Starting Smart and Strong


Our Impact: Oakland Starting Smart & Strong

Oakland is the largest city of the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area, and a major port city. It is also one of the most ethnically diverse major cities in the United States.

In 2015, only 43 percent of Oakland kindergarteners entered school ready to learn. With a vision to ensure all children in Oakland grow up curious, confident, and ready to learn, we have been working with the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) to connect community-based systems and organizations together to increase the quality of early education settings, enrollment in these high-quality facilities, and the number of children who are healthy and ready to learn by the time they enter kindergarten.

Oakland and its partners have:

  • Linked early childhood programming to its Community Schools Framework, and scaled kindergarten transition practices
  • Developed a birth to age-5 Family Resource Center (FRC) framework, and formalized a new FRC network
  • Adopted “Big Day for Pre-K,” a new early childhood curriculum, plus coaching for implementation
  • Launched a Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) across all publicly-funded sites
  • Scaled high-quality professional development and teacher coaching throughout OUSD
  • Scaled developmental screenings and support for follow-up services
  • Fostered collaborations between publicly-funded early childhood education programs
  • Created and expanded Resilient Oakland Communities and Kids (ROCK)—which is focused on integrating trauma-informed classroom practices—to a cohort of OUSD and Head Start teachers, children, and families
  • Identified and scaled effective programs and practices for boys of color
  • Scaled the Early Development Instrument (EDI), a population-level measure of young children’s well-being

Our Community Partners