Charter Schools decline to participate in Mr Wilson’s Intensive Support Schools Initiative to turnaround 4 of 5 targeted schools

Charters Will Not Take Over Struggling Oakland Public Schools

By Sam Levin of the East Bay Express

After months of debate surrounding the Oakland Unified School District’s controversial effort to redesign several of its low-performing schools, officials announced this afternoon that no charter schools will be taking over the district sites. As part of its so-called “Intensive Support Schools Initiative,” which teachers first learned about in December, the district requested proposals to turn around five struggling schools. Through this process, existing leaders at the five schools could submit proposals — as could outside charter school organizations. Teachers and education activists immediately criticized the plan as a thinly veiled effort to encourage outside charter school operators to take over district-run public schools.

But today, OUSD announced that no charter schools plan to submit applications, which means the schools in question will remain district-run sites.

For four of the five schools in the turnaround initiative — Castlemont High School, Fremont High School, McClymonds High School, and Frick Middle School — applicants were required to submit letters of intent yesterday. The district has not yet announced a timeline for the fifth school, Brookfield Elementary School, which means its future remains uncertain. But for the other four schools, the district just published the letters of intent it received — see “proposal writing teams” at the district’s Intensive Support Schools website — and only district-run proposals are included. Troy Flint, OUSD spokesperson, confirmed to me that no charters submitted applications for those schools. The three high schools attracted only one applicant each — teams made up of existing teachers and school leaders at those sites. Three different teams, however, have indicated that they plan to submit proposals at Frick Middle School. The district says that in cases in which multiple letters of intent have been submitted for a single campus, the district “will be bringing the respective proposal writing teams together to encourage potential collaboration on a single proposal, wherever appropriate.” The letters of intent are short documents that outline proposal team members and broad goals for the proposals. The final applications are due May 21.

You can review the Castlemont High letter here, the Fremont High letter here, the McClymonds High letter here, and the Frick letters here,here, and here.  Flint said that the district will have an announcement about the status of Brookfield at a later date.

On Monday, the district also plans to announce the members of site-based committees for each school, which will be responsible for reviewing the proposals and making recommendations to the district’s academic review board and superintendent. Students, parents, and other community members were allowed to apply for positions on those committees.

FAQs and more on Article 12

Some answers to your questions about Article 12


Here is part of the packet distributed at OEA’s Article 12 Forum on 1/13/2015, including (1) FAQs on Article 12, (2) a summary of what the District wants to change in Article 12, and (3)  a description of advisory matching.

One more point about the district’s claim vs. its intention: The district’s explicit claim is that Article 12 leads to “bad fits” between teachers and schools, but the implicit message is that Art. 12 prevents the district from getting rid of “bad teachers.”  Article 12 has nothing to do with dismissing teachers;  it’s about transfer and consolidation procedures and rights. The district already has the power to dismiss teachers for unsatisfactory performance or unprofessional conduct.  But getting rid of Article 12 protections would provide far greater latitude to humiliate and force out teachers who voice criticisms, or advocate for students, colleagues, or students, pissed them off, or are “too expensive.” Eliminating Article 12 protections would…

View original post 1,726 more words

Comparison of OUSD teachers’ compensation with other Districts in Alameda County and Beyond

It is clear that OUSD teachers are at or near the bottom of the list when you compare their salary + benefits package at every stage of the game, and particularly at senior levels against other schools in Alameda County OR similar schools across the state.  GO provides a fairly balanced analysis based on actual contract data (see link below). It is interesting to note that although the benefits’ package is generally better than the other schools in Alameda County, it is below average when compared to similar districts across the state. One thing not clear from the analysis is that the comparison is static, meaning it is comparing our data from the current year to data from other districts for the current year only, and so while OUSD salaries need to increase 7.6% to reach the average for this year, the District is offering just 3.5% for 2014-15, further widening the gap:

Oakland Tech Teachers stage a “Grade-In” tomorrow 3:45 – 5:45

As you may know, many Oakland teachers are using a “work-to-rule” strategy (working to the letter of their contract, but not doing any work beyond that) to draw attention to their frustration with the ongoing contract negotiations with OUSD. Teachers at Tech, in the interest of our students, decided not to do that, and are instead having a “Grade-in” on Friday afternoon, 3:45-5:45, on the front lawn of Tech. Teachers spend many hours outside of school grading papers and tests and preparing report cards. They hope that their presence, grading papers on the front lawn, will draw attention to their plight and that parents and community members will show their support.
PLEASE stop by to tell your children’s teachers how much you appreciate all the hours they put into supporting your children. And feel free to bring coffee, cookies, fruit or any other food!!!!
Oakland teachers are the lowest paid in Alameda County and we all know that their jobs are very demanding and stressful. Let’s show our support!

