Our History

Before GO Public Schools became a three-region organization across the Bay and Central Valley, we started as an organic movement of Oakland community members who came together to address pressing concerns about our schools.

During the 2008-­09 school year, a group of Oakland families and educators came together to advocate around plans to pass nearly 100 percent of a $17 million mid­-year budget cut on to school sites. After winning support from the school board to keep cuts as far away from the classroom as possible, leaders decided to launch GO Oakland, a community network focused on ensuring students were kept at the center of decisions made by elected and education leaders.

The ‘how’ of achieving these wins is arguably as important as the changes themselves. By grounding our change model in community leadership and striving toward systems change, our campaigns lead to other positive benefits beyond achieving policy wins. We believe, and have seen, that building a base of grassroots leadership matters for many reasons: the solutions are stronger, more likely to be implemented, and more likely to be sustainable; and they set the stage for ongoing impact, strengthening the foundation for future campaigns.

For GO, it’s about more than just seeing annual changes and multi-year campaigns. It’s about developing leaders who will continue to lead and win campaigns with, and independent of, GO for years to come.

GO Milestones


Schools reopenings and college access

  • GO Fresno secures commitments from the Fresno Unified School District board of education through joint resolution for the equitable expansion of Dual Enrollment

  • GO Oakland launches the Gaining Ground interim literacy achievement report recognizing schools in Oakland serving students farthest from opportunity

  • GO West Contra Costa debuts a new community leadership structure, the Community Lead Committee. The inaugural committee tackles school reopening in WCCUSD

  • GO debut’s A Parent’s Guide to College Conversations, a resource to help families decipher financial aid award letters and engage in conversations about post-secondary education opportunities.

  • GO welcomes six new board members – all women – and diversifies its board composition to include board members from the Central Valley


Darcel Sanders selected to lead GO as CEO; GO leans in to support communities during pandemic

  • GO partners with the Family Independence Initiative to distribute more than $400,000 in direct financial support for families in the Bay Area and Central Valley impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
  • GO Oakland launches #GOGive campaign to raise and distribute money to organizations in need at the beginning of the pandemic. 
  • GO’s Board of Directors unanimously select Darcel Sanders to serve as GO’s new CEO after Jonathan Klein transitions from the role. 


Reports, reports, and more reports!


Choosing Our Future 2.0 released in Fresno; GO travels to the State Capitol

  • GO Fresno hosts a public release event at Chukchansi Park for Choosing our Future 2.0, a revisit of a report done decades before in Fresno about the state of schools. The new iteration includes recommendations for equitable and transformational change needed in Fresno public schools. Hundreds of community members sign on in support of the vision. 
  • GO Oakland’s 1Oakland campaign action team advocates for the passing of the Community of Schools policy and releases recommendations for the implementation of the policy. 
  • GO WCC’s third annual Kids Can report is a finalist for the Policy Innovators in Education (PIE) Network’s Most Actionable Research Award, which honors important resources or tools from around the country that are broadly leveraged across the community and help advocates make a compelling case for policy change.
  • GO staff and GO WCC’s Family Leaders Action Group (FLAG) travel to a State Board of Education meeting to voice their concerns about the California School Dashboard, specifically its inadequate translation, confusing interface, and the lack of parent engagement around the tool’s overall effectiveness. Five months after the May visit, the release of the new iteration of the California School Dashboard shows major improvements in the areas GO named. 


GO Fresno is born!; More victories in Oakland and West Contra Costa


GO opens in West Contra Costa

GO West Contra Costa officially launches on January 25, 2016. GO WCC’s year-one priorities and accomplishments include: 


Oakland Achieves, Teacher Policy Fellowship, and more!


GO Public Schools is officially established as a 501c3

  • Volunteers launch GO’s first “School Board Agenda Watch” which posts blogs and sends out emails about what is happening at the school board meetings before and then reports out the decisions afterward.
  • GO launches Effective Teaching Campaign.
  • GO fights in coalition with partner organizations for the passage of the All Kids Policy, focused on creating more school-site autonomy. 


A group of Oaklanders come together

A group of Oaklanders, from inside and outside of OUSD, started organizing. Many had been connected through the OCO (Oakland Community Organizations, now Faith in Action East Bay) Education Committee and had been part of the small schools movement in Oakland. The organizing was spurred by actions taken by the newly-appointed superintendent of OUSD to close or consolidate many of the small schools without much community engagement and without attention to the success of many of the new schools, some of Oakland’s most successful flatlands schools. The group was able to stop the closure or consolidation of any schools.

PRIVACY POLICY site design by twiststudio