I spent a good part of today brushing up on one of the most ambitious and controversial school reforms in Oakland. First I met with Hae-Sin Thomas (you might know her as Hae-Sin Kim) who until recently oversaw the “incubation” and opening of many of Oakland’s small schools.
She was frank about the challenges — the brand new principals and teachers at some of the schools, staff turnover, starting one particular school with just a few months’ notice after King Estates closed — and about the fact that some of the schools have failed.
But her message was loud and clear: The Oakland educational system is better off because of the movement, and schools that show promise should be given time to blossom.
Tonight, I met with about 10 parents and organizers at the Oakland Community Organizations office who shared their personal stories and work at Coliseum College Prep, ASCEND, CBITs, Leadership Prep and MetWest, among others.
I believe the long-awaited small schools analysis is scheduled to be discussed in two weeks, at the next board meeting. As I’ve said before, I’m open to thoughts, opinions and stories on the subject. Feel free to post them here or to e-mail me directly.