposed budgets, and options for making up budget shortfalls.

In response, Principal Charles Wilson from Korematsu Discovery Academy, speaking for a group of concerned district principals, asked the committee to consider alternate budget cuts to avoid teacher layoffs. Korematsu is anticipating leaving program improvement status for the first time since the designation was created, but Principal Wilson said schools like his that have struggled to get on track will be devastated by cuts to teaching staff.

The Director of Technology Services for the District described the OUSD Technology Plan as primarily for compliance purposes and said that a "more inspirational" plan was still in development. He also briefed the committee on the E-Rate program, through which OUSD receives an approximately 80% discount on phone and internet service as well as communications infrastructure at the poorest district schools.

The general consent report, including the agreement with Teach Tomorrow in Oakland and the collective bargaining agreements, was passed without discussion. Director Spearman was not present at tonight's meeting. The committee did not go into closed session.

Finance and HR Committee to Discuss RBB, Technology, and Collective Bargaining

On March 10, a group of concerned principals from Regions 1,2,3 and SEAN sent this letter to the Finance and HR Committee, offering suggestions and recommendations for the committee to consider "to avoid massive layoffs and continue to build comprehensive, high quality, wrap-around service-oriented schools."

At this evening's meeting, the committee will be discussing a staff report on Results-Based Budgeting. Recommendations from the RBB Task Force will significantly impact how funding is allocated to school sites, but the staff report was not made available for review in advance of the meeting.

Also on the table is the new District Educational Technology Plan, which will be in effect through the end of the 2013-14 school year. The plan lays out OUSD's goals and values regarding technology in the classroom and is a prerequisite to qualifying for discounted internet and technology services through a federal program called E-Rate. OUSD's E-Rate application is also on the agenda.

Finally, the committee will set an agenda and desired outcomes for the upcoming Budget Planning Retreat before adjourning to a closed session with labor negotiators.

Items of interest from the General Consent Report:

  • Two previous tentative collective bargaining agreements are slated to become permanent for the next two school years. The SEIU units in question represent certain instructional assistants and substitutes. The agreements would not alter previous wages, but do allow for a reopening of wage negotiations in each of the next two fiscal years and also contain a "Me Too" clause, stating that if any other labor unit receives a wage increase, the SEIU units can negotiate for one as well.
  • The district is applying for $1 million in state grant funding for Adult Education programs that are facing substantial cuts.
  • The MOU with Teach Tomorrow in Oakland that has been tabled in the past several committee meetings has been designated a general consent item for this meeting.
  • Consent items also include agreements with 26 Supplemental Education Service providers to provide tutoring to wait listed students. The cost of all these contracts will increase accordingly.

Teaching and Learning Committee to Discuss Summer Learning and After School Programs

This week's Teaching and Learning Committee meeting will include two presentations from the Complementary Learning Department regarding summer and after school education. The department will explain the use of the Youth Program Quality Assessment Tool (YPQA) within its infrastructure used to monitor the quality of after school programs. This presentation will also discuss the partnerships with outside community organizations that provide after school services for OUSD students.

The Summer Learning Programs presentation will show data that illustrates the effectiveness of summer learning to close the achievement gap. The research states, "Most students lose about 2 months of grade-level equivalency in mathematical computational skills over the summer months. Low-income students also lose more than 2 months in reading achievement, while their middle-class peers make slight gains" (Cooper, 1996). 

There will also be a presentation of the District's Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) Annual Service Plan and Budget Plan for Fiscal Year 2010-2011.

Board Grapples with RIF Notices, Renews and Denies Charters

There were several high impact items at last week's Board meeting. More detailed minutes from OUSD can be found here.

The Superintendent's Report focused on the under-funding of education in California and the need for advocacy. Superintendent Smith also introduced the principal of Madison Middle School, Dr. Lucinda Taylor, who discussed the improvements at that campus, including increased test scores, health services for children, Netbooks in every class and more.

The speakers on the Certificated Layoffs / Notice of Reduction in Force (RIF) item were mostly from OEA and Futures Elementary School, where almost all teachers are receiving RIF notices. Several teachers from Futures spoke about the devastating impact the layoffs would have on their teaching staff and the success the school has been having. OEA President Betty Olson-Jones read a letter written by less-senior New York teachers in support of seniority-based layoffs in their district.

Staff stated that if the State tax extension fails, the State will have to reduce spending from between $349 to $1300 per student. OUSD is issuing RIF notices based first on seniority in the subject area you are teaching, and then other areas you're qualified to teach in. OUSD had to go to different seniority "depths" depending on the subject area. They had to allow for some margin for administrators that will be re-assigned to classrooms, and for teachers on some kind of leave to have a place to return. When RBB closes, they will have more firm numbers.

By May 9, OUSD may rescind some notices or may have to issue certain layoffs. In June,  the seniority order re-hire process begins. District staff stated that they hope to work with OEA for a re-hire methodology that minimizes disruption to school sites, perhaps by hiring people back in blocks instead of one by one.

Director Dobbins asked OUSD Legal Counsel Jacqueline Minor if it is possible to limit layoffs at some school sites. Counsel Minor stated there is no legal provision to deviate from seniority in the district, but she is still gathering data on this. Directory Yee stated they could look at capping some schools as part of the discussion leading up to the May 15th layoff notices. Director Gallo stated that he has direction from the parents and children he represents to make progress, and he is not caught up with seniority; decisions should be about quality and performance. He is voting no on this resolution because we have been negligent in dealing with the financial situation, such as dealing with facilities. Gallo has provided suggestions on where to make cuts at the Central Office. He suggested the Education Code is outdated and perhaps we should sue, and asked what OUSD will do to compete and attract Oakland students.

Director Hodge challenged our leadership and the OEA leadership to look at the Ed Code and make it work for kids. She stated that we need to talk about seniority, that we may have to protect some schools, that there will need to be courageous conversations, not just rhetorical ones. Director London stated that the she has a fiscal responsibility and we are being fiscally prudent with these layoffs.

Director Yee asked, "Who is to say what year on the career path the best teaching is?" He stated that he is a trustee for the public schools and wondered if we shouldn't issue more notices to give more flexibility to OUSD. Director Kakishiba stated that this year we have used $13 million of Measure G to fund class size reduction; we can increase class size and reduce layoff notices.

The item passed 6-1 (Gallo voted no) and the RIF notices will be issued.    

On the early retirement program item, Finance Director Vernon Hal stated that OUSD can save jobs with an early retirement program, and use one-time money from the Federal Jobs bill for this one-time expense. Salary savings will accrue to school sites, and with RBB, they get to keep the savings. 228 teachers committed to the program by Feb. 28th. Federal jobs funds have to be spent by September 2012. The item passed 7-0.

Civicorps Charter School

David Montes, Director of the Quality Schools Development Group, introduced Gail Greely, new coordinator of the Office of Charter Schools for OUSD. OUSD recommended conditional charter approval for Civicorps, pending improved student outcomes and a review within two years. The renewal passed, however Directors Kakishiba, Spearman and Yee voted against the charter renewal due to concerns about performance and providing a superior option to other public schools in the area.

Aviation High School
OUSD recommended against renewing the Aviation High School charter due to low academic outcomes and low attendance. Staff was also concerned that the school had no plan to address all of the existing shortcomings and did not meet the requirements of the Charter statute. The Board voted 5-2 to support the denial with Directors Spearman and Dobbins voting no.

The discussion of the MKThink - Financial and Real Property Asset Management Study as of November 2009 and the Inventory and Capacity Study as of June 2010 was tabled for a special study session. The date has not yet been determined.

Board to Discuss Certificated Layoffs and OUSD Facilities at Wednesday's Meeting

Tomorrow's OUSD Board Meeting will include discussion and decisions on some urgent, high-importance items including certificated staff layoff notices and OUSD facilities.

The Student Directors Report includes updates and information on the All City Council and the Youth and Family Conference at McClymonds on March 12th.

The Board is being asked to approve Certificated Layoffs notices for the 2011-12 school year. If state budget circumstances change, layoff notices can be rescinded prior to May 9th, or further layoffs may be conducted in August. California Education Code requires that staff that may be laid off be notified by March 15th. The board is being asked to approve notices to 510 FTE including 231 K-5 teachers. For the past several years, OUSD has been able to avoid layoffs by finding cuts elsewhere and because there were enough staff leaving voluntary. Staff are laid off in "reverse seniority" order. Because OUSD has shortages of teachers with Special Education and bilingual authorization, those teachers are exempt from seniority-based layoffs. In addition, this board resolution would authorize the elimination of all K-12 courses that are not accessible to English learners because the certificated teacher does not possess a valid English Learner authorization.

The Board is being asked to approve a "Public Agency Retirement Services Supplemental Retirement Plan" (SRP) for certain CAL STRS and PERS Members. At their December 9 meeting, the board approved the creation of this early-retirement incentive plan. "The retirement plan provides participating certificated, classified and management employees with a benefit of 75% of their final year annual base salary, paid over a minimum five-year period. During the open enrollment period for the program, 15.25% of the eligible participants submitted a completed application packet to participate in SRP. Assuming conservatively that 100% of program participants (i.e., retirees) are replaced with new hires, we project that the cost to the District to implement SRP over a five year period is approximately $425,000 net of the approximately $10.5 million to fund the benefit to retiring employees."

The Board will vote on renewal of a charter for Civicorps School - Civicorps Elemantary School and denial of a renewed charter for Aviation High School.

The Board will get its first look at the facilities scenarios designed by OUSD consultant MKThink to help OUSD "rightsize" its portfolio of schools/classrooms. OUSD currently has capacity for about 10,000 more students than it enrolls. Another 20,000 school-aged children in Oakland don't attend OUSD schools. The Board will look at this presentation tomorrow night, and then make recommendation at its next meeting on March 23. The presentation outlines four scenarios for rightsizing:
 
  1. Efficiency - operate the fewest sites possible (larger sites offer best economies of scale)
  2. Remove portables - eliminate portables and concentrate resources on permanent buildings
  3. Neighborhood - align capacity with neighborhood population and minimize overlap of site coverage areas
  4. Choice - accommodate student preference patterns

The Board will consider an amendment to their November resolution asking AC Transit to make youth fare clipper cards available to all enrolled K-12 students, even if they are older than 19, and also apply youth fares to parent/family escorts of those children. The resolution states, "a significant number of OUSD students are so adversely impacted by the fare structure, which represents a $65/month increase, as to be denied access to a public education." OUSD also pays AC Transit for its services to certain students and some escorts of students and will be impacted by planned AC Transit fare increases. In the next few weeks the Family & Community Office (FCO) expects to finalize and implement a series of pilot strategies for obtaining and reloading the AC Transit "Clipper" Card. The strategies include student direct access on campuses to reload their own cards, office strategies to reload cards and a digital information exchange strategy where OUSD is responsible for providing transportation.

