BOARD WATCH: Police Free schools, COVID reopening plan, and updates on Citywide Plan and Strategic Plan

Please join me in wishing Daisy a happy birthday and a well deserved day off from Board Watch. See below for the big items on tonight’s agenda: 

  1. Police Free Schools Update
  2. COVID Reopening Plan
  3. Citywide Plan Update
  4. Strategic Plan Update

For more, click here for the full agenda.

Note: You can watch the Zoom meeting by clicking on this link at 5:30pm, by calling (669) 900-9128, then entering the Webinar ID 853 7479 2974, then pressing “#”.  To learn more on how you can participate at these meetings and make a public comment click here.

1st BIG THING: Police Free Schools Update
Item #20-2147

Last school year, the board passed the George Floyd Resolution, a policy that commits the district to partnering with the Black Organizing Project and the community more broadly to dissolve the Oakland Schools Police Department (OSPD) and reallocate funds for other safety plans. Tonight, Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell shares the status of Phase 1 (Compliance) as a “first read” with a planned vote to approve at the next board meeting. This Phase 1 plan addresses the minimum required changes to ensure clarity and safety in the absence of OSPD including plans for mental health and child abuse crisis response plans. 

OUSD staff will also preview the plans for Phase 2 (Transformation) to be developed in the first half of 2021, that will address longer-term transformational planning for school climate and culture and student well-being in the absence of OSPD and will be informed and guided by a community-driven process:

Proposed Phase 2 (Transformation) Timeline:

2nd BIG THING: COVID Reopening Plan
Item #20-2277

Tonight the district will share preliminary highlights regarding the COVID-19 Plan and Program for Reopening. OUSD intends to offer a mix of in-person instructional opportunities and quality distance learning to all students beginning in January. The return to in-person instruction is dependent on Alameda County remaining in the orange or yellow tier (moderate or minimal risk, respectively) and reaching an agreement with labor partners. To help make the re-opening process transparent, OUSD has created a public Readiness to Return Dashboard with key updates on progress across school sites.  

GO’s Perspective: 

This vague update does not give families enough information about the District’s priorities for a planned reopening in less than two months. Since schools shuttered their doors due to the pandemic, this will be the third time the District and the union negotiate a new agreement that resets expectations about teaching and learning as the pandemic continues. The past two agreements (in March and August) were reached behind closed doors between District and union leadership. If OUSD will effectively deliver a mix of distance learning and in-person learning, it will require creativity and collaboration between the District and the teacher’s union and families must be included every step of the way. Tonight’s update offers little insight into the District’s plans to address families’ most pressing questions: How will students and teachers stay safe? How will the District assess learning gaps? And how will schools provide targeted support that prioritizes the students who need it most.   

3rd BIG THING: Citywide Plan update
Item #20-2146

The Citywide Plan is a multiyear initiative, which began in 2018 to address quality, sustainability, and equity within the District. The Plan outlined five areas of work: Facilities, Enrollment & Transportation, Charter Authorization, Sharing Best Practices, and Defined Autonomy. The Plan is designed to continue through 2023. Starting in January 2021, the Board will welcome four new members. With any election in which new board members are elected, the outgoing board must hand off its key initiatives and endeavors to the incoming board. Tonight the Board will discuss the progress made toward the Citywide Plan and recommendations for the transition and continuation of the work of the Plan to the incoming board.

Progress made under the Citywide Plan: 

  • The approval of two cohorts under the Blueprint for Quality Schools that expanded three schools, redesigned one school, merged eight schools into four, and closed one school, creating better resourced and more financially sustainable schools
  • The drafting of indicators of school quality Improving
  • The adoption of a Facilities Master Plan,
  • The completion of the 7-11 Committee process and the recommendation to surplus two properties
  • The addition of the Opportunity Ticket and preschool preference to the District’s enrollment priorities
  • The creation of the Equitable Enrollment Working Group to make further amendments to the enrollment policy

Work that remains to be done: 

  • Make additional improvements to the enrollment policy
  • Monitor the implementation of and provide support to schools that have merged, expanded, or were redesigned (Elmhurst United Middle School, Coliseum College Prep Academy, MetWest High School, Sankofa United Elementary School, Frick United Academy of Language, Melrose Leadership Academy, Fruitvale Elementary School, Futures, and CUES)
  • Develop initial draft of a long term vision for alternative education programs
  • Explore options for leasing surplus and unused property–and, continue to strategically utilize the District’s physical assets–to generate additional revenue; and
  • Continue the hard and necessary work of increasing school quality and operating fewer, better resourced schools.

4th BIG THING: Strategic Plan Update
Item #20-2158

The Superintendent will give the Board an update on the strategic planning process. So far OUSD staff has held 13 engagements with about 700 participants so far to get feedback on which strategic actions will have the most impact. Themes that have surfaced from the district’s community engagements include: a citywide literacy campaign, increasing staff retention and diversity, personalized support and meaningful internships, and reimagining safe and welcoming schools. Staff plans to continue to engage community and internal staff through the month of December to get more feedback on focus areas for the plan. 

The Superintendent is asking for direction from the Board on the proposed updated timeline for the development for the Strategic Plan: 

  1. Nov-March: Identify the strategic actions of focus for the next 3 years and work with schools and community partners to lay out a plan for each of the strategic actions.
  2. April: Bring Strategic Plan to the OUSD Board of Education for final adoption.
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