Youth Together 2017 – 2018 Listening Campaign Results

 

 

After a year of Youth Together Lead Student Organizers facilitating a Youth Participatory Action Research project, Youth Together is proud to present the findings and recommendations that students created. The goal of the 2018 Listening Campaign, which was conducted between October 2017 and June 2018, was to work with a cohort of Lead Student Organizers to collect, analyze, and interpret data, and to use that data to create solutions to issues that are deeply and widely felt. Our students collected this data through creating and administering workshops, surveys, and focus groups with students across OUSD. 

On June 8th, 2018, Lead Student Organizers presented their Findings and Recommendations for the Oakland Unified School District based on the data that they received over the year. 

The guiding question for this project was: 

“Do you feel like your schools are setting you up for success? Why or why not? What’s one thing that your school could begin to do more of to set students up for success?”

LSOs focused on this question because they felt that not all OUSD students are succeeding, or are getting the resources that they need. They wanted to listen to the students and ask them directly what they need in order to succeed. From here, the Lead Student Organizers collected questions from students that they had in specific areas that they were interested in:

  • Budget & Funding
  • School Policies & Procedures
  • School Climate & Culture
  • Food & Wellness

Each LSO collected questions in this area, and from there, came up with 10 – 15 questions that helped us shape our Listening Campaign workshop, where we began co-creating a rubric with students around what they expect their schools to look like.

From there, we created out last survey, which was given out between February and May of 2018. The data was evaluated, and from that evaluation, Lead Student Organizers pulled out what they felt were important data points, and fashioned recommendations to address the issues they identified through the data. 


FINDINGS:

Although there is still much to interpret from the data, these are the initial data points that we felt were important:

  • The three (3) biggest resources respondents articulated when asked what resources they could use more of were: More basic technology (72%); More cleaning supplies and staff (67%); and more funds for teachers to stock and decorate their classrooms (51.9%).
  • 57% of student respondents said that they didn’t have enough physical or mental health resources.

Some quotes for this section are:

    • “More money for our school. We might not be the best school but if classes were more interesting, and how more resources, kids would actually come to class. If we had more money, we would have clubs and another thing, we kids can come to clubs we like instead of being on the street. I feel like you should read this, because I’m a student at Castlemont, and I want to see changes.”
    • “Our bathrooms are frankly, a mess. There is no soap, broken sinks, flooded floors, and sometimes no toilet paper. There are also no paper towels. IT is a huge issue and it is offensive to all students within OUSD that nothing has been done about it. Clean bathrooms are a necessity. I have faith that something productive can be done addressing this issue, but am still disappointed that nothing has been done yet.”
      • When asked about whether students felt that their opinions were taken into account:
        • “It doesn’t seem like its valued, because a lot of kids speak up about how they feel, but it often isn’t acknowledged by those that can actually make a difference. They never do anything about it. When they do ask for opinions, they only ask a small sample of the school. EX: bathrooms, schedules, and food.”
  • 76.43% of respondents said that a better school lunch would encourage their academic success.

Some quotes for this section are:

    • “ I understand that we need to eat healthy, but when the school lunch isn’t presentable, it make me not even want to eat.”
    • “I would like to see more home cooked meals, fruit cups, something that these lunch ladies and men would feed their own children, because what they be serving in the lunchroom, I will NEVER EVER feed my child with that type of food.”

These data points, coupled with an extensive evaluation, lead us to our Recommendations. 


RECOMMENDATIONS:

What we recognize is that students are not experiencing the resources at their sites in a positive way. Although we live in a district that’s budget has more than doubled through LCFF, in Oakland, that money isn’t going where students feel it should. For this reason, we feel that we should focus on creating more ACCESS, ACCOUNTABILITY, and UNDERSTANDING around resource allocation, which is why we propose REAL COMMUNITY SCHOOLS

WHAT ARE REAL COMMUNITY SCHOOLS?

We want to invest in all schools in making every school a community school, by creating more accountability, access, and understanding at the site level. Because we know that we are receiving funds to support students, we want to make sure that those things are effective, evaluated, and widely shared. We want to do this through:

ACCOUNTABILITY:

We want to create  more accountable School Site Councils, because they are in charge of the money at a site level. If we can create SSCs that are regularly collecting and analyzing data, then they can really know what it is that students need, and make better decisions at the school site.

  • We want to expand the School Governance position in OUSD, to allow for more widespread and consistent support for SSCs;
  • We want School Site Councils to attend bi-annual trainings, where they are learning how to collect, evaluate, and interpret data from and at their sites;
  • We want SSCs to create plans to collect, analyze, and interpret data from and at their sites with the support of OUSD’s RAD Department, which are also evaluated yearly.
  • We want SSC’s to facilitate collecting data around how students are experiencing LCAP goals at their sites.
  • We want to increase the number of students elected to SSCs, to ensure that the student voice is the most heard in the room.
  • We want SSC’s to present data bi-annually on their student populations, and how they are choosing to spend money at the site level, and why.

ACCESSIBILITY:

We want to create more accessible SSC’s through making sure that all meetings are widely publicized, and available in many places;

  • We want to see SSC’s become more accessible by requiring schools to post the announcements for SSC meetings at least 7 business days before the meeting time.
  • We want SSC’s to provide complete calendars with the meetings happening throughout the year on both the school site AND district websites, to be updated at the earliest possible time when changes are made

UNDERSTANDING:

We want to make sure that SSCs are consistently reporting back to students, parents, and community members on what they’re doing, and why they’re making certain decisions.

  • We want to make SSCs report to the ASB Leadership at each high school in the beginning of the year, and involve them in collecting data from their peers at the site level.
  • We want SSC’s, school leadership, and student leadership to present to parents & students both at the beginning of the year and end of the year about what they accomplished, and how students and parents can get involved in the future.

 

We believe that, with these recommendations, OUSD can start to make steps in the right direction towards better supporting their students.