Initiative: Empowered Graduates
Developing Essential Skills to Secure Post-Secondary Success
- Our vision for supporting empowered graduates
- Our four areas of focus
- Measurable goals
- Past and present work in this area
- What we're hearing
- Working group participants
Oakland’s vision of powerful graduates is one in which students are empowered with skills, knowledge, and opportunities, along with having a clear vision for themselves. This requires strengthening high school preparation and providing more opportunities in grades 6–12 to develop the essential skills necessary to transition and thrive in a post-secondary opportunity.
Students will engage in integrated, interdisciplinary, authentic, and relevant work with peers and industry partners as well as develop, practice, and deepen career technical, academic and applied skills and knowledge and will thus graduate with employable technical skills and college eligibility. They will practice being resilient learners, collaborative teammates, community leaders, critical thinkers, and creative problem solvers in workplaces, civic spaces, and other venues where they can tackle real-world problems.
Education will occur in and outside the classroom in partnership with community-based organizations, local agencies, city and private industry partners; opportunities and relationships between students and partners will sustain beyond high school. These are opportunities to be found throughout Oakland and the Bay Area. Learning can expand beyond the classroom walls, in both physical and virtual spaces. Our students should benefit from music lessons, language lessons, museum and college visits, science exploration, and internships available throughout the greater community. The whole Bay Area can be a classroom if we are all aligned around a shared commitment to educating our children. Schools will be identified for deep, personalized, sustained infrastructure to support and serve the site specific needs of students, families, and educators. It is part of our mission to be a Full Service Community District focused on serving the whole child.
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. Learn more about our actions and deliverables here. →
Prepare students for post-secondary success: Aligning systems to ensure students are able to earn certifications, college credit, and/or apprenticeships through the completion of a pathway and increasing the number of students transitioning successfully to a post-secondary opportunity
Develop systems of personalized supports: Investing in and creating systems of personalized supports for our most marginalized students
Integrate real world learning: Deepening the integration of career technical education and work-based learning opportunities with our core content areas within and outside of school walls to ensure a relevant and authentic learning experience for students
Strengthen high school preparation: Ensuring middle grade students are prepared for high school by strengthening our emphasis on challenging and relevant curricula with support for students' academic and developmental needs
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. →
OUSD graduates are A-G ready: Increase the A-G completion rate with a grade of C graduates who complete HS in 4 years and those who completed HS in 5 or more years by 6 percentage points by 2024
Middle grade students are prepared for high school: Increase average distance from standard on smarter balanced/SBAC state assessments in 8th grade Mathematics by 15 points
Our working group conducted an analysis of past and present 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: OUSD’s established district-wide college and career pathways have improved student outcomes, with aligned student support systems and diverse partnerships spanning public, private, and post-secondary that bring relevance and rigor to core and technical learning.
Weaknesses: There is inequity of access to industry partners, high-quality internships and some pathways, and a lack of consistency of models across schools. Graduation rates for our Latino male students and our newcomer students have not increased as significantly as other populations.
Opportunities: There is the opportunity for greater alignment between K-8 and 9-12, for deeper collaboration between industry partners and pathways, and for links between OUSD pathways and Peralta Community College District pathways. Measure Y will allow a few high schools to update facilities.
Threats: COVID has led to a decrease in attendance and engagement for some students. Competing initiatives or priorities may make it difficult to create coherence as a system. Measure N funding is slated to expire in 2024-2025 and the majority of state and federal funding requires renewal annually
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 →
Need for an equity lens: Please see our Progress Monitoring page for specific metrics the district will track to ensure that groups who have been historically marginalized are served by the work of this plan
Agreement that internships are important for students by supporting them with money and activities: Please also see Focus Area 3 for more information about student work-based learning
Interest in how the centralized Employment Center will be staffed: The center described in Focus Area 1 is intended to be collaborative with industry experts
Emphasis on the need for building trades to be included: The actions in Focus Area 3 are inclusive of this opportunity area
Interest in Restorative Restart opportunities for students and families: Please also see the content in the Creating Joyful Schools initiative for additional information
Learning can expand beyond the classroom walls, in both physical and virtual spaces. The entire Bay Area can be a classroom if we are all aligned around a shared commitment to educating our children. The following list includes participants of our Empowered Graduates working group and reflects the key expertise and perspectives we need in this regional effort.
Working Group Co-Chairs
Matin Abdel-Qawi, OUSD
Clifford Hong, OUSD
Rebecca Laccoque, OUSD
Vanessa Sifuentes, OUSD
Lucia Moritz, OUSD
David Kakishiba, EBAYC