Teaching and Learning Committee Recommends Charter Renewals and Closures


The focus of February 28's Teaching and Learning Committee meeting concerned the future of the following five charter schools in the district:

Gale Greely from the OUSD Office of Charter Schools and former charter office coordinator David Montes de Oca, the current Task Force Chair of the Quality Community Schools Development Group (QCSD), presented their recommendations for each school's renewal request. These recommendations are based on the charter's renewal request, a public hearing, and a district site inspection and school performance analysis. At this Wednesday's Board of Education meeting, Board members must decide to renew, conditionally renew, or deny the charter renewal of these schools. To learn more about the O.U.S.D. charter renewal process click here.

Committee Members Gary Yee and Jody London recommended renewal for Achieve Academy, American Indian Model Schools, and Lighthouse Community Charter School but asked staff members to include information in their Board presentations about the Program Improvement (PI) Status of each school. For example, Lighthouse Community Charter is in its fourth year of PI status.

The Office of Charter Schools  recommended conditional renewal for Civicorps Elementary School due to concerns about school performance and declining enrollment. Committee member London commended the school for its focus on service learning but mentioned there are two public schools with comparable academic performance nearby which students in the neighborhood could attend.  Montes de Oca noted "[the school] is on an upward trend of parent engagement but had a history of not being as inclusive as they need to be." After discussion, Committee members decided to vote the renewal request forward without recommendation.

District Staff did not recommend charter renewal for Aviation High School. The site inspection and analysis revealed the school is underperforming and does not have the capacity to improve organization and instruction.  According to District Staff, the school has had three principals in the last five years and has only met their API benchmark once in the last five years. "Everything you have said is completely true," responded Principal Reba Gilman, "but I am not giving up yet."

At the end of February, the California Charter Schools Association released the report Portrait of the Movement which evaluates charter school performance based on the characteristics of the school's students. The report indicates charter schools in Oakland Unified mirror statewide results, which finds many charters are outperforming predicted results. At the same time though, the organization's analysis revealed many charters are also under-performing. To view the report's summary of Oakland Unified, click here.
 
Committee Chairperson Jumoke Hodge was not in attendance.
 

Finance & HR Committee Discusses Budget Challenges

At last night's Finance and HR Committee meeting, Deputy Superintendent Vernon Hal shared a presentation on the Second Interim Financial Report. Major points from the presentation included:
  • The district is projected to meet its required 2% reserve for economic uncertainty for this year.
  • OUSD projects a $12 million general fund cash shortfall for the year.
  • One-time funds increased the unrestricted general fund balance by about $5 million.
  • Increased revenue from higher projected attendance ($400,000) and e-rate reimbursements ($1.6 million) were offset by special education transportation contributions ($2 million).
Director Kakashiba offered an amendment to the report, to replace the specific recommendation of a 2% salary increase for OUSD staff with the three budgetary priorities that the Board ratified and sent to the Superintendent (teacher retention, elimination of the structural deficit, and increased employee compensation).

The policy on children with food allergies was sent to the full board, with the provision that Director Spearman be able to add a sentence stating that OUSD will make all possible efforts to provide appropriate food for these students. The policy clarifies that students with food allergies are considered disabled under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of1974.

The committee also approved a new contract with the district's independent auditor. The district disputes the state's claim that there were unallowable expenditures under the 21st Century grant.

The letter from the Alameda County Office of Education about the First Interim Financial Report and the list of budgetary transfers were approved with minimal discussion. The meeting ended in a closed session with labor negotiators. Director Dobbins was absent from tonight's meeting.

Finance and HR Committee to Discuss Interim Financial Reports

Tonight's committee meeting will feature a presentation of the Second Interim Financial Report, as well as the Alameda County Office of Education's (ACOE) response to the district's First Interim Financial Report of FY 2010-11. The ACOE letter approves OUSD's financial report. The second interim report states the Board's commitment to a 2% salary increase for all district employees and the elimination of the structural deficit in the 2011-12 school year.

In addition, the committee will discuss a contract with an independent auditor, hired to bolster the district's position against several of the 2007-08 State Controller's audit findings, as well as budgetary increases and transfers through the end of January.

Monday's meeting will also include a closed session with labor negotiators, including discussion of employee appointment, discipline, and release.

Items of interest from the General Consent Report:
  • A grant proposal for over $400,000 in new facilities and equipment for school-based health centers.

Teaching and Learning Committee - February 28 Agenda


At this week's Teaching and Learning Committee meeting (Monday, February 28 at 5pm):

Committee members will be asked to approve several professional services contracts. Among them will be a no cost agreement regarding Cal-Pass: California Partnership for Achieving Student Success. Cal-Pass collects, analyzes, and shares student data about District students' success and transition from high school to college. The organization believes K-12 educators can use the data to improve and modify their curriculum in order to better prepare their students for success in college.

Additionally, Committee members will consider a contract for an African American mentorship class at Oakland High School, Oakland Tech, and Skyline High School. The class will be offered to 20 African American male 9th grade students at each school and will be taught be a trained mentor. Since this fall, the African American Male Task force [AAMA] has been working to understand how to effectively improve achievement outcomes for African American male students in Oakland Unified. For more information about the the AAMA, click here.

The Committee will also consider charter renewals for the following schools: Achieve Academy, American Indian Model Schools, Lighthouse Community Charter, Civicorps Elementary, and Aviation High School.

Board Discusses March 2 Day of Action, SEAN, and Charter Renewals

At the beginning of last night's School Board meeting, Director Gallo and the Board celebrated the achievements of the McClymonds High School football team. Superintendent Smith also celebrated the successes of Life Academy in his report to the Board, inviting the principal to share a few words about the school's accomplishments. It is always exciting to be able to call attention to the good work being done in Oakland's schools and a great way to start the meeting.

The big ticket item on last night's agenda was a presentation by staff on OUSD's Secondary Experience and Achievement work. This presentation was the first of four major study sessions that will allow the Board to discuss and provide feedback on broad issues to be addressed in Thriving Students, OUSD's Strategic Plan. The Board clarified that the intent of these sessions is not necessarily to provide recommendations for policy, but rather to get early exposure to important issues in the Strategic Plan so that Directors have more time to reflect on the content. In response to the Secondary Experience and Achievement presentation, the Board raised concerns about the counseling staff at schools, tracking and scheduling of students in preparation for graduation, the availability of rigorous courses, and funding. Despite these concerns, the Board expressed its appreciation for the staff and their support of the direction of the work.

While the majority of the meeting was dominated by the presentation and subsequent discussion, there were also some other important business items:
  • AC Transit and New Youth Fare Card: Presentation was made and the issue will be vetted in the Intergovernmental Relations Committee and brought back at the next Board meeting.
  • Resolution to Support Day of Action in Defense of Public Education: The resolution was adopted but amended to make more explicit the Board's support of Governor Brown's budget and tax extension proposal.
  • Subcontracting Agreements for District Child Care Services Grant: Despite reservations from Director Spearman and Director Gallo (who was the only member to cast a no vote), the Board approved a resolution to subcontract funds for early childcare that were not spent in Oakland this year due to facilities issues to other providers in Alameda County in order to preserve the grant for use in future years.
  • Public Hearings: The last items of business were public hearings on the renewal of the charter for American Indian Public High School and a request for a new charter for Aspire Public Schools College Academy.

Board to discuss March 2nd Day of Action at Wednesday's Meeting

Tomorrow's Board Meeting  has several exciting items on the agenda.

The Board will consider Resolution No. 1011-1028 supporting the proposed March 2nd Day of Action to Support Public Education.

Additionally, the Board will hear the following status reports:

Finally, charter school petitions will be presented from American Indian Public High School and Aspire Public Schools.

Notes from the Teaching & Learning Committee - 2/14/11

Teaching and Learning Committee: February 14, 2011 at 5pm

This month's Teaching and Learning Committee meeting included an in-depth presentation by members of the Secondary Education Achievement Task Force. Packed with relevant data on secondary achievement, dropout rates, and test scores, the presentation discussed the results of recent SEA projects as well as goals related to the district's five-year strategic plan.

Some highlights of the presentation are included below:
  • Test scores increase each year, but are not yet at acceptable levels
  • Small schools and academies within larger schools have higher California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) passing rates
  • Clear achievement gap: 78% proficient for white students in the district; 18% proficient for African American students
  • Enrollment in Advanced Placement (AP) courses has increased 
  • Skyline, Oakland High, and Oakland Tech have the highest graduation rates
  • GED completion rates going up
  • The presentation claims a 28% dropout rate in OUSD, contrary to the state's 40%
  • Students are hard to track from 9th grade on and there is a lack of clarity at local and state levels regarding dropout data

In summary, the Task Force had good news about the improvement of graduation rates and preparing students for college and the workforce. However, the achievement gap shows a vast disparity between races. The plan to close this gap includes academic interventions, technical and career-based learning for all students, effective student support, and powerful family engagement. To see the complete presentation, click here.

Notes from the Finance and Human Resources Committee 2/14/11

At the February 14th meeting, the Finance and HR Committee continued its work on teacher retention strategies and on budgeting for the next school year.

Rachelle Rogers-Ard, a recruitment director from Teach Tomorrow in Oakland, addressed the organization's recruitment and retention strategies. OUSD funds its recruitment and retention strategies through a federal Transition to Teaching grant, and Director Kakashiba questioned whether the district is able to develop its internal capacity to recruit teachers when all the grant funding is contracted out. The board clarified that not all the grant funding should be spent on TTO, and the item was tabled until next week to make changes to the language of the MOU.

Director Spearman noted that the governor's office has proposed taking away some Early Childhood Education funding. The district will address the issue at the next committee meeting.

