Although its petition was rejected by the Oakland school board, a charter school named Urban Montessori will open in Oakland next year, after all.
The Alameda County Board of Education approved the group’s appeal this week, according to the group’s blog.
Urban Montessori will begin its first year with grades k-2 and grow into a k-8. It doesn’t have a location yet, but its founders are looking for a place in downtown Oakland, close to public transit, said Hae-Sin Kim Thomas, a member of the founding team — and a former OUSD teacher, principal and administrator.
Some Oakland school board members, including Jody London, had hoped to convince Urban Montessori to open as a district school, rather than as an independently-run charter.
Thomas, who oversaw the creation of some of the district’s small schools when she worked for OUSD, said she approached district staff about that very idea– first, a year ago, and again after submitting the petition. She said she was told the district administration didn’t have the capacity to take on such a project, a position stated publicly at the board meeting by David Montes de Oca, who heads the school district’s Quality Community Schools Development department.
“We heard that message over and over, that they can’t do it right now,” Thomas said.