Can you write, sing or act? Auditions and a competition for Oakland youth

osaresize.jpgThe Oakland School for the Arts, a charter school started by former Mayor Jerry Brown, is holding auditions at 10 a.m. this Saturday and on Aug. 18. The school offers five arts emphases: instrumental music, vocal music, theater, dance or visual arts.

Applications can be found at www.oakarts.org and can be faxed to (484) 991-3203 through Aug. 9 for this weekend’s tryout and through Aug. 16 for next weekend’s.

If performing isn’t your thing (I can relate), maybe writing is.

DeVry, a national for-profit college, and MiGente.com, a social networking Web site for Latinos, is sponsoring a national essay competition with a $10,000 cash prize to use toward a college education.

In 750 words or less, students are asked to answer the following: “What is the Value of a Higher Education and How is it Important to the Latino Community?” In addition to the grand prizewinner, nine other finalists will each receive a $1,000 cash prize to use for college.

The essay deadline is August 19, 2007, which leaves you exactly 12 days to polish it off. Submission details are available by going to www.migente.com/devry.

Break a leg!


On the agenda: School board comes in from recess


The Oakland school board meets Wednesday for the first time since June 27. During a quick scan of the agenda, a number of items caught my eye:

Kitty Kelly Epstein, from the mayor’s office, presents the findings of the Mayor Ronald Dellums task force on Education & Community Learning. Among many other ideas, the report calls on city leadership to “Challenge NCLB and the Accountability Regime.” (I wonder how OUSD’s leadership will view that recommendation, as many of the district’s reforms are closely linked to student data.)

It looks like the board will actually vote for the first time in years — on a delicate subject. It will consider a new by-law relating to investigations of board members who may have violated legal, ethical or professional standards. This seems to be linked to an ongoing district inquiry of Continue Reading


Uprep board meets Saturday, after all


Update: Photo from Saturday meeting, where parents gave the board an earful. Pictured is Carla Bryan.

The Uprep board meets at 11:05 tomorrow morning to wrap up business and legal matters after the charter school’s closure this week. They won’t be reconsidering their closure decision, said the school’s interim director, Liane Zimny.

The “special meeting” is public, so parents and students will have an opportunity to speak.  Zimny says she’ll be there at 10 to meet any families who thought the meeting started them.

Confusion about the start time — or the purpose of the meeting, or whether it would occur at all, for that matter — would be understandable. 

The meeting schedule played out in what parents and staff describe as typical Uprep board fashion: Continue Reading


Top OUSD leaders retreat in Tomales Bay, then Napa

tomalestourresize1.gifOUSD’s “strategy group,” the top four or five district officials, have spent the week ensconced in retreat centers to prepare for another school year in Oakland.

They began the week at the Marconi Conference Center, which boasts a “cozy dining room high above Tomales Bay.”

They then headed to the Embassy Suites in Napa Valley (below), where they met the rest of the top management for more strategizing.


 District spokesman Troy Flint, who might join them tomorrow, said they will talk about “everything under the sun.”

He said he didn’t have the cost estimate on hand. The people who’d have it are probably in wine country.

District officials kicked the year off in this way last year, as well. Does anyone know when this tradition started, or what prompted it?


And the new principals are…

After hearing about the retirements of the Fruitvale, Joaquin Miller and Montera principals, I asked the district for a list of all of the existing schools that will have new principals in the fall. It just came in.

Here is the list of 12 14 schools, with the old principals (as of the beginning of 2006-07) and the new ones:

SCHOOL                             FORMER PRINCIPAL      NEW PRINCIPAL


Fruitvale                                Cherie Ivey                    Terry Edwards

International Community   Guillermina Gutierrez          L. Karen Monroe

Joaquin Miller                        Linda Lu                       TBD

La Escuelita                            Kristal Chin                  Tammy Rose

Maxwell Park                         Ruben Aurelio              Mary Louise-Newling

PLACE                                     Jan Hamilton                Enomowyi Booker

Rise                                          Sara Stone                     Carrie Betti


Cole                                         Toby Hopstone              Ivory Brooks

Explore                                  Asali Waters                   Michael Scott

Madison                                 Quiauna Whitfield          Lucinda Taylor

Montera                                Cheryl Rodby                   TBD

Peralta Creek                      David Kumamoto                 Gregory McNamara     


Far West                              Linda McCluskey                  Beverly Jarrett

Oakland High                      Clement Mok                         TBD                    

Then there are the new principals at the district’s new schools:

Community United Elementary School (Lockwood site) — Pati Ceja

Learning Without Limits (Jefferson site) — Leo Fuchs

International High School — Carmelita Reyes

Alternative Learning Community (Toler Heights site) — Dennis Guikema

West Oakland Middle School (Cole site) — Seyana Mawusi