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This Saturday: a chance to weigh in on the plan for Oakland schools

By Katy Murphy
Monday, January 17th, 2011 at 3:35 pm in community, families, initiatives, safety, students, Tony Smith.

If you have an opinion on the superintendent’s “Full Service Community Schools” vision, if you’re not quite sure what it means, or if you want to offer your feedback before a plan is etched in stone, you might want to check out an upcoming conference at the Cesar Chavez Education Center in Fruitvale.

The Youth and Family Conference will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at 2825 International Boulevard, in the new building that houses Think College Now and International Community School.

Superintendent Tony Smith has divided the district into three elementary and middle school regions and two high school networks. This particular event zeroes in on Region 2 (list of elementary and middle schools here — checking on high school networks), but everyone is invited to attend.

Region 3 conference: Saturday, Feb. 12 at Reach Academy, 9860 Sunnyside, in East Oakland.

Region 1 conference: Saturday, March 12 at McClymonds High School, 2607 Myrtle Street, in West Oakland.

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  • On the Fence

    I realize that my sentiment may provoke the wrath of some who’d argue that ‘you can’t complain if you don’t get involved’, but I’ll put myself out there anyway. I really don’t find this forum accessible to the average, busy parent, or at least to me. I would like to participate in this discussion, and would be much more comfortable reading a synopsis of their plan and submitting my opinions online. I received the robo-call for this event, and OUSD may have very good intentions to ensure that all constituents know about these events, nonetheless, I think that this type of forum creates a barrier to robust participation. It’d be helpful to have an online forum as well as this 5 hour conference.

  • AC Mom

    What I don’t understand is why OUSD is having three separate “series” that are trying to the same answer–what parents want and expect from their schools. There are meetings occuring this month entitled ‘defining Quality Schools”, there’s another called “Regional Neighborhood Zone Approach Task Force”, ongoing meetings around the OUSD’s strategic vision, and now this. What I want to know is are all of these different meetings which basically ask what do we want/need, what do we have, and what actions are we going to take to get it really necessary? What I want to know is if I make a comment in one forum will that comment be shared with various decision-makers. Are the persons that are convening these meetings sharing data? What was the point of the “Use Your Voice Survey”? I agree with OTF, it would be great to have the opportunity to read what OUSD is proposing and to respond to it online.

  • Alice Spearman

    It is just a way for interested community members to participate in the conversation. Personally I do not give a lot of weight to the Use Your Voice Survey, it can be a corrupted way of getting data regarding individual sites or a way someone can “stack the deck”.
    All suggestions from all the forums will be collected and looked at collectively.
    So choose one and attend if you like or attend as many as you like.
    I will also hold 2 district meetings and mweetings at selected sites.

  • Jesse James

    Whatever happened to the 2009-10 Use Your Voice survey anyway? As far as I know, it has never been posted on the website. I liked it because it gave feedback and made me think about how I might be seen as a teacher. We don’t get much feedback and it’s good to know positive/negative information. We can only get better!!!

  • Katy Murphy

    If you can’t make it this Saturday but want to attend a conference in one of the other regions, here’s the info:

    Region 3 conference: Saturday, Feb. 12 at Reach Academy, 9860 Sunnyside, in East Oakland.

    Region 1 conference: Saturday, March 12 at McClymonds High School, 2607 Myrtle Street, in West Oakland.

  • livegreen

    It’s not only a question of giving feedback, it’s also a question of who’s feedback they’re getting and what a bureaucracy does with it.

    I note that almost all the meetings r happening at schools in the Flats. Now there definitely needs to b meetings at schools there. But almost all? The City is ignoring, once again, the schools in middle class areas (wealthy too).

    If the City limits input then it limits what it learns and also the outcome.
    Besides schools, OUSD is soliciting input from non-profits and service providers. Where do these groups do their work? In the poorest areas.

    Once again OUSD is bent on listening to, appealing to, & serving only it’s poorest residents.
    And then they act surprised when the middle class doesn’t attend OUSD or drops out at 3rd and 5th grades?

  • J.R.

    Livegreen,
    It’s all about money,power, and expectations. The powers that be will give slight consideration to the wants and needs of the poor and middle class. Those without means are easily ignored, but the power brokers know that if and when they try to throw their weight around in the “hills”, they will be told in no uncertain terms by the well educated populace what the needs and goals are, and what expectations are to be met and when.They will be told that they are too highly paid for such longstanding poor results(and I agree that the lifetime benefits of politicos and educrats are for the most part grossly excessive).

  • livegreen

    JR, I disagree. I think the reason OUSD has most meetings in the Flats is they’re only concerned with the Flats and “equity”. Now I don’t mind equity if it’s accompanied by concerns to all families. But its not. And the proof is that OUSD has scheduled almost ZERO Strategic Plan Task Force meetings at middle class & wealthy schools.

    It’s not that OUSD is concerned about negative feedback. They’ll get a spectrum of feedback. It’s that they’re not interested in ANY feedback from such schools.

    And they wonder why people leave OUSD? I’m beginning to think that the Superintendent and Board’s acknowledgement of Proficient & Advanced students is just lip service to the facts, with little or no intention of actually doing anything about it. (You’d think that even if they don’t care about the middle income and wealthy families and kids, they’d at least care about the money and resources that come with them.)

  • J.R.

    Livegreen,
    The house of cards will collapse when certain people leave this city. Those people that are financially trapped here are going to see things get worse.Everyone forgets that tax funding (a basic building block problem along with student homelife)is not getting to the kids in the classroom(the problem is not that there is not enough money, and never has been). The depth and breadth of bureaucracy is the core reason for this. You see before you the insanity of bringing together committees, special czars etc when the real problem is bloat,graft,corruption, and status quo thinking. This is just a shell game and I hope you realize that they just want the tax money to keep flowing so there is a need to look busy. there a districts where there are mandatory oversight by district officials(but no one has seen any official in years. When the district was forced to discuss downsizing the district office, miraculously these officials appeared at various schools to “do their jobs”. We have been paying people to do little or nothing for decades and this will continue through pensions until we are gone. This is the legacy of stupidity that we have created.

  • ILoveTeachers

    there are ways to contribute online. arguably, “middle class” families have more access to online feedback systems and these in-person presentations and discussions allow families who don’t have web access to be part of the conversation.

    i also noted that the meetings are totally open – if a “middle class” person doesn’t want to go to a meeting outside of their neighborhood, that’s an even bigger problem.

  • Sue

    I agree that a congratulations is in order. Great Job! Commendations are just deserved to the staff and students.

    I also agree with the comment that this is an elementary school-partly. It is widely known that as students get older,m they are far more difficult to reach and motivate.

    I have heard many times on this blog that at the middle and high school years dicipline is needed. In Oakland, I must agree- not just focusing on dicipline however, but also addressing the more stringent approach to older elementary students as they prepare to enter the middle school.

    The OUSD data for middle to HS is terribly low in comparison to the state. So we must ask why this is?

    However, hats off to Manzanita! Great Job.