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Home / Blog / CRUNCHED: Celebrating Consistent Improvement

CRUNCHED: Celebrating Consistent Improvement

CRUNCHED!, OUSD      February, 2020     

As Gloria noted in her look-back reflection series on education in Oakland in the past decade, one of the things that hasn’t changed much is the proportion of schools that are high performing. We know change takes time, and that increasingly difficult conditions (i.e. inadequate school funding) make progress even more challenging.

In the past few years, I’ve written other CRUNCHED blogs highlighting schools that have shown increases in the prior year. And I’ve seen how often schools that show big positive changes in one year struggle, for different reasons, to keep up the progress. It’s hard to grow consistently. Given all this, I’m floored by the schools that are consistently improving over time, particularly for historically underserved student groups in Oakland, because of the ever-increasing “odds” they go against. This blog will look at some of those bright spots of consistent positive increases over the past 3 years, based on data from the CA School Dashboard.

Criteria and Caveats:

  • Focus exclusively on GROWTH, not STATUS. Schools that have received “high” or “very high” status on the 5x5s for each Dashboard indicator will likely end up receiving green or blue on their dashboard indicator; this type of celebratory progress is already easily visible. To make it more insightful, I’ll be looking at schools with “increased” or “increased significantly” level of progress for their student groups for all 3 dashboard years.
  • Student groups of focus will be Black, Latinx, English Learners, Students with IEPs, and Low-income. These groups have been historically underserved in Oakland (and everywhere). I only analyzed schools that have enough students in a category (more than 11*) that it shows as a subgroup in the public data. ** 
  • We’re limited to what data is available publicly. I know schools track other data, too, but I can only analyze the data I can get via public sources. This is not a holistic, comprehensive, or exhaustive list since there might be schools who are seeing amazing, consistent progress with their students year after year on internal tracked student data. 

The point of this post is to (hopefully) shine a light and recognize schools that are making consistent positive progress, whether they’ve reached their ideal goals yet or not. It’s to recognize the hard work behind the progress and celebrate it.

The Results:

These are the schools that have had positive increases for any of the aforementioned student groups over the past three years on any of the four Dashboard indicators:

For Black Students:

  • Alliance Academy (Suspension)
  • Aspire Triumph Technology (Math, Suspension)
  • Crocker Highlands (Math)
  • Fruitvale Elementary (ELA)
  • Gateway to College at Laney College (Graduation)
  • Kaiser Elementary (ELA)
  • Learning Without Limits (Suspension)
  • McClymonds High (Graduation)
  • Melrose Leadership Academy (Math, ELA)
  • Montclair Elementary (ELA)
  • New Highland Academy (Math)
  • Sequoia Elementary (Suspension)
  • Think College Now (ELA)

For Latinx students:

  • Aspire Berkley Maynard (ELA)
  • Aspire Monarch (Math)
  • Aspire Triumph Technology (Math, ELA)
  • Chabot Elementary (ELA)
  • Claremont Middle (Math)
  • Hillcrest Elementary (ELA)
  • International Community (ELA)
  • Laurel Elementary (Math)
  • Lazear Charter Academy (Math)
  • Learning Without Limits (Suspension)
  • LIFE Academy (Graduation)
  • Lighthouse Community Charter (Math)
  • LPS Oakland R & D Campus (Suspension)
  • Skyline High (Graduation)
  • Think College Now (Math)

For English learner students:

  • Aspire Monarch Academy (Math)
  • Aspire Triumph Technology (Math)
  • Bridges Academy (Math)
  • International Community (Math, ELA)
  • Lazear Charter Academy (Math)
  • LIFE Academy (Graduation)
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary (Math, ELA)
  • Oakland Charter High (Graduation)
  • Think College Now (Math)
  • Yu Ming Charter (ELA)

For SPED students:

