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Life Academy to be uprooted

By Katy Murphy
Wednesday, March 19th, 2008 at 2:58 pm in high schools, OUSD central office, safety, small schools.

Life Academy teachers and families were in for a shock this week when they learned the small, 7-year-old science-focused high school will soon have to move from its spot in the San Antonio district to another, yet unknown, school campus. 

lifeacademy.jpgThe problem? Life Academy is located in a converted American Red Cross building, rather than in a structure designed to house a school.

photo courtesy of Life Academy

A letter sent to families this week stressed that the building meets the city’s standards and that it was not damaged in the Loma Prieta quake in 1989. Still, it says that it ”probably” does not comply with the Field Act, a decades-old state law that regulates the safety of K-12 school facilities (with the notable exception of charter schools). The matter apparently popped up on the central office radar after the school applied for a grant to build a science wing.

Clifford Lee, a teacher at Life Academy, said many fear the school will have to move miles away from the Fruitvale/San Antonio neighborhoods where most of its students live. They also suspect they will have to share a campus with another school.

“How could you move an entire school based on “probably will not comply?” Lee asked.

The Oakland school district is holding a community meeting on the matter at 5:30 p.m. Wed., April 2 in the central office administration building, 1025 Second Ave.

Here is the letter: field-act-letter4.jpg

field-act-letter2resize.jpg

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  • Albert

    Seems like compliance should have been determined when the school first moved into its current building. Seems strange to perform a review only when a new addition to the building is being considered.

    Someone dropped the ball here. Hopefully the Life Academy students aren’t the ones who will have to pay for someone else’s mistake.

  • Concerned teacher

    The irony of the Expect Success motto when we uproot school communities at will is heart wrenching….how can the young people of Oakland be expected to continue their learning in a deep and meaningful way when our schools are moved around as frequently as they are? This uses incredible amounts of resources from central office in an inefficient and ineffective way from a mode of quick band aid thinking. This is a time when we desperately need such energies focused on a streamline plan of district SUPPORT to help us weather the storm of changing leadership, restoration of local control and the tightening of the grip of NCLB.
    I’m not saying the answer is to keep them there, but the answer certainly requires a lot more thought, long term planning and examination of all possibilities before jumping the gun and disrupting the home of an incredibly successful and powerful community like LIFE.
    Shame on you Expect Success Team!

  • Life Academy student

    I am a sophmore at the school Life Academy. I am really shocked to the news about the k-12 moving the school to somewhere were they do not know yet. I am happy were the school is at. I live close to it and i wouldnt want to move schools because the teachers there at Life Academy help us and show attention to us. The teachers have really helped us and that school has helped us alot into being a better person. All of us in that school are united!

    They dont have the right to move us!

  • Life Academy Sophomore

    I’m a student at Life Academy and I was pretty crushed to hear that the district has decided to move our school. The building of Life Academy on International and 22nd is one of the few schools that is in the flat lands of Oakland. That building has become a second home for every student that attends. Together, many students have fundraised in after school programs to paint murals on our building, add a basketball court to our building, create a student lounge for our building, make a beautiful patio for our building, etc. Because Life Academy is a small school, students build strong relationships with the staff and peers, thus whenever one of us is falling behind someone will always be there to push them back up. As evidence, I’m proud to say that my school has the highest graduation rate and college acceptance rate of all OUSD. If our school were to move many students will transfer because Life Academy’s location was convinient but won’t be anymore. It frustrates me to be aware that the people who make the decisions for OUSD can’t empathize to how this decision will affect us. They’re not part of my community and yet they have made a decision where I have no say. They have taken away the school’s freedom of speech which is so unconstitutional. I just hope they’re ready for our response. Life Academy is more than a school, it’s a second family to all the staff and students there and together we will fight to keep our school and fight for our rights! Please join us at April 2nd’s meeting!