Assistant Superintendent Vernon Hal gave a presentation on the 2011-12 general fund budget, based on the governor's proposed budget plan. The governor's proposal relies on the extension of several taxes on a statewide ballot; if those measures fail, the district will face a $349 reduction in per-student funding. The district budget proposal assumes that the measures will not pass, but that the district is able to use one-time resources to limit the deficit to approximately $12 million. The proposed 2011-12 budget allocates $179 million to school sites and $40 million to the district office. The budget includes a 2% raise for teachers, but the board has not voted on that raise yet. Director Kakashiba suggested that the 2% increase might not be across the board, but instead come in another form, such as a shortened salary schedule.

The following graph, which has been featured prominently in several presentations on the district's funding, shows the district's per-student funding under several funding schemes. The best case scenario now is the yellow line; the dotted black line is the reimbursement level if the governor's tax scheme fails.


Funding Graph.png
Mr. Hal presented an updated summary of Measure G allocations. Director Kakashiba noted that OUSD has a high percentage of schools with a high percentage of new teachers on staff. Measure G funding, he said, is a logical place to fund teacher retention efforts, but he questioned whether those funds are spent according to a clear purpose. The only Measure G funding going to teacher retention is a grant to The New Teacher Project. Director Kakashiba would like to move more Measure G funding to teacher retention (potentially from middle school electives). The committee will not vote on this issue until the funding situation is more certain.

Barbara Gee from the district said that work is continuing on the Master Plan for Retention of Teachers. The district has completed a review of recruiting pipelines and will soon send a table of contents for the master plan to the committee. The plan should be available in May, after the teacher's convention in April.

The proposed board policy on students with food allergies was referred back to district counsel, because Director Spearman felt it lacked specificity.

Teaching and Learning Committee: 2/14/11

Teaching and Learning Committee: February 14, 2011 at 5pm

This week's Teaching and Learning Committee meeting
will include two presentations by Deputy Superintendent Maria Santos. The last meeting, scheduled on January 18, 2011, was canceled.

The first presentation is entitled Understanding the District's Dropout and High School Performance Data. The Deputy Superintendent will discuss an analysis of the current academic status of high school students, including dropouts, with a view toward developing a systematic plan to have high school students performing at grade level. At last weeks board meeting, Superintendent Tony Smith reported that OUSD had an unacceptable dropout rate at 40%. Click here to see data from the California Department of Education.

Next, the Deputy Superintendent will present OUSD Secondary Experience and Achievement. This report will outline progress made to date in preparing the district and high schools for the implementation of A-G requirements for the 2010-2011 school year. A-G are courses required by the University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) systems for entering freshmen.


Community Rallies Around Education Funding at This Week's Board Meeting

This week's OUSD board meeting was a tense and crowded affair, with community in attendance to speak on a range of topics. Funding for Oakland public schools trumped the conversation.

Superintendent Tony Smith explained that Oakland's current budget provides the same level of funding that existed in the 2005-2006 school year. If tax extensions do not get passed this June, OUSD could expect, in a worst case scenario, a $900 reduction per student, which Smith says, "will fundamentally alter the landscape in the district." Smith pleaded for action and collaboration and said, "We have got to get this on the ballot." He also noted that the tax extensions would only maintain the 2005-2006 funding level, and would still be "deeply inadequate."

Many community groups and professional associations were represented in the audience, and representatives took the floor to speak passionately about the effects funding cuts will have on students.

Oakland Education Association (OEA) President Betty Olson Jones proposed that Oakland's debt to the State of California should be forgiven, given the under funding of education in Oakland. She also gave a call to action, urging people to "stop blaming each other and come together March 2 to find the state responsible."

Also represented were the Oakland Community Organizations (OCO), a variety of public and charter schoolteachers, community activists, parents, families, and students. The tone was serious and the variety of concerns included:

  • Eliminating programs that keep at-risk kids in school
  • Transparency about how OUSD uses funds
  • Cuts deeply effecting higher education
  • Schools losing qualified and caring staff

The personal stories of how this budget crisis is tearing apart our schools were most poignant. A young student from Bridges Academy asked the Board, "Why do you guys say we are the future if you won't let us learn?"

Budget Cuts Focus of Wednesday's Board Meeting

While not on the board meeting agenda, the focus of Wednesday's OUSD board meeting will be public comments on the 2011-2012 budget crisis facing our public schools. Click here for an explanation of how declining enrollment, class size, and other factors affect OUSD's budget.

Also on tomorrow's agenda:
  • a recommendation for procedural changes in Board Committee operations, Board meetings, Operational Expectations and Board Subject Matter Calendar.
  • an amendment to the petition from Oakland Charter Academy
  • petition and proposed charter renewal for Aviation High School

Finance and HR Committee Update - February 2

The Finance and HR Committee's January 31 meeting took place instead on February 2. The Monday meeting was rescheduled due to an alleged gunman at nearby La Escuelita Elementary School. (Oakland police never confirmed the gunman's presence.) The 1/31 Teaching and Learning Committee meeting was not rescheduled.

The Finance and HR committee re-examined two contracts dealing with teacher recruitment and retention. Dottie Smith, the Interim Director of Oakland Teaching Fellows, explained that an amendment to the existing contract with The New Teacher Project (TNTP) would allow TNTP to credential additional special education teachers. The committee passed the amendment, but Director Spearman voted against it.  A grant for Teach Tomorrow in Oakland was tabled until the next meeting.

Further, the committee discussed allocations of Measure G funding, which Chairman Kakishiba would like to direct increasingly toward recruitment and retention of new teachers. Chairman Kakishiba proposed striking line items related to middle school electives, campus security officers, and The New Teacher Project from the Measure G budget proposal, saying that these items either have not demonstrated strong results or are not authorized by the language of the Measure. Deputy Superintendent Vernon Hal addressed timing and practical concerns about the impact of Measure G changes on middle schools, which will be discussed in greater detail at the next committee meeting.

The program manager for Supplemental Education Services gave an overview of supplemental education programs in the district. Committee members raised concerns about the evaluation of SES providers and whether they can be removed or not. Director Spearman expressed interest in taking a coalition of supporters to the State Board of Education to voice concerns over SES providers.

The committee unanimously approved costs associated with putting Measure L on the ballot last November and an MOU with the city to provide television facilities to the district. All other new business was put on hold until the following meeting.

This Week's Committee Meetings: Teacher Retention and High School Performance

This evening's Finance and HR Committee meeting will likely take up teacher retention again as a major theme. A master plan for the recruitment and retention of teachers and the renewal of contracts with the New Teacher Project and Teach Tomorrow In Oakland are up for discussion. (These two contracts were pulled by Director Kakishiba for further discussion at the January 3 meeting.) Measure G funding, cited by the committee as possibly not directing its funds appropriately toward retaining teachers, also makes its return.

The committee will also hear an overview of Supplemental Education Services, requested by Director Kakishiba last November, and will discuss proposed contracts with child care providers and funding given to the city to provide television facilities.

Items of interest from the General Consent Report:
  • A pilot program, costing up to $10,000, to provide organic green tea beverages to high schools. Nutrition Services wants to know if students like the taste of the drink before buying it district-wide.
  • A CDE grant application of approximately $8.3 million to pay for afterschool programs through June 2014.

This week's Teaching and Learning Committee will include two presentations by Deputy Superintendent Santos:

Readying High Schools for the A-G Requirements
Presentation of report by Deputy Superintendent, Instruction, Leadership & Equity-in-Action on progress made to date preparing the system and high schools for the implementation of A-G Requirements. Are students getting the requirements needed to graduate and attend college?

Understanding District's Dropout and High School Performance
Presentation of report by Deputy Superintendent, Instruction, Leadership & Equity-in-Action on OUSD's Dropout and High School Performance Data, an analysis of the current academic status of school-aged high school students, including dropouts, with a view toward developing a systematic plan to have high school-aged students perform academically at grade level.

The Committee will also review and approve a work plan for 2011.

Board of Education Meeting Heavy with Talk of Violence and Budget Crisis

This week's board meeting was overshadowed by sadness and tension as
advocates and family members of Raheem Brown, the young man who was shot and killed by Oakland Unified police officers on Saturday night, came to share their grief and demand answers from the school board and Superintendent. At the beginning of the meeting, Board President Gary Yee read a statement from Superintendent Tony Smith promising 3 separate investigations, including an independent investigation, of the incident. The crowd of community members who attended the meeting in support of Mr. Brown's family was not satisfied by the statement. The topic dominated the public comments, with many calling for the disarmament of OUSD police.

Agenda item discussion focused on the budget with presentations by OUSD's lobbyists on the governor's proposed 2011-2012 budget, and by Deputy Superintendent Vernon Hal on the resulting potential scenarios for the District's budget. Although no official decisions were made on the budget, with further discussion tabled for in-depth study sessions, there were some key takeaways from the discussion.

The district has done some contingency planning for the budget depending on whether Governor Brown's tax extension proposal goes through or not. For now, they will expect that the measure will not be adopted and that schools will make use of one-time funds to mitigate the impact of diminished state funding. Despite efforts to cushion the blow, school site budgets will take a hit, bearing the brunt of cuts this time around. Central office funding is expected to stay relatively flat.

Despite budget challenges, the Board and Superintendent remain committed to improving retention and increasing teacher compensation while acknowledging the competing priority of closing the structural deficit. They are still planning for a 2% raise in teacher salaries. Discussion of the budget priorities was long and contentious. The motion to approve eventually passed with Director Gallo continuing his dissent by submitting a no vote.

The other big area of discussion was around the Board's Organizational Review. There were several different proposals for reorganizing the committee meeting schedule to use time more efficiently. Some proposals included replacing one committee meeting per month with a study session or allowing questions to the consent agenda to be answered prior to the meeting of the board. This item invoked a lot of dissent and was tabled for later discussion, although the Board did agree to schedule a study session to review the budget as soon as possible.

Other highlights from the meeting:
  • Tribute to National Board Certified Teachers - Congratulations to Nichole Knight, Kristine Leunig, Marna Wolak and Shoshana Winkelstein on this great accomplishment.
  • The amendment to the Bay Asian Youth Center MOU was approved, increasing their service contract.
  • A motion for Consolidated Application for Funding Categorical Aid Programs was approved.

2011-2012 State and District Budget on Tonight's Board Meeting Agenda

At tonight's school board meeting - January 26 at 5pm - the focus will be on the budget. Most importantly, the Board will approve the 2011-2012 District Budget Priorities to:

  1. Improve Teacher Retention
  2. Eliminate the Structural Deficit
  3. Increase Employee Compensation.

The approval of these priorities will be followed by the Superintendent's presentation on the Governor's Proposed 2011- 2012 State Budget, including a discussion of the State Budget's potential impact on the District in the upcoming fiscal year and beyond.

