Education Strategy Resources

Sharing resources and tools that inform and guide our work

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Education Strategy Resources

As an organization, we strive to live our value of “learn, learn, learn” by continually listening to those closest to Oakland students – our grantees and partners – as well as voices from the field of education. The resources listed below reflect what we have read and listened to that has shaped our current thinking as well as the development of our most recent strategy. In addition to these resources, we actively listen to those working across Oakland education through various social media platforms (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook). As our learning evolves, so will the resources included on this page.

Research, Reports, and Tools

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Opportunity Myth (2018) — Published by TNTP, The Opportunity Myth breaks open the fallacy that all children are given the same opportunities in our public education system. In fact, children of color are routinely given below grade level work due to low expectations from teachers, making it near impossible for them to access the same opportunities education provides for white children.

The Majority Report: Supporting the Success of Latino Students in California (2017)—Published by Ed Trust West, this report provides an extensive look at how Latino students are faring at every level of California’s education system. The report shows that despite Latino students being the majority of the state’s K-12 population, and a large portion of the state’s college and university students, these students continue to face troubling inequities from Kindergarten through higher education.

Black Minds Matter (2015) — An examination by EdTrust West of how the nearly 1 million Black youth in California are faring from preschool through college, this report reveals the disparities that data show persist at all levels of their educational journey, in addition to the efforts underway to reverse these trends and close achievement and opportunity gaps.

National Equity Project 7 Circle Model—The Six Circle Model was developed to explain the importance of having both technical and relational components in order to bring about and sustain change. NEP’s adaptation, the Seven Circle Model recognizes that systemic oppression exists and negatively affects the dynamic interplay of the technical and relational aspects.

ERS Report Informing Inequity (2017) — A collaboration between Oakland Achieves and Education Resource Strategies, this study examines district-run and charter schools in Oakland across three dimensions: student need, resource levels, and resource use.

NGLC in Oakland: Year 2 Evaluation (2019) — The NGLC in Oakland: Year 2 Evaluation contains a cohort-level scan of the outcomes data from the second year of the Next Generation Learning Challenge launch in Oakland schools, as well as a school-by-school analysis for each of the seven participating school sites. You can find a link to the Year 1 Evaluation via this Year 2 resource.

NGLC MyWays —The MyWays Student Success Framework is a synthesis of 20 competencies for success in learning, work, and life. Use the framework, tools, and community you’ll find here to launch your school-change initiative and reimagine your learning and assessment designs. The value of MyWays lies primarily in the rich discussions, collaborative development, and transformative culture-building it can catalyze within your team, school, district, and community. MyWays is more of a helpful friend than a blueprint; more of a conversation than a report; more journey than destination.

CORE Data Collaborative — This Collaborative brings together the CORE Eight Districts with participating offices of education, districts, and schools in peer learning opportunities to examine their data and work to uncover their strengths and areas for improvement. Collaborative members, including the Oakland Unified School District and charter schools across the city, have access to the CORE Dashboard which includes a range for academic, culture/climate, and socio-emotional learning data. A hallmark of the CORE Dashboard is the CORE growth model which examines how students are progressing from year to year. Growth data for participating Oakland schools can be found here.

CA School Dashboard — The California School Dashboard is part of California’s current accountability system for districts and schools. The Dashboard, designed to be parent and community friendly, includes important data on student demographics, academic performance, academic engagement, and the conditions and climate at the school and compares current and prior year results.

What Informs Our Thinking as a Funder

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The Grantee Perception Report — Created by the Center for Effective Philanthropy, the Grantee Perception Report (GPR) provides a way for funders to gather feedback from their grantees and understand how their results compare to peer foundations. Check out our most recent GPR results and response here. (Once we announced that the Rogers Family Foundation was spending down, we decided not to conduct another GPR.)

Grant Advisor — Like Yelp for foundations, Grant Advisor is another helpful tool that allows grantees to anonymously post feedback about a funder’s grantmaking process. The feedback can then be used by the funders to determine what changes might need to be made to their grantmaking process, and by future grantseekers to help them navigate the grant application process.

Trust Based Philanthropy — The Whitman Institute developed the practice of Trust-Based Philanthropy as a way to alleviate power imbalances in the philanthropy sector by embedding trust, dialogue, and relationship-building in its practices with grantees. Check out this overview of trust-based philanthropy. Interested in learning how trust-based philanthropy already shows up in your organization? Take their survey.

Books We Read

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Disrupting Class — The way we learn doesn’t always match up with the way we are taught. If we hope to stay competitive– academically, economically, and technologically–we need to reevaluate our educational system, rethink our approach to learning, and reinvigorate our commitment to learning. In other words, we need disruptive innovation.

BlendedBlended is the practical field guide for implementing blended learning techniques in K-12 classrooms. A follow-up to the bestseller Disrupting Class by Clayton M. Christensen, Michael Horn, and Curtis Johnson, this hands-on guide expands upon the blended learning ideas presented in that book to provide practical implementation guidance for educators seeking to incorporate online learning with traditional classroom time.

Go Blended!: A Handbook for Blending Technology in SchoolsGo Blended! is a practical implementation guide for educators interested in getting blended learning off the ground. Author Liz Arney is a seasoned developer of blended learning programs at Aspire Public Schools, and she also closely collaborates with district and charter leaders from across the country on this work. Go Blended! offers boots-on-the-ground support for laying the foundation for a blended learning program in our schools and classrooms.

Decolonizing Wealth: Indigenous Wisdom to Heal Divides and Restore BalanceDecolonizing Wealth takes a sharp look at the dysfunctional colonial dynamics at play in philanthropy and finance. Author Edgar Villanueva, an award-winning philanthropy executive, draws from the traditions from the Native way to prescribe the medicine for restoring balance and healing our divides.

Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World — From author Anand Giridharadas, Winner Take All takes a groundbreaking investigation of how the global elite’s efforts to “change the world” preserve the status quo and obscure their role in causing the problems they later seek to solve.”

Beyond Grit and Resilience: How Black Men Impacted by the Crack Epidemic Succeeded Against the Odds and Obtained Doctoral Degrees — Written by Dr. Charles Cole III, Beyond Grit and Resilience utilizes oral histories to illuminate the life stories of three Black men who navigated their way through trauma, the education system, and life experience to eventually earn doctoral degrees.

Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain — Zaretta Hammond draws on cutting edge neuroscience research to offer an innovative approach for designing and implementing brain compatible culturally responsive instruction.


Unicorns Unite: How Nonprofits & Foundations Can Build Epic Parnterships — Join authors Jane Leu, Vu Le, and Jessamyn Shams-Lau for a nitty-gritty, inside look at how foundations and nonprofits relate today, and why we’re stuck in the status quo.

Organizations We Follow

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EdTrust West — The mission of EdTrust West is to advocate for educational justice and the high academic achievement of all California students, pre-k through college, particularly those of color and living in poverty. EdTrust West is a trusted source for high-quality, data driven reports about the state of education and schools in California.

The New Teacher Project (TNTP) — TNTP works with every level of the public school system to create engaging classrooms, focused schools, and strategic school systems and states, and aims to ensure all students are given a vibrant education. Their report, The Opportunity Myth, has been influential when developing our 2020 Education Strategy.

New Schools Venture Fund (NSVF) — NSVF finds, funds, and supports teams of educators and innovators who are reimagining public education so that every student finishes high school prepared and inspired to create a good life.

Aurora Institute — The Aurora Institute works to advance student-centered, innovative K-12 education systems toward equitable and just outcomes for all.

Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) — Since 2001 CEP has worked to influence foundations and major donors to be more effective through a focus on providing data and insights. CEP’s resources include assessments that gather essential feedback from key stakeholders, data-driven research, customized advisory services, thought provoking events, and incisive commentary through their blog.

The Learning Accelerator — The Learning Accelerator envisions a future in which each student receives the effective, equitable, and engaging education they need to reach their full and unique potential.

Next Generation Learning Challenges — NGLC supports the educators who are reimagining public education. NGLC helps educators apply what is known about learning to school design, live next gen learning professionally, and works with them to generate environments in which next gen learning can flourish.

Common Sense Education — Common Sense Education provides resources for parents and educators about digital citizenship and distance learning, in addition to lists of articles, films, websites, apps, and books parents and educators can use to discuss timely topics with their children.

National Equity Project (NEP) — NEP’s mission is to dramatically improve educational experiences, outcomes, and life options for students and families who have been historically underserved by their schools and districts. The NEP team offers deep, authentic, and supportive partnership through the use of customized coaching and consulting services that reflects the current journey of their clients.

FSG — FSG is a mission-driven consulting firm focused on supporting clients in their quest to create social change. In addition FSG has developed a wealth of research and reports on collective impact, learning and evaluation, inclusive markets, and systems thinking.

PACE (Policy Analysis for California Education) — PACE bridges the gap between research, policy, and practice, working with scholars from California’s leading universities and with state and local decision-makers to achieve improvement in performance and more equitable outcomes at all levels of California’s education system, from early childhood to postsecondary education and training.

Collaborative for Social Emotional Learning (CASEL) — Through research, practice, and policy, CASEL collaborates with thought leaders to equip educators and policymakers with the knowledge and resources to advance social and emotional learning in equitable learning environments so all students can thrive.

Attendance Works — Attendance Works’s mission is to advance student success and help close equity gaps by reducing chronic absence. In order to reach their mission, Attendance Works fosters state campaigns and partnerships, encourages local practice by providing technical assistance and tools, and builds public awareness and political will about the need and our ability to ensure students are in class, or participating online, so they can learn. Their website lists resources for schools, teachers, and parents in the forms of attendance videos, learning exercises, incentives for positive attendance, carefully crafted messaging, posters and banners, handouts for families, student attendance success plans, and so much more.

Blogs and Newsletters We Read

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Nonprofit AF — Written by Vu Le, former Executive Director of Seattle based nonprofit RVC, Nonprofit AF is a blog for funders and nonprofits which features weekly posts related to timely topics, industry best (and worst) practices, and of course, Vu’s excellent sense of humor.

National Equity Project Newsletter — NEP’s Newsletter regularly lists helpful resources for equitable practices in education, articles related to current events in the community, as well as information about their training programs and institutes.

Great School Voices — Great School Voices serves as a local watchdog on quality and equality in education, with an eye on Oakland, California.

What and Who We Listen to

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8BlackHands–“Deep in the heart of public school education wars rage on, and a few warriors come to fight for the students and families who have waited too long for justice delayed and denied. Yet there is one small band of freedom fighters bringing sanity to the village. Anyone who threatens the education of our 8 million Black children is likely to catch these eight black hands.” This podcast features the perspectives of Dr. Charles Cole III, Chris Stewart, Ray Ankrum, and Sharif El-Mekki on issues in education (and beyond).

SoBEO Rants–A project of the State of Black Education Oakland (SBEO), this podcast series “delves into the minds of some of the most influential Black leaders in Oakland (and beyond).” Featured leaders include Dr. Charles Cole III, Selena Wilson, Marquis Evans, and Dr. Brian Stanley. SoBEO has also developed a narrative series to amplify the stories and experiences of leaders in Oakland’s Black Education community.