The Oakland office kicked off our partnership with a local East Oakland School: Madison Park Academy.

This partnership opportunity came from conversations with the Oakland Public Education Fund, a local organization raising funds and matching professionals with schools in the area to create meaningful relationships.

Over the next 5 months and 10 sessions, staff from the Oakland office will be volunteering at Madison Park Academy in a 6th-grade class with an end goal of creating a poster for an art gallery show held at the conclusion of the school year. This project will show the students the process we take as designers and planners to do what we do including the topics of: idea conception, theming, community/stakeholder engagement, graphic media, and critiques/reviews. With each session there will be the opportunity for us to teach them about our profession, and the potential career opportunities for them in the future.

The first session was a fun and exciting one! We kicked-off the partnership with an invigorating interactive session going over who we are, and a little of what we do, ending it with a discussion about themes for their posters and a democratic voting “Square Exercise”–typically called a “Dot Exercise” but we had post-its.

The students voted on the following three themes for their poster project:

  1. Career, goals, and aspirations
  2. “Pride, Perseverance, Possibilities, and Purpose” – Their school motto
  3. Social Justice

The results were a close one between #1 and #3. In exercising their vote and consensus building they were able to agree on a hybrid solution where the poster theme could relate to both Careers, and goals, and Social Justice or just specifically Social Justice.