Since 1973, the Marcus A. Foster Educational Institute (MAFEI) has served the Oakland community for the last 30 years. Since then, the Institute has channeled resources into innovative programs and initiatives for the benefit and advancement of Oakland's public school students. The Institute is committed to carrying our Dr. Foster's vision that urban education could only be transformed when the community, which includes a coalition of parents, teachers, students, business partners, and community-based organizations, actively participate in the process to create and sustain superior education in every Oakland public school for every child.
More specifically, our mission is to develop relationships and mobilize resources that create opportunities for all children in the Oakland public schools to achieve excellence. We do this through grants to teachers and youth, scholarships for students, workshops for parents on school success and technology training and home computers for families. Our work with students, teachers, parents, and the Oakland community has a single goal: to help Oakland's public school children reach their full potential.
As noted above, the Marcus A. Foster Educational Institute primary goal is to support and further Oakland public school students' access to superior education in every Oakland public school for every child. This goal is accomplished via a series of programs the Institute offers to parents, students, and teachers. They are:
NEW NOTIONS FOR EXCELLENCE
Since its inception, New Notions For Excellence has supported the interests of teachers to improve student academic achievement using innovative instructional methods in the classroom. In addition to supporting teachers, New Notions For Excellence has expanded to include funds for principals, students, and parents that support innovative projects in individual classrooms and multiple school sites. A portion of the New Notion awards fund an array of professional development opportunities for teachers. The goal of this program is to enhance teaching and learning in Oakland public schools through innovative curriculum and development projects that support the academic achievement and social well-being of all Oakland Unified School District students. MAFEI seeks to fund projects aligned with its mission to encourage a standard of excellence in instruction and student achievement by providing the following:
- Creative Instruction Grants (For Teachers)
- Parent/Student Supplemental Learning Grants
- School Site Leadership Grants (For Principals)
- Professional Development Grants (For Teachers)
MOVE FURTHER STUDENT GRANTS
The Marcus A. Foster Educational Institute through its Move Further Student Grant provides approximately 300 mini grants to qualifying Oakland youth (ages 0-20) each year. The goal of the Move Further Student Grants is to foster young people's personal development and resiliency by providing enrichment opportunities to develop new skills and broaden their life experiences. Youth are encouraged to identify enrichment activities, including but not limited to performing and visual arts, leadership development, physical education, tutoring, foreign languages and pre-college exploration. Additionally, students are encouraged to seek activities that are unique to the applicant's everyday life experience.
MAFEI, in partnership with local business, community groups, and individual donors, provide college scholarships to at least 60 graduating high school seniors who are pursuing a post-secondary degree. Oakland public school graduating high school seniors may use the scholarships to pursue post-secondary education at a two- or four-year college.
The Marcus A. Foster Educational Institute through its Family University program provides valuable tools and training to help families strategically plan and gauge their child's progress towards achieving academic success and lifelong goals. Working together, parents and their children learn how to develop a personalized, education plan to guide them through the educational process and prepare students for post-secondary education. Workshop topics emphasize the role of parents and their children in meeting academic goals, nurturing a child's social and behavioral development through skillful communication skills, understanding legal rights in relationship to the school district policy and creating a successful financial planning and financial aid plan.
Awards and Recognition Program
The Marcus A. Foster Educational Institute annually honors and awards individuals who have made significant contributions to the Oakland's public schools and the Greater Oakland Community. The Institute has established the following awards:
This award recognizes the contributions of Oakland Unified School District educators who have inspired students and their colleagues through effective, innovative teaching and quality leadership.
The Marcus A. Foster Educational Institute through its Distinguished Alumnus Award honors and awards outstanding Oakland Unified School District Alumni who are well accomplished and highly regarded in their profession. These individuals have made outstanding contributions to their community, state or nation and continue to serve as role models for young people.
Volunteer Service Award
The Marcus A. Foster Educational Institute through its Volunteer Service Award, honors and awards outstanding individuals who have significantly contributed to the academic success of students in the Oakland Unified School District, volunteering their time, talents and resources in support of Oakland public schools.
Principal For A Day
Principal For A Day is a national program that provides an opportunity to encourage greater business and community commitment to public education by inviting members of the community to share a day at a public school site. Volunteers from the public and the business community partner with the OUSD to experience "a day in the life" of a principal, to help them learn about the challenges faced and the common ground they share. Principal For A Day also opens the possibility of a sustained relationship, potential partnership, and sharing of resources between a school and a community organization or business. To date, MAFEI has had more than 250 volunteers participate in Principal For A Day, many of whom have developed long-term relationships with Oakland public schools.
Community and Civic Engagement
The Institute through its role as a convener of public dialogue regarding educational issues that impact the lives of students of Oakland's public schools, is hosting a series of public forums. The result is to produce a well-informed and actively engaged citizenry who are committed to making a positive difference for children and youth attending Oakland's public schools.