Pitching in, outside of the school boundary lines

bulbplanting1.JPGEarlier this month, families from Hillcrest Elementary School in the Oakland hills helped Lockwood parents, staff and students beautify the East Oakland school grounds.

According to organizers, more than 70 people worked to plant 600 daffodil bulbs near Lockwood’s three new small schools: Futures, Community United and Lockwood. (Keep Oakland Beautiful and The Home Depot donated the bulbs.)

Some of Oakland’s public schools are known for their parent involvement. How often does this volunteerism cross attendance boundaries? In what practical ways could –and should — this happen?

photo courtesy of Kathy Dwyer

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • Shannon

    This project is one of several that Hillcrest PTA has undertaken this year as part of its community service program.

  • Candace

    It’s really a good program. However, given the fact that there
    are no transfer students at Hillcrest and the school is recommending
    it decrease neighborhood boundaries, it’s the least Hillcrest can
    do. All cynicism aside, it’s great modeling for other schools.

  • Maria Ku

    I know Joaquin Miller Elementary has done some cross-school help for years:

    1. JM PTA purchases & donates some grocery-store gift cards to a flatland public school’s
    PTA to be distributed to needy families there.

    2. Every year, JM parents volunteer at other neighborhood schools’ fundraisers to help
    man their events.

  • A Former Oakland Teacher

    As a teacher at Lockwood for 8 years, I am very glad to see that this is happening. Hillcrest is only a few miles away from Lockwood and yet the two neighborhoods couldn’t be more separated. After talking about tragedies that happened to Lockwood families, I have been told by friends and families in the Oakland hills that Oakland isn’t really dangerous – it’s all exaggerated. Clearly, they had no idea what goes on in parts of Oakland every day. Anything that can help the schools and neighborhoods that are is welcomed and appreciated. I know Kathy Dwyer and she is a godsend to Lockwood. It is a shame that she has had to do many things that the district should be doing and that I personally have begged the district to do for 8 years. I could literally fill a book with the kind of unconscionable actions (or inactions) the district has taken and how they have left the needier students of Oakland behind. I was one of those teachers who wanted to stay at the school for decades, making a difference and teaching different generations of the same family but dealing with the ADULTS (not the kids) in OUSD caused me to leave. I would warn any new teacher – regardless of good intentions – not to get into this district, no matter what, and it hurts me to say that because the kids need the teachers.

    I came in with a good attitude and the district did all it could to make sure I didn’t leave with any hope for public education.