Materials for Families at Closing Schools

October 27, 2011

At its October 26 meeting, members of the Oakland Board of Education were confronted with the most difficult decision Directors can face – whether or not to close schools. Reluctantly, the Board voted to authorize the closure of five elementary sites, effective at the end of the 2011-12 school year: Lakeview, Lazear, Marshall, Maxwell Park and Santa Fe.

We know this is an incredibly painful development for students, staff and families, as well as for the surrounding communities. We also recognize that nothing we say is likely to ease the anger and disappointment it inspires. We are also aware that many of you do not regard the Board’s decision as final and will continue to fight against the prospect of school closure.

At the same time, we must prepare to carry out the will of the Board. The first and most important phase of this effort involves preparing students and families for success at new schools with the least disruption possible given these challenging circumstances. We understand this is hard to take when the news is still so fresh, but we don’t want to compound the frustration of the past couple months by mismanaging the transition. In order to manage all the transitions in the best way possible and so families can familiarize themselves with both the process and the available options, it is imperative that we begin the work immediately.

No one enters education because they relish the idea of closing schools or disturbing communities, but ultimately the Board made this decision because it felt it was in the best long-term interests of OUSD as a whole. Now, that the Directors have made this decision, staff has the obligation and the desire to support students, parent and staff at the affected schools.

To that end, we created a separate school selection process that will take place prior to the traditional options window, specifically for families at schools affected by school closures. Within that process, we promise that:

  • By October 31, 2011 we will provide families with estimates of the number of seats available throughout all District schools for 2012-13.
  •  By the week of December 19th, 2011 we will provide families with a confirmation of their best matched assignment for 2012-13.
  •  Families will receive in-depth information about supports and services at all District schools.
  •  We will support families in the completion of all school transfer processes at their current school site.
  •  Families will be able to submit their top four school choices. Our goal is to manually match every child in a top choice school.
  •  At a minimum, every family will receive a placement at the closest school that is higher performing than the one they are leaving.
  •  A Transitions Coordinator will be assigned to each school. Transition Teams of parent leaders will be established and supported at each closing site to increase ownership of the transition process. 
  •  All receiving schools will be provided specific guidance and coaching to ensure a ready and welcoming environment for all transitioning students.
  •  Every family will be supported to ensure every effort is made to meet the unique challenges of a school transition.

We recognize that you love your school. We also believe we can provide another high-quality experience for your student within OUSD and we are dedicated to ensuring that this belief becomes reality.

Should you have further questions about this process, please do not hesitate to contact your principal or Director of Educational Transitions for School and Community Denise Saddler at 510.336.7574 or or speak to your school principal.


Tony Smith, Ph.D.


For more information or support, please contact:

Contact: Denise Saddler, Director, Educational Transitions for Schools and Communities or (510) 336-7570

Contact: Mia Settles, Regional Executive Officer or (510) 879-8261

Contact: Janette Hernandez, Regional Executive Officer or (510) 879-8262

Contact: Kimi Kean, Regional Executive Officer or (510) 879-8263

Contact: Alison McDonald, Network Executive Officer or (510) 879-8134

Contact: Matthew Duffy, Transformation Network Executive Officer or (510) 879-8134

Please use the links below to access materials to support the transition of families with students currently attending these five closing elementary schools.

Translated materials will be posted as soon as they become available.

Preliminary Estimated Available Seats_103111.pdf14.17 KB
School_Community_Transition_Letter_10.27.11.pdf62.15 KB
Spanish_School_Community_Transition_Letter_10.27.11.pdf346.67 KB
Chinese_School_Community_Transition_Letter_10.27.11.pdf263.01 KB
Vietnamese_School_Community_Transition_Letter_10.27.11.pdf152.05 KB
Cambodian_School_Community_Transition_Letter_10.27.11.pdf107.1 KB
Arabic_School_Community_Transition_Letter_10.27.11.pdf136.05 KB
Transitioning_Students_Parent_Guide.pdf448.59 KB
Spanish_Transitioning_Students_Parent_Guide.pdf1.42 MB
Chinese_Transitioning_Students_Parent_Guide.pdf748.13 KB
Vietnamese_Transitioning_Students_Parent_Guide.pdf700.16 KB
Arabic_Transitioning_Students_Parent_Guide.pdf616.08 KB