Startup Weekend Education - Schools and Tools for Oakland

    Friday, February 10 - 12, 2017

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Speakers
  4. Judges
  5. Coaches and Mentors
  6. Sponsors
  7. Organizing Team
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Startup Weekend Education - Schools and Tools for Oakland

Friday, February 10 - 12, 2017

Friday, February 10 - 12, 2017
Event starts at 6:00 pm

Kapor Center for Social Impact
2148 Broadway
Oakland, CA 94612

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What should the future of school look like in Oakland?

We’re calling on students, parents, and community leaders: what should the future of school look like in Oakland? When it comes to Oakland’s needs, our own citizens are the true experts. We’re seeking innovators, changemakers, friends and neighbors to come forward with their ideas for change.

Come with an idea for a school, tech tool, after school program, learning space or change to part of an existing school. Your thought doesn’t have to be fully developed—what matters is your belief in its potential and your desire to make it work. Over the weekend, you'll form a team and build a prototype to bring your idea to life and test it out.

If you don’t have an idea, we still need your voice! All attendees will be able to join the teams working on different projects. Everyone’s participation matters, and everyone will bring their own unique expertise. 

This event is open to all, but designed for the Oakland community to design the future of school in Oakland. All are welcome: parents, students, educators, administrators, business professionals, designers, technical professionals, non-profit, policy makers, and community members. 


  • 1st Place - Two members of the winning team will get a trip to New Orleans to participate in the 4.0 School Essentials program (if your team’s application is accepted) and take their project to the next level. Coaching will be made available to prepare you to apply and attend.


"My experience that weekend really showed me the possibilities, especially in education and my four walls, to rethink my obstacles and connect with other professionals of all fields to bring my students the equitable education they deserve."

Nina Portugal, OUSD English Language Development Teacher

"I could not have asked for a more perfect entrance into the world of edtech than SWEDU. SWEDU offers an opportunity to problem solve for educational equity and has created a community of passionate individuals with diverse skill sets to bring solutions to life. I entered as a classroom teacher and felt valued, understood, by folks I would have never otherwise been able to meet or work with. It's surreal to be sitting in our company's office space--in the same building I first pitched the idea, first learned what a wireframe was, recruited my first team--now, as a founder of an award-winning edtech venture."

Xiaohoa Michelle ChingOUSD teacher, founder of Literator, a Startup Weekend Education winner (+ host of this event!)

"Startup Weekend EDU was a life changing experience for me. Not only was I able to connect with really awesome and talented people; I also gained a wealth of knowledge and skills that I've used to advance my professional life and my passion project. Startup Weekend hosts a magical and welcoming community of creative and innovative folks who are enthusiastically looking to connect and build on great ideas. I would highly recommend the experience to anyone who is even remotely interested in tech entrepreneurship. It's a guaranteed to take you to the next level."

- Tamyra Walker, Director of Recruitment and Retention, #YesWeCode


What happens at Startup Weekend?
On Friday, anyone who’s brought an idea will “pitch” it to the Startup Weekend participants. If you’re pitching, you’ll have 60 seconds to describe your idea, your proposed plans, why it matters to you personally and why it’s important to the Oakland community at large. 

On Saturday, teams will talk with the Oakland community and sign up for coaching. They’ll also build a prototype of their project. You’ll also share breakfast, lunch and dinner with your fellow participants. 

On Sunday - finish your prototype, pitch your progress to the community and a panel of judges

Can students participate?
Yes! Students, Oakland’s future rests in your hands! We’ve found our student entrepreneurs are some of the most innovative, creative, and dynamic participants at Startup Weekends, and we’re hoping at least half our teams will be led by young people. The program is best for high school students, but middle school students may participate as well. High school students may register for free on Eventbrite. Email to ask questions about student participation. 

Do I need to pitch an idea to participate?
No. You can come to be a participant instead even if you don’t have your own idea. In this case, you’ll join someone else's team that you're inspired by instead of leading your own. 

