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OUSD History/Social Studies
Links to News, Updates, and Resources Page 

 Professional and Curriculum Development Programs Focused on Reading, Writing, and History


            The professional and curriculum development work of the OUSD History/Social Studies Department is framed by the California History-Social Science Content Standards, the district’s own K-12 Historical Thinking Standards, the Common Core State Standards, and the department’s district wide history writing assessments (in Grades 8, 10 and 11).   The district history writing assessments (begun in grades 10 and 11 in 2004) require students to weave together historical content knowledge with historical evidence gathered from primary source documents to develop a thoughtful, coherent, and well-organized persuasive essay. 


The goals for the assessment program include:

  • Increasing academic rigor and student engagement in history classrooms throughout the district with a focus on academic literacy and historical thinking.
  • Promoting equity across the district by identifying consistent district standards of excellence.
  • Fulfilling the mission of history/social studies by developing knowledgeable, thoughtful, articulate, and engaged citizens.

This website contains links to assessments and instructional support materials designed to promote student success in acquiring and demonstrating the academic literacy skills cited above.


            Strong, thoughtful, informed instruction is critical to student success on this assessment.  Thus, our professional development model is comprised of components that allow teachers to:

  • Gain knowledge in historical content by working with scholars from collegiate history departments throughout the Bay Area.
  • Learn models of effective instructional strategies by working with materials developed by OUSD History Department staff and colleagues from across the district.
  • Collaboratively analyze student work, with an eye on refining day-to-day classroom instruction, to identify strengths and weaknesses in student writing.

            These are rigorous and challenging goals for students, teachers, and the OUSD staff and they require a long-term commitment and focus on the part of the teachers in the district.  The good news is that Oakland teachers have enthusiastically embraced this challenge and, over the past seven years, we’ve seen student scores increase and classroom instruction evolve as teachers become more knowledgeable about effective instructional practice.  Through this work, the history teachers of Oakland have built an exemplary professional learning community focused on engaging students in the study of history and on enhancing student learning.   This professional learning community also supports increased equity across the district as teachers from different sites work together to better understand what constitutes high quality student work.   



For additional information regarding History and Social Studies, please contact:

Jeannie Kohl (K-8)

Oakland Unified School District

4551 Steele, Portable A

Oakland, California 94619

Phone: (510) 336-7618

Steven Moreno (8-12)
Oakland Unified School District

4551 Steele, Portable A

Oakland, California 94619

Phone: 336-7584


Last Modified on December 15, 2009