Center for Urban Schools and Partnerships, at a glance.
CUSP plans to build upon and leverage the current research and work of the Mills School of Education faculty and their programs while convening key leaders, organizations, and constituencies throughout the Bay Area with the goal of improving learning outcomes for local youth.
Mills School of Education faculty, staff, and students will work with key stakeholders including the Oakland Unified School District, Oakland’s Housing Authority, the Oakland Education Association, and other local organizations. The coalition will work collaboratively to identify the most pressing needs of Bay Area schools and neighborhoods and to create systematic and sustainable change in under served communities.
The center’s new director, Ingrid Seyer-Ochi, said that, “a priority of the center will be finding ways to improve recruiting, training, and retaining high-quality teachers in Oakland, which is a critical need. The center will also explore ways to support professional development for teachers and educational leaders that will offer the greatest potential for advancing student learning.”
Some of the center’s professional development programs will build upon the highly successful Mills Teacher Scholars program, lesson study, and inquiry into early childhood leadership projects. Other efforts of the center will include urban-focused research projects, speakers’ series, and forums open to the community.
Beginning this spring, undergraduate students from various campus departments and the School of Education will work on site with partnering schools and organizations. In addition to this service-learning fieldwork, undergraduate and graduate students will also serve as center research fellows, addressing the questions and needs of center partners.
“Since its founding, the School of Education at Mills College has been committed to developing leadership and exemplary practice among teachers, administrators, and educational professionals,” said Kathy Schultz, the dean of the School of Education. “Now is a particularly promising moment to expand on the collaborative work of the School of Education with this center, which aims to become part of significant and sustainable change for Oakland and the surrounding area, and for Mills College.”
The center’s inaugural event will feature Claude Steele, an internationally recognized expert in stereotype threat and student achievement who is the dean of the School of Education at Stanford University. He will speak November 7 at 4:00 pm at Castlemont High School.
Steele’s work has been influential in demonstrating that when a person’s social identity is attached to a negative stereotype, it tends to lead to poor performance in schools and in the workplace.
Steele’s presentation is the first in the center’s series on “Preparing Educators and Students in a Racist World.” Other events are planned on the Mills campus, at Laney College, and at Oakland High School.