Over the last several years, AUSD staff have been working on a strategic plan to help articulate and align the district's educational focus, time, resources, and organizational design, with an intentional focus on providing equitable opportunities and access to all of our students. It is the first strategic plan since AUSD issued its 2010 Master Plan.
Drawing on extensive engagements with staff, students, and families, the Strategic Plan process also included developing a graduate profile (a composite of the global skills and dispositions we want our students to develop by the time they graduate) and a new vision, mission, and set of guiding principles.
We encourage our students, staff, and families to take a few minutes to look at the plan. More detail on which specific actions will be taken when will be added over the coming weeks.
- Superintendent's Introduction
- AUSD's Vision & Mission
- AUSD's Graduate Profile
- Introduction to Focus Areas, Goals, and Actions
- Focus Area One: Strong Foundational Program for All Students
- Focus Area 1: Systems and Structures for Student Support
- Focus Area 3: Resources, Talent Management, and Communications
- Moving Forward
- Priority Actions
- Funding the Strategic Plan
- How You Can Help
I am pleased to share with our community AUSD’s first strategic plan sincethe 2010 Master Plan was
produced 12 years ago.
Since that time, many conditions have changed, including AUSD’sdemographics and enrollment, the state’s public education fundingsystem, and a host of other academic standards, assessments, andreporting tools. As a community, staff and families alike, we face thecomplex task of building a school system that provides an engagingfoundational education to all students and that can also providedifferentiated support for individualized student needs. It's a very bigchallenge, but one undeniably worth pursuing.
We are also educating students in a social context that in recent years has witnessed heightened awareness of issues related to public health, politics,mental health, race and racism, climate, and countless other areas. In thiscontext, it is important to remember that creating an affinity for learningshould be our highest priority, because a student who has learned to lovethe process of learning itself will be better equipped to respondconstructively to their ever-changing social environment and adapt andthrive in an economy that is anything but predictable.
Locally, we continue to share the struggle of many school districts when itcomes to serving all of our students effectively. That is, we continue to seedifferences in outcomes and opportunities for students in our system,differences that correlate to factors like race, disability, and housingstatus. This pattern warrants both our sustained attention and a sustainedeffort to disrupt.
In light of all of this, we feel an imperative to focus and pursue system-wide upgrades and strategies that we hope will generate a collectivepositive impact for all of our students.
In developing this plan, we have focused on instruction, support, andAUSD operations through a lens of equity, pragmatism, and the long-termfiscal well-being of the district. Our goal has been to identify both thefoundational program and supports that all of our students need and thechanges we need to implement to meet those needs.
Some of those changes may seem like things we should already have, suchas teacher collaboration, a full kindergarten day, and schedules that allowstudents to receive extra or specialized help without missing grade-level instruction. These are program components, however, that AUSD has notprovided in the past and so will be new.
Still other changes may feel disruptive (such as changing programs or atleast the funding for programs) in order to initially shore up thefoundations of our programming at all schools. What’s most important tounderstand is that all of these changes are meant to support students,staff, and families alike.
Key to the implementation of this plan is the role of our individual schoolsites, who will work with their school communities to integrate these goalsinto their annual site plans while considering the wide-ranging andsometimes varying needs of their respective students, staff, and families.
I encourage the members of our AUSD community to read through thissummary of the report so that we can jointly understand our goals ofproviding the very best instruction and school cultures for our students. Ialso encourage families to learn about their own school's site plan byattending School Site Council meetings. This a terrific way to contribute tothe plans and priorities of individual schools across our district.
An early and key part of the Strategic Plan work was a revision of the district's Vision, Mission, and Guiding
Principles. The Board of Education adopted these revisions at its January 12, 2021 public meeting.
Each and every child is compassionate, confident, and feels successful, academically prepared, and able to make meaningful, positive impact in their lives, the lives of others, and the world around them.
Alameda Unified School District is committed to upholding our community’s core values of equity and
excellence for every student by providing inclusive and safe conditions for learning that challenge and support every student to be culturally competent and prepared for college, career, and community participation.
In the fall of 2019, district staff, in consultation with a wide range of community members, developed a
"graduate profile" for AUSD. This profile outlines, at a high level, the characteristics, skills, and qualities we want AUSD students to acquire by the time they finish the 12th grade.