Can I work on an existing project?
If you've already started building or prototyping your project, you will not be eligible to participate with that idea. Our goal is to have every team start their project from scratch over the weekend. We do encourage you to spent lots of time researching and thinking about your idea before you arrive—just not building it out yet. 

What are examples of past projects?
Here are some examples of technology tools. This event will also be open to school site innovations and learning space design.
  • Literator - providing real-time insights into student reading performance
  • Emote - helping school communities work together to meet students' emotional needs
  • TalkingPoints - connecting teachers with families in multiple languages
  • Juicebox - engaging teens around sexual health
  • Vidcode - teaching programming through video art
How does this work if I’m creating a project within my existing school (ie not an idea for a new school or program)?
Existing schools are invited to come and reimagine an aspect of their school. This might be a new schedule, new staffing roles, new classroom routines or courses. It could also center on new school models and technologies, educational designs, and more!

Will child care be available?
Yes. We provide free child-care for anyone who needs it. Please indicate that you would like child-care when you register so we can accommodate you.

Shadow a Student!

Work in a school? Shadow a student and build empathy with the Stanford d.School K12 Lab's Shadow a Student Challenge! Click here to sign up and get your toolkit.

Interested in Sponsoring?

Check out sponsorship tiers.
Click here to sponsor online.

Want to support in a different way or make a contribution offline?
Email us at

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Friday February 10th

6:00 pm
Arrive at the venue and get checked in. Eat food, share ideas, practice pitches, get to know fellow participants

6:30 pm
Program Starts!

7:00 pm
Pitches Start
Optionally line up to give your pitch

8:15 pm
Attendees vote for the top pitches

8:45 pm
Form Teams
Teams start forming and discussing ideas

9:00 pm
Begin Work
Start to formalize teams and take an inventory of skills. Be honest, and direct about what resources and skills are needed for the weekend. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow

Saturday February 11th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

9:30 am
Begin Work
Teams formed and setting up workspace for the weekend

12:00 pm

1:00 pm
After-lunch check-in, status reports, call for help

2:00 pm
Coach Meetings
Coaches help teams one-on-one. They are here to help!

6:30 pm

7:30 pm
After-dinner check-in, status reports, call for help

10:00 pm
Finished for the day. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow

Sunday February 12th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

10:00 am
Coaches arrive. Final opportunity to ask questions

12:00 pm

12:30 pm
Coach Meetings
Coaches arrive… ASK QUESTIONS

3:00 pm
Presentation Prep & Tech Check
Final hours of worktime should be focused on perfecting your presentation, tech-check for final presentations also takes place

4:00 pm

5:00 pm
Final Presentations

7:30 pm
Judging & Awards

8:30 pm

9:00 pm
Go Home!


Salomeh Ghorban
Positive Culture Manager, Roosevelt Middle School

Salomeh works closely with Roosevelt principal Cliff Hong, assistant principals, and teachers, and directly supports students and their families to promote and enforce a positive school climate and culture. She recently coordinated a project with the Stanford called #HacktheHalls to establish a new culture in Roosevelt's hallways!

Cliff Hong
Principal, Roosevelt Middle School

Cliff is in his 7th year as principal of Roosevelt Middle School located in Oakland's San Antonio neighborhood. Roosevelt is recognized as a leader in Oakland for its innovations around blended learning and community school services which have ultimately led to greater student success!