The Board will be presented with a report on its own Organizational Review from the President of the Board with recommendations for certain operational procedural
changes which will be disclosed at the meeting.

Other items on the Board's agenda:
  • Honoring District's 2010/2011 National Board Certified Teachers
  • Presentation of the Student Directors' Report
  • The ratification of over 20 Professional Service Contracts
  • The acceptance of voluntary donations
  • Approval and support of District grant applications
  • Ratification of payroll and accounts payable warrants
  • The approval of several facilities and equipment contracts

Teaching and Learning Committee Updates - January 18

At this evening's Teaching and Learning Committee meeting, members adopted the Teaching and Learning Committee Work Plan for Calendar-Year 2011. Director Hodge was absent from the meeting. There were no speaker cards, and the meeting was brief.

Maria Santos shared the Superintendent of Schools' Committee Liaison report, discussing the Focal 15 Student Initiative. This is a new initiative that focuses on fifteen students identified outside the sphere of success with the goal of understanding the specific interventions and strategies that can assist these students. This report was followed by a discussion between Santos, Yee, and London about Response to Intervention (RTI), a system of using interventions to assist struggling students before creating an Individual Education Plan (IEP). The Focal 15 Initiative also aims to provide meaningful professional development to teachers based on needs at the school level. Santos wanted to know "what can staff do differently based on understanding the needs of students."

Ms. Santos announced OUSD's First Annual Literacy Summit to be held at McClymond's High School on January 28 from 8:30-3:30 to address questions and challenges resulting from the Focal 15 Initiative. For more information click here.

Governor Brown's Budget Proposal Has Implications for OUSD

Tonight's Finance and HR Committee meeting was dominated by the implications of the governor's new budget proposal. The state will not reduce funding for the current school year, but cuts in state funding for FY 2011-12 will range from a relatively modest $700,000 if the proposed tax extensions pass a June ballot measure to nearly $12 million (a $330 reduction in per-pupil funding) if the tax measures fail. Given OUSD's commitment to ending the structural deficit next year, this means that even the best-case scenario will result in more than $7 million in general fund cuts.

And the best-case scenario is not that likely: for tax cuts to reach the ballot, 2/3 majorities are required in both houses of the state legislature, requiring some Republicans to vote with the Democrats.

Deputy Superintendent Vernon Hal explained that the district will plan its budget based on a middle-of-the-road scenario, assuming the tax measures do not pass but the district can cover about $7 million of the difference with time-limited revenue sources, mostly from adult education and deferred maintenance. All the OUSD budget projections include a 2% salary increase for staff.

Further notes from Governor Brown's budget proposal:
• OUSD will not receive a cost of living adjustment.
• The state is increasing its deficit factor, meaning that they can withhold more funds from local districts from year-to-year.
• No funding is authorized for new programs.
• Certain flexibility options that were set to expire may be extended, such as K-3 class size
reduction and deferred maintenance requirements.

The latest report on the district's cash flow estimates a $22 million deficit at the end of this school year. According to Mr. Hal, this includes about $20 million in funding that the state is not paying the district this year.

Finance and HR Committee to Discuss Implications of Governor's Budget Proposal

At this week's Finance and HR Committee meeting, discussion of Governor Brown's proposed state budget will likely dominate the meeting. The district has been delaying commitment of funds for months in anticipation of potential state cuts, and Tuesday's meeting may give first indications of the local effects of theFina state budget. (This document was not available online as of Monday afternoon).

One of the deputy superintendents will present FY 2010-11 cash flow projections. These projections are part of the ongoing process of reconciling the conflicting cash balances between OUSD and the Alameda County Office of Education. The committee will also approve OUSD's application for nearly $50 million in Categorical Aid funds (like Title I).

Finally, the committee will discuss the three budgetary recommendations proposed earlier this month by Director Kakashiba:
  1. Improve teacher retention
  2. Eliminate the structural deficit
  3. Increase employee compensation
This week's meeting should result in a recommendation to the full Board.

Items of interest from the General Consent Report:
  • The district is hiring a professional web developer to design a website for the District Strategic Vision.

Teaching and Learning Committee Meets Tonight, January 18

This evening's Teaching and Learning Committee meeting will address the Teaching and Learning Committee Work Plan for Calendar Year 2011. Also on the agenda is the Master Memorandum of Understanding (MMOU) between East Bay Asian Youth Center (EBAYC) and Oakland Unified. The Board had previously approved the Individual Service Agreement to the MMOU between the District and EBAYC. EBAYC will provide additional hours of service to more students, and will enhance their current comprehensive after school program by increasing their Core and Family Literacy allocation at Oakland High School for the period of July 1, 2010 through June 30, 2011.


OUSD Board Meeting Highlights - January 12

At this first board meeting of 2011, the Board held an hour long public hearing for the renewal of four Oakland charter schools:  Education for Change's Achieve Academy, American Indian Model Schools, Lighthouse Community Charter School, and Civicorps Elementary School. The board room was filled with students, parents, and staff members representing the schools, with standing room only.  Each school was allowed 15 minutes to speak to the board.

Achieve Academy's Principal Heinz gave a presentation on the background of the school.  A parent, student, and the Program Director of the school's Family Resource Center also spoke out in support of the charter renewal. A representative from By Any Means Necessary (BAMN) spoke out against the renewal of Achieve and the other charters.

The Director of American Indian Model Schools, two alumni, and the Director of the Oakland Charter Collaborative presented to the board on why they supported the renewal of the charter. The Director of the Oakland Charter Collaborative also voiced her support for all four charter renewals. Another BAMN representative and former OUSD student opposed the renewal of the charter for American Indian Model.

One of the directors of Lighthouse Community Charter School, as well as parents and students spoke in support of the school's renewal. Lastly, the CEO of Civicorps Elementary School and a teacher encouraged the board to renew its charter. Civicorps students gave the board a demonstration of their morning routine.

Other highlights from the meeting included:

  • The new Student Board Director, Lashay Robinson, a senior at Metwest High School, gave a school report and shared out about the Meaningful Student Engagement Retreat. Student Director Mitchell also discussed how they are working to ensure that students and student organizations can be involved in OUSD's strategic plan.
  • Superintendent Smith reflected on the recent professional development of 150 math teachers and 30 administrative staff.  He also reflected on the 12 male students who have been murdered since last July: 11 of whom have been African American and 1 who was Latino.
  • Principal Crockett of Claremont Middle School presented the progress of the school, with an average 67 point gain, and explained how gender based classrooms have facilitated student growth.
  • The Board approved the General Consent Report.  Jane Nicholson, Executive Director of Complementary Learning, answered Board Director Spearman's clarifying questions regarding funding sources and services for students.

January 12: Board of Education to hear requests for charter renewals

Tonight's board meeting will include a public hearing for the renewal of four Oakland charter schools:  Achieve Academy, American Indian Public Charter School, Lighthouse Community Charter School, and Civicorps Elementary School.  The Board will hear requests for renewal and support from teachers, other employees, and parents.

Other items on the Board's agenda:
  • Adoption of cash handling at school sites, recommended favorably by both the Audit Committee and Finance & Human Resources Committee
  • Adoption of attendance reporting at school sites, recommended favorably by both the Audit Committee and Finance & Human Resources Committee

Teaching and Learning Committee Updates

Professional development, after school programs, and high school academic counseling were the main topics of the first Teaching and Learning Committee meeting of the 2011 Calendar year.

At the beginning of the meeting, Director London asked to discuss the quality of all after school programs in the district. London shared her concerns about programs not funded by large grants, as well as general concerns about all after school programming. Currently, London stated, only after school programs like 21st Century Community Learning Centers are assessed because the evaluation is a requirement of the grant. After discussion from all Board Members, Maria Santos, Deputy Superintendent of Instruction, Leadership & Equity-in-Action, responded, "What I am hearing is there should be standards for all after school programs regardless of funding." All Board Members shared that they hope these issues will be addressed in the work of  the Quality Community Schools Development Group and the Full Service Community Schools task forces.

There was also a lengthy discussion concerning supporting student academic counseling services in high schools. A revised resolution from All City Council Student Government, a group of OUSD student government leaders, asked the Board of Education to require high schools to offer peer academic support programs. All Board members expressed support for the Council's work, but Board member Gary Yee questioned if passing a resolution was the appropriate way to endorse the Council's positions. He shared that he was uncomfortable passing it because it holds the Board accountable for implementing the program. Board Members London and Jumoke Hodge also raised questions about its cost and place in the new strategic work of the district.

Later, Adrian Kirk, Director of the Family and Community Office informed the Committee that this resolution was "born in a very, very different climate," before the District Strategic Plan and the Secondary Experience and Achievement (SEAN) Task Force were created. At the end of the conversation, Board Members decided to table the resolution so it remains in the legislative process and Santos said she will direct these ideas to the SEAN task force for consideration. According to the SEAN plan, students were included in the list of task force invitees, but it is unclear if students attend these task force meetings.

In the Superintendent's report, Santos shared information about the district's recent professional development work regarding academic language and literacy. She shared how the district has created a leadership team, in partnership with WestEd, to work on teaching strategies and structures of engagement to improve the academic discourse of students. Unlike other professional development trainings, Santos noted, principals rather than teachers are being trained first so they can observe and evaluate the recommended engagement strategies that improve academic literacy.

Santos also expressed that this is one way the district is starting to rebuild the district's internal capacity. When discussing a professional development contract earlier in the evening, Santos had shared how the district needs to rebuild its professional/curriculum office or seek consultants due to the drastic budget cuts that occurred last year.

The Teaching and Learning Committee Work Plan for the 2011 Calendar year was tabled because Santos and Hodge did not meet before the end of the last calendar year.  

The Adult Education Program Courses offered for the 2010-2011 School Year were approved.

Finance and HR Committee Update - January 3


Focus on teacher retention

At tonight's meeting, Director Kakishiba repeatedly emphasized his commitment to increasing teacher retention. While the Board did not outline clear budgetary priorities at its December retreat, Director Kakishiba outlined the three priorities he feels are most important tonight:

1.    Increase teacher retention
2.    Eliminate structural deficit
3.    Increase employee base compensation

Director Spearman noted the importance of including the findings of the audit report, namely examining cash handling and attendance management.

