Task Force of the Week: SEA

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November 19, 2010 - 7:45am

The goals for the Secondary Experience and Achievement (SEA) Task Force focus on sharply increasing high school graduation rates to be effective, broad-based, consistent, and sustained. The task force aims to include the voices and perspectives of individuals who care about high school success in Oakland.

Director of Adult and Career Education Brigitte Marshall has taken the lead of the SEA Task Force, and the group began its work in early November.  Brigitte reflected on the experience so far:

"On November 4, almost 40 teachers, community partners, education advocates, parents, and district staff came to together to launch the work of the Secondary Experience and Achievement Task Force. An additional 17 Task Force members sent their regrets, and since that first meeting and the identification of some additional folks with important contributions to make, we will also be adding five or six more members. It's a powerful group of focused and committed individuals whose collective wisdom and expertise made themselves immediately evident at our first meeting. This is clearly a group of people who can deliver on the charge of crafting a set of far reaching recommendations designed to sharply increase the high school graduation rate in Oakland.

Task Force members spent time sharing their hopes and questions about the work we are undertaking together and some clear and consistent themes emerged.  Many members expressed the desire that this work result in deep and effective change that will really improve the high school experience for Oakland's youth. We heard many acknowledgments that we must be committed to creating different outcomes for our young people, that this process must be real, and not just a rubber stamp to a set of pre-determined decisions.

After reflecting on the driving forces that make the work of increasing Oakland's High School graduation rate so compelling and urgent, we spent time together identifying significant factors to consider as key points of leverage for improving the graduation rate. While members and participants worked independently in seven different teams, remarkable resonance emerged across the teams in identification of high priority practices. Many teams emphasized the need to engage students in educational content and processes that are relevant and contextualized, delivered by highly effective teachers, and that hold all students to equally high expectations.

At our next meeting we will review together an analysis of the current state of OUSD Secondary Education, so that we can establish a shared and detailed understanding of our starting point. We already share an understanding of how high the stakes are in this work. The palpable commitment and readiness of SEA Task Force members to engage in this critical improvement initiative communicates volumes about the potential for this work. We can only hope that the energy and enthusiasm demonstrated at the first meeting are maintained throughout this exciting year!"

For more information, or to get involved in the SEA Task Force work, please contact Brigitte Marshall at brigitte.marshall@ousd.k12.ca.us.