Board Member Shanthi Gonzales shares information about upcoming events of interest to parents

Ms Gonzales kindly shared the below information for parents, beginning with a meeting tonight 3/3 about What to do about Teacher Turnover.  Thank you Director Gonzales for keeping parents in the know.

Also, March 10 is the deadline for submitting a Statement of Interest Form for serving on a Site-Based Committee for the Call for Quality Schools.  These committees have the important role of informing the proposal-writing (design) teams of the needs of the students and community, evaluating the proposals received and making recommendations to the district regarding the proposals received.  The form needs to be turned into the appropriate school (Brookfield, Castlemont, Frick, Fremont or McClymonds) by 3 pm on March 10.  Download the English form here and the Spanish form here.

Upcoming Events and Board Meetings

3/3 6 pm What Can We Do About Teacher Turnover? (Featuring Dr. Kimberly Mayfield Lynch, Education Department Chair at Holy Names University)  Cesar Chavez Branch Library, 3301 E 12th Street, 2nd Floor.  A stable, committed teaching force is key to addressing academic success in all schools.  Since 2009, Teach Tomorrow in Oakland has worked to address the barriers that face communities of color in entering the teaching profession, and has placed over 100 teachers from Oakland into our schools, with a 78% retention rate.  Attend to learn more about the challenges and benefits of such programs. Please RSVP so we know you are coming!

3/5 6 pm Frick Community Quality School Committee  Frick Middle School Library, 2nd Floor.  This group is working diligently to plan for making Frick the middle school of choice for East Oakland.  They would love to hear your ideas about school culture, academics, and leadership, so please consider attending.  This committee meets every other Thursday at 6 pm.

3/11 5 pm OUSD Board Meeting  La Escuelita, 1050 2nd Avenue.  You can see the agendas for the upcoming meetings here.  I know many people did not get to speak at the last meeting.  I recommend requesting a speaker card online, and requesting to speak on the first item on the agenda, to avoid having to wait until the end of the night to speak, in the event that there are many people wanting to make comments.

3/18 6 pm John George Democratic Club Education Forum  Buttercup Grill, 229 Broadway Avenue.  I will be speaking at this Education Forum.  Please RSVP so we know you are coming!

3/31 6 pm District 6 Education Advisory Committee  Parker Elementary School, 7929 Ney Avenue.  This is a monthly opportunity to come and share what’s on your mind about education with me.  Please RSVP so we know you are coming!

4/14 6 pm Challenges for Special Education Parents and Teachers  Cesar Chavez Branch Library, 3301 E 12th Street, 2nd Floor.  This discussion will feature special education teachers and parents sharing their challenges and strategies for supporting one another.  Please RSVP so we know you are coming!

Other Opportunities for District 6 Residents

3/7 9 am – 1 pm Dog Etiquette for King Estates Open Space  Meet at Sterling, Crest and McCormick streets, at the King Estates Open Space.  King Estates Open Space now allows off-leash dogs!  We took our dog their last weekend and she loved it.  This is a discussion to help dog owners who use the area to play nicely with the other users of this great public resource.

3/21 1 pm  Free Self-Defense Workshop for Oakland Teens  81st Avenue Branch Library, 1021 81st Avenue.  Suigetsukan Martial Arts School is doing free self-defense workshops for Oakland teens ages 12-18.  A permission slip is needed to participate.  This workshop will also be held 3/4 at the Asian Branch, 4/25 at the Chavez Branch and 5/13 at the Rockridge Branch.  Pick up a permission slip at the branch.  More info on this workshop here.

3/22 2:30 – 7:30 pm  Finals for the 36th Annual MLK Jr Oratorical Festival Phillip Reeder Performing Arts Center, Castlemont High Schoool, 8601 MacArthur Blvd.  Elementary schools will be on from 2:30 – 4:30 and secondary schools from 6:00 – 7:30 pm.  Click here for more details.

Also, OreMi Mentoring Program is looking for volunteers who want to mentor Oakland youth with incarcerated parents, or who are foster children.  Volunteers commit to meet with their mentee once a month for at least a year of service.  They are holding a Mentor Training on March 21.  More information here or email

Thank you for all that you do,

Gonzales for School Board