In connection with his first budgetary priority, Director Kakishiba singled out two contracts from the General Consent report dealing with teacher retention: The New Teacher Project and Teach Tomorrow in Oakland. These two items were pulled from the general consent report and placed as separate agenda items for the next meeting, January 18.

The committee approved the findings of the Internal Auditor and sent it to the Superintendent for review. Two policy recommendations from the Audit Committee (of which Director Spearman is chair) were forwarded to the full Board.

The discussion of parcel tax funding from Measure G ($20.6 million) focused on whether the funds have been allocated appropriately. Measure G's stated purpose is "to attract and retain highly qualified teachers, maintain courses that help students qualify for college, maintain up-to-date textbooks and instructional materials, keep class sizes small, continue after-school academic programs, maintain school libraries, and provide programs, including arts and music, that enhance student achievement." Director Kakishiba questioned whether these funds were truly being used for these purposes, especially retaining qualified teachers and providing elective courses for high school graduation. Director Spearman expressed concern over some funds being used to pay principal salaries.

The report on enrollment included enrollment data from last year and this year, student-teacher ratio, and over-budget dollars that subsidize each school. An increasing number of schools have enrollment below 300 students, and across the district, schools needed $3.1 million in addition to Results-Based Budgeting (RBB) funding to survive. Vernon Hal noted that finding the right number and size of schools is the biggest challenge within RBB. Alice Spearman also noted that one school was paying for a school-day music teacher out of the afterschool budget.

The committee passed the work plan for the new year.

Chris Dobbins was absent from tonight's meeting.

Finance and HR Committee to Discuss Measure G, Class Size, and School Size Tonight

At this first committee meeting of the new year, the Finance and Human Resources Committee will approve a new work plan for 2011. The work plan outlines two major goals for the committee's work in the coming year:

  1. Assess the Superintendent's compliance with Board of Education Operational Expectation policies on Human Resources, Financial Planning, and Financial Administration.
  2. Forward policy, program, and resource allocation recommendations to the Board of Education that achieve the following: a) increase retention of new teachers; b) establish career pathways for teacher leadership; and c) improve performance evaluation quality and professional support opportunities.
Also, the committee will discuss 2011-12 budget priorities and send initial recommendations to the full board for review.

The Internal Auditor will report on audit findings from Fiscal Year 2009-2010, with a particular emphasis on attendance procedures and cash handling at school sites. The Internal Audit Annual Report outlines recommendations for improvement in these and other areas.

The Finance Committee will also discuss Measure G funding allocations for the coming fiscal year and hear a report from the CFO of Class and School Size. No further details or related documents were available for public review prior to the meeting.

Teaching and Learning Committee to Discuss A-G Requirements - January 3, 2011

This evening's Teaching and Learning Committee meeting will ask Committee members to consider a resolution to improve student access and completion of high school graduation requirements. According to the OUSD website, only 35 percent of OUSD high schools seniors complete the necessary coursework for college.  If approved, it would ask high schools to implement peer academic support systems to strengthen access and completion of the required classes, including the completion of A to G courses. A to G courses are required for entrance to any California State University or University of California. In the Fall of 2011, all high schools in Oakland will be required to align their graduation requirements with A to G standards. For more information on A to G courses and OUSD's new graduation standards, click here.

Tonight's meeting will also include:

OUSD Board Meeting Highlights - December 14

At the December 14th Board Meeting, the Board unanimously passed a resolution to authorize a Supplemental Retirement Plan for district employees. The plan, designed to incentivize early retirement for the most experienced employees, would pay recipients 75% of their total salary paid out monthly over five years or longer. OUSD Deputy Superintendent of Business Services and Operations Vernon Hal explained there will be a two month sign up period that will include informational workshops for eligible employees. The District will reassess the fiscal impact of the plan based on how many people enroll before bringing an implementation plan to the Board in March. Board Members Gary Yee and Alice Spearman questioned how the end of OUSD health care benefits for those who enter early retirement may affect eligible employees' decision making process.

After a lengthy discussion, the First Interim Financial Report was passed. In Hal's presentation, he explained that even though the State Budget passed in October increased revenue by $10.6 million, this revenue is deferred and may be deferred indefinitely. This means that OUSD may need to make mid-year cuts in February. All school districts are waiting until January when the new Governor Jerry Brown presents his preliminary State Budget.

Yesterday, Brown told educators in Los Angeles, "[The State Fiscal Crisis] is worse than I thought," suggesting they should be prepared for more cuts.

Board members suggested that it is necessary to create a list of possible areas in which the district can make reductions now to ensure that it is prepared and can remain fiscally solvent. Also, they raised questions about the district's priorities in the face of budget reductions. Both class size reduction revenue and a proposed mid-year two percent raise for certificated and classified employees were mentioned as possible areas.

Superintendent Smith shared that the District's new Strategic Plan intends to serve as a budgeting tool for the next five years by naming the district's priorities. Board President Yee raised concerns about how the district needs to adopt a budget this winter, six months before the plan will be presented. Smith responded that Board members should expect no surprises regarding the core priorities of the district.

Other highlights from the meeting:
  • The Board passed a resolution stating that each Board member will hold at least one community engagement meeting in his or her Electoral district this school year.
  • The Board supported the Intergovernmental Relations Committee's recommendation to request modifications to the operating and governing structure of the Youth Ventures Joint Powers Authority (JPA). Currently, the JPA is staffed by individuals who also work for Safe Passages. OUSD wants the work of the JPA to better align with OUSD's priorities, namely supporting its goal to becomes a full service community district.
  • The OUSD Police Department Operations Manual was approved. The Department, led by OUSD Chief of Police Peter C. Sarna, rewrote the policy manual and was commended by Board members Dobbins and Spearman for the work of his department since his hiring in 2009.

Board Meeting TONIGHT - Retirement incentive and budget issues on the agenda

At tonight's School Board meeting - Tuesday at 5pm - Board members will consider an early retirement plan for district employees. The plan is designed to incentivize early retirement for the most experienced employees, and would pay recipients 75% of their total salary paid out monthly over five years. Certificated employees who are 55 years old with at least 5 years of service and classified employees who are 50 years old with at least 5 years of service would be eligible for the program. The district estimates that approximately 1500 employees are eligible, and that the program would cost just under 1 million dollars to implement. The Finance and HR Committee voted favorably to send it to the Board at their last meeting.

Other items on the Board's agenda:
  • Adoption of the First Interim Financial Report. Click here to view the first interim financial report.
  • Adoption of budgetary increases/decreases/transfers for the 2010-11 Fiscal Year.
  • A resolution from the Intergovernmental Relations Committee to ask each Board member to hold at least one community engagement meeting in each school in their district.
  • Recognition for Chevron USA and District's 2010 Chevron Classroom Challenge Teachers.

Special Board Meeting Saturday: Strategic Planning Task Force Updates

The OUSD Board of Education plans to hold a special meeting tomorrow, Saturday, December 10th at 9am. On the agenda:

  • A status report from Superintendent Smith and discussion around the implementation of the district's Strategic Direction. Task force leaders will review issues and share share their group's progress and process to date. Click here to access the task force presentation
  • The Board will discuss the policies and budget priorities needed to effectively implement the plan. Click here to view the first interim financial report.

This meeting will be held in the Board Room at 1025 2nd Avenue and is open to the public.

Teaching and Learning Committee Discusses African American Male Achievement

Teaching and Learning Committee Highlights: December 6, 2010
This month's Teaching and Learning Committee meeting featured two presentations: Adult and Career Education and the African American Male Achievement (AAMA) Task Force. Below are highlights from the two presentations.

Adult and Career Education: Budget and Program Management  Planning during 5 year "Flex" period 08-09 through 12-13:

  • This presentation focused on issues of Adult Education needs in the district during a period of erratic and unpredictable budgeting.
  • Due to a Governor's revision in May of 2010, funds were taken from adult education programs in order to offset massive cuts to Early Childhood Education programs in the district. This resulted in the closures of Edward Shands Adult School and Neighborhood Centers Adult School, which took effect June 30, 2010.
  • Speakers addressed the need to reopen adult centers in order to provide a foundation of support for community members, especially refugees, in need of resources to integrate into the community and, in turn, provide appropriate supports to their children in OUSD schools.
African American Male Achievement Task Force:
  • Task force leader Christopher P. Chatmon presented an overview of the three phases of the task force under the new strategic plan. Mr. Chatmon emphasized the need for student voice in this process, especially in Phase One: Discovery. The task force will conduct a listening campaign as well as a review of multiple data sources.
  • Phase Two: Research and Development will consist of a model analysis to identify best practices, and interview with school and district leaders nationwide who are currently changing the trajectory for African American males.
  • During Phase Three: Strategy Development, the task force will synthesize the analysis in order to develop pilot programs to improve outcomes for African American males in OUSD schools.
  • All committee members were impressed by Mr. Chatmon's passion and expertise. Director Hodge referred to this as "healing work" and suggested a similar program to support Latino males in the district.
 
 

Finance and HR Committee Update

Sele Nadel-Hayes reported on the progress of the Results-Based Budgeting Task Force. Originally, the task force was scheduled to present findings by this date, but in the interest of gaining more community input, the task force has reevaluated its timeline. Currently, the task force has identified a few changes to the existing system, but major changes to results-based budgeting aimed to address equity concerns will be delayed for several months. The task force is trying to gather input from neighborhoods around Oakland and is working with the Alameda County Public Health Department. Future public meetings will be posted online.

The committee voted to send an early retirement plan to the full Board. Certificated employees who are 55 years old with at least 5 years of service and classified employees who are 50 years old with at least 5 years of service would be eligible for the program: about 1500 employees in total. Recipients would get 75% of their total salary paid out monthly for 5 years. The cost of the program would be somewhere under $1 million.

The district's Budget Director gave a presentation on the Interim Financial Report. Noteworthy items included:
  • $22.3 million in OUSD revenue has been unallocated because of uncertainty about state budget negotiations coming in January.
  • The state budget restored funding for childcare. OUSD had borrowed $5 million from adult education to fund early childhood education, which has been restored. However, $2.5 million of those funds remain unallocated pending the outcome of the state budget.
  • The district projects a general fund cash shortfall of $23 million, similar to recent years.
  • One-time federal funding from the jobs bill and stimulus funds may be available to OUSD in this fiscal year.
  • The structural deficit in this interim budget was $5.5 million.
  • Multi-year projections estimate the OUSD will have to cut unrestricted expenses of $7.9 million in 2011-12 and $18.3 million in 2012-13.
Vernon Hal addressed concerns expressed by the county superintendent in his August letter to the Board.  The scheduled discussion of budget priorities was postponed to the Board's upcoming retreat.