Event Judges

Kennan Scott
Engineering Teacher, West Oakland Middle School

Kennan Scott was born and raised loving transportation and the New York City Subway. After receiving his Bachelors of Science in Civil Engineering from Northeastern University, he bolted for the west coast and the allure of automated public transit. Shortly after arriving in the Bay Area he found work with BART, the automated transit system he coveted and began designing transit infrastructure. It was during his time working with BART on the eBART extension that he was able to reconnect with and seek out his own emotional and social connections with transportation.In order to better serve riders, Kennan received a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning from San Jose State University with a focus on transportation management. The son of a long-tenured special education teacher, Kennan has always held education in high regard. When given the opportunity to change fields and teach engineering in West Oakland, Kennan saw a chance to make a greater difference in the black community. With making, problem solving and design thinking at the core of his teaching, Kennan has empowered young engineers to develop meaningful solutions to the problems faced in their communities.Kennan Scott is passionate about creating healthy communities and advancing the field of education through interdisciplinary approaches that merge planning, engineering, advocacy, and coalition building.

Brian Dixon
Partner, Kapor Capital

Brian Dixon focuses on identifying and evaluating early-stage investments along with helping portfolio companies grow effectively. Brian joined Kapor Capital in 2011 after spending two summers as an MBA intern, and was promoted to partner in November 2015. He is committed to making sure entrepreneurs of all backgrounds have access to advice and capital in order to make their business succeed.

Susie Wise
Director, K12 Lab Network at at Stanford University

Susie has had multiple incarnations at the – teaching EX-Tools back in the trailer days, launching the K12 Lab in 2007 with the Nueva School Innovation Lab project, and jumpstarting Media Ops and Hootenanny design for the inauguration of Building 550 in 2008-2010. Back again in 2012 she is leading our efforts to support the movement bringing design thinking into K12 teaching and learning. Susie stumbled upon design thinking when she took a course with David Kelley in 2003 and the experience helped her make sense of the universe. Susie is motivated by the simple belief that humans are by nature designers. Recently a design strategist and innovation coach at Intuit, her practice centers on inspiring teams to use empathy to get to innovative outcomes. Susie has a PhD in Learning Sciences and Technology Design from Stanford’s School of Education and is a co-founder of Urban Montessori Charter School in Oakland. She lives in Oakland with her husband and daughter (yes, the one in the movie Babies).

Coaches and Mentors

Gretchen Livesey
Director - Linked Learning, Oakland Unified School District

Gretchen Livesey is the Linked Learning Director for the Oakland Unified School District. She has spent her 26 years in public education teaching English and filmmaking, leading high school improvement efforts, and attempting to make high school a more joyful place for students.

Ajmal Jackson
Founder, MyRise

Ajmal Jackson-Brown is founder of MyRise, a coding academy with a social entrepreneurship mission to help urban youth learn technology skills to access college and compete for high-paid employment. He wrote his Division III thesis on the topic of disrupting the cycle of poverty, closing the tech disparity gap, and empowering and engaging communities through enterprise.

Cicely Day
Teacher, PLACE @ Prescott Elementary School

Cicely has been a teacher for many years at PLACE @ Prescott Elementary in Oakland. She was born and raised in Oakland and attended Castlemont High School. She serves on the East Bay CUE Board of Directors and frequently hosts the Black Teacher Project's #btpchat on Twitter!

Jorge Mendez
Analyst, Kapor Capital

Jorge Davy-Méndez focuses on conducting research, assisting on due diligence and evaluating new investment prospects. He joined Kapor Capital in 2015 after working as a Tech, Media & Telecom Investment Banking Analyst at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey. He holds a MS in Management Studies from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business and a BS in Health Sciences from Wake Forest University. Jorge previously interned at Acorn Investments, a seed-stage Green Materials VC, and the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation, whose focus is creating social and economic justice in the Southeastern US. Jorge is passionate about leveraging technology to create positive social change and increasing opportunities and exposure in tech among currently under-represented populations.

Rupa Chandra Gupta
Cofounder/CEO of Sown To Grow

Rupa is co-founder and CEO of Sown to Grow. She spent the last several years working in the San Jose Unified School District, most recently leading school redesign implementation. She loves working side-by-side with students, teachers, and school leaders to help make every learning interaction awesome. Before working in schools, Rupa spent nearly 10 years working in consulting at Bain & Company and The Bridgespan Group.

