Initiative: Growing a Diverse and Stable Staff
Attracting and Retaining Staff Reflective of Oakland’s Rich Diversity
- Our vision for a diverse & stable staff
- Stages of educator development
- Our four areas of focus
- Measurable goals
- Past and present work in this area
- What we're hearing
- Working group participants
Oakland’s vision is that our students’ diverse and rich backgrounds are reflected by Black, Brown, and multilingual educators. We envision building and maintaining accessible pathways into teaching and leading Oakland schools grounded in the core belief that the future educators of Oakland Unified are the children and young adults in our communities. We will strengthen a continuum of supports that encourages sustainable growth and development for teachers and removes barriers to living and working in Oakland. We will work at the intersection of educator stages of development and four critical focus areas: partnerships, pathways, affinity-based support structures, and conditions for educator learning and growth.
Black and Brown aspiring educators in high school or college will be inspired by clear pathways with related projects and organized supports, such as summer programming and work opportunities. They will be supported by college and career readiness staff in an academy structure, by their work-based learning coordinator and counselors, and by their own teachers of color.
Black and Brown aspiring educators with a bachelor's degree will have a clear sense of their direction, with a pathway to a credential program, supported by structures such as cohort models, residencies, paid veteran teacher mentors, and opportunities to gain experience working within education and to build relationships with school sites. They will be encouraged to think about their long-term growth with career planning and learning about trajectories in education.
Black and Brown early career educators will experience a personal, relational entry into teaching. They will have supports from multiple levels of the system, from district-organized affinity groups and new teacher mentoring programs to site-level systems of support. They’ll have a professional development (PD) plan to support their self-sufficiency with both universal foundational PD and individualized learning in content areas of interest.
Black and Brown practicing and experienced educators will feel recognized for their experience, valued for their cultures, successful in their efforts, and respected in decision-making. They will be a part of a connected community through affinity groups, communities of practice, peers and colleagues, and site coaches. Planning time, space for reflection, peer observations, and a personalized PD plan will support the ongoing growth of their practice, as well as opportunities for continued growth into greater leadership as experienced educators.
During our strategic planning process in Spring 2021, our working group identified four focus areas. Each focus area includes a list of Year 1 actions and deliverables.
For this initiative, each focus area is brought to life across the stages of educator development to meet the needs and opportunities of educators at that point of their career. Our focus areas also maximize the collective impact work required to effectively grow and support a dynamic, representative educator workforce that research has proven benefits all students.
Learn more about our stages of educator development, actions and deliverables here. →
Strengthen partnerships: Strengthening partnerships across key stakeholder groups in the Bay Area, in particular with individuals and organizations of color, to support the other three focus areas.
Strengthen pathways: Creating clear pathways for our students to become educators, activating the desire to teach for local citizens, and providing opportunities for Black and Brown community members.
Strengthen affinity-based support structures: Establishing dynamic, affinity-based support structures for educators across OUSD.
Strengthen conditions for educator learning and continued growth: Creating conditions in school that serve educators, students, and families; building nimble growth opportunities to meet educators’ ever-evolving needs; removing inequitable barriers for Black and Brown folks in Oakland to become and stay educators; adapting teaching and learning based on what has been learned through the pandemic.
|Aspiring Black and Brown educators in high school or college||Aspiring Black and Brown educators with a BA||Early career Black and Brown educators||Practicing Black and Brown veteran educators|
Strengthening partnerships across key stakeholder groups in the Bay Area, in particular with individuals and organizations of color, to support the other three focus areas.
Creating clear pathways for our students to become educators, activating the desire to teach for local citizens, and providing opportunities for Black and Brown community members.
Strengthen affinity-based support structures
Establishing dynamic, affinity-based support structures for educators across OUSD.
Strengthen conditions for educator learning & continued growth
Creating conditions in school that serve educators, students, and families; building nimble growth opportunities to meet educators' ever-evolving needs; removing inequitable barriers for Black and Brown folds in Oakland to become and stay educators; adapting teaching and learning based on what has been learned through the pandemic.
