Our Impact


Imagine the Oakland landscape thirty years ago. At 4315 Lincoln Avenue, a buzz was building on the campus at Head-Royce School where a fresh-faced Head of School entering his second year as only the sixth in the School’s history was shaking things up. The Board of Trustees at that time was explicit in seeking someone they felt could facilitate HRS making strategic connections in Oakland to expand the reach of its educational resources, and impact students beyond the walls of the campus. Enter Paul Chapman. Paul immediately enlisted the support of educator and community advocate Barbara Gee, Gordon Baranco, Sue Woehrle, Denise Saddler, and the dream team was born. This team - tenacious in its efforts to develop a vision for the Heads Up Program that would work in partnership with the Oakland Community to improve opportunities for those attending Oakland Public Schools - was embraced by all and officially opened its doors in 1988.

Since then we have been fortunate to provide no-cost academic and enrichment programming to over 1000 students in Oakland and in recent years, over 150 alums have returned to become our resident summer program superheroes as camp counselors. Recently the School has embarked on a strategic planning process to renew its commitment to embracing the Heads Up Program, ensuring financial sustainability, strategic alignment, and deep infusion within the Head-Royce community and the city of Oakland for the next 30 years.

Heads Up is a conduit for providing our bright, inspiring students the opportunity to expand on their experience, hone their skills, and share their light.

Fast Facts

    • Our resilient and academically motivated students are referred by a fifth-grade teacher or school principal
    • Average household income of students is approximately $32,000
    • About 90% of students are Oakland residents, representing 94 Oakland public schools
    • The majority of Heads Up students have been the first in their families to attend college
    • Many of our Heads Up alumni come back to teach as summer counselors

Read the complete history of Heads Up here.