2nd Annual Teacher Engagement Survey Results

Every year the month of May is reserved for Teacher Appreciation. And, to close it out strong, we hosted an Educate78 Supply Closet at the Oakland Public Education Fund’s outstanding Teacher Appreciation Party. The Educate78 Supply Closet was set up to give away classroom supplies to hundreds of Oakland public school teachers. In this small way, we hope to reduce the need for teachers to pay for basic classroom materials out of their own pocket.

It was a great night!  Like many in public education, for us at Educate78 appreciating teachers is a year-round affair

The Gallup survey uses a Maslow-esque hierarchy. Check out the questions for each area.

Our Annual Citywide Teacher Survey is another way we strive to support teachers. This survey informs citywide and site-level discussions about teacher retention and how to keep the excellent talent here in Oakland.

Spring 2017 marked the second year that our Teacher Advisory Group used the Gallup employee engagement survey to evaluate Oakland public school teacher satisfaction.

This year we saw a nearly 15% increase in the number of responses over last year, with a total of 572 teachers taking the survey from February to April 2017.

The 2017 survey shows a slight increase in teacher satisfaction over last year. And, our teachers remain more engaged than teachers nationally. Our citywide sample score of 3.87 (on a scale of 1-5) places Oakland teachers in the 36th percentile of all organizations in Gallup’s database, an increase of 2 percentile points from last year. Oakland teachers surveyed are “more engaged” than teachers surveyed nationwide by Gallup (38% in Oakland vs 30% nationally).

In terms of specific needs, Oakland teachers ranked opportunities for growth and development the highest and access to basic needs the lowest. This is consistent with results from last year.

In other words, Oakland teachers find their work fulfilling. But, they feel stymied by basic needs not being met. These basic needs include: classroom supplies, curriculum materials, and heating in their classrooms. These results are worrisome – and the survey was taken before the OUSD instituted its spending reduction measures. We worry what next year’s results will say, especially as the #OUSDBudget woes show every sign of worsening. Kudos to the school leaders across the city who are doing their best with limited resources to create healthy and nurturing working conditions for their teachers

We had additional questions about how long our teachers anticipated staying in Oakland. So, we went beyond the standard Gallup questions to learn more. 76% of respondents are planning to teach in Oakland in the ’17-’18 school year. This is good news for this coming year! But, only 56% are planning to teach in Oakland three years from now.

It is critical to ensure that the 56% stay committed to teaching in Oakland and to create the conditions that will sway the 33% that stated they were unsure to stay.

One way Educate78 is directly working to create these conditions is through Oakland teacher retention grants. In the ’16-’17 school year, we supported twelve pilot teacher retention projects. Want to see what Oakland teachers have been working on? Check out this video for highlights. Keep an eye out- we will announce the ’17-’18 grant winners soon!

One of the great resources for Oakland teachers is a community of organizations that work to support our public school teachers:

Next year, school budgets will continue to be tight, and OEA and OUSD will continue contract negotiations. Through it all, we know that recruiting and retaining the best teachers is one of the most important things we can do for our children. We hope that individuals and organizations across the city will join us in making every day and every month about teacher appreciation!

What will you do to appreciate our teachers and ensure they have what they need to stay teaching in Oakland?

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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.


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