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Aviation charter school does not impress OUSD

By Katy Murphy
Monday, March 7th, 2011 at 6:55 pm in charter schools, School board news.

Based on a report I just read, I’d be mighty surprised if the Oakland school board renewed the charter of Oakland Aviation High School. The district’s charter school office came up with 32 reasons for (what amounts to) shutting it down, a decision the board makes on Wednesday.

The high school is not posting stellar test scores, that’s for sure. But take a look at reason #10:

The school API score (557) is equal to the median performance of Oakland district schools in 2009 serving similar grades.

Of course, if the Oakland school board rejects the renewal, Oakland Aviation can appeal to the Alameda County Board of Education. It worked for Cox Academy last year.

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  • Susan

    Good. This school was a disaster from the start! It was a joke that should embarass Ms. Zimny and the parent group that supported it wearning their funny blue hats!

    Arise HS is nest -they are at 485. Close those terrible schools!

  • Nextset

    The report lists problems and deficiencies of the school that would tend to convince it is not working out. I thought the point that the Avaition focus is not real one of the more problematic.

    You would think they would be able to do better by selective enrollment or retention of brighter kids, and/or deselection and flunking of the duller kids. I know of programs that protected their scores that way (or seemed to, anyway).

    Are we to discard a school that offers something different to OUSD kids because it merely scores the median? Apparently so. Should OUSD be able to own all students who score the median?

    I don’t agree with that. However the report makes me wonder what the school is there for, exactly.

  • Connie Spinnato

    I am the new principal at Oakland Aviation this year. We are not a disaster any longer. I would like to invite anyone to come visit us at our new site and see the new programs and the education going on. I agree with all of you our school had numerous challenges and we have met every challenge and we are coming out on top. Please come visit us. Thank you for powerful and helpful comments. GO AVIATION LIONS!

  • Nextset

    Ms Spinnato – can you give us information about what number of students in Oakland Aviation have actually obtained any kind of pilots license or how many hours of flight training or classroom hours of license qualification requirements were given?

  • ousd funemployed

    Dear Ms. Spinnato:

    You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.

    Sincerely,
    Henry Ford

  • Connie Spinnato

    Yes, I can give you numbers we have one senior that already has his pilot’s license,there was a graduate from last year, a female student, that went on to a 4 year school to pursue Aviation. We are in a partnership with College of Alameda and their Aviation teacher comes to our school and teaches the AMT courses, we also have a certified flight instructor that teaches the ground school courses, Aviation Shop Math and Aviation Shop Physics courses here each day. Students in the AMT courses must clock in each day on a time clock since they are required to put in documented hours each day. Together with Dean Gary Perkins of College Of Alameda we have together and with our board developed and restructured our Aviation courses to develop our students into AMT,Air Traffic Controllers and numerous other Aviation pathways. I would agree it was not the most successful but as Ousd Funemployed quoted Henry Ford, it is not what we are going to do it is WHAT WE ARE DOING! Thank you

  • Nextset

    One student with a license out of how many years and how many students?

    Anyway, I do have a problem with OUSD in the position of closing Charter Schools – I think of it as a conflict of interest so great there is no reason to believe OUSD would be thinking at all of the interests of the students, as opposed to the loss of daily attendance money from those able to escape OUSD’s bad schools.

    The County Board of Education can be expected to have less of a direct conflict.

  • Connie Spinnato

    I agree but I must say OUSD has been very supportive in the process. My years of experience have been with public schools. OAHS has had only one graduating class which was 2010. But you are absolutely right more students should achieving these milestones, but not all students want to be pilots the school is really geared towards AMT which basically means aircraft mechanic.

  • Nextset

    Well Good Luck. Europe generally segregates students sometime around puberty with the academic and it’s related occupational track going off into their campuses, and the vocational track being established at about that age with it’s own campuses and programs.

    We very much need that here. Your school seems to be in that mold. I’d like to see medical technical and related support Charter Schools established right away also to feed workers into that vocation from 9th grade on.

