2017 Celebrate Our Teachers Night

On Tuesday, February 7, the TeachOakland Advisory Group invited all Oakland teachers to a night of celebration, food, drink, and professional mingling with educators from across the city. The goal? Simple- to Celebrate Our Teachers. Over and over we heard from attendees: We need to come together as Oakland public school teachers like this more often!

We also shared the 2017 TeachOakland Citywide Survey. This is an opportunity for Oakland teachers to anonymously share what’s working and what can improve at their school sites. Our teachers deserve the best and there is always room to improve on their day-to-day experiences.

The evening focused on building camaraderie, sharing information, and elevating teacher voices.  Oakland teachers sat for individual photo shoots for their Hella Professional Headshots, shared important messages as part of Town Talks, participated in a brand exercise by Oaklandish for the future of TeachOakland, and learned about the Educate78 teacher retention grant program led by our TeachOakland Advisory Group.

 

Nearly 60 amazing Oakland educators sat for professional headshots. This week, we shared these beautiful portraits with attendees- high resolution images  for them to use in any way they want. We hope they enjoy this important resource!

#TeachOakland Resource Shout Outs

Thank you to the amazing folks who came out to share what resources are available for those that TeachOakland. Be sure to reach out for more information!

Check out some snaps from TeachOakland’s Celebrate Our Teachers Night!

An Educator Vote for Affordability

Last spring, as members of Educate78’s Teacher Advisory Group, we had the opportunity to research housing affordability – an issue near and dear to our hearts – as part of our group’s multi-faceted efforts to improve teacher retention in Oakland.

The Alameda County Board of Supervisors estimates that rents in Oakland have increased 34 percent between 2011 and 2015, making Oakland the fourth most expensive housing market in the country. Our fellow teachers, as well as many of our students and their families, have been personally affected by the skyrocketing costs of housing in Oakland. And unfortunately, as we have learned, no “silver bullet” will fix this complex problem. However, cities all over the country have been trying a variety of promising strategies – from loan forgiveness to rent subsidization to building housing specifically for teachers.

On November 8, we will have the opportunity to vote on three local ballot measures that aim to increase affordable housing. We want to raise awareness about these measures so you can learn more and vote informed!

Alameda County Measure A1: Affordable Housing Bond

Summary: This measure proposes $580 million for affordable housing in Alameda County, including $425 million for affordable rental housing, $35 million for quick responses to current crisis (like anti-displacement strategies), and $50 million to help residents with down payments for houses.

Who pays for it: This bond would be funded by Alameda County homeowners, who would pay a property tax based on the value of their home. The average homeowner would pay $48-$56 per year.

Why it matters to educators: Oakland has limited affordable housing for those who make less than 120% of the Area Median Income. The average Oakland teacher in 2015 was making $55,000[1], equivalent to ~85% of Area Median Income for a one-person household (click here to see where you fall on the affordable housing AMI index and visit the Mayor’s Housing Cabinet website below to learn more)[2]. As a result, our students and colleagues are being forced to find more affordable options which often that means leaving Oakland completely. This measure would add protected housing inventory, which will enable students to remain in their schools, families to remain in the city, and educators to live where we work.

[1] KALW.org, Why Are Teachers Leaving Oakland?. Dalmas, Jeremy, April 21, 2015. Retrieved from http://kalw.org/post/why-are-teachers-leaving-oakland#stream/0 on 11/1/2016.

[2]

Measure JJ: Renter Protections

Summary: This measure addresses the number of people being displaced through unjust evictions and requires landlords to petition for approval from the city to raise rents beyond the current rate of inflation. It will help current renters remain in their homes, and will extend Just Cause eviction protections to buildings that were constructed before 1995 (not just buildings built prior to 1980).

Who pays for it: There is no direct cost for taxpayers.

Why it matters to educators: Rents are going up and affordable rental housing is getting harder to find. The additional protections  proposed in this measure is intended to provide more security for teachers and other Oakland residents.

Oakland Measure KK: Affordable Housing & Infrastructure Bond

Summary: Measure KK is a $600 million investment in both affordable housing and community improvements. This measure provides $100 million for affordable housing strategies that prevent displacement, $350 million for improvements for our streets, sidewalks, and bike lanes, and $150 million for upgrades to our city facilities like our libraries, parks, and senior facilities.

Who pays for it: Oakland property owners would pay $65 for every $100,000 of assessed value on their property.

Why it matters to educators: Educators know the value of investing in our communities. This bond provides resources that will benefit all Oakland’s residents. Investments like these can help make our cities safer and connect our community. They can also help us attract the next generation of educators who will continue to invest in our students.