  • valladares Mabel

    I am a student at Life Academy and i am proud to say that i attend to such an incredible school. i was transferred from East Oakland Community Highschool on the 30th of november 2006 when i was a fresh man,now i am a sophmore ready to move on to the next level. Unfotunately this is my second time trying to figure why Oakland shools are being shut down or moved for no good reason. This school has offered me an amazing oportunity to develope my personality. It helps me want to keep on fighting for my dreams. One example of the many reasons why we are upset is because it has given me and the rest of my school mates Internships that no other school would offer. My teachers are encouraging and they help every single one of us do what is right, so we can be unique in every single way. They try so hard every day to give us the education we deserve. Our teachers believe that we can accomplish thoes things that kids from the hills can accomplish. They do not sit there and do nothing. When we fail they push us and use words of encouragement. It would be a shame to move us from were we are specaily when all the district can say is, “We dont know were we are moving you, We just need you out of here by the end of June”. Why are going to be mooved? when they first gave that building to our principal it seamed to be perfect and now that the teachers have gone far they find a “problem” and say its not meeting the requarements! i am not going to sit here and say i dont want to be moved because its close to my house, I am going to show that i care because it is safe and it deserves to be there. Do they Know how hard our teachers have worked to make it a Clean space? Do they know that we have students who have planted trees around the school because we want it to be a better place? or that the school has recently been painted and that their has been many changes done so that our Learning Environment can be much cleaner and better? We have the highest rate of graduating students and the highest colledge ecceptance rate our test scores are also very good and if we are moved to a place that we dont even know, many things will be changed the environment will be unsafe for us students and we are going to exposed to something we are not use too. Unless they want to give us what we really deserve then i wont complain, but if they plan on takin us to the worst We students teachers and parents deserve to stay in the location we are in because of the hard work, and because we dont want to be like the rest of the public schools, were the neighborhoods are made up of gangs and violence we are perfect were we are. We all have the power to convince the district that we are amazing students and are not willing to go some were else. If the district wants us to be “good people and achieve good things in life” then why do they have to take us apart i am sure that about 60% of my school will move to other schools. If we wanted to go to any school then we could of easily applied to Freamont,Castlemont,Oakland High or any other school close to our neighborhoods,BUT NO. WE CHOSE LIFE ACADEMY!! because it was the only school that offered WAY BETTER things even the location was alot better than thoes places!
    In conclusion i would like to say that all The district is doing by moving us to a place were they dont want to give us any information on is that THEY ARE BREAKING OUR FAMILY APART! many students will not follow if we are put in a Violent or nasty looking place and i am sure our teachers wont either so THEY ARE NOT TRUTHFUL WHEN THEY SAY THEY WANT OAKLAND STUDENTS TO SUCCEED ALL THEY ENJOY IS TO SEE MANY FAIL AND THEY DONT CARE IF THEY PUT US IN ENVIRONMENTS WERE WE RISK OUR LIVES!! AND THEN PEOPLE WONDER WHY INOCCENT PEOPLE ARE KILLED!! hopefuly they demonstrate to all of us that what i just said is not true about them.

  • Alumni 2007

    Life Academy has a variety of things to offer their students. The district should not be allowed to take this location away from the students and staff. As an student, Life Academy gave me many opportunities and never did this location seemed unsafe. This school has been there for seven years and should continue to stay in this location. As youth we deserve the chance to continue our with our learning education. Moving the school may send the students to other locations that may not offer the same opportunities. It would be heart breaking to see Life Academy come to an end if a proper location is not found. Not only will this force this community to slit apart, but can also affect the learning environment of these current students. Many of the students at Life Academy have great support systems on campus and have dreams of making it into college. Once you find such support in a school, it is hard to let it go. I myself am upset of this news and hope something can be done to keep Life where it belongs.

