BOARD WATCH: Supt’s Report and Enrollment Stabilization Policy Proposal

Welcome back! We’re starting off 2021 with a brand new board, representing more than 50,000 public school students in Oakland. To get to know the new board members, check out our explainers that give you an overview of each of the director’s experience, priorities, committee assignments, and GO’s hopes. Overall, we hope all seven directors can work together to achieve positive outcomes on behalf of Oakland students counting on us. Check out what’s on the agenda below: 

For more, click here for the full agenda.

You can watch the Zoom meeting by clicking on this link at 5:30pm or by calling (669) 900-9128, then entering the Webinar ID  885 0511 4407, then pressing “#”. 

Click here to watch a livestream of the meeting tonight at 5:30pm

Item #21-0007

In tonight’s Superintendent’s Report, Dr. Kyla Johnson-Trammell will be sharing updates on the following:

  • Fall Family Survey: Trends and results around the quality of live instruction. Slides 4-6, 31-41
  • Readiness to Return: Progress made towards COVID-safety health standards such as access to PPE kits, employee vaccinations, and protocols to ensure clean buildings. You can check out their dashboard here. Slides 7-11
  • Early Literacy K-2 & HS: An academic update focused on kindergardener’s letter identification, 1st grade and 2nd grade reading levels, and an update on high schoolers being on track to graduate. Slides 12-23

  • CARES Act Funds: An update on the funds the district received by the feds to help with COVID-related costs. Slide 26
  • Attendance & Learning hubs: An update on attendance numbers from Aug 10-Jan 4 and updates of the in-person learning spaces for students with highest needs. Slides 27-30

Tonight’s presentation only offers a brief summary of academic data for grades K-2 with no comparisons to student progress before COVID 19, especially for the historically marginalized students. This is only a tiny snapshot of the data transparency that families deserve. We call on OUSD to share a far more comprehensive academic data dashboard with the public for all grades and subjects available to better understand the impact of distance learning on student learning. We know the pandemic has put access to quality even further out of reach for some students and families and we must have the data to identify gaps and develop a plan to accelerate learning.  

Item #21-0012

Tonight Board President, Director Shanthi Gonzales will be introducing an enrollment policy that attempts to address the decline of enrollment of OUSD-operated schools over the last few decades. The enrollment stabilization policy calls for:

  1. OUSD to create and maintain a small budget, including central staff positions, to support schools with family outreach and increase enrollment.
  2. Schools shall submit an annual enrollment stabilization plan as part of their Single Plan for Student Achievement (SPSA), which will detail their plans to grow to a sustainable size, or to maintain their size if not applicable.
  3. OUSD to stop using resources to promote enrollment in competing schools, whether charter or private. This includes but is not limited to OUSD’s enrollment system, school maps, parent guides and other enrollment materials, OUSD facilities, enrollment fairs, and teacher recruitment events. 

The exact financial impact is yet to be determined. After tonight, community engagement will begin with members of the Enrollment Working Group. Then, in late February, the policy would come back for a first read and then a vote.

Families deserve an accessible and easy-to-navigate process to find the best quality school for their children. Should this policy be approved, families would be the most immediately impacted by losing the one-stop-shop, Oakland School Finder, that gives them access to all public schools in Oakland. Families would potentially have to use two separate systems to find the best OUSD or charter school for their children, disproportionately impacting some of our most vulnerable families. 

We agree that something must be done to address the decades-long declines in enrollment. But our solutions must be rooted in improving school quality, not limiting the options for families or making it more difficult for them to find a school that works for their kids.   

Passing this policy as written would be a step-backward in all the work that has been done to ensure there is a common platform families can use to streamline the process of finding a school. Ultimately, it would deviate from the vision and values of the Community of Schools: delivering a high quality public education for all students in Oakland where they state that “[district and charters] do not operate in silos; they are interdependent in our efforts to serve all students and families; and we need to act with consideration of the larger community of schools.” We urge the district to further explore the root cause of OUSD’s decline in enrollment to align policy to those root causes and to engage families in making a decision that will directly impact them.

 

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