Learn more about these and other ballot measures at the Alameda County Registrar of Voters, which includes impartial analysis of each measure, plus arguments in support and in opposition.

Oakland Magazine, East Bay Times, and East Bay Express have also made endorsements on these measures.

We also encourage you to visit the Mayor’s Housing Cabinet website and read A Roadmap to Equity if you’re interested in learning more about the City of Oakland’s near- and long-term plans to address housing affordability in Oakland.

We and many of our fellow teachers have talked with our students about the importance of civic engagement, and of doing the research to be an informed voter. We know that there are many choices to make on this November’s ballot and hope this has helped you learn more about these three important measures!

Alanna Baumert

Alanna Baumert

Teacher at Lighthouse Community Charter High School

Member of Educate78’s Teacher Advisory Group in 2016

Jeremy Crouthamel

Jeremy Crouthamel

Former teacher at Roosevelt Middle School

Member of Educate78’s Teacher Advisory Group in 2016

Supporting Oakland Teachers’ Growth

In recent blog posts, our Teacher Advisory Group colleagues have been sharing what Oakland teachers are doing to increase teacher retention by addressing basic needs, management support and teamwork in their schools. As three newly joined Teacher Advisory Group members this fall, we are excited to get to announce the last three teams of Oakland teachers that were recipients of retention grants to be implemented this school year.
In this post, we focus on the highest level of the Gallup Engagement Hierarchy: Growth. According to Gallup’s research, growth opportunities improve employee satisfaction most if they are provided after the other needs (i.e. lower in the hierarchy) are met. In other words, teachers need a solid foundation of resources, clear expectations, and support first, before trying out new ideas. As teachers, this resonates with us – when we have the basics in place, we’re eager and able to learn new practices and focus on growing our careers.
We are pleased to announce the three Oakland teacher teams receiving grants to implement strategies to create professional growth opportunities at their schools. We are excited to see how these new practices will help both teachers and students! (Stay tuned for coming posts on what the grant projects look like for both teachers and students at each awarded school…)
Collaborative inquiry within the Science Department at Life Academy: Rowan Driscoll and his science department colleagues are partnering with Mills Teacher Scholars using a professional learning strategy called collaborative inquiry. They will increase curriculum alignment with Next Generation Science Standards, and focus on writing.
Building trauma-informed practices into Think College Now teachers’ toolboxes: Jennie Herriot-Hatfield, Emma Coufal and colleagues are partnering with the Seneca Family of Agencies to work with an on-site behavioral specialist to build teachers’ skills in trauma-informed practices to meet the needs of their Tier III students, an area of focus for the school, and a cause of teacher burnout.
Building teachers’ skills in developing students’ social and emotional skills at Allendale: Johnny Tan and colleagues are piloting socio-emotional curricula with classroom-based coaching and will develop a recommendation for schoolwide rollout in 2017-18. They’ll build on the school’s Positive Behavioral Intervention System foundation and grow as instructional leaders through deeper SEL implementation.

We will be communicating regularly with all 12 teams, and will share more about their experiences as the school year unfolds. Collaboratively, we will explore:

  • How effective are these ideas at increasing teacher satisfaction and retention?
  • Do strategies at certain levels of engagement have a greater impact than others?
  • Which ideas are most easily transferable to other Oakland schools?

Stay tuned to get a peek at what the teams are learning in our quest to increase teacher satisfaction and retention in Oakland!

Kate Krumrei

Kate Krumrei

Urban Promise Academy

Teacher Advisory Group Member (2016-17)

Liz Woodward

Liz Woodward

International Community School

Teacher Advisory Group Member (2016-17)

Michelle Palasek

Michelle Palasek

Aspire Berkeley Maynard Academy

Teacher Advisory Group Member (2016-17)

The Importance of Teamwork to Teacher Satisfaction and Retention

This month, we have shared Oakland teachers’ ideas to address some of their basic needs and strengthen management support to increase teacher engagement and retention in theirs schools. As teachers ourselves, we know this foundation is critical to our satisfaction and success. In our recent Citywide Teacher Survey, we heard that many other teachers are seeking support in these areas, too.

We are thrilled that our fellow educators at La Escuelita, Madison Park Academy, Coliseum College Prep Academy, North Oakland Community Charter School, Learning Without Limits, International Community School, and Greenleaf, will have the resources to put their ideas into action through our Oakland Educator Retention Grant Program. We’re looking forward to hearing what they learn, and sharing those insights with educators across the city.

