Last month, we shared an enrollment resource with you all to help you begin to navigate your options and begin considering the best school choices for your family. As Oakland public school parents, you have the power of choice in determining what school is best for your child, and applying for that school (or schools). However, as we mentioned in our previous post, your window of choice is limited to January 26 for OUSD schools and February 16 for Oakland charter schools—so use it or lose it! After those dates, it could be much more challenging to get your child placed at one of your top choice schools. We wanted to follow up with more information to assist you as you continue through the process. Here’s a handy checklist of the steps we think you can take to make enrollment a positive and educational experience:
1. Learn about and understand the process! The resources made available by OUSD and Enroll Oakland have evolved a great deal over the last few years, making it easier to find the information you need. Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell outlines the steps in this short video, which is also available in Spanish, Chinese, and Vietnamese. Enroll Oak also has an excellent FAQ section, which explains the process and what is unique in Oakland at length.
2. Reflect on your child’s needs. There are so many things to consider when selecting a school that finding the best fit can seem daunting. Great Schools has a helpful article that can help you “Focus on the Four Fit Factors”: what your child learns, how your child learns, social issues, and practical matters. Once you review that, the Oakland School Finder can help you explore and compare programs and curriculum at different schools.
3. Assess school quality. Once you’ve determined what schools you are interested in, there are newer systems you can use to understand how those schools perform along a set of multiple measures in both academics and culture/climate. The Oakland Public School Report Card is a local version of the California Schools Dashboard. Both tools can help you gain a deeper understanding of the schools you are interested in, from basic conditions, to academic performance, to parent involvement, and so on. GreatSchools also offers school quality information, as well as research-based parenting resources, data and insights.
4. Go on tour! Physically visiting your schools of interest, checking out the classrooms, play areas, and becoming acquainted with the teachers will go a long way in helping you make your final decision about where to apply. We encourage you to take the time to tour at least a few schools. Find information on enrollment fairs and school tours for OUSD here, and if it’s an Oakland charter you might be interested in, all the dates you need to know are here. We know that this is a lot of information, and we hope that the steps we recommend and links we provide above help make sense of the process! Please reach out if you have any questions and we will do our best to answer them for you.