Inquiry and community engagement are central pillars to the mission of the Mills College School of Education. Through our youth outreach and teacher development programs, we carry our commitment to fostering racial equity and social justice in educational spaces into the wider San Francisco Bay Area and beyond.
The School of Education provides a learning community for Mills alumnae and early childhood professionals with a focus on social justice and equity. Through in-depth discussion and reflection in the context of a supportive and collegial environment, participants increase their understanding of workplace dilemmas, widen their perspectives for analyzing the complexities of their professional work, and increase the range of choices for enacting positive social change in the field.
Through community partnerships with districts, county offices, and individual schools, Lead by Learning (formerly Mills Teacher Scholars) is a network of teacher leaders committed to cultivating vibrant student-centered learning cultures while also empowering educators to drive continuous improvement and social change at every level of the school system. Lead by Learning’s workshops, forums, institutes, and adult learning certificate training provide powerful spaces for our network of dedicated educators to reflect on their experiences, disrupt unjust practices, and cultivate curiosity through collaborative inquiry with their peers. By developing this leadership mindset amongst teachers, educators can ensure that our schools provide opportunities for all students to learn, grow, and thrive.
The Lesson Study Group at Mills College conducts research and practice on Japanese lesson study, a form of professional development in which teams of teachers work together to plan, observe, analyze, and refine classroom lessons through an inquiry process. Currently, the Lesson Study Group's work in Oakland focuses on mathematics.
These are federally funded programs for outreach and support for low-income individuals, first-generation college students, and students with disabilities from middle school to post-baccalaureate. There are two precollege TRIO Programs at Mills located in the School of Education: Upward Bound and the Mills Educational Talent Search.
Each year, led by a team of international experts, a cohort of current public school teachers gather in Oakland to explore the principles of a Waldorf education. Created by Austrian social reformer Rudolf Steiner, the Waldorf educational philosophy emphasizes social-emotional bonds and the role of imagination in learning. This pedagogical model strives to integrate the intellectual, practical, and artistic development of students by interweaving arts and expression into every discipline from preschool through high school, and by promoting creativity, critical thinking, and an inner enthusiasm for lifelong learning. Teachers in our Waldorf Professional Development Certificate Program graduate well prepared to implement this highly regarded educational model in urban classrooms across the Bay Area.