Skip to content Skip to navigation


Full Service Community Schools in the Oakland Unified School District, 2018-2019

In 2010, Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) leaders, staff, families, students, and community partners launched an ambitious effort to transform the district into a community school district. What started as a pilot in mostly secondary schools has expanded to become a far-reaching district strategy across all school levels. Currently, 42 OUSD schools have Community School Managers and most schools have some elements of community schools programming.

Becoming a Community School: A Study of Oakland Unified School District Community School Implementation, 2015-2016

Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) is engaged in the process of becoming a “full service community schools district.”  Since 2014, OUSD has partnered with the Gardner Center to support their efforts to assess, enhance, and scale their community schools work.

Oakland Unified School District Community Schools: Understanding Implementation Efforts to Support Students, Teachers, and Families

In 2010, Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) launched an initiative to transform all district schools into full service community schools. The community school design provides integrated supports to students and fosters a school climate conducive to academic, social, and emotional learning. Interventions span in-school and out-of-school time, and include students’ families, to ensure that all students have the supports needed to be ready to learn and to develop the skills, habits, and mindsets that provide a foundation for academic and social success.

PASS-2: Putting Youth Contribution at the Center of Positive Youth Development in Oakland High Schools

Positive youth development literature suggests that adults can create settings that support youth development across five foundational dimensions: competence, confidence, connection, character, and caring, and this, in turn, will enable youth to develop a sixth dimension: contribution. During the 2011-12 academic year, the Gardner Center had the opportunity to conduct an implementation study of the Peers Advising Students to Succeed (PASS-2) program run by Oakland Kids First (OKF).

Understanding Youth Leadership Development: An Examination of the YELL Program

Created in the fall of 2000, Youth Engaged in Leadership and Learning (YELL) was launched as the inaugural project of the Gardner Center. The afterschool program was initially a pilot project to engage youth in an inquiry process that would assess the needs and strengths of Redwood City middle school students. The program evolved into a unique youth development program in Redwood City and West Oakland with training and experiences in leadership and civic action. Gardner Center research have studied YELL since its inception in an effort to better understand youth leadership development.

Oakland Kids First: Peers Advising Students to Succeed Implementation Study

Oakland Kids First (OKF) is a nonprofit organization that informs district-level policy regarding meaningful family and student engagement and implements youth development programs serving high-school students throughout Oakland Unified School District. Peers Advising Students to Succeed (PASS-2) is OKF’s peer academic advising program that trains older students to teach freshmen about high school graduation and college-eligibility requirements through workshops and mentoring.

Youth Empowerment: The Contributions and Challenges of Youth-Led Research in a High-Poverty, Urban Community

This issue brief addresses the benefits and challenges of sponsoring a youth-led research project, specifically Youth Engaged in Leadership and Learning (a participant-led research program intended to make young people’s voices heard) in a school where students and their friends, families, and teachers confront daily difficulties posed by poverty and its attendant ills. It finds that a youth-empowerment framework has particular value in this context, but poses unique challenges to program design.

Playworks: Supporting Play and Physical Activity in Low Income Elementary Schools

This brief is one in a series of reports from the Study of Playworks Implementation in Eight Bay Area schools. It examines the ways that Playworks changes play and physical activity opportunities at school and reports students’, teachers’, and principals’ views of the program’s effects on students and school climate. Findings from the study indicate that Playworks led to improved structure and organization of the play yard at recess.

Playworks: Promoting Positive Youth Development in Low-Income Elementary Schools

During the 2009-10 school year, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation funded the  Gardner Center  to conduct an implementation study of Playworks in eight San Francisco Bay Area schools. This brief is one in a series of final reports from this implementation study.  It examines the ways that Playworks promotes positive youth development and reports students’, teachers’, and principals’ views of the program's effects on students and the school environment.

Playworks Implementation in 8 Bay Area Elementary Schools: Final Report

This is the final report from the study of Playworks implementation in the San Francisco Bay Area conducted by the Gardner Center and funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The study aimed to understand the ways that Playworks affected students’ recess and classroom experiences, school personnel, and school climate overall, as well as document the implementation process with a focus on varying school experiences in the context of different school environments.


Subscribe to RSS - Oakland