What the heck is Expect Success?

Ever since I started covering this beat, people who follow OUSD goings-on (including school board members) have complained that they have only a vague idea of what Expect Success is, other than a punchline for district critics.

They knew the district was spending millions of dollars in private funding on the initiative (or platform, or project, or slogan, or whatever it is), but the specifics remained a mystery.

At a 5 p.m. special meeting tonight, staff plans to unveil the inner-workings of Expect Success for the board, the audience and the government access television-viewing public: What it is; how much remains of its $43 million budget (very little) and where the money has gone; which mega-foundations have donated what; and which consultants are paid from it.

You can read up on it yourself, if you’d like. It is part of a broader report on OUSD goals for the coming school year under the new, interim supe.

And here are some other upcoming happenings of note:

  • Oct. 1: Small Schools Financial Analysis. The superintendent’s/board’s plan, linked above, lists small schools under a list of initiatives to be re-evaluated (Page 22), so this might be one to watch.
  • Nov. 5: Analysis of the district’s school funding model, Results-Based Budgeting, known as RBB, which is praised by some and loathed by others.
  • October to December: community forums with a focus on small schools and RBB
  • November through December: community forums about the search for a permanent superintendent
  • January 2009: advertisements go out for the superintendent search
  • April 2009: selection of Oakland’s new, permanent superintendent

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • Alice Spearman

    The Board of Education decided to keep the brand “Expect Success” opting for a different focus which was the former state vision. We also requested Dr. Mayor to have staff change the focus on all new posters, billboard, and other PR, to reflect the new focus. We are, I think going to have a new campaign rolled out explaining the focus, which is student result orientated to the public shortly. I am anxiously looking forward to hear other dialogues with regard to this.

  • Catherine


    Does Expect Success translate into expect high test scores? Expect children to show up every day? Expect a child to be able to learn something new every day even if they have achieved nearly 100% on their grade’s tests? Expect Oakland Unified to have teachers and school staff in every school at the beginning of each school year?

    For those parents who get their kid to school on time, every school day, fed, fully rested, with all required school materials (backpacks, notebooks, et.), who have read for 1/2 hour a day, had a family meal, reviewed every paper, booklet, report card and communication, basically the family has done everything the school district has asked for, including volunteering over 20 hours per month – are you going to Expect Success from yourselves as well – teachers will offer deeper curriculum for those students who have shown they have mastered the current curriculum – integrate Geography into every grade, have enough language classes so that our kids who are working ahead can learn more?

    What I feel like when I see “Expect Success” is that OUSD wants to be able to ask for more (time, money, effort, top-down communication from the school district to the families with the exception of the once per year survey where you want to hear we are satisfied or highly satisfied) and expect more from families and the community and for that they will feel successful when they get what they are asking for.

    I ask of you Alice, and the School Board, if I give everything you ask for, what is OUSD willing to give our family through Expect Success?