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Oakland Unified School District

Racial Justice & Healing Taskforce

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Taskforce Background:

OUSD's Racial Justice and Healing Taskforce was founded in the summer of 2019 with leaders in the Principal Professional Learning Bias Cohort, Office of Equity, Behavioral Health, Restorative Justice, Health and Wellness, Special Education, Expanded Learning, English Language Learner & Multilingual Achievement, and Teacher Support to build a district-wide initiative to lift up a racial justice, equity and healing mindset for all educators in Oakland. This task force combined two task forces focused on Culturally Responsive Practices and Implicit Bias as mandated by the Voluntary Resolution Plan created to address disproportionate suspensions of African American students in OUSD.

From a grant through the California School Based Health Alliance, the Taskforce hosted a speaker series focused on developing culturally responsive practices in our schools in the spring of 2019. Building on OUSD’s Core Values of Cultural Responsiveness and Equity, the entire OUSD community, staff, teachers, and families were invited to attend events and trainings with some of the nation’s most prominent leaders in the field of transformative education practices to effectively serve and support diverse populations of students. During the 2019-2020 school year, school site professional development at middle schools delved deeper into how school communities can integrate frameworks and practices into school culture and institutional structure.

In January 2020, the Taskforce held the first Racial Justice, Equity and Healing Summit which attracted over 300 educators from across the district to share core professional learning workshops. Racial Affinity Circles were organized in Summer 2020 by Taskforce members to hold safe space for Black, API, Latin@ and Native, White and Jewish communities to come together to discuss our various roles in the Movement for Black Lives, and will continue through the school year. For the 2020-2021 school year, the Taskforce focused on integrating professional development in the New Teacher supports, the Principal Leadership Institute, Teacher and Staff Professional Development offerings, and a Racial Affinity Facilitator Fellowship for school sites to send a staff point person to be able to implement site work. The Taskforce has since organized seven Racial Justice summits on Professional Learning Days, two week-long Summer Racial Justice Institutes, and 11 Community of Practice learning series for over 4,500 educators with over 10,000 learning experiences across more than 100 sites and including over 100 community partners.

Focus areas include:

  • Supporting Black Thriving & District-Wide Coordination
  • Equity Policy & Administrative Regulations
  • Piloting Equity Champion School Sites
  • Antiracist & Culturally Responsive Curriculum
  • Developing Site Racial Justice Learning & Affinity Groups