OAKLAND -- Great Oakland Public Schools and its community partners released a report Wednesday detailing Oakland students' academic performance with the purpose of informing the community while also motivating them to be more engaged in helping students achieve more academically.
"Oakland Achieves: A Public Education Progress Report" focuses on eight indicators, including third-grade reading proficiency, eighth-grade algebra proficiency, college readiness, graduation rates and college enrollment.
Members of GO Public Schools spent eight months compiling data and interviewing experts in Oakland and throughout California to select the indicators for the report's findings. "Oakland Achieves" is expected to be an annual report.
"We want to increase the understanding that a thriving Oakland is thriving students," said Jonathan Klein, executive director of Great Oakland Public Schools. "We want to look at how to move toward an Oakland where leaders and the community share goals and strategies for student success."
The data shows how students perform overall and by race. Specific schools that have produced high student achievement are spotlighted in comparison to the broader Oakland averages. The report includes statistics and information explaining why these outcomes matter. Although the findings may show a low percentage of students meeting the indicators' standards, they show how students have progressed over time.
The number of Oakland public schools meeting the minimum on the California Academic Performance Index, for example, has increased from five schools in 1999 to 42 schools in 2012.
Councilwoman Libby Schaaf was excited to see this type of collective report because it gives the community an idea of what's been accomplished and what they still need to do.
"What stuck out to me is that there are still tremendous equity gaps," she said. "Latino and African-American students are not having the type of outcomes that we need to provide to them, particularly with graduation rates."
In 2011, the graduation rate for Hispanic/Latino and African-American students who entered ninth grade in 2007 was 52 and 55 percent, respectively, according to the report.
GO Public Schools, a nonprofit that has dedicated itself to Oakland education, hosted a report preview Friday to educational, business and community leaders in Oakland as an opportunity to discuss the report's findings and what can be done for the future.
Discussion points varied, but the overarching question was how can community members, leaders and educators start the conversation of what to do about these indicators?
"I think there should be some central support to get the community engaged in helping," said Sam Pasarow, principal of Edna Brewer Middle School.
Another attendant referred to the report pointing out that mostly charter schools had high A-G completion rates and graduation rates and wondered how regular public schools can have similar outcomes.
Others discussed how money is distributed, controlled and spent within the district and the schools.
As an Oakland Unified School District board member, Jody London was already familiar with student achievement levels in Oakland. Yet, she thought the report was a beneficial tool for the community.
"It's great to have the community thinking about how we can all take responsibility for better outcomes for children in our city," she said. "The thing that I hope people will take away from this is that these issues are really crucial, and they're bigger than the school district."
The "Oakland Achieves: A Public Education Progress Report" report can be viewed on the GO Public Schools website at www.gopublicschools.org.