Alice Spearman was absent from tonight's meeting.

Committee Meetings this week: Early Retirement Incentives, RBB Recommendations

Finance and Human Resources Committee Meeting

Monday's Finance and HR Committee meeting will include a vote to approve or disapprove the recommendations of the task force on Results-Based Budgeting. The recommendations document available for download on the School Board web site, however, consists of a single page that says "Reserved for Document Insertion." It seems that the community will not have a chance to see the task force's recommendations before the committee votes.

The rest of the committee's agenda deals heavily in other budget issues. A resolution will come before the committee to authorize an early retirement plan for certain district employees. The plan is designed to reduce salary costs by incentivizing early retirement of the most experienced employees and replacing them with new hires.

A district representative will present the interim financial report for the coming year (powerpoint presentation here), which will need to be presented to the Alameda County Office of Education (ACOE). Some highlights from the report:
  • The State budget restored Child Development funding, so that $5 million in adult education funds borrowed to supplement Early Childhood Education funding can be returned.
  • The significant California state budget shortfall will still have unknown consequences for the district. When Governor-elect Brown presents his budget proposal in January, the district will know better if further reductions are necessary.
  • Revenue limit funds were increased by 5.17%, though the funds are not immediately available.
Also, the ACOE detailed possible problems with the current year's budget in a letter to the Board on August 26. ACOE mentions concerns with deficit spending, potential drops in average daily attendance, and the need for further, specifically identified budget reductions. The committee will discuss possible responses to ACOE's letter. Finally, the committee will discuss priorities for the 2011-2012 budget.

Items of interest from the General Consent Report:
The district is applying for a:
  • $70,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to increase air quality in schools and reduce asthma triggers,
  • $400,000 grant from the California Emergency Management Agency for gang violence prevention,
  • $200,000 grant from the California Department of Social Services to provide services to refugee students.
At this week's Teaching and Learning Committee meeting, OUSD leadership will address a variety of professional service contracts. There will also be a presentation from the Task Force on African American Male Achievement (AAMA). The presentation includes goals, objectives and prospective recommendations forthcoming to the Teaching and Learning Committee for the formulation of Policy recommendations to the Board of Education.

OUSD Board Meeting Highlights - November 17

The full Board of Education meets only once in November and once in December. Highlights from November's meeting - held this evening - are below!

Members of the OEA Board made public comments protesting the deportation of a teacher, Ms. Francisco at Oakland Tech, saying that Oakland is backtracking on its Sanctuary City policy.

Staff and parents from the Bay Area Parent Leadership Action Network (PLAN) made public comments about the need for public engagement in OUSD's strategic task force process. David Montes's task force, the Quality Schools Development Group, was singled out as a notable exception, having created multiple avenues for community engagement. PLAN members called on the Board to slow down the process. Jody London and Jumoke Hodge expressed their support, while Director Spearman indicated that the process won't slow down, and that community meetings won't happen, so parents need to engage administration at their individual schools.

Directors Kakashiba and Spearman both thanked the voters of Oakland for their support of Measure L, which failed to pass by less than one percent.  Mr. Kakashiba expressed the Board's commitment to OUSD teachers and staff being paid comparably to those in other Bay Area districts.

Director Gallo invited a speaker to address new admissions policies in the UC system that may adversely affect minority enrollment. He would like to host a public forum on this issue at an OUSD school.

The audit committee's report highlighted a number of audited areas for improvement. Notably, the committee found eleven different factors contributing to poor attendance.

There was a presentation from the State Controller's office on the 2006-07 audit. OUSD is settling the books on the audit - the district has paid $120,000 because of audit findings, with several million more dollars either on appeal or pending. The audit covers a period  of time when OUSD was under state receivership, but the district is still on the hook for penalties incurred during that time. There was considerable frustration in the room at the representative from the State Controller's office.

The K-5 facilities report was approved, but Director London stipulated that the Facilities Committee felt more revisions need to occur, and a revised version would be coming to the Board in several months.

The district agreed to hire a lobbyist, Governmental Solutions Group, LLC, to represent OUSD's interests in Sacramento. 

OUSD Board Agenda - November 17, 2010

At tonight's School Board meeting, the Board will consider a resolution to request that AC Transit provide the youth fare discount on Clipper cards to all pre-K through 12th grade students in their service area. Currently, the youth discount ends at age 19, and some older Oakland high school students find it cost prohibitive to take the bus to school.

The Board will be directly considering a professional services contract with a firm doing a traffic analysis on Life Academy's proposed move back to its original building on International Boulevard. (The district forced the school to move to a shared site on 35th Ave. several years ago.) Because this contract has not been recommended by the facilities committee, the Board is making a special motion to discharge it from committee.

Several other items on tonight's agenda
  • A resolution to make November Family Literacy Month.
  • An internal services audit for FY 2009-10 as well as the 2006-07 State Controller's audit.
  • A new policy on "education specifications and standards for facilities" that will shape future decisions about the design and construction of school buildings.

In closed session, the Board will consider:
  • Ongoing negotiations with unions representing district employees.
  • Two lawsuits against the district
  • Employee dismissal and  evaluation as well as cases that involve individual pupils
 

November Committee Meeting Highlights

Teaching and Learning Committee Highlights

This month's Teaching and Learning Committee meeting featured two reports and a discussion about the relationship between the School Board and the Task Forces.

At the beginning of the meeting, Deputy of Instruction Maria Santos provided the Board members with a short update regarding the work of the Secondary Education and Achievement (SEAN), the Full Service Community School, and the Regional Governance Task Forces.

After the update, committee members London and Hodge raised questions about the role and responsibilities of Board members in the work of all of the Task Forces. Committee member Yee agreed that some relationship is necessary, and he planned to discuss this with the Superintendent Tuesday morning.

Below are highlights from the two presentations.

High School Courses and Availability:

  • Director of College and Career Readiness Jeannie Johnson shared the ongoing work of the district to align graduation requirements of all high schools in OUSD with state public entrance requirements, called A to G standards. The Board voted last June to have all of these changes go into effect by the fall of 2011. 
  • Johnson outlined how the district is trying to understand and address the implications of these changes for English Language Learners, Special Education students, and recent immigrants. 
  • Johnson also discussed how the district is working to create meaningful counseling services in order to meet the needs of credit deficient students.    

After School Program Master Plan:

  • The three year evaluation by Public Profit found the majority of all OUSD after school programs funded by After School Education and Safety (ASES), 21st Century, and Oakland Fund for Children Youth grants (OFCY) were effective or highly effective. 
    Community partnerships were noted as a key component to the success of these programs.
  • Due to increased demand for after school programming, district staff is exploring charging a program fee to parents, but emphasized the importance of providing equitable access to families.
  • Board member London raised concerns about the lack of district oversight of programs not funded by these large grants. Board members requested an update in two months.

At the end of the meeting, several members of the public asked to reinstate adult education ESL classes, informing other community groups cannot meet the high demand for ESL classes in Oakland. Director Yee shared that the Board will revisit this issue at the next Board meeting. This year adult education classes were cut 86 percent due to state and district budget cuts, and the district reallocated some of the funds to prevent significant cuts in Early Childhood Education.

Finance and HR Committee Highlights

As OUSD returns to local control, the district and Board have implemented more financial management practices. Reports on dry, but important, financial matters were the focus of tonight's brief meeting. All three Directors were present.

The State Controller's audit was forwarded to the agenda of the Nov. 17 meeting of the full Board. That audit was unable to draw conclusions about the district's financial performance, because of problems with the district's financial statements. 

OUSD Controller Roberta Sadler presented on the district's ongoing cash reconciliation with the Alameda County Office of Education, which has now resolved the discrepancies in the cash accounting up to a few months ago. She also discussed the district's projected cash flow for the current school year which shows negative cash flow in June 2011; current projections will change when the new state budget is taken into account, although those funds may not be received until July/August 2011.

The Board also addressed a few non-financial issues: Director Spearman raised concerns about on-line Supplemental Educational Services (SES) providers who may not be providing quality services or serving the number of students they receive funding for. Director Kakashiba asked that the Board receive impact evaluations on all SES providers that contract with the district. Such evaluations might impact dozens of contracts that come up for Board approval.

OUSD's Director of Procurement advocated that schools that want copiers on site purchase them outright rather than lease. The district has found that purchasing is usually a better financial decision than leasing. Directors Kakashiba and Spearman advocated requiring any school that wants to lease a copier to obtain explicit approval from the Board because it is a liability for the District. .

The meeting also included a closed session labor negotiation with United Administrators of Oakland Schools (UAOS), Service Employees International Union - Local 1021 (SEIU), Oakland Education Association (OEA), Oakland Child Development Paraprofessional Association (OCDPA), American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees-Local 257 (AFSCME), Brotherhood of Teamsters, Auto Truck Drivers-Local 70 of Alameda County, Brotherhood of Teamsters, Warehouse, Mail Order, Retail Employees- Local 853 of Alameda County, American Federation of Teachers/CFT-Local 771 (AFT), Building and Construction Trades Council of Alameda County, California School Employees Association (CSEA).

November 8th Committee Meetings: Budgets, Audits, After-School Programs, and SEAN

Teaching and Learning Committee: November 8 at 5:00pm

At this evening's Teaching and Learning Committee meeting, two key reports will be presented.

First, the committee will hear a report on the availability of high school courses and high school outcomes. Late last month, lead members of the Secondary Experience and Achievement (SEAN) Task Force shared their plan with community members at the OUSD Strategic Planning Workshop. The task force is focused on increasing high school graduation rates.

The committee will also hear a presentation about the After School Master Plan.

In addition, the committee will discuss adopting a revised work plan for the 2010-11 school year. This year's plan includes the District Strategic Plan and reports concerning Operational Expectations, the Instructional Program, and Portfolio Management of Schools.

Finance and Human Resources Committee: November 8 at 6:30pm

This week's meeting of the Finance and HR Committee was rescheduled and is the only meeting of the committee this month.