  • Aspire Monarch Academy (Suspension)
  • Aspire Triumph Technology (Math)
  • Bella Vista Elementary (Math)
  • Bridges Academy (ELA)
  • Claremont Middle (Math)
  • Coliseum College Prep Academy (Math)
  • East Oakland Pride Elementary (Suspension)
  • Franklin Elementary (Math, ELA, Suspension)
  • Fremont High Graduation)
  • Fruitvale Elementary (Math)
  • Lazear Charter Academy (Suspension)
  • Lighthouse Community Charter (Math)
  • Madison Park Academy TK-5 (ELA, Suspension)
  • Redwood Heights Elementary (Math, ELA)
  • Urban Promise Academy (Suspension)
  • Yu Ming Charter (ELA)

For Low-Income students:

  • Achieve Academy (Suspension)
  • Aspire Golden State College (Graduation)
  • Aspire Monarch Academy (Math
  • Aspire Triumph Technology (Math, Suspension)
  • International Community (Math, ELA)
  • Kaiser Elementary (Math, ELA)
  • Lazear Charter Academy (Math)
  • Learning Without Limits (Suspension)
  • LIFE Academy (Graduation)
  • Lighthouse Community Charter (Math)
  • LPS Oakland R & D Campus (Suspension)
  • Madison Park Academy TK-5 (Suspension)
  • McClymonds High (Graduation)
  • Oakland School for the Arts (ELA)
  • Oakland Technical High (Graduation)
  • Redwood Heights Elementary (ELA)
  • Roosevelt Middle (Suspension)

(To see these schools across all subgroups, I’ve included a full summary table at the end of this blog.)

Some highlights:

  • Aspire Triumph Tech was able to maintain increases for ALL of the listed underserved student groups for all 3 years in Math, making them the only school to “sweep” an indicator. (Clearly, I got award season on my mind…) They’re also the school with the highest number groups with growth across all indicators (8 “x”s in table below).
  • International Community School had the highest number of student groups (3 out of 5) that consistently improved all 3 years in ELA.
  • Learning Without Limits had the highest number of student groups (3 out of 5) that consistently improved all 3 years on Suspension.
  • LIFE Academy had the highest number of student groups (3 out of 5) that consistently improved all 3 years on Graduation.
  • Franklin Elementary consistently improved outcomes for SPED students across Math, ELA, and Suspension for all 3 years, the only school to do so.
  • Fremont High was the only high school that had consistently increasing graduation rates for SPED students for all 3 years.
  • There are 42 schools on this list – roughly one-third of all Oakland schools.

Yes, and…

I’ll use McClymonds High as an example.  They’ve made consistent progress for their Black students year after year for 3 years on graduation rates, moving their students from 77% to 90% four-year cohort graduation rate from 2017 to 2019, making crucial progress to make sure their students graduate from high school on time. Yes, it’s great progress, AND we know that there’s always more room for continuous improvement and continued trajectory. In 2019, only 39% of their cohort graduates are considered prepared for college and/or career opportunities based on the dashboard College/Career indicator.

This illustrates the complexity in all of our Oakland schools — and the great moments of progress that happen in Oakland across sectors and regions. Lots of decisions will be made this upcoming spring regarding schools and their future. How do we preserve the momentum of brilliant work while accelerating the growth in other parts and balancing budgetary and logistical realities?

Figure 1. Table with full results for schools with 3 years consistent positive improvements on CA School Dashboard indicators (math, ELA, suspension, graduation) across major historically underserved student groups.

* 11 is a pretty small N-size to draw major conclusions from, but I do want to shine a light – where I can – on progress across the city.

** A school need to have at least 11 students annually of the specific student group for the past 4 years to have 3 years of dashboard data. Because there aren’t consistent 3 years of data, I excluded chronic absence, English learner progress, and college/career indicators.



My name is Carrie Chan, and I’m Educate78’s data analyst (aka resident data nerd and cruncher). As a former OUSD student, I care a lot about Oakland public schools. This blog series, “Crunched!”, takes a data-driven approach to important, relevant questions facing Oakland public schools, sharing out easily digestible data takeaways. Please email me with ideas, requests, or feedback.


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