  • Luis Angel Pelayo Espinoza

    I am gra​​​​dua​​​​tin​​​​g fro​​​​m lif​​​​e aca​​​​dem​​​​y, but​​​​ I do not​​​​ wan​​​​t to see ​​​​it bei​​​​ng ,mo​​​​ved​​​​
    For​ as lon​g as I hav​e rem​emb​ere​d we hav​e bee​n at tha​t bui​ldi​ng,​ it was​ the​ sch​ool​ whe​re my old​er cou​sin​s wen​t, som​e eve​n fro​m the​ tim​e LIF​E was​ par​t of fre​mon​t, eve​ry stu​den​t has​ som​eho​w lef​t the​ir mar​k at the​ sch​ool​, wet​her​ its​ the​ mur​als​, hel​pin​g pai​nbt​ or cle​an som​eth​ing​, or jus​t fro​m mem​ori​es.​ I rem​emb​er my fri​end​s gre​at tim​es dow​n at “th​e spo​t” it was​ jus​t a hal​lwa​y, but​ it was​ our​ pla​ce to go.​ I wou​ld lik​e to ret​unr​ to LIF​E Aca​dem​y at the​ sam​e bui​ldi​ng whe​re I hav​e kno​wn it to be,​ I hav​e man​y fon​d mem​ori​es fro​m ALL​ cor​ner​s of tha​t sch​ool​, and​ I wou​ld not​ enj​oy to see​ my sch​ool​, in a new​ pla​ce,​ alt​hou​gh we wou​ld sti​ll be the​ sam​e sch​ool​, it wou​ld not​ be the​ sam​e fee​lin​g. KEE​P LIF​E ACA​DEM​Y AT 211​1 INT​ERN​ATI​ONA​L BLV​D.

  • Bobby J

    Being a student at Life Academy, it is a very upsetting news knowing that your school will move. Though I haven’t been here for long, I’ve gotten to know the school, and it has become my second home. I began at Life Academy, at this very site, and I plan to end it here. Moving us will only cause further frustrations. Please fight the district on this issue, and attend the meeting on April 2nd.

    LONG LIVE LIFE ACADEMY!

  • Life Academy Student

    It is more than simply moving Life Academy to a different location. It is the fact that there are less and less public schools in Oakland’s flatlands. If Life Academy is forced to move, a majority of the student population will be forced to join other schools like Fremont and Castlemont, while Life Academy is a school with the highest percentage in graduation and college acceptance. Life Academy has created a safe environment for all of us students, even though its location is still in East Oakland. Teachers have established connections allowing students to have internships in that particular area. If Life Academy moved what will happen to all of the opportunities that this school provides us with? Moving will create transportation issues, or cancellation of those programs such as FACES for the Future at Children’s Hosptial, and local internships at TCN, Mercy Retirement, and much more. Another issue is what will happen to the grant that Life Academy applied for? Is this only about the field act and the safety of all of us students? Or is there a bigger picture that is taking place without all of us not being aware of? Life Academy is our home, 2111 International Blvd is our home. A home that has allowed 7 years of academic excellence with a variety of programs, and community unity. We are here to stay.

  • Proud Student

    I think it is absurd how incoherent the district’s decision is. They don’t have a sole, legitimate purpose as to why they are trying to move the location of the school. Though I am currently an enrolled senior, and where the school moves or not doesn’t affect me, I believe that it is illogical to move the school. The district never took into consideration how going through with this plan could affect hundreds of students and their families. It is by far the most successful school in the district, we have the highest graduation rates, highest college acceptance rates, and voted the safest school by students and family, and yet we are the most prone to these attacks.

    Also, aside from it being really stupid to move the school, it is one of the only high schools that are accessible for students in that area. Not only that, but the school is only being attacked for not abiding by one regulation. We don’t hear the district addressing the fact that we don’t have a library, or even a cafeteria, which are both regulations for schools. Overall, I just believe that this action by the district shows the discrimination we receive as underrepresented minorities.

    It is not ending here, however. WE as a student body, the parents and staff love the school and will not permit it to be taken away from us.

  • Juan

    My kid went to Life. It was not a good school like people think. The kids are not controlled and the education is not good. A teacher who left tolde us parents about the test scores and said the school is really low. Whys is this school score so low.

