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Da Town Researchers Findings and Recommendations June 2007 Table of Contents Purpose Research Question and Why Methodology Findings Supporting Data Recommendations What We Learned and Next Steps Student Bios Purpose Nine student leaders representing most of the big high schools in the OUSD got together and tried to make a change in the leadership classes in the OUSD. Research Question & Why How do we improve and ensure equality in student leadership in the OUSD? We came up with this question because as students we felt that we needed more opportunities for students to lead and make change and that those opportunities should be equally available at every high school. Methodology Used activities to identify core issues impacting OUSD high school students and develop our overall research question. Examined the 2005-2006 Use Your Voice survey data. Analyzed the Use Your Voice survey data, to come up with questions for student focus groups. Conducted four student-led focus groups with high school students from across the district. Analyzed data for findings. Made recommendations and final reports. Meaningful Youth Participation/ Student Leadership Findings 1. More student-led activities would increase youth participation. 2. Students would be more willing to participate if they had more school adult support. 3. More effective communication and motivation from student groups would improve youth participation. Meaningful Youth Participation/ Student Leadership Supporting Data – Use Your Voice Survey 05-06 Student response to the item, “Students Only 53% of students have opportunities to participate at school.” strongly agree or agree that there are 14% opportunities for them to participate at school. This shows a lack of 53% 33% opportunities and/or an inequality in availability Strongly Agree/Agree across schools. Neutral Disagree/Strongly Disagree Meaningful Youth Participation/ Student Leadership Supporting Data – Focus Groups ―I would be more active in school if we have more student groups and activities.‖ ―Teachers and principals can work together to support leadership by having more communication and be open to approving students‘ ideas. Also teachers and principals can give money and resources to support leadership and leadership groups.‖ ―I think for students to help themselves to improve student leadership in Oakland high schools, we would need to plan more peer education and extra curricular activities and to inform each other about what‘s going on. Many students don‘t know what‘s going on so we could teach each other.‖ Meaningful Youth Participation/ Student Leadership Recommendations 1. Every high school should have a collaborative decision-making body made up of representatives from all student clubs and groups (i.e., La Raza Club, Black Student Union, Asian Students Alliance). 2. Teachers could organize more activities and give encouragement to increase student participation and motivation. 3. Student government and other student organizations should be more representative of all students. 4. Student leaders should receive training to learn to be more effective collaborators and communicators. Clean and Safe Learning Environment Findings 1. Many students feel unsafe at school. 2. A safer environment will allow students to focus more on learning. 3. A clean environment is important to students‘ education and ability to learn. Clean and Safe Learning Environment Supporting Data - Use Your Voice Survey 05-06 Student response to, ―Everyone works together to keep bathroom clean.‖ 21% Only 21% of students agree or strongly agree 55% 24% that the bathrooms are Strongly Agree/Agree clean. Neutral Disagree/Strongly Disagree Student response to, ―Students feel physically safe at school.” Only 38% of students 27% 38% report feeling physically safe at school. 35% Strongly Agree/Agree Neutral Disagree/Strongly Disagree Clean and Safe Learning Environment Supporting Data – Focus Groups ―We need Conflict Management that reaches out more and is effective. Right now we still have fights and many people don‘t know about conflict management.‖ ―My school environment is very important to my education because the way something looks affects how I think.‖ ―Cleanliness affects me because if I can‘t use the bathroom, then that‘s all I focus on.‖ Clean and Safe Learning Environment Recommendations 1. Conflict Mediators can reduce violence and conflict by improving their services. 2. Teachers can intervene and create a safer learning environment for all students. 3. Security Guards could enforce rules more consistently with all students. 4. A cleaner environment would communicate respect to students and allow students to focus more on learning. Caring and Supportive Environment Findings 1. Students feel that they need more caring teachers. 