From the Desk of Oakland Unified Superintendent Antwan Wilson

Dear Oakland Community,

Last week, we launched a very exciting, cradle-to-career, community-wide effort that is essential to our mission of being a full-service community school district where Every Student Thrives: The Oakland Promise. For a moving introduction to this initiative, please take a moment to watch the video below.

The launch event at Oakland High was standing-room only, full of energy, excitement and hope. Many eloquent and inspirational words were delivered by Mayor Libby Schaaf, Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, University of California President Janet Napolitano, U.S. Department of Education Under Secretary Ted Mitchell, Salesforce CEO Mark Benioff, Janet Liang of Kaiser, as well as teachers and students.

Like many others, I left thinking most about the keynote speech given by Michael Jefferson, an Oakland public school graduate and now teacher. Michael didn’t think he could make it in college during his first try, dropping out with a 0.32 GPA. Yet thanks to his own determination and the assistance of the East Bay College Fund, Michael graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in New York this spring and returned to Oakland to teach.

Oakland Promise4

Many were moved by the keynote speech by Micahel Jefferson, left, including another speaker, Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsome, right.


Michael closed his speech with these words that really hit home: It makes a difference when people believe in us, even when we don’t believe in ourselves.” That’s what the Oakland Promise is all about: our students! We believe Oakland students can and will be successful, and we’re here to help along the way.


We know the current odds: out of 100 Oakland students who start high school, just 10 will graduate from college within five years. We know that is unacceptable. It is our moral obligation to ensure every child in Oakland graduates high school with the expectations, resources, and skills to complete college and be successful in the career of his or her choice. Our goal is to triple the number of graduates from Oakland within the next decade.


Oakland PromiseYou didn’t have to attend the launch to back the Oakland Promise. Show your support for the promise by joining the team as an Oakland Promise Champion. You can read more on the Oakland Promise website.


To achieve our ambitious goals, partnerships are essential. In addition to the deep collaboration with the City, we also are excited to announce that Oakland will be one of only six communities across the country joining a Harvard University study on community-wide collaboration to address educational outcomes. This partnership with Harvard will provide technical evaluation support and put us on the national stage, which we hope will bring greater attention from all levels of government, foundations, and private business. Involvement from all these sectors is essential to providing the wrap-around, cradle-to-career support our students need and deserve.


Thank you for your part in helping to empower all Oakland students to realize their dreams!




Antwan Wilson