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Academic Update
August 6, 2020
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Dear Oakland Community:

The 2020-21 school year will start unlike any other school year in memory.  We are fortunate to have a team of innovative, dedicated, compassionate educators and community members who are here for Oakland’s students. I know that the passion and drive within our community will allow us to give our students and our entire community what we all need in the new year.

All of us  - students, families and staff alike - want concrete answers about what the future holds. OUSD will provide the latest information as we continue to receive updated guidance from the state, negotiate with our labor partners, and ensure the safety of our students and staff. 

There is a lot of information and many links in the message below as we provide the most up-to-date information available on the following topics. 
  • Welcome to the 2020-21 school year at OUSD!
  • Starting Strong Together: Distance Learning Academic and Social Emotional Plans
  • Providing the technology support that students need
  • Family Support: Overview and Resources
  • Distance Learning, Participation, and Grading
  • Continuing OUSD’s Meal Service
  • Focusing on Equity for Special Education Students and English Language Learners 
I look forward to a strong start to this year!  
Please share your thoughts

In Community,

Sondra Aguilera
Chief Academic Officer
Welcome to the 2020-21 school year at OUSD!
We will begin in distance learning and attendance will be taken daily starting on Monday, August 10.  Before then please: 
--> If you haven’t already been in contact with your school, please contact your school to learn about the following (click here for directory of schools): 
  • Participating on the first day of school,
  • Getting a computer and/or internet (please take the Tech Check survey to let us know about your needs), 
  • Completing registration (either in person or online here) -- this can happen anytime before August 21, and
  • Updating wellness needs (food, childcare, medical)
--> If you have not been assigned to a school, please contact the Enrollment Office:  call or text (510-879-4600) or email (  
--> Use the Tech Hotline at 510-866-2260 for help with internet access, hotspots, turning on devices, charging, logging into a Chromebook.
--> Check Family Central regularly for weekly training sessions, videos and resources.
Starting Strong Together: Distance Learning Academic and Social Emotional Plans
The first weeks of this school year will be especially important. Our focus during the first four weeks will be:
  • Week 0 (This week): Getting Ready: distribute technology (devices and hotspots) and school supplies.
  • Week 1 - Welcoming Students and Families, Building Capacity: activities to engage students and families in their school communities, even through the virtual setting; daily professional development for teachers and connecting with families to explain how schedules at their school will work.
  • Week 2 - Building Partnerships with Students and Families: staff will be connecting with families to explain how schools will use practices like small/advisory groups or virtual home visits to build relationships.
  • Week 3 - Assessing Student Needs and Targeting Supports: begin to assess students’ academic skills and connect with families regarding additional resources and support for the uncertainty the school community will be going through this school year.
  • Week 4 - Deepening Instruction, Looking Forward: Teachers have been provided the following information for their academic planning (please note- plans indicate draft as we finalize labor negotiations).
Strong Start Plans. Across OUSD, at every grade level, educators and administrators are developing “Strong Start” plans to welcome students back and help families play an active role in their success. 
Providing the technology support that students need
All students that need a device (e.g., Chromebook), internet connectivity, and/or technology support will receive these tools to access instruction.

Please look for a communication from your school site about how to get the technology your student needs to access instruction. The schools have already started distributing computers and hotspots at technology distribution events.
  • Please complete the #OaklandUndivided Tech Check Survey. Your school site will help families fill out the survey at registration/tech distribution events
  • Click here for a recent technology update with more information
  • Click here to see if your computer meets our minimum requirements
Family Support: Overview and Resources
Easy to find information on the Family Central Website.
The OUSD Family Central website has been updated for the 2020-21 school year. Use this website as a resource to help families find information about academics, technology, food distribution, and wellness.
Current resources on Family Central include:
Weekly family workshops and virtual office hours to support our families. Complete details are located on Family Central.  Some initial offerings are:
  • Friday, August 7th, 3pm: Orientation to Grade Level Strong Start Plans (how to read and use).
  • Thursday August 13: Organizing Your Home for Distance Learning - PBIS Best Practic
  • Thursday, August 20: Attendance
  • Thursday, Aug 27 A-G Completion
  • On-going Office Hours: Answer questions and connect families to appropriate staff/department.
Oakland Family Resource Guide for Out-of-School Programs During COVID. The Oakland Family Resource Guide for Out-of-School Programs During COVID is a way for families to find high quality summer and after-school learning opportunities, with a focus on improving access for children and youth from under-resourced families. It is updated continuously. There is an online searchable database here and a 2-page version here.  The activity guide is a collaborative project between OUSD and the city of Oakland.
Distance Learning, Participation, and Grading
The COVID-19 Action Team has been working hard to ensure this year has a strong start. As a result, you and your child may notice some differences in the way we are doing distance learning.
  • Daily Attendance: Teachers are required to take daily attendance, and we will follow up with families whose children miss classes to see how we can support them.  Click here to read more
  • Required Assignments: Students will be required to complete assignments and teachers will provide feedback. It may be a combination of digital and paper-based work
  • Assessing Student Learning: As in any year, students will take assessments so teachers can see how they are doing in core subject areas and share that information with families. There are recommendations for administering the assessments, according to age, that your classroom teacher will explain
  • Streamlining & Consistency: A smaller number of digital platforms will be used district-wide. We will provide clear content expectations by grade level (adjusted for a distance learning context and consistent with Common Core State Standards). Teachers will communicate to families the learning goals on a regular basis.
  • Many other aspects of Distance Learning are subject to bargaining.
Continuing OUSD’s Meal Service
We will continue to serve OUSD families as we have done all summer, but there are a couple of key changes you should know:

Now serving only students enrolled in OUSD. Starting August 10, OUSD can only distribute breakfast and lunch to students who are actually registered and enrolled in OUSD District-run schools (due to a new federal rule). In other words, we can no longer provide meals for children too young to be enrolled in school or students enrolled in charter or private schools. Families can still pick up multiple days of meals
Each time you pick up food at a distribution center, you must “verify” or prove your child’s enrollment by providing your child’s Aeries student ID# by doing one of the following:
  • Bring the letter mailed by Nutrition Services this week, that explains the changes and includes your child’s ID# and a scannable barcode.
  • Bring your child’s student ID card with their Aeries ID# from the previous year (and ideally have a barcode in order to be scanned) 
  • Wait in a separate line and have your child’s information looked up in a district database at the food distribution site (this could be a slow process and we highly recommend families bring a copy of their letter).
Families can pick up food at any of the 22 meal service sites.  Monday and Thursday will remain the distribution days and the serving time will expand an hour each day, extending from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The sites for fall 2020 are: Allendale, Bella Vista, Bret Harte, Castlemont, Cleveland, CCPA, Elmhurst, Esperanza, Fremont, Frick School of Language, Garfield, Hoover, Horace Mann, International Community School/Think College Now, La Escuelita, Life Academy/UFS, Madison Park Upper, Manzanita Community & SEED, New Highland/Rise, Oakland High, Sankofa United, West Oakland Middle
NOTE:  We have ended food distribution at East Oakland Pride, Melrose Leadership, and Emerson Elementary and we are opening up one new food site at the co-located International Community School and Think College Now campus.
Focusing on Equity for Special Education Students
Providing Special Education Services And Supports.
All students’ Individual Education Programs (IEP) will be followed to the maximum extent possible, including direct academic and related services. Along with all other students, our students with disabilities will be participating in their Special Education services virtually.

Each student will have a Distance Learning Plan as required by state law SB 98. The Distance Learning Plan is a document - created based on feedback from families - which explains the direct services, accommodations, and supplementary aids each student with an IEP will receive during distance learning. These plans will be completed and shared with families by the close of September.

IEP team meetings will continue to be held virtually. Parents/guardians may request to delay an IEP meeting until an in-person meeting is an option. Per state and federal guidance, new requests for evaluation to determine Special Education eligibility are paused at this time. We will respond to requests when we reopen schools and resume in-person instruction.

The Special Education Department is focusing on providing training for families and staff on technology, including district-adopted platforms and tools to support enhanced access for students with special needs. Additionally, students will receive tangible instructional materials such as manipulatives or printed materials, to allow for multisensory instruction. 

Our Special Education teachers will emphasize small group instruction (based on IEP goal domains) for separate setting minutes and “push in” during general education sessions for regular setting minutes so students are in the Least Restrictive Environment as much as possible during this time. 

For our youngest learners and students with intensive needs, service schedules will focus on ongoing parent/family collaboration to support opportunities for IEP goal practice in the home environment through everyday activities such as community walks, cooking, and household chores. 

For our young adults, students will continue to have access to the community colleges through online courses, and teachers and staff will focus on independent living and vocational skill development activities. 
Meeting the needs of English Language Learners
As outlined in federal and state guidance per SB 98, English Language Learners (ELLs) must continue to receive both Integrated and Designated English Language Development (ELD) during distance learning. Integrated ELD is instruction that provides language support in all content areas. Designated ELD is a separate English Language Development (ELD) class. The English Language Learner and Multilingual Achievement (ELLMA) office has provided school sites and teachers with instructional guidance on adapting essential practices for ELLs to distance learning schedules including dedicated time for Designated ELD classes for all ELLs. 

Additionally, our school sites with significant numbers of newly arrived immigrant students, or newcomers, have dedicated staff to support students and families with language, academic and social-emotional needs.  We have Newcomer Teacher Leaders at nine elementary sites, Newcomer Social Workers at 15 secondary sites, and Newcomer Assistants at five sites.
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