2. Students could be more supportive and understanding of each other. Caring and Supportive Environment Supporting Data- Use Your Voice Survey 05-06 Student response to, ―Faculty, staff, Only 39% of students and students work together to create a caring and supportive strongly agree or agree environment.” that the students, 22% faculty, and staff work 39% together to maintain a caring and supportive 39% environment. Strongly Agree/Agree Neutral Disagree/Strongly Disagree Caring and Supportive Environment Supporting Data-Focus Groups ―It‘s the teachers, too, because sometimes you have this teacher that makes you feel so stupid. Some teachers make you feel like you don‘t know anything. Like one of my teachers—because I don‘t talk in her class she makes comments that make me feel stupid. Because I don‘t answer questions or participate in class discussions, she just tries to put me on blast. Then I feel stupid and it pushes me away and makes me not want to go to class.‖ ―Teachers need to listen more. They can share their points of view but also they could let us share our point of view.‖ ―I want my friends to see that they have opportunities to create a better future.‖ ―In the past year the senior class and student leadership have stepped up and been a role model.‖ Caring and Supportive Environment Recommendations 1. Teachers could more fully implement their open- door policies by developing supportive spaces and relationships with all students, regardless of past history with students. 2. There could be 100% placement of highly-qualified teachers (both credentialed and effective teachers) in place before school starts. 3. Students need more opportunities to build relationships with students who are different from them in order to feel safer and more supported. What We Learned If the project had started earlier in the school year, it would have given us more time to accomplish more. The information from the focus groups was interesting to learn more about how issues at school personally affect a person. We could continue to learn more about students‘ perspectives in the future. Many students feel that their teachers and other adult staff don‘t necessarily show caring and support in the ways that students want them to. A lot of high school students in the OUSD actually care about their education and safety at school. Bios I am Alicia Childress. I was born on April 15, 1990. I am in the 11th grade currently attending Architecture Academy at Fremont. My favorite color is green. In my spare time I enjoy braiding hair and watching my niece. My name is La’Shay Fountain I go to Leadership Preparatory High School at Castlemont High and I am in my freshman year. My favorite color is green for some reason. I like to swim, cheerlead, play basketball and football, write poetry. (I like BIOLOGY everybody.) The reason why I joined this program is because I thought it would be fun…and it was. Also, I wanted to improve the OUSD in a way. Bios Hi, I‘m Sara Gonzalez. I was born in East Oakland April 19, 1992. Yes, I‘m young, but I work my butt off. I‘m in the 9th grade going to 10th. Yay, I‘m so excited. I love to read and write--it‘s fun. I go to Castlemont High School, so the Castle rules! I joined the project for three things: 1) I thought it would be fun; 2) I did it to help the high schools of the OUSD; 3) I did it for college because it‘ll look great on my college application. Student Director Christina Jiang is a senior at Skyline High School. After moving to Oakland in the beginning of her junior year, she got involved with organizations in the school, school district and city to ensure equal education opportunities, to reduce violence and drug use, and to convince young people not to give up their dreams when things are tough or do not make sense She believes each individual has the potential to be a functioning member of the society. Bios My name is Janelle Johnson and I am in my senior year at Oakland Technical High School. In the fall of 2007, I will be attending SF State, majoring in Psychology with a minor in Spanish. My career objective in life is to be a child/adolescent psychiatrist. My ultimate goal in life is to be successful in whatever career I choose. I enjoy writing poetry, reading books, spending time with family and friends, and also challenging myself to make me better. Ta’Darrell Randolph is a senior at Skyline High School. Bios I am Tony Robinson. I currently attend Fremont High. I am 16 years old and enjoy playing sports, writing poetry, and giving my opinion. I am in the 11th grade. Family is important to me and was a strong part of the reason why I participated in this project and wanted to make a change. My name is Cindy Ruan and I am currently a junior attending Oak High, class of ‗08. I joined this project because I love to take on challenges and overcome them. The ability to learn about how to do research and analysis interested me and made me strive to do better. Also knowing that I am contributing to making my peers and my education become better and more equitable fills me up with pride. Bios I am Sedrrick Strothers. I am in the 12th grade at Oakland Tech. My birthday is April 3, 1989 and I am an Aries. My favorite saying is ―Sedrrick n‘ da buildin.‖ The most important thing to me is F.O.A. – Fam Ova Anythang. I‘m in this project so I can gain more leadership skills.
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