Restructuring OUSD to Expand Quality and Release Resources

We have thriving children in some wonderful schools in Oakland. OUSD has been progressing steadily and has improved faster than all other urban districts in California over the past six years. The growth is good. Yet, we have not met the needs of all children and we do not have high quality schools in every neighborhood. Our city remains divided by predictable patterns of low performance, high incidence of violence, and lack of connection. This is unacceptable. We must make fundamental changes in the way we operate so that all our students can learn and grow.

In order to create a school district that serves all children, we must harness all the resources of this community and use them in the most effective manner possible. This is impossible given the way our school district is structured and we must change to do better by Oakland students.

It’s clear we’re not making the most effective use of time, staff and money — and the people paying the biggest price are Oakland students. We are simply spread too thin and must do a better job of directing our resources. We must consolidate our efforts in a manageable number of sites so we can invest in students to the highest degree. To accomplish this, we will recommend that certain sites be closed, others expanded and others redesigned to create a Full Service Community District that provides for the whole child, eliminates inequity, and offers high-quality and effective instruction for every student.

We will replicate successful practices across the city and establish schools as centers of community that provide rigorous academics as well as conditions that enable high levels of learning and allow students to acquire the skills necessary for success in school, career and life.

  • Provide more children with quality school options
  • Encourage more families to choose OUSD Schools
  • Create a sustainable school district that produces results for all children
  • Deploy staff and money more efficiently and use the savings to invest more resources in Oakland schools

This isn’t the first attempt to reform and improve Oakland schools, but it will be different from the rest. We’ve studied and learned from the mistakes of previous administrations and from our own. We’ve heard your grievances and we’ll continue to listen and to respond in the service of Oakland’s children.

We are committed to creating and sustaining a district of community schools that support the unique needs of each child. We are building a full-service community school district where every school offers high-quality instruction along with health, physical education, nutrition, medical, dental, recreation, housing, employment and language acquisition services. In this model, the school acts as the hub of activity, with the emphasis on educating and caring for the whole child.

Building a better school district involves more than closing schools. It requires a multifaceted, integrated strategy that considers the District as a whole and leverages every asset available to it. It does not rely on one approach, but instead, uses a variety of methods to produce results for all students. There will be school closures, and school closures are always difficult, but this is just one part of a process that is ultimately about growth - growing the number of quality schools, the range of services provided to students, and the appeal of Oakland Public Schools to existing families and to those who have chosen other educational options. We will expand popular sites to accommodate demand and add new grade levels to thriving elementary and middle schools. We will implement proven programs to strengthen high schools and transform sites that are not fully serving students into high- quality schools of choice. Finally, we will do all of this in concert with the community and in service of children.


  • Transforming a set of schools into single, high quality schools
  • Expanding the grade configuration of a set of schools to K-8 and 6-12
  • Consolidating a set of schools through the Transformation or Expansion process
  • Closing a set of schools beginning Fall, 2012

Schools are intricate organizations and the factors that determine what changes a school should undergo are also complex and cannot be viewed in isolation. Nevertheless, there are significant considerations that are evaluated in every decision.

School Transformation will include the thoughtful re-design of existing low quality school options, and the Federal School Improvement Grants (SIG) Transformation process, to be managed by the Office of School Transformation:

  • School Improvement Grant Schools (SIG)
  • Selected PI 4/5/5+ Schools
  • Selected Low Quality Schools based on School Quality Reviews

Part of our restructuring plan includes expanding current school programs by changing some school’s grade configurations to K-8 or 6-12. Each recommended school has pursued the opportunity to expand its grade configurations. Another cycle of consideration will be given in the spring of 2012 for the possibility of additional grade configuration changes over time.

The factors considered when recommending schools for expansion include:

  • Compelling Rationale for the Grade Configuration Change
  • Demonstrated Staff and Family Interest
  • Demonstrated Leadership & Staff Capacity
  • Analysis of Facility Needs & Capacity
  • Analysis of Demographics & Enrollment Implications

School Consolidations to be managed by Quality Community Schools Development, School Portfolio Management and/or the Office of School Transformation depending on the specific school sites identified:

  • Consolidating Schools within Expansion Process
  • Consolidating Schools within Transformation Process

School closures to be managed by Quality Community Schools Development and School Portfolio Management The focus in selecting schools for closure was: Equity and a Thoughtful, Multi-Step Process
We begin by asking: WHERE DO WE NEED TO OPERATE SCHOOL PROGRAMS? We analyzed:



Change is often difficult, but it’s often necessary. It’s essential that we transform OUSD into a district that provides a high-quality education and nurturing environment for all students.


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