February newsletter

February is Black History Month, and every month is a good opportunity to learn from and reflect on the African-American experience in Oakland. I was moved by this Oaklandside article on some amazing Black history projects in OUSD. I also want to wish a happy Lunar New Year to those who celebrate it.

Planning for In-Person Instruction

I know that many families and teachers are struggling with the isolation and mental stress of distance learning, and many have lost loved ones or friends to the pandemic as California reached the terrible milestone of being the state with the most pandemic deaths in the nation. I urge everyone to keep using masks, to practice social distancing, and to get vaccinated as soon as they are eligible, in order to continue driving down the infection rates as quickly as possible.

Our district continues to work hard on the path back to in-person instruction, but to be honest progress has been slow and frustrating this week.

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Follow-up to last week's forum: Planning for a Safe Return to Schools

Thanks to all who participated in our forum on Thursday night on planning for reopening schools. We appreciate you taking the time to be involved. There was a lot of useful information shared by medical professionals and Oakland Unified staff. If you missed it, there is a recording on my website

However, I was troubled by the many negative comments in the chat questioning teachers’ intentions. A couple of parents also reported that a teacher snapped at them in one of the breakout groups. 

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Newsletter for Jan. 10, 2021: Invite to first monthly forum and board update

I am excited to be the new Oakland Unified School Board Director for District 1.

I want to start by inviting you to an info session I am hosting with the district, teachers, families and staff on Planning for a Safe Return to Schools, which will be on Zoom on Thursday, January 21 at 5:30 pm. You can RSVP at this link and then we will send you the Zoom link closer to the date.

This is the first in a series of forums I plan to host on a monthly basis on the issues confronting the district. I will share my thoughts on reopening schools further down, but first want to give a few updates:

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Dec. 15, 2020

I am excited for my new role as Oakland School Board Director for District 1, and will be sworn in on January 4th. But this is a sobering time to be taking office—like so many, I am mourning friends I have lost this year, and am grateful for essential workers, including all those who have supported the transition to distance learning, which would have been unimaginable a year ago.

 

Reopening Schools

The pandemic has been very hard on students—my own son is struggling with distance learning, and many families are stretched incredibly thin supporting their children while also handling jobs, economic stress, and the health risks, illness or even loss of family members. Everyone wants to reopen schools as soon as it is safe to do so, but people differ on what is safe depending on their experience and perspective.

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