OUSD Strategic Plan Blog Series #2: Empowering Families to Ensure Strong Readers


Continuing our series of blog posts on OUSD’s new 3-year strategic plan, this post will focus on Area 2 of Initiative 1, “Ensuring Strong Readers by the Third Grade”.

By publishing these blog posts, the OLC intends make our members, families, and the larger community aware of the provisions in this focus area as part of the greater effort to build all stakeholders’ capacities to advocate for and for support literacy.

Year 1 Actions and Main Deliverables for Focus Area 2: “Put Families in the Driver’s Seat”, are outlined in the table below:

Year 1 Actions


Main Deliverables


Interview local parent organizations to understand 2021-22 education and social justice priorities


Additional parent organizations added to literacy working group or their input incorporated into the implementation plan; plan for alignment of parent organizations in service of early literacy

Hire and train diverse, multilingual family literacy tutors to support in classrooms and community based organizations


Extra support for children from adult tutors throughout OUSD


Provide multilingual literacy training for parents with clear curriculum focused on accessible learning


Family literacy training curriculum that reflects multilingual learners



Hire parent liaisons focused on building parent literacy leadership


Number of Schools Using this Model



Increase community literacy supports, such as literacy spaces, guest speakers, and culturally connected events
Availability of literacy supports



Teachers and school staff will take on a great amount responsibility in meeting the goals of the initiative. In year 1, OUSD will be implementing a new ELA curriculum in a way best aligns with the academic milestones that the OLC helped to develop in partnership with OUSD.

While the efforts of teachers and staff are paramount in this effort, the important role that families will play cannot be minimized in the effort to create and maintain a culture of reading. Area 2 of Initiative 1 specifically calls to “increase parent and family capacity to advocate for and support literacy and building more powerful home-school partnerships.”


Breaking Down Focus Area 2

In the first action/main deliverable listed above, local parent organizations will be consulted with to align efforts between OUSD and these organizations, building on Focus Area 1: Get Aligned. Furthermore, the focus area endeavors to add more parent organizations to the literacy working group in order to strengthen the momentum of achieving the city-wide vision for literacy.  

Year 1 Actions/Main Deliverables 2-4 of Focus Area 2 will help increase parent and family capacity. Hiring multilingual literacy tutors to provide support in classrooms and community organizations achieves multiple goals. For one, students will have access to more individualized support to supplement classroom instruction they receive from their teachers.  Second, this will help lessen the burden on families and parent to provide the crucial support that children need outside of class.  While the addition of tutors will indeed be helpful, parents and families will still need to have the capacity to support their children. 

Hence, this focus area also calls to “provide multilingual literacy training for parents” in which parents and families get guidance on how best to support their children’s literacy development. This training and guidance of parents and families in supporting children’s literacy development has been piloted in several schools throughout the District. Focus Area 2 calls for use of the same model in more school sites. This includes the hiring parent of liaisons at schools that are focused on building literacy leadership.

The last Year 1 Action/Main Deliverable calls to “Increasing community literacy supports such as literacy spaces, guest speakers, and culturally connected events.”  The OLC has and will continue to provide such supports through our member network meetings, public forums, and growing data base of resources.

Additionally, we will be hosting the first annual Oakland Literacy Symposium: Literacy and Justice for All on October 1-2 in which several local leaders and educators will speak or facilitate workshops focused key issues of literacy in our community.  Our symposium will provide an opportunity for all speakers, workshop facilitators, and participants to align our efforts as we move into year 1 of the strategic plan implementation. 


What Can You Do? 

Among the four focus areas identified in Initiative 1, Focus Area 2 is the most explicit in calling community members to action, placing them in the “driver’s seat.”  By being put in the driver’s seat, community members are called upon to play a strong role in guiding the effort.  We encourage parents and families to do all they can to help meet the goals of this focus area. At the same time, it is important that community members are not overburdened with responsibility and provided with the capacity to “drive.”

At a minimum, we recommend that parents regularly inquire with their schools to check on the status of Year 1 actions/deliverables. For example, you can ask your principals and teachers the following questions: 

  • Will this school be providing multilingual literacy training for parents? If so, when?
  • When will this school be hiring a parent liaison for literacy leadership?

We also encourage to parents and families to seek out and leverage the support of any of Oakland’s great parent organizations (for ex. The Oakland REACH) to understand if and how that organization is aligning their efforts with OUSD’s implementation of the new strategic plan.  These organizations have done much up front work on behalf of parents and families and can best provide guidance on how you can best advocate for your children and your families. 

Finally, we invite all to register for and participate in OLC’s Symposium, along with other forums and events that the OLC will coordinate in order to increase our community’s literacy supports.

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