PRESENTATION: The Path to College: Building Equity and Rigor for All


Ensuring educational equity and creating rigorous coursework for all students daunts most districts. Oakland Unified School District recently reset the bar for graduation to match college entrance requirements in California. Learn how OUSD is partnering with The Education Trust to assess institutional barriers impeding student academic achievement. School counselor-led task forces identified and are changing district policies and practices that hinder academic achievement. The district is paying particular attention to English-language learners and special education students to ensure all students graduate college and career-ready.

Presenters: Jeannie Johnson, director of college and career readiness; and Abigail Adams, coordinator, college and career readiness office, Oakland Unified School District, Oakland, Calif.

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Karla Fernandez

Communications Manager

Karla Fernandez (she/her/hers) joins Ed Trust–West as a Communications Manager with over 11 years of experience advancing social impact initiatives.

Karla started her career as a teacher at Chicago Public Schools and UIC College Prep. After teaching, Karla joined United Friends of the Children to support LA County’s youth in foster care as a college counselor. Through Leadership for Educational Equity, Karla also served as a Policy Advisor Fellow for the office of a Los Angeles Unified School Board Member. She solidified her interests in policy analysis and quantitative research during her time with the Price Center for Social Innovation, the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles, and the USC Presidential Working Group on Sustainability. Before joining The Education Trust–West, Karla was the Associate Director for the Southeast Los Angeles (SELA) Collaborative, a network of nonprofits advocating for communities in SELA.

Karla holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology from the University of Chicago, a Master of Public Policy from the USC Price School of Public Policy, and a Graduate Certificate in Policy Advocacy from the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Karla is based out of southern California and is passionate about using data analysis, communications, and digital strategies for policy advocacy and social justice efforts.