    My kids got beat up at lunch time and my youngest son did not o class after lunchtime becasue they were outside of the school.

    I feel bad for the kids but school is not thT GOOD AS PEOPLE THINK.

  • http://yahoo.com Tremale Christopher Daniel Dalton- Brlser

    So, for all the haters who, are complaining and making up lies about my great school… You guys are really rude. By the way at Life Academy has the highest graduating rate in OUSD. Life Aademy gets the most students in to college IN OUSD. Why after 7 years would the oakland district all of a sudden want to come anf mess with us and say that the school is not safe and doesnt meet the standards for the “FEILD ACT”. No one even knows what the feild act is so… why do we care. this school has existed for 7 years now. Life Academy was once a Hospital so why in the hell would they have people in a hospiatal that wasnt safe!!! it doesnt make any sense!!! We want people to know that we are going to do anything we can to keep our school open!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Erick Orejudos

    Why would they not help in rebuilding the foundation of the school instead of moving the whole school body to somewhere so foreign? There is something behind this that the district doesn’t want us to know. Also they are ruining the success and the glory of Life Academy by removing the people that thrived in the school and the programs that helped many students to becomes successful. Once this foundation of hope is taken away from this certain community, the hopes of many students around that school will be lost. And they want us to be successful in life. they are screwing many students over.

  • JOSE MARTIN

    It seems that the OUSD dropped the ball here. This issue should have been addressed before the school opened in Sept. of 2001. I went to life for 4 years and it was the best school I ever went to, you have more one on one with the teachers and theres so many programs you can choose to get into, especially now. We weren’t a perfect school with perfect student, we had some kids who really didn’t care, but the majority of kids cared for that high school . We had great teachers and a great staff (Venus and Graciela) that really care for those students. hopefully everybody goes and supports this school on April 2nd.

  • Jason Chan

    As a senior of Life Academy, the district’s plan of relocating our school does not directly affect me. However, this action directly interferes with the hundreds of community members inhabiting the local area. The district, completely disregarding the views of its local community members, prolongs the difficult life in which we must struggle and endure.

    A vast majority of the students who attend Life Academy lives in the surrounding neighborhood, and relocating the site would without a doubt interfere with students’ access to this outstanding school. Students would have to result in transferring to schools that doesn’t provide the same quality education that we receive at Life Academy on 2111 International Blvd. The students and staff in this community have built a strong, tight, and diverse culture at this site. Moving us would shatter the life that we have built. It will make it difficult for the students to transition from a life of close networking students and caring and supportive teachers to life in a completely unknown site that is bound to have great uncertainties.

    Life Academy is more than just a school in East Oakland. It is the second home to every student, staff, and community member in the local area. Stripping us away from our home is intolerable. Our education here is key, for Life Academy stand predominant at the epitome of great high schools in the OUSD for having the overall highest safety rate from parents and community members, highest graduation rate, and highest rate of student accepted to colleges.

    The district’s argument isn’t plausible and completely disjointed. “Probably will not comply”? There is no concrete evidence that our support structure is not safe to house students. In addition, the Field Act applies to public schools, but not charter schools? What a completely absurd inequity they have placed upon our shoulders! The district doesn’t even have a strong argument for relocating Life Academy from the start.

    The structure that stands at 2111 International Blvd isn’t even old to begin with. To many schools we are very new, yet we are susceptible to the district’s attack. Though they say that our school doesn’t meet the Field Act, wouldn’t it make sense that every other high school in the city fail to meet the standards as well? We need a second opinion on the safety of our site’s support structure. Not only that, but if we were to get checked again, then every high school in the city needs to be checked. If we truly fail to meet it, then it would only make sense that every high school in Oakland fails in the process. If the district relocates Life Academy, they need to move every single school in Oakland.

    United we stand, and we refuse to be removed from our home. We have continued to battle a life long struggle of high quality education, and history will be made, for Life Academy will stand at 2111 International Blvd, where leaders of this generation are born.

