It’s great to finally have some photos besides Zoom screenshots! I want to start by deeply appreciating everybody who is working so hard in our schools this year. I know that with staffing and substitute shortages, complicated COVID safety protocols, and the strain of returning to in-person learning, it has been a huge effort.Read more
OUSD is hiring!
Thanks to federal and state pandemic relief funds, Oakland Unified has many new job openings to help students enjoy the benefits of being back on campus. These include everything from entry-level positions as Academic Tutors and Early Literacy Mentors, to teaching, paraeducator, social worker and office roles, and many others besides. If you know somebody who wants to make a difference in our schools, please send them to our jobs listing website.
Our teachers, principals and school staff are stretched thin right now due to staffing shortages, so please show them your love, support and appreciation!Read more
Classrooms could only reopen this fall because this is the one year when California schools got sufficient funding, after decades of under-resourcing due to the impact of Prop 13.
This one-time pandemic relief funding is a victory for the growing power of the new face of California. The recall against Gov. Newsom is a clear backlash against that power, the same anti-democratic impulse that we are seeing across the country.
Please be sure to vote NO on the recall and remind all your friends and family in California to do the same - tomorrow is the last day to vote, so fill out your absentee ballot and mail it back now!Read more
COVID Safety Panel/Q&A
Thanks to student board directors Samantha Pal and Natalie Gallegos for co-hosting a COVID Safety Panel/Q&A that I organized on August 26 with speakers Dr. Nicholas Moss, Health Officer for Alameda County, Chaz Garcia, 2nd Vice President of OEA, and school district staff.
The student directors added several great ideas to my list of questions, and we covered many topics such as quarantines, testing, ventilation, and more.Read more
Along with student board directors Samantha Pal and Natalie Gallegos, I am hosting a community meeting next Thursday, August 26, from 6:00 to 7:15, on Oakland Unified’s COVID safety plan.
The panel discussion will include Dr. Nicholas Moss, the Alameda County Health Officer; Chaz Garcia, second Vice President of the Oakland Education Association (OEA); and school district staff. There will be time for Q&A from the public after the panel.
You can join the webinar on Thursday at: https://ousd.zoom.us/j/89513202835Read more
Coming Back to Campus Safely
We are all very excited to come back to full-time in-person instruction on Monday. The experience of students around the world shows that it is possible to be in school safely with the help of indoor masking, vaccination of those 12+, contact tracing, and other measures, even when the new Delta variant is present.Read more
Crossing Guards In Danger
The City of Oakland’s proposed 2021-23 budget cuts school crossing guard positions by about 40%. Before the pandemic, our schools had about 67 Crossing Guard posts financed by the city Department of Transportation, and these would be reduced to 45.
This is short-sighted, because crossing guards are low-wage workers who provide tremendous support for traffic safety around our schools, and are beloved by students who will be returning to campus en masse this fall.
Crossing guards also support the School Safety Patrols that students like my son have volunteered in for many years (photo from 2015).Read more
First, I want to give my congratulations to the graduating class of 2021, and wish them all the best as they take the lessons of this very difficult year into their transition to adulthood.
Planning for Next Year
The Bay Area has the privilege of being one of the most highly vaccinated regions of the world, with over 75% of Alameda county adults having received at least one vaccine dose, and infection rates low all across Oakland.Read more
It has been very heartwarming to see many students back on school campuses, even if for only a few hours at the tail end of the school year.
I know it has been a huge lift for teachers, principals and other school employees to make this possible while enforcing all the safety rules and procedures, and very challenging for those parents who have been able to juggle their schedules to get students to campus. And, disappointing for those of us whose kids are still not able to get in-person instruction.
However, the students who I have spoken to at schools are all very excited to be there, and it is providing some much-needed hope at the end of this incredibly difficult year.Read more
Return to in-person instruction
On March 30, many schools across Oakland reopened for part-time in-person instruction, and next week, all OUSD schools will have part-time in-person classes for students in TK through 6th grade and prioritized groups in 7th through 12th whose families have chosen to participate.
I was glad to be able to welcome some students back at a few campuses before Spring Break, and look forward to seeing more students at more schools in the coming days. I am very grateful to the tremendous effort by principals, teachers and school staff to make this process work as smoothly and safely as possible.
At the same time, I know the limited hours and staggered reopening dates are frustrating for many families. We arrived at this plan based on the need to maintain the current distance learning schedule and groupings, since a little less than half of families chose to stay entirely with that model, while also wanting to add some in-person instructional time where teachers would be working with just the in-person students. This schedule was a way to keep teachers focused at any one moment either entirely on students online, or entirely on in-person students, but never having to juggle both at the same time, as well as to prevent the disruption of reassigning students to new teachers at this point in the school year.
Welcoming students back at Sankofa UnitedRead more