Oakland Unified School District

Oakland Unified School District

The district is shifting to personalized learning environments by bringing in-class rotational blended models, design thinking, maker culture and data-driven instruction into the mix.

State: California Number of Students: 49,098
School Type: Public School District Free and Reduced Lunch: 74.1%
School Type: Public School District English Language Learners: 31.8%

School Context

Student Success: College and career readiness for every student is key to Oakland Unified.

Effective Talent Programs: OUSD is focused on recruiting and retaining top teachers and is dedicated to creating asystem that promotes professional growth amongst all staff.

District Accountability: Oakland Unified believes that district accountability plays a large role in the success of itsschools and students and acts as one team to ensure that schools in every neighborhood in Oakland are of high quality.

Community Schools: OUSD aims for every student in the district to have access to a high-quality school in theirneighborhood with rigorous instruction in every classroom.

State of Technology

Chromebooks are Spreading: During the 2013-2014 school year, OaklandUnified began the process of purchasing Chromebooks and deployed10,000 district-wide in 2014-2015. In August 2015, all teachers, principalsand assistant principals received a Chromebook in an effort to increaseadoption. By the 2015-2016 school year, an additional 8,000 Chromebookswere distributed, bringing the total number of student devices to 18,000.The initial goal of Chromebooks was to support the Smarter BalancedAssessments (SBAC), however, the devices are also used to transform andexpand teaching and learning practices in classrooms. Usage varies acrossschools and classrooms, but overall the district has seen an increase in theuse of Chromebooks and Google in classrooms since the devices are nowmore readily available to both teachers and students.

Shifting To Data: Moving forward, the focus of the district’s device andtechnology rollout is shifting to support data driven instruction. Thedistrict has replaced the Edusoft assessment platform with Illuminate forassessment and reporting, rolling out the new tool in fall 2015. Illuminatehas become a centralized place for student data, summative and formativeassessment, and even quizzes. Teachers will use the data to group studentsand focus on small group instruction, which has become an increasingfocus for the 2015-16 school year. Oakland has also started using Tableaudashboards for principals to track school performance data.

Personalized Learning: In 2015, Oakland Unified School District wasawarded a planning grant of $720,000 from the Rogers Family Foundationto support a shift to personalized learning in ten Oakland schools. Eachof the ten schools (five district schools and five local charters) spent the2015-2016 school year mapping out their design and competed for fundingto launch their personalized learning programs in 2016-2017. Six of theten schools won a total of $2.1 million in funding from the Rogers FamilyFoundation. Each school will receive $350,000 over the course of two years.The Rogers Family Foundation has supported innovation pilots in Oaklandschools since 2011. In addition to the district’s focus on personalized learningfor students, OUSD is also considering rolling out a learning managementsystem for professional learning in an effort to move towards personalizedlearning for staff.

Blended Learning and Making: With the distribution of about 10,000Chromebooks in 2014, the district shifted from a computer lab model toan in-class rotational blended model with blended learning pilots at sevenschools in 2011-2013: Korematsu, Encompass Academy, Madison Middle,Elmhurst Community Prep, Bret Harte Middle, and Brewer Middle. With theFriday Institute’s leadership in blended learning from April 2015 throughFebruary 2016, the district was able to scale the model to 20 more schools.During the 2015-2016 school year, the district shifted again to bring designthinking and maker culture into the mix, building four new makerspaces.OUSD also started the Oakland Maker Fellow Program Pilot that included14 teachers. The program was designed to engage teachers in learningexpeditions that build understanding around how to incorporate making intotheir classrooms. Upon completion of the fellowship, each teacher received amaker educator certification and credits from Sonoma University.

Tech Needs & Requirements

Technology tools must be high quality and Common Corealigned, with a preference toward highly adaptive andhighly engaging materials, must use Google or Clever for single sign on, must be easy for teachers to pick up and use on theirown and must be FERPA compliant. The district is on the lookout for digital curriculum for students in PreK through first grade.


Oakland Maker Fellow Program: The district started a program where teachers can build understanding around makerculture and how to incorporate making into their instruction.

Professional Learning: The district is exploring personalized learning for adults.

Surveying the Scene: OUSD worked with BrightBytes to better understand differentiated supports for teachersand administrators. Since device access and wifi are no longer major problems for the district, it is now focused ondeveloping a strong support system for staff.

*Content From 2016

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