The Unity Council’s History Mural: Representing a 50-Year Journey

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The Unity Council was born in challenging times. In the 1960s, a freeway cut through the heart of Oakland and, as in many American cities, the result was an era of urban decline and poverty. During this time, the civil rights movement was gaining strength.

Latino activists from several organizations joined forces in 1964 to form The Unity Council, with the purpose of having a stronger, collective voice for their unrepresented community.

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A Look Back: Reflections on 35 Years of Visualizing Change

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On October 7, 2013, David Sibbet was a featured speaker at the National Organization Development Network (ODN) Conference in San Jose, California, where he received ODN’s Lifetime Achievement Award. The following article is adapted from his conference presentation and his remarks at the awards ceremony.

I was invited by several ODN colleagues to share with you some of the shaping influences underlying my work and The Grove Consultants International’s methods. It’s an honor to receive this award, and humbling to reflect on the path that brought me here. I’d like to do this with a bit of storytelling.

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Mapping a Vision for Social and Emotional Learning in Oakland

Safe, nurturing environments and excellent instruction have been found to result in higher academic achievement and better preparation for college, career and community life. (1)  Based upon these findings, Oakland Unified School District (Oakland Unified) is working a seven-year plan to transform the educational experience of its students using Social and Emotional Learning principles.

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Five Graphic Takeaways from “Learning 2013”

More than 1,600 people converged in Orlando, Florida for Learning 2013, a dynamic immersion in all aspects of organizational learning, hosted by Elliott Masie and sponsored by the MASIE Learning Consortium.

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The Grove’s Rachel Smith provided virtual graphic recording services for keynotes and general sessions, including George Takei, journalist Jane Pauley, Martin Bean from Open University, and more. Screenshots from her notes were shown in real time to the assembly. (2)

Five annotated snapshots follow, drawn from Rachel’s notes.

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Storymapping Process Aids Merger, Informs Future Vision for Oakland Unified School District


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The Grove has worked with Family, Schools and Community Partnerships (FSCP), part of the Oakland Unified School District, to envision the department’s journey over the next five years and think about possible concrete steps to strengthen its work.

FSCP, the Oakland public school system’s largest department, addresses all non-academic support for students and families, partnering with external community agencies as needed. The department’s goal is to create full-service schools with a seamless service environment for students and families. This includes everything from nurses in school, mental health, health checks, and family involvement and support, to attendance issues, conflict situations, and students who are having problems in school.
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