GO Board Watch: December 14, 2016

Welcome to GO’s School Board Watch for Wednesday, December 14, 2016.

This week’s agenda includes: 

  • Swearing in of School Board Directors
  • Sanctuary Schools
  • Office of Equity Plans, Programs, and Goals 
  • Update on Adoption of Business Operations Portal
  • Charter School Petitions
  • Library Board Policy Changes
  • Enrollment Policy Update
  • Interim Financial Report and Budget Increases/Decreases/Transfers
  • Oakland School of Languages opening 2017-18
  • Sankofa Academy Configuration Change in 2017-18

Check out the full agenda.

1).  Professional Culture 

Business and Operations Portal Update

In the second half of the Superintendent’s Report, there is an update on the District’s work to replace its increasingly unreliable and outdated business systems with Escape. For a brief description on why the District is adopting Escape, check out our Board Watch from August 24, 2016.

The project’s schedule, scope, and budget are currently on track and Escape is scheduled to launch on July 26, 2017.

2).  Quality Schools Development

Sanctuary Schools

On November 18, GO Public Schools Oakland advocated for a reaffirmation and update of the District’s policy to protect vulnerable students and families in light of the Trump election. On December 14, the Board will vote on the Resolution Reaffirming District Facilities, Programs Are A Sanctuary for All Children and Adults.

The new resolution updates much of the language from the original, which was passed in 2008. It also includes the following additions:

  • A provision which “recognizes that students have a need to understand history and politics, and supports the academic freedom of teachers to both teach and discuss current events . . .”
  • A provision in which the Board “encourages the Superintendent to increase and enhance partnerships with community-based organizations and legal services organization who provide resources for families facing deportation.”
  • More robust rules regarding the right of students to access all District services regardless of documentation and without inquiry regarding immigration status, protocols for interacting with ICE, and the protection of student information. 
  • A provision that expresses the Board’s desire to “see all OUSD-authorized schools adopt similar resolutions to take steps to ensure that their facilities and programs are also sanctuaries for immigrant, Muslim (and other perceived as Middle Eastern of Muslim) and any other vulnerable students.”
  • Plans for implementation.

Office of Equity

OUSD’s Office of Equity focuses on five student sub-groups: African American students, English Language Learners, Latino/a students, Asian/Pacific Islander students, and students with special needs.

The mission of the Office of Equity is to 1) eliminate the predictability of success and failure that currently correlates with any social or cultural factor, 2) interrupt inequitable practices, examine biases, and create inclusive and just conditions for all, and 3) discover and cultivate the unique gifts, talents, and interests that every human possesses.

In the first half of the Superintendent’s report, the Office of Equity lays out its goals, policy structures, and timeline for the next six months.

Charter School Public Hearings

Two schools will be applying for charters. One is a renewal and the second is a new school. The renewal is Lionel Wilson College Preparatory Academy(grades 6 – 12). The new charter up for approval is Aurum Preparatory Academy Charter Schools (grades 6 – 8).

Library Media Centers

The Board will be hearing a presentation on the Revised OUSD Library BoardPolicy 6163.1, a revision of the “Library Media Centers” Board Policy from 2004. The revised policy was created in response to “significant changes to the vision and realities possible for School Libraries,” and a recognition of the “urgent need for school libraries in OUSD to improve literacy rate.”

The former “Library Media Centers” will now be “Library, Information, and Technology (LIT) Centers.” As part of this change, library hours will be extended and online access will be expanded. LIT Centers will be included in all future redesigns and renovations.

Enrollment Policy Update

The District is beginning discussion around how district enrollment prioritization policies can be revised to increase equity by focusing on socio-economic diversity. Current enrollment prioritization policies are sibling priority, neighborhood priority, program improvement priority, and safety priority. Revisions will be based on community discussion, research into similar districts’ strategies, and data collected throughout 2016-17.

The presentation provides a consideration of each of OUSD’s current enrollment prioritization policies’ potential positive impacts, potential negative impacts, and potential areas of change.

The District has begun preliminary research into similar districts and has identified at least four categories of policy changes that have been tried: adjusting attendance zone boundaries, weighting school choice by socioeconomic factors, magnet schools, and preferential transfer policies. The presentation lays out more details on each of these strategies, as well as a list of cities that have used each.

Final recommendations for policy changes will be presented in June of 2017.

Oakland School of Language

The Board will be voting whether to establish the Oakland School of Language (SOL), a district-run, dual-language middle school that will begin serving 6th grade students in August 2017.

The new school will be aligned to the District’s commitment to developing a K-12 dual language pathway.

For more information on target student body, potential impacts, program structures, and proposed facilities, check out the District’s presentation.

Sankofa Academy Reconfiguration

Beginning in the 2017-18 school year, Sankofa will serve Pre-K – 5th grade students, instead of Pre-K – 8th grade students. The District presentation cites consistent poor performance, including being the lowest performing middle school, and flat or even negative growth in academic indicators. The Superintendent recommends more Call for Quality School investments in Sankofa Academy’s elementary grades program. District staff will work with families and educators to ensure a smooth transition.

3).  Budget and Fiscal Management

Interim Fiscal Report and Budget Changes Approval

The Board will hear a presentation on the District’s interim budget, which reflects changes up to October 31, 2016. The Board will then vote on whether to approve the budget adjustments and give the district a positive certification before it is submitted to the county for approval.

The District has faced a funding shortfall. As previously noted, there is a $4.3 million net reduction in Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) Revenue and State revenue due to lower than anticipated attendance.

The District cautions that OUSD faces several budget challenges in the coming years, including: smaller increases in LCFF revenue and the local cost of living exceeding cost of living adjustments.

4).  Board Development and Strategy

Swearing in of School Board Directors

The recently elected school board directors will officially receive the administration of Oath of Office: Jody London for District 1; Jumoke Hinton Hodge for District 3; Rosie Torres for District 5; and James Harris for District 7.

Update on Superintendent Search and Timeline

The Board President’s report will provide an update on the search for a new superintendent and the timeline for appointment of an interim superintendent. No other details are available at this time.

5).  Other

  • No informational or action items presented.
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