    There are simply too many well paying jobs available that do not require much college prep that are not served by schools in the model of OUSD. Especially where the minority students are concerned. By the time most of them are through with OUSD they are not fit for employment – apparently due to mis-education at OUSD and it’s related teaching of indiscipline.

    So I would support the concept of Charter’s such as yours. I only want to see that your products are doing better in the workplace (or higher training) than those of OUSD. If they are OUSD has no place complaining about OAHS.

    What this secondary education thing is all about is having it’s products able to make a good living. Nothing more. Least of all liberal mindwashing.

  • livegreen

    Does OAHS receive any outside funding? From either the airlines or other companies they’re geared to get jobs with, or the unions who graduates might become members of?

    Outside funding is a third option, as it might allow the school to continue while still relieving OUSD of the higher costs of a small school. In turn it gets a few more years to see if they can turn the program around.

    If not, well these are difficult times…

  • Katy Murphy

    OUSD isn’t directly funding Oakland Aviation, the way it does its other schools. Financial concerns about charters, on the part of school districts, tend to relate to district enrollment and per-student state funding. There is an assumption that if Charter School A didn’t exist, some or all of its students would attend a district school, keeping state funding for those students on the district’s balance sheet.

    This is a concern common for districts that have experienced rapid enrollment decline, such as Oakland Unified did in the last decade. It’s not easy to downsize a district.

  • Yastrzemski

    To some parents that have chosen an OUSD charter…it is an incorrect assumption. If “Charter A” did not exist, they would take their student and possibly their younger child (enrolled in an OUSD elementary school)out of Oakland entirely…along with their tax dollars.

    It is sad that OUSD looks at Charters as “competition”. We’re all the same district and we’re all going to go down the drain together. Hopefully the “powers that be” will wake up before it is too late and try and salvage what is left.

  • livegreen

    We don’t know that. Some would and some wouldn’t. Maybe Options would be used even more, esp in K-5. 6-8 is a different matter.

    In our K-5 school more and more neighborhood kids are coming.

  • Yastrzemski

    Sure, neighbors send their kids to the public elementary schools. Then, when it is time for them to graduate, and the neighborhood middle school is worse than the elementary school, without any other options, they leave. It happens all of the time. What parent wants to put their child in a sub-par, overcrowded class…that is where we’re headed. There are not many options for Middle Schools, not everyone can “option” to Montera and Brewer, especially if the neighborhood families fill them.

  • livegreen

    Agreed. Back to the charters, we should keep the goods ones, but the bad ones gotta go. 0 progress for higher overhead = bigger debt.

    Katy mentioned OUSD isn’t directly funding OAHS. Please explain? Is it the same for other non-privately funded charters?

  • Yastrzemski

    100% agree…dump all of the underperforming schools, OUSD and Charter alike. OMI and OSA get private donations for part of their budgets, they fundraise. But, they also have a high percentage of free & reduced lunch, low – income students so they get some $$ for that too, so maybe OAHS is getting some money for their students that qualify for reduced lunches.

  • Katy Murphy

    This Ed Source report explains how charter schools are funded: http://www.edsource.org/iss_fin_sys_charters.html

  • Katy Murphy

    The board just voted to deny the charter renewal.

  • Connie Spinnato

    Yes they did deny us, but I did expect that.They really only wanted to dwell on the last 4 years I was not here, but I understand where they are coming from. We are not done and we are not out. We do not have any monetary support from any outside agencies, although I am looking into options. We do get funding from free-reduced lunches, but we pay out enourmous amount of money to OUSD for Special Ed. and other items. We got one yes from Director Dobbins which we appreciated. I am sure you will be hearing about us again in a positve manner. They say our scores are low, which they are, they say our children are not learning to read and write, but yet our 21 out 23 of our seniors have been accepted to further higher education. Students are being accepted at UC and State colleges. Thank you to many of you for your support and we really appreciate it. If you would like to take a look at the faces of the students that will be effected by this closure go to Youtube and put in SAVE OUR SCHOOL OAHS. Thank you again.