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Phasing out, moving schools

The Oakland school board put a halt to talk about large-scale closures this month, but they never said school closures were out of the question. Some of these tough decisions will surface in less than two months, while others are slated to determined a year from now.

In December, the Oakland school board will decide whether to continue to phase out BEST High School at McClymonds (which is now grades 10-12) and Peralta Creek Middle School at Calvin Simmons (now just eighth grade).

They’ll also discuss the possible relocation of Life Academy and Tilden Elementary School.

In the fall of 2009, the board is slated to decide what to do with the following list of “focus schools” — those with academic and/or enrollment concerns:

- Sankofa, Burckhalter and Howard elementaries (enrollment)

- Youth Empowerment School, Leadership Prep, East Oakland School of the Arts, Castlemont Business & Technology School (academic)

- Explore Middle School and Far West (academic and enrollment)

Also, 16 Oakland schools in Year 4 of Program Improvement under NCLB will be “restructured” next year, including Oakland Tech and Skyline. You can find the full “Portfolio Management” report here, or listen to the board presentation at this Wednesday night’s meeting.

Katy Murphy

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

  • Jill

    Interesting slide show. Lots of schools on there slated to close or be restructured. I’m wondering what the “Special Education Long-Term Rebalancing Plan” is and why it’s going to impact the decision-making….

  • Sue

    Jill,

    The number and percentage of Spec Ed students varies widely from one school to the next. Some programs – for low-incidence disabilities – are only offered at a few schools. Since Spec. Ed. students frequently have lower test results than their general ed peers, a school with 25% Spec Ed students is likely to have a lower aggregate score than a school that has none.

    Rebalancing would, in theory at least, give all the schools the same ratio of Spec Ed to general ed students. The result, again in theory, would be that no schools would have their aggregates dragged down due to a large and poorly-performing Spec Ed population.

    This is a very partial answer from a parent, not from the district – lots of disclaimers! I happen to think the theory behind rebalancing Spec Ed is full of holes.

    I’ve seen the schools where the ASIP program is implemented, and those schools also happen to have some of the higher aggregate scores in the district. I’ve pushed to have my younger son enrolled in the same schools where my older son has been in the ASIP program.

    Testing results aside, IMHO both of my kids are getting the best schools and education the district has to offer.

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