We are a young organization, founded in 2015 by an Oakland parent who had already started multiple successful public schools in the city. We have grown since then, both as a team and an organization. The Oakland public education landscape has also shifted dramatically in the face of recurring deep-rooted challenges and new trauma caused by the current state of our nation.
To reground ourselves, our newly expanded team recently dove back into our “why.” Throughout 2018, we went on a journey to develop our North Star, which we are proud to share with you:
“All families across Oakland’s 78 square miles know their children will realize their full brilliance and potential at every public school in any neighborhood.”
All families: An effective public education ecosystem considers all children and dedicates extra attention to those families longest impacted by systemic oppression and excluded from opportunity.
Know that their children can realize: Families should have easy access to school quality measures, which should include academic and non-academic elements, and trust that any school will do right by their children.
Full brilliance and potential: Children can realize the innate and unique brilliance and potential we believe everyone has.
Every public school in any neighborhood: School choice is vital, but not helpful if it always means escaping the local school or is a false choice among low-performing options. Families should be able to choose among quality neighborhood community schools or excellent regional schools depending on their unique needs.
“Our community continually takes collective responsibility to reimagine, create, and improve a public education system where success is not predicted by race and class.”
Our community: We are speaking of the entire Oakland community, across race, class, and cultural differences, as well as across district and charter schools.
Collective responsibility: People often care for their own school or community, however, we must consider the interconnected whole and take responsibility across the system. We believe all Oaklanders can and should play a role.
Reimagine, create, and improve: It is not enough to work within the current system–we must dismantle currently broken and oppressive systems. We then can reimagine what’s possible, create a new system, and continually improve what we’ve built together as conditions change. We act, as Dr. King said, with “the fierce urgency of now”, while recognizing that change takes time and celebrating progress along the way.
Success is not predicted by race and class: It’s not just that some kids have not gotten access to world class education. We believe Black and Brown children in particular have been systematically denied (and continue to be denied) the education they deserve; therefore, we must remove the predictability of success or failure that currently correlates with race and class.