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Oakland Unified School District New Small Schools Initiative Evaluation

Project Dates: 
June 2007-June 2009

This study completed a Phase II evaluation study of Oakland Unified School District’s (OUSD) New Small Schools Initiative. The Phase II evaluation study follows a Phase I study completed in September 2007 by Strategic Measurement and Evaluation, Inc.

Phase II took a deeper, longitudinal look at the 45 new small schools in operation during the 2007-08 school year and addresses questions raised by the Board of Education; district administrative leadership; community partners; and school principals, teachers, and parents based on the findings of the Phase I evaluation.

These questions were incorporated into and informed three overarching research goals for this study:

Research Goal #1
To understand how well new small schools and existing schools in OUSD are perform- ing over time, taking into account the students they serve and their process of start-up and development.

Research Goal #2 
To understand what factors influence schools’ achievement and their improvement trajectories over time.

Research Goal #3 
To recommend policy strategies that can build on current successes and address identified needs and issues.

SRN’s key findings and policy observations, considerations, and extensions — and the final report and school case studies from which they are drawn — were designed to facilitate an ongoing, results-based inquiry process for all district stakeholders, including teachers, parents, OUSD administrative leadership, and the OUSD Board of Education.

In sum, this study was designed to contribute longitudinal research on the district’s small schools initiative, provide an informative, research-based framework for examining district policy, and communicate empirical findings that are accessible to a broad audience of educators and laypersons.