    Please join the fight on April 2nd, 2008!

  • ryans girlfriend(life academy student)

    I am a sophmore at Life Academy, and i love life…i love the support that i get from my teachers and peers
    it helps so much and it makes you a stronger person and a stronger learner AND LEADER.
    I
    DONT
    WANT
    TO
    MOVE…:(

  • garcia

    I’m a sophmore at life academy and i agree with hte students who believe that our school should not be moved and the district is only giving away crutual lies. They should be ashame at themselves, we love our school and it’s really safe than other schools i’ve been to. WE LOVE OUR SCHOOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Sharon

    When UPrep issues came up last summer, four articles at this site produced 11 reader comments, almost all from adults.

    One article about Life Academy has already produced 17 comments, many from the students.

    I just looked up the 2006-2007 figures for both schools and discovered that the size of each school and their FRPL figures were similar. UPrep tested 170 students, 83% FRPL. Life tested 181 students, 83% FRPL.

    I’m just pointing out the vast difference in student attachment to the two schools. To the OUSD deciders, this needs to count for something.

  • Venus Mesui

    2111 is more then just an address on International Blvd. It is a 2nd home for many students. The first time that students walk through the doors of Life Academy, they begin to dream. We allow our students to dream and we create opportunities where students can make their dreams a reality.

    Since Life Academy’s birth in 2001, the San Antonio/Fruitvale community has been our home. This community has embraced our school and has allowed us to grow and become a contributing part of this diverse neighborhood.

    Life Academy has high expectations/standards for both students and staff. A huge part of Life Academy is sending our students to internships and because of our location our students are serving internships in the immediate area like Think College Now, La Clinica DeLa Raza, Highland Hospital, Oakland Children’s Hospital, and many more. Our location is essential to our students, they have easy access to public transportation (AC Transit/Bart)to take advantage of these awesome internships. Our students also Kayak at the Jack London Aquatic Center something they will not be able to do if relocation is in our future. Relocating Life Academy would take many of these life changing opportunities away from our students it would dramatically have a negative impact on not only our students but, also these amazing partnerships.

    It is so sad to think that the district decided to uproot a high school with no plans for the future and did not take into consideration the partnerships that we have developed over the years. Furthermore a school that has the highest parent involvement, highest students that qualify for UC’s and State Universities, and awesome staff, and a school that gives back to it’s community through these amazing internships.

    This is just a taste of a day at Life Academy. Our staff is committed to serve this generation and it’s community. Help us continue our extraordinary work and let us continue to be the hidden jewel in the San Antonio/Fruitvale district.

    Join us on our quest April 2, at 1025 2nd Ave Hunter Hall 4th Floor at 5:30. We look forward to seeing you.

  • Aaron Bermudez

    As an Alumni i believe this is bull****. Probably can not define or provide enough info weither or not a building is up to standards or not. As a graduate of the class of 2005 i believe that moving this school will have great repacussions on the following graduating classes of 2008- and so on. I can’t believe this. ever since i started going to life the oakland school district has been trying to close life because unlike any other charter or public school in oaklnad life academy excited all of it’s expectations with test scores, graduate succes and other varible ways. This is terrible and u best believe i will be present at this meeting!

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  • Oye

    Structually unsound
    professionally unsound
    personally displaced
    A fast break before spring break

    Brand new paint and crispy cork boards
    speak to the sentiment of new tenants
    old money infused into the new school day
    It should smell like wet paint
    but instead it smells of
    a fast break before spring break

    Life Academy students, parents, and staff
    have been OUSteD!

  • elizabeth,gonzales

    i believe life academy should Not be move from its place.i i graduated from this school, and its a wonderful school. my heart would be crushed if i hear that this school has moved to a different location,i would love to see it stay, where it. began since the start.why dont these people worry about other serious situations instead of moving a great school,with lot’s of open doors for the future generation.

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