Kindergarten can be a big adjustment for children and families, requiring them to adjust rapidly to new routines and expectations. Research and experience shows that making that transition as smooth as possible builds the foundation for children’s academic and social-emotional skills as well as positive family-school connections. The OUSD Early Learning Department has been intentionally building strong transition practices to support children entering kindergarten and transitional kindergarten (TK). This past summer, the Summer Kinder TK Bridge program was successfully scaled to 14 OUSD elementary school sites, where early childhood educators provided a four-week foundational program for children.
The City of Oakland is in the midst of determining its budget for the next two fiscal years (2023-24 and 2024-25). Mayor Sheng Thao unveiled her $4.2 billion budget proposal on May 3, 2023 and City Council has until June 30, 2023 to pass a final budget. This year, there is a $360 million budget deficit to contend with due to fewer tax revenues and the loss of pandemic emergency dollars. Mayor Thao presented a balanced budget made possible by hiring freezes, strategic reductions, and a proposed reorganization of some city departments.
Election Day is on November 8! To help the OSSS community make informed decisions about their elected officials, we asked each candidate running for an office representing Oakland about their vision for Oakland’s Early Childhood Ecosystem. With the goal to raise awareness of ECE as an important issue, our collaborative developed a questionnaire based on “Early Childhood Education Matters in Oakland: An Informational Guide for Elected Officials and Candidates.”
We’re thrilled to share Oakland Starting Smart and Strong’s 2022-2025 Strategic Plan!
Over the past six months, we engaged in an assessment of our impact over the last 7 years and defined a strategic roadmap for the next phase of our work. We thank the more than 300 OSSS stakeholders who provided input and ideas on our structure, impact, successes, challenges, and strategic opportunities.
The resulting three-year strategic plan details our vision, mission, values, and newly updated pillars. The plan also outlines five key goals and related strategies to drive our work forward as a critical leader in identifying, seeding, and driving equitable solutions to strengthen the City of Oakland’s early childhood ecosystem.
At the heart of our plan is a push for OSSS and our partners to be bold in our approach to create an early childhood ecosystem that addresses systemic racism and is equitable for all children and families. In this plan, as in everything we do, our collaborative strives to center the leadership and experiences of Oakland families and early childhood practitioners.
Over the past 7 years, Oakland Starting Smart and Strong (OSSS) has built a strong, cross-sector collaborative that advances racial justice, develops and amplifies community-driven solutions, and advocates for changes in policy and resources to create an early childhood ecosystem that effectively serves children 0-5, their families, caregivers, and educators. Our new strategic plan plan builds on our past successes, maps a clear strategic direction forward, and is deeply rooted in our commitment to racial justice and equity.
OSSS and our partners look forward to continuing to partner with Oakland’s parents and caregivers, communities and institutions to ensure all children, families, and early educators thrive in Oakland. Stay tuned for opportunities to put this plan into action!