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Oakland Schools Receive $3 Million Investment to Boost Student Outcomes

By guest blogger Mike Bock

Oakland public and charter schools have received a $3 million investment that aims to improve student outcomes at 39 of the city's elementary schools for the 2017-18 school year, district officials announced earlier this week.

Much of the funding will go toward a professional development program designed to strengthen instructional leadership and improve curriculum, with a focus on language and literacy instruction.

The funding comes from the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, an Oakland-based philanthropic organization that supports education initiatives in the city's schools.

Organization leaders say the program is the result of a multiyear collaboration between teachers, family members, and other school community members, and that a pilot program tested at RISE Community School in East Oakland in the 2016-17 school year yielded double-digit gains in meeting benchmark targets for literacy at the public school.

"It's vital to close the achievement gap as early as possible," said Kyla Johnson-Trammell, superintendent of the Oakland Unified School District, in a news statement. "The Rainin Foundation's partnership has helped give OUSD the opportunity to intensively focus on the beginning of children's education and improve learning opportunities for our students and their teachers."

The foundation's partnership with the Oakland schools has previously implemented programs such as SEEDS of Learning, designed to boost kindergarten readiness, and Oakland Promise, an initiative that seeks to improve college graduation rates among Oakland students.

Correction:  An earlier version of this article misspelled the name of Kyla Johnson-Trammell. (Sept. 11, 2017)

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