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Opportunity 21 Annual Report (2012-13)


In 2012, San José Unified School District (SJUSD) adopted OPPORTUNITY21, a five-year strategic plan aimed at achieving a bold mission.

SJUSD’s mission is to eliminate the opportunity gap and provide every student with the finest 21st century education

In our first year implementing strategic plan initiatives, we made significant progress on OPPORTUNITY21’s five objectives and accomplished many of our goals. While we celebrate our successes, we recognize that there is still much more work to be done. This report:

  • Highlights the progress made by our district in 2012-13
  • Explains how all our efforts align with OPPORTUNITY21
  • Presents our focus areas for the 2013-14 school year

Our 5 Objectives

Opp21 Graphic

Objective 1: High quality academics

Deepening student knowledge in the most effective ways was the major focus of the 2012-13 school year. Our work centered on two areas: rigorous instruction and school redesign.

Rigorous Instruction – Consistently teaching challenging lessons

We believe providing challenging lessons and a high-level structure for teaching such lessons form the foundation for quality academics. To build this foundation, we trained teachers to use our district’s Instructional Framework for teaching and started aligning learning units to the Common Core State Standards.

Instructional Framework

  • Highly structured, five-step process for teaching, which responds to student understanding in real time
  • 100% of elementary teachers and 100% of secondary teachers in core subject areas trained in the foundations of the Instructional Framework

Common Core State Standards

  • New K-12 national standards ensure that all students attain deeper knowledge regardless of which school they attend
  • By September 2013, all math and language arts teachers will receive initial training to teach the Common Core State Standards

School Redesign – Improving how our schools engage students in learning

San José’s diverse population is the reason why we focused on the beginning stages of school redesign. By rethinking how our schools inspire and engage students, we can provide them with learning experiences that are tailored to who they are and where they are going.

To achieve school redesign, San José Unified:

  • Invited schools to apply for funding to redesign their learning environments and approach. 23 schools submitted letters of intent and nine submitted full proposals
  • Completed a thorough review process, including analysis from internal and independent reviewers
  • Selected five schools to complete detailed redesign planning in 2013-14, with expected implementation in 2014-15

Examples of Redesign Concepts

Blended Learning
Blended Learning seamlessly integrates technology into the classroom and allows teachers to create a more personalized learning experience for students
Project Based Learning
Project Based Learning incorporates real-life problems into traditional lessons to encourage students to “learn by doing,” often across multiple subjects.

What's next?

We will solidify the foundation provided by the Common Core State Standards and our Instructional Framework training by providing continual support and feedback to teachers on integrating these concepts into their daily lessons. We will also closely monitor the five schools in redesign planning and preparation for broader implementation in the 2014-15 school year.

Objective 2: Broader community & family supports

In 2012-13, we worked toward improving student engagement and support by partnering with Johns Hopkins University and Stanford University. Through these partnerships, we analyzed how we best support students outside of academics.

  • Collaborated with researchers to develop a method for measuring student social/emotional health
  • Identified “academic tenacity” as a key factor and piloted a preliminary assessment tool for teachers to evaluate students (925 students in pilot)
  • Partnered with Stanford’s Institute of Design (d.school) to understand how the process for working with at-risk students can be improved.
  • Identified fundamental challenges in current system, and produced an early-stage prototype called “School Communities” that more formally connects adults and students across grade levels.

What's next?

There is significantly more work to be done on supporting students and families. We will consider how the learnings from our partnerships can be developed into a system of support for all students who exhibit a need. We will focus on building stronger relationships with each other and the communities we serve.

Objective 3: Research-based accountability and support

We developed a formal process, OPSTAT, for bringing administrators, principals, and teachers together to analyze data and drive progress on OPPORTUNITY21 key performance measures (KPMs). The first OPSTAT focused on increasing enrollment and success in our most advanced high school courses, Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB).

Key Performance Measures (KPMs)
Student-based metrics that track progress on OPPORTUNITY21 objectives. Examples include advanced reading and AP/IB course enrollment and success.
A process that uses statistics and data analysis to drive progress on OPPORTUNITY21 KPMs. Ultimately OPSTAT will be used as a problem-solving tool for many activities across the district.

Data show that Hispanic and African-American students enroll in AP/IB courses at a lower rate than White and Asian students, even if they are equally strong academically. Via OPSTAT, we:

  • Brought together 20+ team members from across the district to identify underrepresented, but academically prepared, students to enroll in AP/IB courses.
  • Encouraged target students to enroll in AP/IB courses, and researched strategic for supporting them in the 2013-14 school year.

What's next?

We will continue the OPSTAT process to monitor AP/IB success, and replicate it for three additional KPMs: early literacy, 8th grade Algebra I, and graduation rates. We will finalize KPM ”report cards” for each school to track progress and increase transparency and accountability.

Objective 4: High quality staff

This past year, we refreshed our recruiting and hiring practices and created a solid foundation for the future by reaching a landmark agreement on a new teacher contract.

Recruiting and Induction

We moved toward a stronger hiring process to attract and hire the best talent by:

  • Identifying attributes of our best teachers and proactively recruiting for the most effective characteristics from the highest quality preparation programs and career fairs
  • Creating a pipeline of highly qualified candidates who are eager to join out district when openings become available.
  • Screening applicants against school-specific criteria, so we only interview the best matches for openings.

“With the new process, finding the best teachers is easier, faster, and less stressful… I’m confident that our newest teachers understand our students and will be team players.”

-Emalie McGinnis, Principal of Lowell Elementary

Teacher Contract

In May, SJUSD and the San José Teachers Association (SJTA) agreed to a new contract. Under the new contract, we will:

  • Overhaul the teacher evaluation system to include peer evaluation, increased transparency and more actionable feedback to help teachers grow.
  • Better align compensation to demonstrated effectiveness, and develop career pathways that allow teachers to take on leadership roles, mentor, and advise their peers
  • Increase flexibility for schools to customize the learning experience for students by allowing schools to opt out of certain contract provisions with the support of 75% of the teaching staff

What's next?

We will complete implementation of our new recruitment and hiring process. We will complete planning and begin early stages of implementation of the teacher contract in 2013-14.

Objective 5: Aligned resources & efficient operations

In 2012-13, San José voters passed Measure H, which ensured our district would receive $290 million in capital funds, generated over 7 years. Voters across California also passed Proposition 30, which stabilized the district’s budget for 2013-14.

Measure H
71% voter passage, $290M generated over 7 years for facilities and technology
Proposition 30
55% voter passage, $14M in funds generated per year for the district’s general fund

What's next?

We will focus on aligning both new and existing resources to the priorities of OPPORTUNITY21.

Our Commitments