Oakland Unified School District
A primary emphasis of SEL implementation in Oakland is that social and emotional learning includes race, class, gender, culture, history and gender identity. Oakland leadership is committed to intentionally interrupting and addressing inequities with this movement to sustain a transformation of practices, policies and beliefs. OUSD is planning for a district-wide change strategy with approaches to explicitly model social and emotional learning skills and competencies through experiences that have a high degree of relevance to the district’s diverse population. An important goal is for all participants to feel well-positioned and empowered to transform the culture of OUSD into an organization that expects, prioritizes, integrates and supports SEL and leadership across the system.
Beginning in 2009, OUSD has coalesced around a five-year strategic plan (“Community Schools, Thriving Students”) and a long-term vision that “serves the whole child, eliminates inequity, and provides each child with excellent teachers every day.” The district bases this vision and strategy on three areas of focus: (1) high-quality instructional core, (2) social and emotional health and well-being, and (3) equitable opportunities for learning. Also important are partnerships with the College Board, Panasonic Foundation, and CASEL
In addition, OUSD leaders have trained more than 200 staff members in restorative justice practices and have incorporated a conflict resolution and peer mediation program into the district curriculum. The district has adopted the Caring School Community evidence-based SEL program in 21 elementary schools, as well as a three-tiered model of prevention, suspension alternatives, and supported re-entry to school for students in 13 pilot schools. To evaluate and expand this work, the district is designing a comprehensive evaluation system that will gather evidence for assessing SEL and restorative-justice practices.
About the Superintendent
Gary Yee, named acting superintendent in April 2013, is an Oakland native who has been at various times a student, parent, teacher, assistant principal and principal in OUSD. Yee boasts four decades of education experience and a lifetime of commitment to Oakland schools. This bond with the city and it's school district yields a special knowledge of the challenges facing OUSD, as well as the assets to overcome them. Yee began his career in public education in 1973 as a third grade teacher with OUSD's Cleveland Elementary School.
OUSD was featured in a recent Huffington Post article titled "A New Model of School Reform." Click here to read the article.
Joined CDI: 2012
Total Student Enrollment: 46,584
- Largest Racial/Ethnic Student Groups: Hispanic (39.8 percent) and Black (31.5 percent)
- Economically Disadvantaged Students: 69.9 percent
- Students with Limited English Proficiency: 26 percent
- Students with Disabilities (Individualized Education Programs): 10.6 percent
Total Number of Schools: 98
- Elementary: 62
- Middle: 20
- High: 16
SEL Web page:
Director, Family, Schools and Community Partnerships
Senior District Consultant
Ann McKay Bryson