Powering Up with Data: Family Leaders Unite

JaQuita Covin was ready to step into her power as a parent advocating for her children.

A mother of two, JaQuita knew that her children’s schools were lacking despite their academic success.

When she finally saw the data that confirmed her suspicion, she knew she had to act. But how?

JaQuita and other founding members of United Families Building Community (UFBC), a family group working with GO’s organizing team, joined hundreds of other families at Innovate Public School’s Parent Leader Institute to learn how to use data to spark action.

“We are all just regular folks trying to do good things for kids.”
— Renia Webb, UFBC Member and GO Family Leader

“One of the biggest takeaways for me was how to use data,” JaQuita said. “The data confirmed my assessment of the school. I felt affirmed.”

Data wasn’t the only topic covered. Families also learned about the power they possess in changing not only the educational outcomes for their own children, but children across the city.

As Renia put it: “We are all just regular folks trying to do good things for kids.”

The following is a collection of reflections from UFBC members and GO staff who attended the Parent Leader Institute.

What did you take away?

“The lessons I learned at the training was like when you fly and they tell you to put your air mask on first and then help your children,” JaQuita said. “The training gave me the skills to protect my children and the other kids in Oakland.”

–JaQuita Covin, Founding Member of UFBC and GO Family Leader


“What impacted me the most was to learn that all students are suffering from our current educational system, and learning what we need to do as a community to address the needs of those students.”

–Renia Webb, Founding Member of UFBC and GO Family Leader


“I was excited to see how our leaders are stepping up. It was empowering to see a diverse spectrum of family leaders from across the country and what they have gone through and how they found their power. They are now determined to make changes that all children deserve.”

–Julio Magaña, GO Community Organizer working in West Oakland


“I realized the importance of listening to people and assessing their role. I now step back and am more aware of people’s perspective and their situation. Sometimes you see things or do things and overreact. Sometimes you have to step back and see what is going on for this person and think about the role he/she can play in the work.”

–Annette Miller, GO Community Organizer working in West Oakland


What was most empowering?

“It was awesome to see families that are unapologetic for wanting quality (schools) and what is best for their kids. (Families) don’t let politics complicate being really loud and proud about getting what they believe their kids deserve out of their schools. It is re energizing to see families so focused on getting things done.”

–Ash Solar, Executive Director, GO Public Schools Oakland


“It was a reminder of the power that families have. We can have a really powerful action with a diverse community because our (leaders) have a lot of community relationships.”

–Mirella Rangel, Director of Community Engagement, GO Public Schools Oakland


“I now feel comfortable going back and trying to change things in my school and my community.”

–JaQuita Covin, Founding Member of UFBC and GO Family Leader


“Empowering to see how a few families can get a lot done and accomplished, and really rally community, neighbors, and fellow families behind goodness.”

–Renia Webb, Founding Member of UFBC and GO Family Leader

Check out the following resources about school data in Oakland:

Get involved with United Families Building Community by contacting Mirella Rangel at mrangel@gopublicschools.org


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