BOARD WATCH: Addressing chronic absenteeism, dump the “D”, and requiring students to be vaccinated

For more, click here for the full agenda.

You can join the meeting through the Zoom meeting by clicking on this link at 5:30pm or by calling (669) 900-9128, then entering the Webinar ID  875 5849 6518, then pressing “#”. 

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

Item #21-2193

As the reality of the pandemic set in last spring and schools shifted to distance learning, many students went missing. Over a year later, Oakland is now facing a crisis of chronic absenteeism that threatens to leave behind thousands of our most marginalized students. During the 20-21 school year, the number of high school students chronically absent (students missing 10% or more of the school year) nearly doubled compared to the previous school year. In fact, according to GO’s #SchoolAfterCOVID: From Pandemic to Possibility report, high schoolers were more than twice as likely to be chronically absent than elementary or middle schoolers. Almost one in three high schoolers were chronically absent across the district.

Tonight, the district will be presenting an update to the Board to get them up to speed with the efforts taken by the Office of Community Schools and Student Services in collaboration with the High School Network focused on significantly reducing the number of high school students that are chronically absent. 

Here are a few high-level take-aways from the presentation:

  • Enrollment has declined, particularly for 10th grade students.
  • Attendance is nearly as low as it was during distance learning, in 2020-21.
  • Site attendance teams are analyzing attendance data dashboards to determine which students/families need strategic interventions or supports.
  • Schools are conducting direct outreach to all families who have not attended since the first day of school – for a minimum of 3 contacts.
  • OUSD is still working to launch “Attendance Coaches” a.k.a small group/ individual case management for students who were chronically absent. 

Item #21-2180

A-G requirements are the minimum admission requirements for California’s CSU and UC system schools.  High school graduates must complete 15 year long high school courses with a letter grade of C or better — at least 11 of them prior to your last year of high school. This means that a letter grade of D is not considered passing to CSU and UC schools. In Oakland, only 14 high schools had an 80% or higher A-G completion rate for Latino students, and only 7 high schools had an 80% or higher A-G completion rate for Black students. 

Tonight, the Superintendent will be sharing more information and gather questions from 

the Board about A-G requirements, what these look like in OUSD, and how the elimination of the D letter grade ties into equitable grading practices. 

Learn more about the “Dump the D” efforts led by the Black State of Education in Oakland, Families in Action, and Energy Convertors

Item #21-2181

Tonight, Board Directors Sam Davis, Clifford Thompson, and Gary Yee will be introducing a resolution that will require all students, aged 12 and over, to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 unless prohibited by law. In addition, the resolutions directs the Superintendent to:

  • Develop recommendations for enforcement of this vaccination requirement, and to report on such recommendations to the Board no later than October. 
  • Initiate a COVID-19 vaccination campaign and would encourage the Superintendent to establish vaccination thresholds and incentives for each school and incentives to meet such thresholds.

The resolution highlights that 57% of Oaklanders aged 12-17 have both their COVID shots, while 73% have at least one. According to the California Health and Human Services Open Data Portal, Oakland has higher percentages of vaccinated adolescents when compared to the county and state. On average, the county has a rate of 45% of vaccinated 12-17 year olds (with at least one dose of the vaccine) and the state average is 30%. The proposed resolution also highlights that the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is FDA approved (safe and effective in children aged 12 and over), and that vaccinated students who have had prolonged contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 but remain asymptomatic do not have to quarantine, allowing them to continue their in-person studies without constraint.

Board Vice President Sam Davis recognizes that “there are many reasons for reluctance to vaccinate, but as the pandemic continues its extreme disruption of our lives, we should listen to public health experts who are urging teens to get the shot” and that he is “open to suggestions and will be meeting with student leaders from the All City Council… and will also be organizing a community forum with students, families, teachers, administrators and staff to share ideas.”


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