In the past summer, over ninety Goldman School students interned in government, nonprofit and private agencies throughout the US and the world.
Ryan Sapinoso completed an Education Pioneers Summer Fellowship with Oakland Unified School District’s Continuous School Improvement Department. During the 2015-2016 school year, OUSD adopted a new framework for measuring school performance, and implemented a limited release of data to school leaders. Annual school performance data was additionally scheduled for a full public release in fall 2016 to empower students and parents with both an awareness of their school’s performance status as well as opportunities to collaborate with teacher and principals to guide their school’s processes of continuous improvement.
To support the communication of education econometrics to the parents and students of Oakland as well as the goal-setting that performance reports would prompt, Ryan collaborated with a team of two other Education Pioneers to lead a summer listening campaign. Twice a week, and over three months, Ryan co-planned and co-facilitated advisory group sessions, attended by 25 student leaders, 40 parent leaders, 20 principals, dozens of central district staff, and numerous CBO partners. Insights and feedback synthesized through the summer listening campaign are currently being adopted as recommendations guiding student & parent engagement, adjustments to school performance indicator composition & weighting, and communications plans governing school performance data.
For Ryan, this summer was the perfect place to balance the quantitative rigor of GSPP’s core courses with practical challenges in education policy. “I could spend hours talking about which schools might be valid counterfactuals for others in the development of a matched-pair analysis, and I also spent hours working to make sure that priorities vocalized by students and parents were lifted up to district officials.”