Angela Badami-Knight
Manager of Educator Community, GO Public Schools

Angela spent almost a decade as a special education teacher in Oakland Unified School District (OUSD), most recently at Westlake Middle School. From her work with students, to her work in union leadership, Angela has focused on equity and building community. As the Manager of Educator Community for Oakland, Angela brings teachers together to advocate for Oakland’s students and manages GO's Teacher Policy Fellows program.

Dwalu Khasu
CEO & Founder at Feykena

Dwalu Khasu, CEO of Feykena, is a technologist, software architect and entrepreneur. He specializes in scalable, reliable and secure web architectures, distributed computing, extensible and maintainable software frameworks.

David Castillo
Head of School, Urban Montessori

David Castillo (Mr. C) is Urban Montessori’s Head of School. He is currently serving in his third term. The first of his family to attend college, David earned a Political Science degree from UC San Diego. His early career was in global logistics with an international firm that advised leading technology companies. Then he began pursuit of his true calling, public education. David completed his Single Subject Teaching Credential in Social Science from San Francisco State in 2002, and obtained a Master’s in Educational Leadership from Cal State University East Bay in 2009. He taught and then became Principal at Unity High School, another Oakland charter school. He loves traveling to faraway lands and connecting with the community in his East Oakland neighborhood. David also enjoys spending time with his wife and their 6-year-old son. 

Julian Golder
Founder & CEO of Emote

Building on 12 years of his own teaching experience as well as published research, Julian became concerned about students who lose a lot of potential learning time when their life-circumstances generate powerful emotions, and schools’ inability to anticipate and respond well to those emotions leads to escalation from which recovery is difficult.​ He developed a solution that enables teachers to quickly note whatever indicators they see and inform their colleagues, so that they can respond more quickly and empathetically to the student’s need before behavior escalates out of control. Julian started Emote during a Startup Weekend Education event in San Francisco and has seen gone through 4.0 Schools fellowship and YCombinator.

Claire Shorall
Manager, Computer Science at Oakland Unified School District

Claire is creating and implementing a district-wide vision to ensure 40k+ students receive high-quality computer science instruction. Before moving into this district role, she taught at Castlemont High School.

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend Education - Schools and Tools for Oakland team is grateful for the support of local community partners without whom this event would not be possible.
Learn how to become a sponsor here.




Outreach Partner

Organizing Team

Techstars Startup Weekend Oakland is 100% led by volunteer community leaders.
Learn how to get involved here

  • Greg
  • Nicole
  • Frank
  • Tiffany
  • Stacey
  • Jeadi
  • Isaac
  • Danielle
  • John


Xiaohoa Michelle Ching
Founder and CEO of Literator | Educator | Artist

Michelle Ching was a teacher in Oakland who wanted to solve a critical problem in her classroom. Literacy instruction needed to improve if her students would be successful. After working on her idea at a Startup Weekend EDU event, Michelle recruited an ex-Apple designer and a serial startup CTO to help her do just that. Together, they’ve built Literator. Now, as founder-CEO of Literator she’s helping over 1,100 schools around the world meet their student’s exact literacy needs. Literator has won several awards and honors from the TechStars Startup Weekend, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Teach For America, Tech Inclusion, Camelback Ventures, and The Unreasonable Group. Xiaohoa Michelle was listed as a 2018 Forbes 30 Under 30 in Education and a Forbes 30×100 “intelligencer” set to influence the next century. She’s been a speaker at UC Berkeley, Stanford, Google, and SXSWedu, and has been featured in Forbes, Voice of America, EdSurge and Business Insider.

Event Staff

Francisco Nieto
Edtech Program Manager, Alameda County Dept of Education / Co-founder

Vedashree Bankar
Product Design Intern, Helpshift

Erin Swan
Partner Success Manager, Goalbook

Event Blog

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