Much of the agenda for this week's meeting focuses around the district's finances. The committee will approve last year's audit from the State Controller's Office. The state has been unable to audit the district's cash accounts because of discrepancies between OUSD's books and the county's books. Now an independent CPA firm has reconciled the discrepancies up to June 2008. The district's CFO, Vernon Hal, will also present on the district's cash flow for this year, including any potential problems.

A discussion of procurement practices, tabled from last month's meeting, will focus on whether the district should continue to lease copiers or switch to purchasing them outright.

Items of interest from General Consent Report:
  • This agenda includes an especially high number of contracts and MOUs with outside organizations to provide academic services like tutoring to the district. By GO's count, this month's agenda includes contracts or MOUs with 44 organizations and individuals for tutoring and academic support, totaling $3,326,948.
  • OUSD was awarded a grant from the Department of Education to hire a coordinator for programs designed to increase Native American student achievement.
  • The district is beginning a program that will allow employees to take pre-tax salary deductions for public transportation expenses, encouraging public transportation and saving district employees as much as $200,000 annually.
  • KNN Public Finance is hired as OUSD's financial advisor.

OUSD Board Meeting Agenda - October 27, 2010

At this Wednesday's OUSD School Board Meeting, leadership will discuss Measure "B" Independent Citizens' School Facilities Bond. There will be a presentation from the Oversight Committee's 2008/2009 Annual Report.

The Teaching and Learning Committee will also make a presentation concerning the sufficiency of textbooks and instructional materials for the current school year. Issues from last week's Teaching and Learning Committee meeting can be viewed here.

The Facilities and Finance and Human Resource Committees will also present a variety of Professional Service Contracts and lease agreements.

Members of GO Public Schools will be present to once again raise questions to the Board about community participation in the district's strategic planning and task force process, and will focus on three critical values:

  1. The Oakland community should have clear, timely information on the task forces.
  2. The Oakland community should have a clear role on every task force.
  3. The Oakland community should have a clear path to join task forces - participation should not be an insider game. 

Click here to learn more about the OUSD Strategic Planning Workshop GO is hosting this Thursday from 5:30-8:00pm at the Jack London Aquatic Center!

Task Force Timelines, Process Raise Concerns

Finance and HR Committee Update
The October 18 HR and Finance Committee meeting featured reports from five of the strategic task forces that will be meeting this school year. Recommendations from those task forces will come back to the committee according to the following rough calendar:


Each task force leader shared a presentation outlining its work plan, including goals, outcomes, and deliverables. Results-Based Budgeting and the Regional Neighborhood Approach task forces generated the most questions and concerns.

Results-Based Budgeting
Task force leader Sele Nadel-Hayes discussed how this group will evaluate the results-based budgeting process. The task force is set to deliver recommendations to the committee by Dec. 5, though recommendations will actually be due to the Board office by Nov. 24. Several speakers expressed concern about that time line, calling it "ambitious." Two principals, David Silver and Jerome Gourdine, shared their concerns about the task force's work. Silver called for transparency in the process and continued principal input.

The Deputy Director of the Alameda County Health Department officially announced that their department will be assessing how OUSD's results-based budgeting process affects student health outcomes. They are hoping to release their assessment concurrently with the task force's recommendations.

Regional Neighborhood Approach
Assistant Superintendent Tim White presented on the Regional Neighborhood Approach task force. Among other deliverables, this task force will make recommendations by May 2011 about which schools to close and how to re-purpose those school buildings. Director Kakashiba was cautious about closing schools, saying that the media has focused too much on the need to close schools and not enough on more pressing matters like student underachievement and low graduation rates.

The committee proposed Wednesday, Nov. 10 as the date for the upcoming budget retreat. The discussion about procurement practices was tabled until the next meeting.

Teaching and Learning Committee Update
At last night's Teaching and Learning Committee meeting, OUSD leadership addressed the in-depth report on District Pupils 2010 California Standards Test (CST) Performance and 2010 Academic Performance Index (API) scores. RAD Director Ingrid Robeson presented newly added API information on the motion chart, which compares CST and API data at the school, district, and state levels. OUSD's API advanced 26 points last year, making it the most-improved urban school district in California. The motion chart illustrates trends from 2003 to the present and can be viewed by race, socioeconomic status, and other subgroups in order to make comparisons. The chart illustrated that there is still very much an achievement gap in OUSD. Maria Santos suggested strategies to target lower performing groups, and President Yee commented that the focus should be on the growth itself rather than the gap.

The committee also addressed the District's Strategic Direction. David Montes de Oca presented an outline for the Quality Community Schools Development Task Force. In a quick PowerPoint presentation, Montes de Oca outlined the goals, which include defining the characteristics of a high quality, full-service community school and full service community district by March 2011. He also addressed how the involvement of families, community, and organizations like GO can be involved, such as an orientation at Tilden School on November 1st from 6:30-8:30 to launch community engagement. Board member London suggested multiple opportunities for the community to become engaged in the process and to notify communities of events so they can become involved.

A prepared presentation on Youth Program Quality Assessment - Complementary Learning and Afterschool Programs had to be moved to the next agenda because of time constraints.

October 18th Committee Meetings Feature RBB and Task Force Work Plans


Teaching and Learning Committee - Monday at 5pm 

At this week's Teaching and Learning Committee meeting, OUSD leadership will address the in-depth report on District Pupils 2010 California Standards Test (CST) Performance and 2010 Academic Performance Index (API) scores. OUSD has made progress in both CST and API scores at elementary, middle, and high school levels and is the most-improved large school district in California.

The committee will also address areas of the district's Strategic Vision. This will include empowering and ensuring effective teachers, standards and core curriculum for college and career readiness, balanced literacy, and effective principals and leadership.

Also to be discussed is the committee's revised work plan for the 2010-11 school year, including the District Strategic Plan, monitoring reports, instructional program, and school portfolio management.

Note: The previous Teaching and Learning Committee meeting was canceled at the last minute due to absences by Committee Vice Chairperson Gary Yee and Committee Chairperson Jumoke Hinton-Hodge.


Finance and Human Resources Committee - Monday at 6:30pm

Several of the strategic task forces are presenting work plans at this Monday's meeting:
The committee will also discuss the development of outcomes and agenda for an upcoming budget planning retreat, in addition to the district's procurement practices (about copiers, software, and maintenance).

From the general consent items come the following important notes:
  • USF and Merritt College are providing student nurses to OUSD at no cost
  • OUSD is applying to the state for a half million dollars in bailout funding

If you would like to receive an email with information summaries before and after School Board meetings, please click here.

Board Meeting Highlights: Student Enrollment, Teacher Turnover, and ECE Budgets

On Wednesday, October 13th, the school board met to discuss, among other things, the following issues: 

  • Early Childhood Education Funding
  • Teacher and Principal Effectiveness and Turnover
  • OUSD Student Enrollment Counts

Early Childhood Education Funding

Board members heard a presentation about state funding as it relates to Early Childhood Education. Though the state budget is still unclear given many variables, there is new funding for Early Childhood Education that OUSD previously did not anticipate receiving. Now that the funding is available, more resources are freed up within OUSD and can be reallocated to other programs.

Superintendent Smith shared that OUSD has been operating both with a state loan and is very dependent upon one-time funding opportunities. "We still, as an organization, have a structural deficit...even with one-time monies, we're still in trouble."

Teacher and Principal Effectiveness and Turnover
Board members, community members, and union representatives shared their thoughts on a report regarding teacher and principal effectiveness and turnover in OUSD. The board voted to accept the report from committee.

OUSD Student Enrollment Counts

David Montes de Oca shared updated information about student enrollment in OUSD schools. For the first time in over a decade, the enrollment in OUSD has increased over the past year. This year, there are about 250 more students than last year. This is how those numbers play out across grade levels:
  • High School - 278 fewer students this year than last year
  • Middle School - 2 fewer students this year than last year
  • Elementary School - 525 more students this year than last year
Mr. Montes de Oca shared that this increase in families choosing OUSD elementary schools is likely correlated to the district's success in API growth in elementary schools.

If you would like to receive an email with information summaries before and after School Board meetings, please click here.

 
 

Teacher and Principal Effectiveness and Turnover on Wednesday's Board Agenda

On Wednesday evening at 5pm, the school board will meet to discuss, among other things, the following issues:
  • Oakland's rising API score
  • Early Childhood Education Funding
  • Teacher and Principal Effectiveness and Turnover

API Rising

The Board will discuss the districts' rising API scores (displayed here in a motion graph).

Early Childhood Education Funding
The Board will vote on an amendment to this year's budget that would provide funding for the operation of the Early Childhood Education Centers through December 31, 2010.  Read more about this proposed amendment.

Teacher and Principal Effectiveness and Turnover
The Finance and Human Resources Committee will bring information from their most recent meeting to the Board.  The Board will hear a report regarding teacher turnover in the district, with a particular focus on success resulting in a science mentoring program in OUSD.  In addition, the information included in this recent memo from Superintendent Smith will be shared.

If you would like to receive an email with information summaries before and after School Board meetings, please click here.

Committee Meeting Highlights: Teacher Retention, New Task Forces, Budget Updates

Finance and Human Resources
The majority of Monday's Finance and Human Resources committee meeting was devoted to a discussion of teacher turnover in the district, prompted by the release of selections from a monitoring report from the Superintendent. The Superintendent's report finds the district in compliance with operational expectations about recruiting and developing principals, but not in compliance with expectations about retaining teachers in the district.

Committee Chair David Kakashiba noted that the Board's previous focus has been on instructional practice rather than retention, and he indicated that teacher retention should be a priority for OUSD in the 2011-2012 budget.

The key statistic from the presentation was this graph, showing that over 70% of new teachers leave the district within five years.
retention graph.gif

Representatives from the Oakland Education Association and the OUSD Manager of New Teacher Support and Development were among those who spoke to address the issue. They cited factors including a lack of support for new teachers and low teacher pay.  

Other news from Monday's meeting:
  • The discussion on Results-Based Budgeting was tabled until the next meeting, which will feature a full presentation on the issue.
  • The committee passed the resolution extending funding for the city's Early Childhood Education centers until December 31. The Board is hoping that the recently passed state budget will restore funding for these programs next year.

Teaching and Learning
This week's Teaching and Learning Committee Meeting was canceled at the last minute due to absences by Chairperson Jumoke Hinton-Hodge and Vice Chairperson Gary Yee. Yee was out of town and Hinton-Hodge sent regrets that she had to work late. Board Member Jody London personally apologized to all attendees for the cancellation.