The Strategic Plan includes a Superintendent’s Dashboard that describes the key metrics OUSD will be monitoring, which align with the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) goals. Learn more about the LCAP and Superintendent's Dashboard here. →
All teachers at all schools are prepared and successful: Increase the one year-teacher retention rate by 1.5 percentage points by 2024.
All staff at all schools are trained to serve the students we have historically most marginalized: Increase the number of sites engaged in equity/anti-racist learning by 48 percentage points by 2024.
Our working group conducted an analysis of past and present recruitment and retention efforts in Oakland to better understand what work we are building on. Below is an overview of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) identified for this initiative. The full document with detailed SWOT analysis is available here. →
Strengths: Oakland is working with a strong foundation of partnerships, data, grant funding, and programming to support recruitment and retention. The equity-focused team of former educators and administrators has experience with targeted recruitment of educators of color, as well as experience supporting educators through multiple pathways and different types of career progression. This work is facilitated by strong systems.
Weaknesses: The state’s licensure process has often been a costly and difficult barrier to the recruitment and retention of educators of color. The licensure exams are an obstacle to teaching careers without providing substantive evidence of teacher efficacy. Data systems that don’t seamlessly “talk” to each other make it difficult to track and monitor educator progress and data over time. We have struggled to hire native Spanish-speaking educators for the growing number of dual language programs. Central office support must be better-aligned across departments to address the specific needs of school communities and the needs of educators at various stages of development. Finally, gaps in stable funding are a weakness.
Opportunities: There is an opportunity to further develop partnerships within and outside of the District to strengthen local educator pipeline programs and pathways into teaching and to continue to build upon existing Grow-Our-Own pathways in OUSD. Comprehensive programs to welcome and support new educators can cut in half the number of new educators exiting the profession. Most importantly, there is an opportunity to implement sustained and strategic recruitment of educators of color into educator leadership and mentoring roles and to provide continued support of experienced educators through their growth trajectory.
Threats: This work is threatened by: teacher licensure systems that are inherently biased against candidates of color and diverse learning styles; access to differentiated educator training for all educators, and particularly educators of color; conflation of high stakes test passage with educator quality, preventing access to the profession; and educator leader roles that are often designed as in addition to a educator’s full time role as opposed to embedded within their job description. Historically, temporary initiatives with short-term funding have threatened the sustainability of diversification efforts, which require long-term programmatic and financial support.
The district held a series of listening sessions in early June 2021 to begin to collect feedback. Below is a summary of what we heard from our community. This has informed the start of Phase 3 and is shaping continued community learning and engagement. Learn more about how you can get involved here →
Clarification of current retention and recruitment efforts: The strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats summary available here includes some of the current efforts to provide pathways into teaching, debt relief and tuition support, test preparation, one-on-one support and other efforts
Question about leadership opportunities for experienced teachers, for example through teacher coaching or curriculum development: The Practicing Black and Brown veteran educators section provides some actions around continuing to develop these opportunities
Question about when we should expect to see parity in workforce representation: The working group’s vision to is achieve parity by 2030
Idea to support retention by providing incentives for teachers to live and work in Oakland: The strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats summary available here includes information about current housing pilot efforts
Need for more Black and Brown staff and recognition that investments will be needed to retain them: Affinity-based support structures are an example of a focus area that is being developed to support educators at all stages of development, in addition to focus on transforming school and work cultures
Question about what support from a school community looks like for an educator: The vision is support that is differentiated for individual educators, held within a community of support
Targeted strategies must be employed to attract, develop, and retain Black and Brown teachers and administrators. The following list includes participants of our Diverse & Stable Staff working group and reflects the key expertise and perspectives we need in this citywide effort.
Working Group Co-Chairs
Tara Gard, OUSD
Sarah Glasband, Talent, OUSD
Lisa Rothbard, Talent, OUSD
Jorge Lerma, Latino Education Network
Dr. Kimberly Mayfield, Holy Names