The Kenneth Rainin Foundation’s goal is to ensure that Oakland’s youngest learners have equitable access to quality early education and opportunities for future success. The Community Strategy Council was instrumental in helping us co-design four equity levers that are at the heart of our approach to improving outcomes for children from birth to eight years old. When operating together in a learning ecosystem, these high-yielding, equity-focused strategies can create social and educational change.
Our Equity Levers Include:
- Teaching and Learning to support early childhood literacy and social-emotional learning both in and out of the classroom. When students have access to core curriculum and high-quality instruction from preschool through 12th grade, they are better prepared to succeed in life. It’s also important to have a teacher pipeline that includes qualified educators of color that resemble the diversity of students.
- Support for Families and Communities to strengthen school-home partnerships and build parents’ leadership and advocacy for their children’s wellbeing. To reinforce a culture of learning in home, school and community, parents and caregivers need to be recognized and supported as leaders in their children’s education. We also see friends, family and neighbors as an extension of the school’s network.
- Policy Advocacy to engage in local, state and federal policy work that will help break down the academic, social and economic barriers that stand in the way of early literacy development in Oakland. This includes exploring alternative, trauma-informed discipline practices and advocating for more local and state resources to advance equity and empower parents and families.
- Strategic Networks for community-based organizations to convene and build the capacity of early childhood educators, providers and families. Oakland has a strong support system of community-based organizations working in literacy. Leveraging these community networks and social justice partnerships will help us strengthen the learning ecosystem for every child.