Urban Education Study Tour: Oakland, CA

Oakland is the last stop of our three-city Urban Education Study Tour. Previous stops were in El Paso, Texas and Newark, New Jersey.

The Urban Education Study Tour is a series of three 2-day gatherings in 2012—one in each of the three participating cities—that include conversations with superintendents, key education leaders and grantmakers. Through dialogue with key players involved with the work, participants analyze each community’s reform strategies and the ways that education grantmakers are engaging in the reform process, while comparing and contrasting lessons from related strategies led by grantmakers working in other cities. Study tour participants are expected to attend all three gatherings.

The Study Tour provides a deeper dive into three of GFE’s priority themes: closing achievement and opportunity gaps; strengthening the education pipeline; and supporting more high quality teaching and leadership. This project is designed to strengthen grantmakers’ efforts to improve urban education by promoting the following draft learning outcomes:

  • Explore methods for building effective partnerships among funders and between funders, school districts, and other local partners to improve outcomes for all learners.
  • Identify specific, high-leverage strategies to support students of color and English Language Learners, pre-K through graduation, and to position these students to be college and career ready and to achieve post-secondary success.
  • Understand the challenges of and approaches to system alignment, with particular focus on ensuring successful transitions between pre-K and K-12 and between K-12 and post-secondary institutions.
  • Learn about successful investments in human capital, especially those that support teachers and education leaders.
  • Understand the range of roles education grantmakers can play as external change agents for urban school systems, the tensions that arise in these roles, and strategies grantmakes can employ to help resolve these tensions.

We will ground our learning in the concrete work taking place in three urban communities that offer both promising models and exemplify the challenges of effective grantmaking and education improvement work. Study Tour participants will be exposed to a range of roles and models for how grantmakers can effectively impact education outcomes, capturing valuable lessons for their craft. The program offers a nuanced behind-the-scenes look at both the specific education reform strategies and the ways that grantmakers engaged with districts in the reform process.

By sharing what’s worked—promising practices, successes and learning across sites—as well as exploring setbacks and challenges, your individual understanding will deepen as the group’s knowledge grows. Participants will act as both teachers and learners by offering questions, feedback, and advice as well as uncovering their assumptions about their change efforts. The relationships built during the Study Tour can be tapped for learning and exchange long after the study tour ends.

Registration Application Process

For information about registering for the Study Tour in Oakland, please contact Vanessa Williard.

The cost is $450 per individual for GFE members and for local host committee members plus travel and lodging. Other eligible non-members may participate on a space available basis; non-member registration fee is $750.

Who should register?

Experienced grantmakers who are who are currently supporting education improvement efforts in urban districts, and who can commit to participating in all 3 meetings. If interest exceeds program capacity, we will consider the order in which applications were received, the applicant’s experience, and for funders working outside the 3 focus cities we will give priority to GFE members.

Cancellation Policy

The program registration fee of $450 (members) and $750 (nonmembers) is to be paid in full upon registering for the program. The fee is intended to help underwrite the costs for the three city convenings, and it is considered a lump sum tuition for the program (and thus will not be pro-rated for participants who cannot attend one of the three gatherings). Program registrants may cancel their registration with a $50 processing fee before March 9; after that the registration fee is non-refundable.