Along with the final presentation of 2010 CST and API scores, the Committee had planned to discuss a revised work plan that included the announcement of three new task forces:

All district task forces, which include the Empowering and Ensuring Effective Teachers Task Force and the Effective Principals and Leadership Task Force (shared at a previous committee meeting), are part of Superintendent Tony Smith's strategic vision, announced last June. Click here to learn more about the plan and task forces.

At the time of this posting, it is unclear if Monday's agenda items will be included in the next general Board meeting on Wednesday, October 13th or if the meeting will be rescheduled. We will let you know as soon as we hear news.

If you would like to receive an email with information summaries before and after School Board meetings, please click here.

This Week's Committee Meetings: Strategic Planning, Student Achievement Data, RBB

Teaching and Learning Committee - Monday at 5pm
At this evening's Teaching and Learning Committee meeting, OUSD leadership will finish presenting the 2010 California Standards Test (CST) Performance and 2010 Academic Performance Index (API) scores. Last month, OUSD announced progress in both CST and API scores across Oakland's elementary, middle, and high schools. The district's API rose 26 points, which was the highest growth of a district in California with at least 25,000 students.

At the last committee meeting, Ingrid Robeson, Director of OUSD's Research, Assessment and Data Department, shared a new tool that allows you to view the district's CST progress by cohort and over time. Click here to access this tool.

Tonight the committee will also discuss adopting a revised work plan for the 2010-11 school year. This year's plan includes the District Strategic Plan and reports concerning Operational Expectations, Instructional Program, and Portfolio Management of Schools.

Finance and Human Resources Committee - Monday at 6:30pm
At this evening's meeting, the Board will be discussing several agenda items of importance to the GO Public Schools community:
  • OUSD is engaging in an MOU with Urban Strategies Council to implement an initiative focused on closing the black male achievement gap - Chris Chatmon was appointed Director of African American Male Achievement for OUSD.
  • The results-based budgeting policy will be reviewed. With the support of 83 OUSD principals, the GO community advocated to maintain and improve the system in the 09-10 school year.
  • A schools-monitoring report from the superintendent shows that the district is doing well in recruiting principals, but failing to meet standards for teacher retention.
  • Amendment of the 2010-11 Budget to provide funding for the operation of 6 or 7 Early Childhood Education Centers through December 31, 2010.

Chris Chatmon appointed first OUSD Director of African American Male Achievement

At last night's board meeting, Superintendent Smith appointed Chris Chatmon as OUSD's first director of African American Male Achievement. The appointment was met with excitement and appreciation from board members and community members.

Both the Oakland Tribune and Oakland North featured articles about the announcement!





Teaching & Learning Committee Discusses Task Forces and Dives Deep into CST Data

At this evening's Teaching and Learning Committee meeting, Maria Santos shared an overview of the district's focus areas as related to instruction, highlighting the task forces that will use the principles of high quality effective instruction to positively impact student academic achievement. While details of the committees were not yet released, she stressed the need for there to be thoughtful conversation around achieving the goals and vision set forth by the district.

The effective teacher task force will focus on developing a common definition of high quality effective instruction, and will be looking at what needs to be put in place to achieve this definition in OUSD. While originally, common core standards and balanced literacy were within the purview of this group, they have been broken off into their own task forces. The goals of the district's task forces will be enumerated at upcoming committee meetings, and will include action plans and timelines for implementation. Directors Yee, Hinton-Hodge, and London stressed the importance of community input into the development of task forces.

Ingrid Robeson, Director of Research, Assessment and Data, then shared highlights from the district's CST scores, introducing board members to new motion charts that capture longitudinal data and allow users to view progress over time in a wide variety of ways. The charts will be updated over the coming days and weeks.

Tonight's Teaching and Learning Committee Meeting: High Quality Effective Instruction

At this evening's Teaching and Learning Committee meeting, Board members will be discussing plans to implement task forces around one of OUSD's key strategic priorities - High Quality Effective Instruction. A presentation by Maria Santos, Deputy Superintendent of
Instruction, Leadership & Equity-in-Action, outlines principles of high quality effective instruction, and then goes into further detail around the district administrators responsible for putting these principles into action through task forces. 

The Committee will also engage in a discussion of OUSD's CST scores by cohort and over time. Click here to access an incredible tool designed by the Research, Assessment and Data team that allows you to view progress over time. Slide 2


OUSD Board Meeting Highlights - August 25

At 5pm, a group of protesters including parents, teachers, community members and students lined the steps of the Board of Education building at 1025 Second Avenue expressing their disappointment over the impending closures of the district's Child Development Centers (CDCs).

Similarly, the Non-Agenda Speaker Cards this evening focused on the closures of Oakland's CDCs and the massive funding cuts to the Early Childhood Education program.  Henry Hitz of Oakland Parents Together (OPT) noted that if necessary, on August 30, OPT will do a people's takeover of the CDCs that are being forced to close. Other speakers shared their disappointment and anger over the possible disbanding of The Castleers, Castlemont High School's choral group since 1929.

President's Report
Board President Gary Yee met with the State Board of Education to request that they reconsider the restructuring of the School Improvement Grant (SIG) in Oakland.  Of the four OUSD schools that were eligible for SIG, only Elmhurst Community Prep (ECP) and United for Success chose to submit applications. Both schools learned that their applications were denied this summer, since the district's application did not include all four eligible schools.

On behalf of the OUSD Board of Education, Director Yee requested that the State Board consider funding all schools that applied, regardless of whether a district applied for all eligible schools. The State Board unanimously adopted the request to submit a federal waiver, which will allow California to allocate available funding for schools that applied but were not awarded. President Yee believes that $8 million will be awarded over the next three years for ECP and United for Success Academy middle schools. Superintendent Smith will have additional information shortly.

Superintendent's Report
After welcoming Maria Santos, OUSD's new Deputy of Instruction, Superintendent Smith noted that it was another year of remarkable success for the district. He acknowledged that while the CST results are a narrow measure, they are an important one, and shared the following performance highlights:
  • ELA proficiency rates continued to improve (except for 7th grade)
  • Math proficiency rates continued to improve
  • 2nd grade math performance higher than the state average
  • 5th grade math performance higher than the state average
At the next meeting, the Board will take a deeper look at the data over time and by cohort.  

Dr. Smith also spoke briefly about the district's financial position, noting that OUSD regularly overspends its budget by over $30 million annually. He highlighted the need to become fiscally and academically solvent, and shared that the district has prioritized funding early childhood education to the extent possible. (Note: the State of California cut 80% of funding to early childhood education, and OUSD is currently operating at 65% of ECE programming). He invited the community to offer feedback.

OUSD Board Meeting Agenda - August 25

The OUSD Board of Education will meet this Wednesday, August 25 at 5pm in the Board Room, 1025 Second Avenue.

On this week's agenda are the following items related to GO's Beliefs and Visions:

Strong Leadership
Superintendent Tony Smith will share a presentation including but not limited to the District's 2010 California Standards Test (CST) results, highlighting how OUSD performed compared to the State of California. Click here to view the accompanying slides.

For the full meeting agenda, please click here.

 

Budgets, calendars, personnel reports and more at this week's Board committee meetings

Finance and Human Resources Committee - Monday at 6:30pm
At tonight's meeting, the following agenda items will be discussed:
  • Barbara Gee will be appointed the Interim Executive Director of Human Resources and David Montes de Oca will be appointed as the new Executive Director, Quality Community Schools Development group.
  • A personnel report names new hires, temporary contracts, rehires, and new assignments
  • A $5,872,070.00 federal grant for the High School Graduation Initiative to support struggling students will be reviewed. 
  • OUSD's 2010-11 budget calendar for academic and fiscal solvency, outlining dates for community meetings, board engagement around budget issues and more will be reviewed.
  • The committee's work plan will be reviewed and approved.

OUSD Board Meeting Highlights - August 11

Choice about schools
  • Vincent Academy - OUSD staff recommended the approval of the Vincent Academy charter without offering admissions preference to students attending the Vicent Pre-K program.  The Board voted 6-0 (Directors Spearman and Kakishib were absent during the vote) to accept the recommendations of staff, including those regarding admission preferences, and approve the charter.


  • ARISE - Public Hearing - Given that the school did not open to students until one year after it's charter was approved, ARISE is requesting that it's charter term be amended to July 1, 2007 to June 30, 2012

OUSD Board Meeting Agenda - August 11

Since regaining full governing authority in June 2009, the OUSD Board of Education once again became fully empowered to make policy decisions that impact issues important to the GO community. 

It is critical that our network is aware when debate and action will take place regarding these issues, so that we can advocate for decisions that align with GO's Beliefs & Visions.

This school year, the Board Agenda Watch team (comprised of dedicated GO volunteers) will continue previewing board agendas, attending meetings, and sharing the results of discussions and decisions. If you are interested in joining this important volunteer team, please email us today!

The OUSD Board of Education will meet this Wednesday, August 11, for its first regular board meeting of the 2010-11 school year.

Location: Lincoln Elementary, 225 11th Street, Oakland, CA 94607
Time: 5pm

Choice about schools
  • Vincent Academy - Board will vote to accept or reject the recommendation by OUSD staff to approve Vincent Academy's charter petition
  • ARISE High School - Public Hearing - a request to change the term of existing charter from July 1, 2007 to June 30, 2012
The complete agenda is available here. For those interested in viewing, but unable to attend, Board meetings can be seen in Oakland on cable channel 27 or streamed live to a computer.

To receive an email update when we post information about the OUSD Board of Education, click here.

OUSD Special Board Meeting - Board Self-Evaluation - Saturday, August 7 at 1pm

As the board reconvenes for another school year, they have called a special meeting to reflect on their culture. The meeting will focus on how school board members work together to set policy to govern and improve Oakland's public schools.

As the GO community heard from Chris Maricle two weeks ago, how board members work together as a team is critical to their performance. Board meetings provide an opportunity for the board to set policy, but are also the community and public's most prominent views into the workings of the school district. The way that board meetings are conducted, and the manner in which board members interact with each other and the district are strong drivers of OUSD's reputation in the community.

This Saturday's special meeting is open to the public both for input and feedback to Board members, as well as an opportunity to observe their reflections. If you would like to share your feedback via email, please contact your school board member

GO Interviews School Board President Gary