Reflecting and Preparing…
They say that change is only constant in life. A year ago as I accepted the position of being PLAN’s second Executive Director, I truly thought that I was prepared to build an organization that indeed built the power of parents. I thought that I knew how the year ahead would manifest and that I was prepared for anything that would happen in our schools and neighborhoods.
In reality, there was no way to be prepared for the 2016-2017 school year. It was filled with exciting innovation in our programs, openness with our staff team and board to explore what type of impact we were creating and accountable for – a vehicle for parent leadership development but not a driver. As a new Executive Director, I sought to stabilize PLAN’s work, recognizing that growth was necessary to truly achieve the deep impact we desire. We literally and figuratively changed.
As PLAN nears our 13th Anniversary, I am reminded of what it felt like to be a teenage. You feel critical of the world. Your body is changing. Your social network becomes extremely important as a safe space. You are willing to push some of the boundaries within your family for more independence. And, of course, you are preparing for a major transition- going to high school.
PLAN has adopted a new Theory of Change with a new mission. We have firmly grounded ourselves as a social justice organization in the education justice movement, because it is a crime that any child is not supported in public schools to achieve their student success. We have aligned our work into four distinct programs:
- Families for Early Success (F4ES) Program
- Leaders for Engaged and Active Parents (LEAP) Program
- Leadership Equity Advocacy and Democracy (LEAD) Organizing Program
- Transformative Capacity Building Program
As we prepare our website for a new launch on August 7th, we look forward to announcing our upcoming program events, webinars and trainings. In September, we’ll restart my video blog with exciting analysis on the regional landscape of parent organizing and providing more information on our 100% Engaged Campaign for Student Success as well as our Justice for Oakland Students Coalition’s campaign to hold OUSD accountable for educating black and brown students.
Until then, I want to give out the biggest thanks to everyone that gave in our Bloom in June Campaign! WOW! We successfully raised over $10,000 in less than one month by over 90 donors! I am humbled by the response to our call for action. PLAN is truly inspired by your support to sustain our Families for Early Success Program. As we gear up for the new school year, we will continue to share the amazing developments of the program.
As I enter year two of my tenure as Executive Director, I am excited to witness and be apart of our parent leaders’ innovation and experience their successes. I know that there will be challenges as national, statewide and local policies target closing schools and divesting public funds from equity focused programs. However, PLAN’s amazing and growing team will continue to develop the leadership of parents in Alameda, Contra Costa and Marin County districts and schools. We will continue to ask you to be strong and active supporters of our work by volunteering, donating and spreading the word of our network and helping us achieve effective programs that build the power of parents to transform schools.
Pecolia Manigo, Executive Director
PLAN Welcomes new Director of Programs and Organizing
PLAN welcomes our new Director of Programs and Organizing, Demetria Huntsman. In her new position, Demetria will be responsible for leading the organization’s staff and program development, organizing strategy, and organizational effectiveness in support of our mission and Theory of Change. As a senior strategist in the organization, her priority focus will be improving our leadership development to win strategic issue campaigns at the local and regional level. She will guide our base-building efforts to build the power of parents to win campaigns in the LEAD Organizing Program, expand the schools in the LEAP Program, and scaling up our newest program – the Transformative Capacity Building Program (read more about this program here). In addition to her program development leadership and organizing focus, Demetria will support the overall infrastructure of the organization, support staff and lead professional development. We are excited Demetria has partnered with PLAN in building parent power to ensure student success.
Demetria is an Oakland native and Queer woman of color with a career spanning more than twenty years focused on advancing equity through social justice work to build capacity through harnessing community power within at-promise communities. With her primary work centered in Restorative Justice practice, she has been instrumental in leading school based and citywide efforts in Oakland to decrease violence, organize communities and lead innovative, strategic processes to build thriving organizations. As a parent of a middle school student, Demetria is active in parent advocacy and believes in the critical partnership between school and family to create the ideal success environment for students. Demetria earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political, Legal and Economic Analysis and a Master of Business Administration from Mills College in Oakland, California.
