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Teaching and Learning in Oakland Community Schools

Kendra FehrerJul 28, 2021

This brief is part of a series that shares findings from a research collaboration between the John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities at Stanford University and Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) focused on understanding implementation of the community school model in the district.

Community schools aim to address students’ needs, and promote a positive school climate in which students are ready to learn and teachers are supported to provide quality instruction which, in turn, improves student attendance, behavior, and achievement. Previous research has demonstrated that student and family participation in support services—a key feature of community schools—is often associated with improved student outcomes.

Additionally, the structures and systems of community schools—for example, leadership, partnerships, and coordination—may enhance the integration of these services as fundamental components of the life and academic mission of the school, ultimately bolstering their ability to affect student outcomes.

This brief focuses on site staffs’ perceptions and experiences of how the community school model supports student, teacher, and school outcomes. In addition, we incorporate analysis of school-level outcomes using OUSD administrative data for these schools and the district as a whole to identify shifts in leading indicators of student academic engagement and performance, as well as school climate.

KEY FINDINGS
• The majority of respondents at all schools in this study report that community school interventions have positively affected student readiness to learn, support for teachers, and the school climate.
• School and partner staff reported that community school supports and services addressed important barriers to learning.
• Teachers noted that the system of supports and resources at their schools enabled them to focus more directly on teaching.
• School-level year-to-year student statistical trends are largely consistent with teacher and staff reports obtained during our first phase of interviews, although it is too early to conclude an association between community school interventions and aggregate student outcome trends.