PLUS Fellows 2017-2018

                  2017 - 2018 PLUS Projects + Fellows 

planning for a more child-friendly san francisco

Client: San Franisco Planning Department 

The San Francisco Planning Department has launched a new initiative to ensure a future San Francisco that is more family and child friendly. This year, they are piloting a new Y-PLAN initiative to better connect and align local schoolswith neighborhood planning projects and to increase the engagement of young people and parents in planning processes.

Project Fellows: 


Michael is a first-year Master of Public Policy candidate at the Goldman School of Public Policy at Berkeley. Prior to coming to Berkeley, he worked in the education nonprofit space in San Francisco and New York City. In his spare time, he is a professional photographer and founded Michael Lau Photography & Film.


Victor Phu is a Master of Public Policy candidate at the Goldman School of Public Policy seeking to disrupt the cycle of intergenerational poverty and guarantee equity and opportunity for our most underserved youth through education & urban policy. Prior to graduate school, Victor served as a Data, Partnerships, & Planning Analyst in the African American Achievement & Leadership Initiative in the San Francisco Unified School District, where he was tasked to close the academic achievement gap for African American youth in San Francisco by developing results-basedaccountability and data-driven frameworks for strategy implementation. Following graduate school, Victor seeks to go back to his hometown—East San Jose, and utilize his accumulated experiences andknowledge to create a robust cradle-to-college and career pathway for low-income students of color.

examining teacher practice in sf unified school district's language pathway programs

Client: San Francisco Unified School District's Multilingual Pathways Department

San Francisco Unified School District seeks to better understand the effectiveness of teachers’ classroom implementation of various language pathway programs, specifically K-5 bi-literacy pathway models across San Francisco. They would like fellows to investigate this topic and identify which types of instructional and operational supports have been most successful in ensuring teachers provide high quality instruction within the language pathway programs.

project fellow:


 Rhina Torres is a first yearstudent in the Masters of Public Policy program at the Goldman School of Public Policy. Previously, she served as a bilingual teacher in a Spanish dual language and special education program in a K-8 public school in Brooklyn, NY. She was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY and is living in the Bay Area for the first time.

teacher wellness in our cities: Investigating how a range of wellness activities might best support retention of newcomer teachers in oakland

Client: Oakland Unified School District’s (OUSD) English Language Learner and Multilingual Achievement (ELLMA) Office

Oakland Unified School District has 7 school sites with high newcomer populations who were recently granted small grants to explore teacher wellness activities. The key objective of this work is to improve OUSD’s ability to retain teachers as well as provide wellness best practices that OUSD might emulate and expand to serve teachers more broadly. OUSD has partnered with PLUS to conduct a formative evaluation of these activities and their impact on teachers in the coming year.

Project Fellows: 


Melissa Henne is a doctoral student at the School of Education, focusing on policy and organizations. A former teacher, she is interested in how school districts are responding to changes in accountability policy, looking specifically at how the LCAP is challenging conceptions of equity and student achievement.


Sarah is currently an M.P.P. candidate at the University of California - Berkeley, and received her B.A. in Political Science and Urban Planning from the University of California - San Diego. She has experience in public and nonprofit sectors, and has focused much of her work on education and housing policy. Currently, Sarah is working as a Research Analyst for a local, affordable housing firm. Prior to UC Berkeley, Sarah was a corps member with Teach for America and taught 7th grade science in San Ysidro, California.

Deepening quality and impact of WCCUSD Youth Commission to support local learning needs and strengthen overall community engagement.

Client: West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) Community Engagement

WCCUSD has been working to expand and improve the work, depth and visibility of their Youth Commission. It is the mission of the commission to have students representing all cities meet monthly to discuss issues impacting each of the school campuses to provide the District with insight and recommendations to ensure youth voice has a role in WCCUSD policy making. This project will explore existing and new leadership models e.g., Participatory Budgeting, to document best practices and help identify what might be most effective for WCCUSD student leaders.

Project fellow: 


Jessie Wesley is originally from Seattle, Washington. Current student in City Planning
with an interest in food, equity, and the built environment.