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Oakland middle school to get a plug on the “Today” show tomorrow

By Katy Murphy
Wednesday, December 16th, 2009 at 4:58 pm in achievement gap, English learners, middle schools, small schools.

Urban Promise AcademyUrban Promise Academy, a small middle school in East Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood, will be one of three schools in the nation to be featured tomorrow morning on NBC’s “Today” show for a segment on innovative schools in low-income communities.

Because the show will be filming live from UPA for its East Coast broadcast, a group of teachers, parents and students will get to the school by 5 a.m. Mark Triplett, the school principal, said he’ll probably be there by 4.

Hey, if tonight’s board meeting goes late enough, maybe I can pull an all-nighter! (That was actually Triplett’s suggestion. I’m SURE he was only half-serious.)

It is scheduled to air after 8 a.m. Pacific Time, likely around 8:30, Triplett said.

“Everyone’s pumped up!”  Triplett said.

Triplett said UPA was selected for the beating-the-odds segment because of its after-school program – which includes Brazilian dance, graffiti art and theater as well as soccer and basketball – its strong family involvement, dedicated teachers and its work to improve the literacy skills of its large population of English learners.

Four mornings a week, about one-third of UPA’s students show up to school an hour early for a program called “A.M. Boost,” which Triplett described as “kind of like an academic pott of coffee in the morning.” 

The school’s API score rose by 36 points this year to 694 out of a possible 1,000 points.

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