Community Voices Blog

Oakland Recognized as National 2013 Community Pacesetter

5 Friends 089We are excited to share that the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading has selected Oakland Reads 2020 (OR2020) as a 2013 Community Pacesetter! This is an honor bestowed upon select communities nationwide that have set the pace in improving reading proficiency among its youngest students and is an honor that reflects the energy, mobilization and creativity the Oakland community has incorporated in its collaborative efforts. Read more here

Receiving the 2013 Community Pacesetter recognition only serves to underscore that 2013 was a big year for OR2020; we cultivated partnerships,engaged stakeholders from across the city, and created new opportunities to support our shared vision for Oakland’s children. Together we mobilized community members and built commitment to a shared goal: 85% of Oakland third graders reading at or above grade-level by the end of third grade. 

If you missed our December Newsletter see some of the highlights below that led to this special recognition. 

Thank you for making it all possible; through your hard work you demonstrated your commitment to grade-level reading for Oakland’s children and spread the word that, “Third Grade Reading Success Matters!” 

We look forward to working with you to make 2014 even better-we know it will take our collective action for collective success!

OR2020 -- A Year in Review

Supporting our Schools

Many of you have heard our unofficial motto of “schools cannot do it alone.” Beginning with our Brookfield Village Elementary School partners supporting literacy through Family Reading Nights, the Reading Challenge, and regular meetings to improve collaboration in the last year of the Literacy Zone pilot, we have been increasing our efforts to build alliances with schools. These activities have shown the power of community collective action.
Notable is the series of School Work Days — volunteer days to support projects in our local schools. This fall we organized six “Book Leveling Parties”Blb Dec 12 with over 90 volunteers gathering in schools to “level” hundreds of classroom libraries so they are teacher and student ready. These classroom libraries are directly tied to Oakland Unified School District’s efforts to promote balanced literacy and support tools for the implementation of the new Common Core curriculum. As part of this effort, OR2020 was successful in raising $85,000 to provide leveled book sets to preschool to third grade classrooms in 26 OUSD schools. 

Look out for announcements or check out our website for more School Work Day opportunities.

Oakland Reads 2020 Symposium

Over 150 community members joined in June 2013 for our official OR2020 Launch. For five hours, the Downtown Oakland Marriott transformed into a dynamic zone dedicated to laying out the challenges facing our early learners. Our speakers shared their leadership and inspiration for the OR2020 vision, and our sessions asked participants to draw on a common agenda for Oakland’s kids.

June Sypm Mayor
Highlighting the importance of Oakland Reads 2020, Mayor Jean Quan said, “Every child in this city deserves an opportunity to learn to read and write, and we have an obligation to support solutions that will assist them. This campaign affects all of us. Successful students can reach their dreams, strengthen our local economy, and help us reduce violence in our community.” By the end of the day, we had put a stake in the ground and called our community to action.

Since the June Symposium we have undergone a long process of selecting indicators to track our progress and are creating a baseline report to share data. Using participant feedback we have been able to build a bigger tent and engage new stakeholders and leaders in our work. We were thrilled at the turnout of our June Symposium and look forward to engaging with you again in summer 2014.

Planning for Action

OR2020 is committed to the principals of Collective Impact. We spent 2013 building a deeper understanding—and commitment—to collective impact with partners across the city. The June Symposium was our first step in sharing the collective impact framework with our community of partners. 

Since then we’ve partnered with Urban Strategies Council to help us build a strong framework to organize for action. We’ve carefully developed a set of indicators to help us track our progress. Later this winter we will be sharing with you our Baseline & Formative Report, which will inform the basis of our work and implementation moving forward.

Or2020 Planning SessionUsing this report we will focus our efforts around creating working groups to drive targeted action plans around our key strategy areas and indicators. 

As you can see, a lot of great progress occurred in 2013; however we know there is still work to be done to reach the goal. We remain committed to creating a strong infrastructure to support our efforts and enable strong cross-sector collaboration to achieve our goals. 

In 2014 we look forward to bringing forth new ways for all our stakeholders to find a place for participation in the initiative and we continue to welcome your ideas. Are you new to the community and want to learn how you can get involved? Contact us!

Welcome to Community Voices

A place where we spotlight the great work going on in support of grade-level reading . We invite you to submit a blog posting to make your voice heard. Please download the guidelines for submissions

If you are interested, please email Paula Ambrose at paula.ambrose@krfoundation.org for more information.

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