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Cold classrooms

I hear that some OUSD schools (or classrooms) have once again been without heat this week. KTVU reported about problems at Frick Middle School. I’m writing a story about it today.

Is this a problem at your school? How are you coping with it?

Send pictures, if you have them, or call me at (510) 208-6424.

Katy Murphy

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

  • brrrr

    We’ve been freezing at Claremont too…

  • Katy Murphy

    So the heat’s not back on yet at Claremont?

  • http://charterschoolscandals.blogspot.com/ Sharon

    Decade after decade, too many schools have problems with the temperatures in their classrooms, with having clocks that tell the right time, and with providing students with access to fresh drinking water. These quality of life issues are sometimes so chronic that they don’t upset people anymore. It’s a constant case of “grin and bear it.”

    These situations are not tolerated in most adult professional work and business settings, but they seem to be okay when children and their teachers are involved (perhaps relating to this society’s general lack of respect for both of those parties).

    Multiple, scientific studies show that problems with the thermal environment can reduce student achievement. Five days of reduced learning from being unable to concentrate because they’re too cold or too hot is almost 3% of the total instruction time they get in a year (= 180 days). The ideal working temperature is around 68-70 degrees.

    Teachers: If you have problems in your rooms, my advice is to buy a classroom thermometer and record the temperatures in an official log. Take it from a former nurse: you must document, document, document for people to believe you. Otherwise, nothing will ever get changed.

    Plus, if your room has significant thermal problems, it’s going to have an impact on how well your students do on their tests. Since the trend these days is to start tying your job to your students’ scores, you might as well collect the evidence you’ll need in case you need to defend yourself.

  • SkylineHighSenior

    Had to go to the library three times this week because it was too cold in my AP Government class. It was fixed by today though and a worker came to check up on it.

  • Steven Weinberg

    When I taught at Claremont 15 years ago I had a lesson that compared life in the colonial period to life today. The article mentioned that colonial children had to bring logs to school to keep the fire going in their classroom, and I remember students sighing and saying how lucky those children were to have heat in their classes.
    These problems should have been corrected years ago, and what makes them worse is that for every cold day with no heat there will be a hot day when the heaters will be going full blast.

  • Oakland Teacher

    Last year my school was without heat for two months. When the parents complained to me, I suggested they file a Williams complaint. That did get the district moving. Supposedly there was a part “on back-order” all that time, and it miraculously appeared 2 days after the Williams Complaint was filed.

    If your school is without heat for more than 2 days, you should file Williams complaints. And like Sharon says, write down the temp daily.

  • brrrr

    nope…. no heat at Claremont. But some Administrators were able to find space heaters for their offices and work areas. My students have been miserable with no where to stay warm. And Steve is right…… when it’s hot outside…. the heaters still blow at Claremont… just no heat when it’s cold outside.

  • HistoryMan

    This is California, come on people….

  • FormerOaklandEducator

    Heat was out at the West Oakland Middle School campus too.

  • Turanga_teach

    Brookfield’s been in the cold a fair bit this week, though I think it’s been solved… And yes, folks, it’s California, but energy-inefficient older schools in California are sometimes colder INSIDE than they are on the yard.

  • Yet Another Oakland Teacher

    And in classrooms with furnaces – they put the thermostats on the furnace itself, so that corner gets warm and the rest of the room stays cold. My toes are warm for the first time this week today.

  • http://www.tigerthegecko.blogspot.com maestra

    in response to:

    # HistoryMan Says:
    December 2nd, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    This is California, come on people….

    Right. Try using that logic at another place of business. Why should teachers and students be expected to deal with a poorer environment than office workers?

  • maxparkteacher

    At Maxwell Park Elementary our heat was off on a few cold days early this week….

    A more chronic problem has been that the antiquated heating system, which is not controlled on site, has many times been set on bizarre schedules, or left on all night, so that teachers and students arrive to classrooms well over 90 degrees, with any plants and animals that live in our classrooms fried.

    I know it has affected my student’s work this year, and it has been a massive waste of money and energy. A one-time investment in a modern climate control system would save the district thousands in maintenance calls and energy consumption for years to come.