Charles Wilson, Executive Director of Enrollment and Portfolio Management, Oakland USD
With school options in Oakland expanding beyond neighborhood and even district schools, the school market has become more complex and competition for schools has intensified. Districts nationwide, like OUSD, are looking to increase enrollment in their schools and enhance the school choice experience in their community. While choice empowers parents to choose the best education suited for their child, many families lose the ability to participate in choice due to lack of access to quality information and complicated, inefficient enrollment processes.
To stem the tide of declining enrollment, promote equity, and provide better access to high-quality school information for our community, OUSD has partnered with SchoolMint to create an easily accessible, online, multilingual application process for their community. With the help of technology, we are able to create a tighter relationship between families and schools, provide our families with a better, more equitable experience with enrollment, and introduce families to schools they might have never considered. For a look at my presentation, Promoting Equity and Access for Families with the Help of Technology, you can view the slides and download a copy below.
Technology allows us to bring the services to the families that need them most on their own schedule. In our first 4 weeks of implementation, we are finding some of our highest levels of participation using the online system in some schools that serve mostly low-income families that don’t speak English. Of course those schools are doing an amazing job of supporting their families to learn about the system, but that is where the effort needs to be to build connection with families. With this new technology families who previously were not able to communicate about or track their applications have a greater sense of ownership and clarity.