New (and old) Oakland principals

This isn’t a complete list, I’m sure, but here’s what was on the latest personnel report (on tonight’s agenda).

Cenne Carroll-Moore – West Oakland Middle School
Gina Hill – Youth Empowerment School
Clifford Hong – Roosevelt Middle School
Troy Johnston – Skyline High School
Greg Klein – Alliance Academy (Elmhurst)
Eduardo Munoz – International Community School
Michael Scott, CBIT High School (Castlemont)
Betsye Steele – Leadership Academy (Castlemont)
Nima Tahai – Garfield Elementary
Kevin Taylor – EXCEL High (McClymonds)
Kareem Weaver – Lazear Elementary Continue Reading


Furloughs for Oakland school management

Superintendent Tony Smith and 53 other non-unionized managers in the Oakland school district will take furloughs of 6 to 12 days next year. The school board approved the one-year implementation at tonight’s special meeting before passing the final 2010-11 budget.

None of the bargaining units will take unpaid vacations; classified staff considered doing so as a way to avoid further layoffs, but it wasn’t enough, CFO Vernon Hal said tonight.

The $175,000 in savings from these management furloughs will go to the district’s preschool programs. (I’m not sure exactly how many employees this includes.)

Here’s the furlough schedule, which is based on salary: Continue Reading


New study: Charters yield more satisfaction, but no better results than non-charters

Lottery drawing. AP file photo.A new, randomized study funded by the federal government compared the outcomes of students who won the admissions lottery at one of 36 popular charter middle schools in 15 states with those who entered the lottery and lost.

The findings? The lottery winners were no more likely to see improvements in grades, attendance, behavior or state reading and math test scores during the next two years than those who didn’t get into those charter schools (who, in many cases, attended the much larger, neighborhood middle schools).

With one caveat: Poor kids in urban areas did seem to get a leg up in math during the second year. Continue Reading


Weinberg: Summer reading for teachers

Steven Weinberg, a retired Oakland teacher and regular Education Report blogger, has a book recommendation for you. -Katy

Steven WeinbergI hope the teachers who read this blog are not off on vacation yet, because I have a book recommendation I think they will enjoy and find useful: “Why Don’t Students Like School? A Cognitive Scientist Answers Questions About How the Mind Works and What it Means for the Classroom” by Daniel T. Willingham (Jossey-Bass, 2009).

Many of us in education have been to workshops where the speaker has claimed that new breakthroughs in cognitive science (how the brain works) call for a whole new approach to teaching. Willingham is much less prescriptive. Continue Reading


OUSD’s worst-case scenario for pre-k, adult ed

Highland Child Development Center. Photo by Laura A. Oda/Oakland Tribune

The other week, we visited the Highland Childhood Development Center in East Oakland for a story about the possible elimination of state-subsidized, all-day preschool for the children of low-income working (or studying) parents.

Highland did not appear on this week’s list of seven possible CDC closures in Oakland. Which ones did? Golden Gate, Hintil Kuu Ca, Jefferson, Manzanita, Piedmont Avenue, Santa Fe and Sequoia. Parker was slated for closure before the governor came out with his proposal to slash preschool funding.

You can find more details Continue Reading


The summertime violence continues

This was all happening during last night’s board meeting. So sad. Although Superintendent Tony Smith said yesterday that one of the boys had died, the West Oakland Middle School student — shot in front of his own house — was in critical but stable condition today.

As Tribune Reporter Cecily Burt reports:

OAKLAND — A 17-year-old Berkeley boy was under arrest Thursday as a suspect in a Wednesday evening shooting that left a 13-year-old West Oakland boy in critical condition and his 16-year-old friend also wounded.

A second suspect, who police believe is the actual gunman, is being sought.

Police believe the suspects are affiliated with a North Oakland gang and that the boys shot were innocent victims. The shooting happened about 5:54 p.m. Wednesday at the home of the 13-year-old in the 1600 block of 8th Street.

Officer Ed Somarriba said Thursday that the 13-year-old, a student at West Oakland Middle School, and the 16-year-old, a student at EXCEL High School who also lives in West Oakland, and some other people were standing outside when the 17-year-old and another youth walked up. The second youth pulled a gun and began shooting at the group, Somarriba said. Both suspects fled.

No one else was hurt. The victims were taken to hospitals, and the 13-year-old was in critical but stable condition Thursday.

Joey Stevens, 26, said he had ridden on his bike past the boys and was still in the area when he heard what he at first thought were fireworks. He stayed with the younger boy, whom he knows well, until the paramedics arrived.

“He was so scared. I told him to breathe and be calm,” Stevens said, tearing up as he recalled those moments. “He’s a real sweet kid. He doesn’t mess with anybody. He went to school every day.”

You can read the whole story here.


Red light, green light: Oakland district says no to charter, county says yes

The Community School for Creative Education will open in Oakland, after all. The Waldorf-inspired charter school won an appeal last night from the Alameda County Board of Education. In January, the Oakland school board denied the charter upon the recommendation of its charter schools’ office.

It’s the second charter school this year to be rejected by the Oakland school district only to get the green light from the county. The board voted 5-1 to let the Waldorf-inspired school open in Oakland, with Fred Sims voting `no.’ Felix Elizalde wasn’t present.

Last month, the county board also allowed East Oakland’s Cox Academy to remain open next year. In March, the Oakland school board voted to close the school, saying it had not lived up to the terms of the charter.

This also means that these schools will be accountable to the county board from here on out, not the Oakland school district.


Two Oakland teens shot and killed, others wounded on first week of summer

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Just after midnight, 19-year-old Rachael Green was killed and five others — 14 to 18 years old — were wounded at a West Oakland vigil for another teenage homicide victim, 17-year-old Damon Williams.

Just last week, Green graduated from Bunche Academy, an alternative school in West Oakland where Williams also was enrolled. Four Bunche students, including Williams, have died violently since the 2009-10 school year began, according to the Tribune story.

Continue Reading


New language immersion school, a year later


Last fall I visited Oakland’s Melrose Leadership Academy, which had just begun a new Spanish-English immersion program, starting with a kindergarten class of about 35 students. When the teacher said “stand up” in Spanish (90 percent of kindergarten instruction is in Spanish), at least a third of the children — most of the native English-speakers — sat on the rug, looking around in confusion.

English-speaking parents at the school — who are likewise addressed by most of the staff in Spanish — said they gained an appreciation for what English learners and their families experience in California’s schools.

I went back last week for the kindergarten promotion ceremony to get a sense of how far the children had come. I made a short video with my handy new flip camera to go with the story in today’s Tribune.