AUSD's graduate profile has served as a 'north star," or student-centered guide, during the development of the Strategic Plan and its accompanying focus areas, goals, and action plans.
More information is available on our Graduate Profile web page.
AUSD's Strategic Plan consists of three "focus areas," each of which includes three to four goals. Each of
those goals, in turn, includes a series of concrete actions we will take to achieve the goals. Put another way, a "Focus Area" is a large topic of concern and effort for the district; "Goals"are the desired outcomes for the Focus Areas - what the Focus Area will look like once implemented; and "Actions" are the steps we are committing to in order to help achieve the goals.
These focus areas, goals, and action steps were developed after significant engagement with staff, families, and the wider district community, including:
- School Administrators
- PTAs & PTA Council
- Office Managers
- School Site Councils
- Instructional Leadership Teams
- Equity Round Tables
- AUSD's Academic Committee
- District English Learner
- Advisory Committee
- Community Advisory
- District Office Staff
- AUSD Managers
Students’ daily learning experiences are characterized by engagement, multiple ways of learning, and
Student learning is driven by grade-level standards and clear policies. Our families, staff, and students are clear about what they are expected to learn and the policies that support learning.
Build relationships between families, students, and staff to ensure schools are supportive, inclusive, and safe environments that maximize learning.
Focus Area 1 may sound simple, but the very first step we need to take to ensure equitable access to high-quality instruction for all of our students is to create a strong foundational program across all of our school sites and classrooms. From that foundation, we can then build programs to provide differentiated instruction and supports for children with differentiated needs, including those with disabilities, those who are English learners, and those who traditionally have been underserved in the educational system.
What do we mean by “strong foundational program”? Our goal is to work together as a community to develop or refine:
- A clear and coherent curriculum (what students learn)
- Dynamic lessons that incorporate many different modes and models of
- instruction (how students learn)
- More purposeful reading, writing, and student discourse across all subject
- areas (how students talk about what they're learning)
- A clear and family-friendly articulation of our standards and instructional
- strategies (how families understand what their children are learning)
A good analogy for this is a house. Our current program is like a house that
has some really nice rooms (i.e., school programs and services) but the
foundation needs some cracks filled, some leveling, and some reinforcement.
We want to strengthen the foundation of the district.
Focal Area 1 actions include (but are not limited to) re-establishing a full-day kindergarten at all sites, developing a common TK-5 literacy framework, and updating 6-12 homework and grading policies to ensure our practices are constructive, researched-based, and student-centered.
Every school and teacher provides the academic, social/emotional, and culturally responsive support each student needs.
Educators have dedicated time to collaborate, learn, and grow in service of student learning.
School teams consistently support outcomes for students.
Schedules are strategically designed to create access to equitable learning opportunities and prioritize support for students who need it most.
Focus Area 2 concerns the development of systems and structures to support our students academically, socially, and emotionally, especially those who have been marginalized historically.
This includes providing teacher-led professional development and collaboration time so that our staff develop effective practices for supporting our students.
It also includes maximizing overall staffing at schools in order to provide greater access to counseling and teachers. One strategy for this will be the development of elementary schedules that allow our educators to provide extra support to students without pulling them out of their grade-level classes. This strategy also provides teachers with more time to consult and plan with each other on how best to support students.
To provide additional supports to African-American students, AUSD will pilot intensive mentoring at four schools in 2023-24 and is considering providing a specialized K-3 pathway specifically designed to help these students thrive in our schools.
Finance: Provide the long-term financial stability necessary to maintain core programming.
Talent Management: Build a focused and diverse team where all positions are fully staffed with qualified personnel.
Communications: Use accurate, transparent, and engaging communications across multiple channels to support AUSD’s students, staff, and families.
Focus Area 3 concerns the maintenance and expansion of resources, talent management, and communications to further support Focus Area 1 (a strong foundational program) and Focus Area 2 (structures and systems of support).
Action areas for Focus Area 3 include:
- Assessing and improving hiring practices and AUSD’s work climate
- Updating employee evaluation systems
- Providing our community with a layperson-friendly budget summary
- Exploring hiring incentives for special education staff
- Continued improvements in technology Articulating a district-wide communications plan
- Amplifying student voice
- Expanding AUSD’s strategies for engaging historically underserved families
Each of the goals and actions in Focus Area 3 are aligned with the other two Strategic Plan focus areas.
