Oakland Charter School Collaborative Offers Members a Strong Base of Support
The Oakland Charter School Collaborative is an organization of key partnerships, supports and services that are beneficial to members of the charter community. In its current conception, the Collaborative sets strategic direction, acts as a policy advocate at local and state levels, cultivates internal and external partnerships, develops and hosts needed infrastructure, and provides a range of development services to members. This is a living support structure that promotes cohesion and collaboration where and when appropriate, while simultaneously honoring the implicit autonomy of charters by responding to the various needs of each unique school. The Collaborative serves a function similar to a centralized District system, but in contrast, largely relies on the involvement of its members rather than a dedicated staff and is nimble on its feet.
Why the Collaborative?
The dangers for charters are very real. Take for example the cash flow challenges many small charters are faced with as the California education budget takes hit after hit. As a result, some charter schools have been forced to close their doors. In this situation, the Collaborative can amplify a message of funding inequity and pro-actively seek solutions by working with District partners, legislators and other allies. The Collaborative also has a value-add function that can be seen in the example of fostering instructional leader networks that promote centralized problem-solving and the reciprocal sharing of best practices across the Collaborative. Without this function, charter leaders are left to their own devices to create professional development opportunities for themselves and their instructional staff, which can be so taxing that it never materializes.
The Collaborative helps to ensure that each charter school is doing its part to positively impact Oakland's educational community by offering unique schools with a strong base of support.