Jennie Herriot-Hatfield, Think College Now: We wanted to put resources directly into teachers’ hands because we believe teachers best understand their needs. They have a better understanding of what will have a meaningful impact on their job satisfaction and what will influence their decision to continue teaching in Oakland.
Nina Portugal, Life Academy: Providing teachers with resources to make decisions about what will best serve them is professionalizing. Most grants available to teachers are focused on student outcomes. We wanted to create a grant program that would bring the focus explicitly to teacher outcomes as well, especially given the high turnover rates in Oakland. Our students’ learning depends on great teachers every year and right now we lose too many of them.
Antoinette Strain, Greenleaf: Oakland educators are hard-working, dedicated professionals who use their brain power and hearts to serve students and families as best they can, despite multiple challenges. They are relentless when it comes to ensuring that their students have access to the opportunities they deserve. We believe that Oakland teachers, given their strengths in creativity and problem-solving, are the best people to tackle issues surrounding teacher retention and sustainability. The grant program is one way to affirm the value of Oakland teachers and empower them to give the same thought and care they give to their students to themselves and their colleagues.