This case study is one of six conducted for the report, Oakland Unified School District: New Small Schools Initiative Evaluation.
ACORN Woodland Elementary (AWE) represents one of the most remarkable academic turnarounds of any school in the state of California. In 2000-01, its first year open, AWE scored a 345 on California’s Academic Performance Index (API)1 making it one of the lowest scoring elementary schools in the state and the lowest performing elementary school in Oakland Unified School District (OUSD). In 2007-08, AWE bested its initial score by over 400 points, earning an API of 7742.
AWE is unique not only for its spectacular API growth, but as one of the first new small schools in OUSD, it provides a unique perspective into the history of the district’s new small schools initiative. AWE showcases the important community role in launching and supporting a school, and demonstrates the promise of “re-incubation” as a strategy for helping schools to overcome tremendous challenges and to “re-vision” themselves for long-term academic success.
A new book, Global Education Reform: How Privatization and Public Investment Influence Education Outcomes, provides a powerful analysis of these different ends of an ideological spectrum – from market-based experiments to strong state investments in public education.