With three focal areas, 10 goals, and more than three dozen action areas, the Strategic Plan needs to be
seen as a long-term approach to building systems of support that allow all of our students to develop the characteristics outlined in our graduate profile. The plan should also be viewed as a “living document," one that we will continually refine and adapt the plan as conditions change and we identify new needs, resources, and strategies.
Given that not all of the actions can be accomplished in, say, one or two years, staff have identified the priority actions for 2022-23 through 2025-26.
- Implement full day kindergarten
- Common elementary schedules to support universal collaboration
- Provide mentors and advisors for our African-American students
- Revise AUSD's grading policies and practices
- Develop a common, engaging, and rigorous literacy framework for all elementary students
All of the work prioritized in the Strategic Plan is predicated on providing employee salaries allow us to retain and attract the very best educators possible and remain competitive with rising salaries in other districts in Alameda County.
In order to fund the changes needed to provide an equitable education to students across our sites, AUSD staff have committed to a lengthy and thorough analysis of our budget. The primary goal is to find ways to restructure and reallocate funding to serve the greatest number of students. But staff have also focused, specifically, on supporting students and families who traditionally have benefited from the least resources and experienced the greatest access and opportunity gaps in our system.
Part of that work has included the identification of structural challenges and long-standing budgetary choices that may need to be adjusted in order to meet our district-wide goals. In other words, we want to have the flexibility to move away from funding choices we have been making because we have always made them if they no longer support our goals.
But much of the work rests on the acknowledgment that AUSD’s funding remains limited for a number of reasons, including:
- California’s funding for public education has long been inadequate and unreliable
- Alameda does not generate enough property taxes to make AUSD a “basic aid district” – one that receives excess property taxes in addition to state funding
- We have a comparatively lower percentage of students who are low income, English learners, or foster youth, which means we get less supplemental state funding than many neighboring districts.
As such, AUSD is highly dependent on local parcel taxes to provide the types of educational programs that the Alameda community values. Currently, our parcel taxes comprise 20 percent of our overall budget – 92% of which goes to salaries.
AUSD is deeply grateful for this community support and remains committed to directing its limited resources strategically, equitably, and transparently, as well as regularly engaging the community in the budget analysis and decision-making processes.
AUSD’s Strategic Plan is designed to provide supportive, effective instruction and environments for students, staff, and families. Members of the AUSD community can support the plan by:
Spreading the word Tell others about the Strategic Plan so they understand AUSD's vision and goals!
Keeping us focused on our priorities This is how complex systems improve and make a difference for students, particularly those who have not been equitably served in public education systems.
Staying informed Reading the AUSD newsletter, following us on social media, and especially paying attention to your school’s communications helps you better understand our organization's vision, goals, and strategies.
Getting involved Family engagement is crucial to developing healthy, successful schools. See our “Ways to Get Involved” page for a list of ways to be a part of your school and/or district community.
AUSD’s Strategic Plan is designed to provide supportive, effective instruction and environments for students, staff, and families. Members of the AUSD community can support the plan by: PAGE 22| HOW YOU CAN H
A Graduate Profile is a composite of the global skills and dispositions a district wants for all of its students to develop by the time they graduate. While we understand that different students develop these characteristics and skills in different ways and along different timelines, our goal is for all of our graduates to have these abilities by the time they leave our district.
Alameda Unified School District is committed to upholding our community’s core values of equity and excellence for every student by providing inclusive and safe conditions for learning that challenge and support every student to be culturally competent and prepared for college, career, and community participation.
- We believe there is value in diversity, and that by providing equitable educational opportunities for all students, everyone can succeed.
- We believe that education should be student-centered and focused on the whole child.
- We believe that social, emotional, and mental well-being are crucial to the success of students.
- We believe that inequities exist within our current educational system and that it is our responsibility to diminish them.
- We believe that students deserve the opportunity to explore and pursue their interests and that it is the responsibility of employees to support them in this.
- We believe that clear and transparent communication with stakeholders is vital to the success of students.
- We believe that staff and administration should work alongside stakeholders to ensure that students are being given the services they need and are being challenged appropriately.