Letter from Dr. Kyla Johnson-Trammell Superintendent, Oakland Unified School District (OUSD)
Dear Oakland Unified Community,
The Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) is excited to announce that the Oakland Education Association (OEA), the teachers’ union, has informed us their membership voted to pass the Tentative Agreement reached by OEA and OUSD to support the return of many of our students to in-person instruction this spring.
It is clear that we need to offer more in-person instruction for those students and families who want and need it while also continuing to offer robust distance learning opportunities. This pandemic has stripped away many of the tools that we use to support our students and community. A return to in-person learning will allow us to give students new, more robust ways to continue learning.
We know that students and families have been waiting to hear more information about reopening for in-person instruction to inform their planning. Below you will find information about our current plans for spring, summer, and fall. Thank you for being patient and flexible as we continue to serve our students during these unprecedented times.
We want to thank all of our labor partners and will continue to negotiate additional impacts and effects of reopening schools as they are identified by our unions during these unprecedented times.
We are in Phase 3 of our plan for reopening our schools to full in-person instruction.
Throughout the pandemic, we have been trying to balance changing science and safety standards with family preference, all while negotiating with our labor partners. To that end, we have been working on numerous scenarios for the transition to in-person instruction.
We know that many of our families are in the middle of making major decisions about school enrollment for the fall and we are committed to being as communicative and transparent as possible about our planning and next steps.
We recognize that not all students who want to return are able. We are working on it. We are looking for every way to increase the in-person support that we can safely offer all of our students.
What follows is our best thinking for this spring, summer learning and the start of the next school year.
In person instruction:
Our Phased-in Approach for Hybrid In-person Instruction: We are eager and ready to begin a phased-in reopening for our students TK-5, grade 6, and for students in priority groups grades 7-12. The students prioritized for this phase of in-person instruction were selected using a number of equity-based criteria (including groups identified in SB86).
We will maintain a distance learning option for all who prefer it.
Some additional information:
Sample Schedule: Please click here to see a sample schedule for this spring. Important, these schedules are for reference, but may vary in small ways at each school site. Your specific schedule will come from your school site.
District Information Session: On Tuesday from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m., we will be hosting an information night to share information about our district wide safety and instructional plans (click here for more information).
School Site Information: School sites will communicate directly with families about their specific site plans (schedules, which gates to use, specific procedures, etc.). Please look for information from your student’s school.
Secondary Mandatory Student Preference forms: All sixth grade students and those students prioritized for in-person instruction for this phase of reopening should have received a form through ParentSquare (our new communications platform). It is due on March 24th. Please sign on to ParentSquare to complete, or contact your school site.
Additional opportunities this spring:
We will open more learning hubs to support student groups. We currently have 17 hubs and we plan to open 12 more in the next two weeks. We are currently launching a partnership with The Oakland REACH to support hubs in six of our schools. OUSD and The Oakland REACH secured a $900,000 grant to support this work and by this summer, expect to be supporting 1,000 students and families.
Some high school sports have already worked through conditioning and are now in full practice, with some competition having already started, and more to come by the end of the month (click here for more information, as the page is being updated regularly).
The Summer Learning registration process is underway. We are training clerical staff and school counselors on a new mobile registration system that will directly invite families to participate in our summer programs. Students will be invited to participate based on academic need, targeted priority groups, and engagement/attendance. Programs will have both in-person and distance learning opportunities.
Families will begin to receive invitations on April 12th. Please contact your child’s school if you would like your child to be considered for an upcoming summer learning program.
Generally, summer programs begin June 7 and last 4-6 weeks.
Our goal is to serve 6,000 students from Pre-K to Young Adult this summer.
Our Core summer learning program offerings include: Early Childhood Education Centers, Summer Pre-K Program, Summer Learning Programming K-8 Hub Model, Pre-Collegiate Academy, Site-based High School Summer Program, Exploring College, Career, and Community Options (ECCCO), Work-based Learning Opportunities, Concurrent Enrollment in Peralta & OUSD’s CTE Summer Institute, High School Credit Recovery, Special Education Programs, and Refugee/Asylee Programs.
With the vaccine roll out speeding up, it is possible that our community will be in a very different and much better place in terms of COVID-19. However, we know that we cannot fully predict the course of this pandemic, so we have to be aspirational and flexible in our plans.
We do not plan on starting the 2021-22 school year in distance learning. We are hopeful that we can open the school year with five full days of in-person instruction a week. However, we will make plans that allow us to start the new school year either in hybrid learning or in full in-person instruction. The model we use and the number of students we will be able to serve on campus at any one time will depend on the public health guidance.
For all levels, if we start in hybrid instruction, we are planning to shift to full in-person instruction if and when allowed.
For secondary schools, we will remain in the quarter system for the 2021-22 school year. This decision was based on feedback from students and school site staff that indicated a clear preference for the quarter system if we are in hybrid learning. It is also one of the models recommended by the California Collaborative for Excellence in Education as a way to build in small, stable groups for secondary schedules, even when we return in-person. Challenges with the quarter system experienced this year will be addressed in next year’s schedule, including a balance of core courses each quarter and the offering of a select few courses as year-long. For more information, see here.
Many families have asked us about the calendar for next year. We will be continuing to talk with our labor partners on this issue and hope to be able to share a calendar soon.
It has been a long year and I am really looking forward to bringing more of our students and staff back to our campuses. Success will require support from everybody. I have no doubt that we will once again pull together and rise to the occasion.
Dr. Kyla Johnson-Trammell Superintendent
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