OUSD Board Watch

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February 21, 2012 The February 8 OUSD Board meeting was eventful (as usual).

First, congratulations to Oakland Charter High, which received a positive recommendation by the Charter Office and a unanimous approval by the OUSD Board. With an an API score of 938, an API rank of 10 and a Similar Schools Rank of 10, it is not hard to see why. Oakland Charter High has made exceptionally high marks throughout the first charter term and will no doubt continue to do so as they move into their second charter term.

Second, Education for Change (EFC) is sponsoring the charter conversion of Lazear Elementary, one of the 5 schools OUSD has slated for closure at the end of this school year. EFC was the CMO of choice selected by the teachers and families of Lazear to support the school community in seeking a charter solution. On Wednesday, February 8, the public hearing was held for the EFC-Lazear team to present their charter and make their case to the OUSD Board. In large part, the decision to "go charter" was driven by the need and desire of the school community to stay together and continue to build off of the recent progress the school has made under the leadership of a dedicated principal and the active engagement of parents. In addition, the families pointed out to the OUSD Board that while 90+% of the families from the other four school closure sites were able to receive placements in schools of their choosing, by contrast, less than 50% of Lazear families received priority placements. In the face of the issues raised by the petitioners, the OUSD Board veered from their standard hearing protocol and attempted to directly respond to the content presented in the hearing. The result was a very troubling back-and-forth between the Board and the petitioners, and multiple calls to the Board Secretary for points of order. Stay tuned, as the determination hearing will be scheduled for early March.

Finally, LPS presented a compelling vision for a new charter school that would push the envelope on the very definition of high school is in the first place! LPS has been recognized for this school design as one of 5 winners nationally of the Next Generation Learning Challenge and is incorporating programs and innovations such as Linked Learning, a 13th Hybrid College/High Year, and deeply integrated technology. LPS is seeking to form a mutual partnership with OUSD in rolling out the program and has been received enthusiastically by many within the District.