In this post, we are happy to announce the two teams who received grants to implement their ideas for cultivating teamwork, strategies that are at the next level on the Gallup Engagement Hierarchy. Teamwork has been critical to our own success and satisfaction as teachers, and we were happy to see in the Citywide Teacher Survey that many of our fellow Oakland teachers agree. We are looking forward to learning from these two schools – and others across the city – about what it takes to strengthen teamwork to support teacher and student success.
Team retreats to deepen relationships and develop a shared vision at Oakland International High School: Loraine Woodard and colleagues are implementing department retreats to increase teacher collaboration and teamwork aligned with schoolwide goals. They had successfully piloted this strategy last school year with one department, and through the Oakland Educator Retention Grant program they will now be able to expand to include three more departments this year.
Staff retreats and wellness workshops to deepen relationships and build a shared culture of wellness at ARISE High School: Nhi Truong, Josette Neal De-Stanton, Trevor Gardner and colleagues are designing two staff retreats and quarterly wellness workshops to build a shared culture of teamwork and wellness.

We have seen the power of deep relationships and a shared vision, and are proud to support these teams. We look forward to sharing what these teams are learning and finding more ways to strengthen teamwork in schools across the city.

Next week we’ll announce the final three teacher grantee teams, and their programs for professional growth to increase teacher engagement and retention. Stay tuned!

Emma Coufal

Emma Coufal

Think College Now

Teacher Advisory Group Member (2016)

Jennie Herriot-Hatfield

Jennie Herriot-Hatfield

Think College Now

Teacher Advisory Group Member (2016)

 

Nina Portugal

Nina Portugal

Life Academy

Teacher Advisory Group Member (2016)

Oakland Teachers: How to Support Us in Our Work

In our post last week, we shared teachers’ ideas to address foundational needs at their sites: curriculum aligned to more challenging standards, time to plan rigorous instructional cycles, and better professional work space. We’re excited to see the effect of addressing these important basic needs at La Escuelita, Madison Park Academy, and Coliseum College Prep Academy.
This week we are honored to announce another four Oakland schools whose teachers are putting promising retention strategies into practice, focused on the next level of the Gallup Engagement Hierarchy: management support for teachers in their roles. Two schools are piloting hybrid roles for master teachers to support teachers, and two schools are working on their school culture. We think both of these approaches can increase retention of experienced and new teachers alike.
Master teachers mentoring and coaching new teachers at North Oakland Community Charter School (NOCCS): Juliana Germak and Lorin King, master teachers at NOCCS, are piloting hybrid roles that provide them with 20% release time to coach and mentor developing teachers. This strategy keeps the best teachers in the classroom, invests in their career development, and provides beginning teachers with more support (while freeing up school leaders’ time).
Designing a new hybrid role at Learning Without Limits: Sonya Mehta, lead teacher at Learning Without Limits, is studying hybrid approaches from across the country and prototyping a hybrid role that can work for other seasoned teachers across Education For Change and increase student learning schoolwide.
Developing a mindfulness practice at International Community School (ICS): Liz Woodward, Nicol Lacava, Rachel Quinn and colleagues are partnering with Mindful Schools to develop individual mindfulness practice to support teacher well-being, and then supporting students in the classroom to develop a mindfulness practice.
Building a sustainable adult work culture at Greenleaf: Kelly McBride, Victoria Diaz, Michael Lee and colleagues are partnering with The Teaching Well to build awareness, skills, and strategies to create a sustainable work culture that supports teachers’ long-term effectiveness and sustainability and directly addresses burnout.
As Oakland teachers ourselves, we’re excited about these innovative proposals. Every day, we watch our colleagues extend themselves to go “above and beyond” to meet their students’ needs. Every year, we see colleagues leave Oakland schools or leave teaching altogether, because they didn’t feel successful or supported in their roles. We know there are no easy answers nor “silver bullet” solutions, but we are proud to be a part of an effort that enables Oakland teachers to make their ideas a reality. We are eager to learn alongside our colleagues and find more ways to support Oakland teachers’ satisfaction and retention.   Stay tuned next week when we announce three more teams of Oakland teachers implementing retention strategies that tackle teamwork and career growth!
Emma Coufal

Emma Coufal

Think College Now

Teacher Advisory Group Member (2016)

Jennie Herriot-Hatfield

Jennie Herriot-Hatfield

Think College Now

Teacher Advisory Group Member (2016)

 

Nina Portugal

Nina Portugal

Life Academy

Teacher Advisory Group Member (2016)