You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 510-444-7526 x303
Planning for the New Year
As Sasha and I strategize plans for the 2017–2018 school year we recognize the importance of practicing Sankofa, the Ghanan practice of looking back to go forward. July work sessions have included critical examination of the lessons learned at school sites as well as a deeper investigation into the gems gained in this year’s professional development opportunities.
On June 30, I graduated from the Robert Maynard Institutes’ Oakland Voices (OV) program. Oakland Voices is a nine-month program that trains East Oakland residents to tell stories about their neighborhoods, focusing on the strengths of the residents and organizations, as well as the challenges they face.
The demanding program required submission of two articles a month, twice monthly meetings and trainings with Pulitzer prize winning writers, editors, photographers, videographers, publication of a mini-newspaper and the planning and conduct of two community forums.
Learning and writing about East Oakland provides me with insight into hidden resources available to our East Oakland community and families. For example, my article where the Warriors’ affirm their commitment to Oakland youth highlights several foundations that might be resources for PLAN’s Kids Action, Arts and Movement Program (KAAMP).
Interviewing the staff and volunteers at the awarding winning Alameda County Food Bank reveals how an organization can manage, train and keep 17,000 volunteers a year. Dimensions of their successful volunteer orientations, and incentives could be useful in school based volunteer programs.
My investigations and writing were instructive and inspiring to see the collective power of residents fighting for the better quality of life desired for families and slaying the Goliaths of Oppression and Big Money.
The Oakland Voices experience helped me establish relationships with potential partner organizations with effective grassroots leadership, businesses and political leaders for a better East Oakland.
Please check out my blog and the blogs of my OV colleagues-where a couple of stories highlight PLAN. Please share with me your ideas for stories that highlight the strengths or challenges of our East Oakland Community.
By Sasha Shane
I am proud to work with the LEAP program in East Oakland schools. Last year we launched a campaign that focused on student’s reading called “Reading is Fundamental and Fun” (see our December Newsletter for more on this campaign) in addition to reading we also provided parents with tools on how to support their children with math at home.
While supporting this effort I was facing a challenge myself. I was taking a math class at Laney College, which is one of the requirements to be able to achieve my Associate of Arts degree, and transfer to a four-year university. Math has always being a challenging subject for me and many students in Oakland. During the spring semester, I was able to pass my class with an A. Professor Koshlap played a major role in my success. Her ability to teach the subject matter allows for students to learn to have a love of math. These are the types of teachers that encourage students to continue working hard towards their goals. Thanks to the support of her, the parents I work with, and PLAN’s staff, I was able to better achieve my educational goal as well as my professional goals.
Throughout my experience as a parent organizer and college student this year, I learned that regardless of our age students need parents, teachers and administrators to believe in them, to encourage and support them them to achieve academic success. I am excited for the new school year and building with parents, and achieving my goal of becoming a teacher in Oakland.
Bay Area PLAN Parents Rally in Support of LCFF in Sacramento
On July 12th, Bay Area PLAN parent leaders joined Californians for Justice and allied organizations at the California Department of Education where students, parents and administrators applauded the state’s Local Control Funding Formula. LCFF enacted in 2013-2014 replacing the previous kindergarten through grade 12 (K–12) finance system which had been in existence for roughly 40 years and directs more state money to districts with the greatest needs. Those extra funds have helped schools add counselors, social workers, restorative justice programs, case managers, for the students most in need. You can find our more at #LCFFisWorking.
Spanish media report on rally can be viewed here.
On August 18, 2017 at 10pm – until 2am, the Queer Qumbia Collective will be hosting a dance fundraiser on behalf of PLAN. Please come shake your bootie to the sounds of Qumbia, Reggaeton, Salsa, Bachata, etc. Register here and let us know you will be joining us. Donations start at $3 and up no one turned away for lack of funds. Join us at La Estrellita – 446 E 12th St, Oakland, CA 94606
We will have draws prizes including a certificate for a “Group Tasting and Tour of Dashe Cellars Winery” for six people valued at $120, and two free intro to Climbing Classes at Berkeley Ironworks valued at $70. Donations for draw tickets are one ticket for $3 or two for $5.