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Kaiser Elementary School has its day

It’s not just leap day in Oakland. Feb. 29, 2012 has been proclaimed Henry J. Kaiser Jr. Elementary School Day. A Kaiser mom forwarded me this proclamation from Oakland Mayor Jean Quan. I didn’t know mayors did that. Has your school ever had its day?

The document is admittedly hard to read in this size, so here’s an excerpt:

Henry J. Kaiser Jr. Elementary School is to be commended for its unwavering dedication to providing a place where diverse cultures are honored and celebrated, fostering academic excellence and creativity, and imparting the tools necessary for self motivation and independence that are required of well-rounded, reflective and socially aware individuals.

Mayor's proclamation

Katy Murphy

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

  • Lisa Capuano Oler

    So does that seal the deal for no more threats of school closure for Kaiser? If so, can the mayor offer that to all of us on the list? Seems a bit odd.

  • Lisa Capuano Oler

    On Leap Day?

  • Livegreen

    Brothers on the Rise got a similar day for it’s successful program. Then Edna Brewer cut it’s day program (working with young men, primarily of color) due to budget cuts. Although I understand the after school program continues and it is expanding elsewhere…

  • A de Jong

    I think kaiser had already “sealed the deal” on it’s own merit prior to Mayor Quan’s recognition. Kaiser was slated for possible expansion rather than closure upon review of it’s significant social and educational contributions to the OUSD students across the city. The school was also recently nominated and reviewed for a California Distinguished School award.

  • Josh Simpson

    The families and staff at the OUSD schools that are closing or threatened with closure need all the good news they can get. Kaiser gets a special nod because it not only produces great results but the community is inclusive. Take note people – the future of our city and country is about getting people to coexist respectfully. You can see it happen in a Kaiser classroom or at a Kaiser potluck or fundraiser. It’s truly Oaklandish!

  • Lisa Cartolano

    Congratulations Kaiser!! Well deserved recognition for such an amazing school.

  • Sari

    I am so glad to see Kaiser recognized for its commitment to equity in education. Oakland should be proud of this gem of a school.

  • Yasmin Anwar

    Couldn’t happen to a better school. Come up and visit us. It’ll warm your hearts.

  • Lily Chien-Davis

    This is “The Little School That Could”, a school like no other. As a substitute teacher, I have been in elementary schools all over the SF Bay Area (e.g., SF, Richmond, Berkeley, Oakland), and this one works on so many levels (i.e., diversity in every sense of the word–socio-economic, racial make-up, parents’sexual orientation, etc). As a parent at Kaiser, it has been such a pleasure to see parents here fight for this school, attending school board meetings, rallies, PTA meetings, volunteering inside the classroom (some treat it like a full-time job!) or outside, soliciting donations, garnering support from the community, etc. All in the name of getting their children a decent education. In my opinion, this is the BEST public elementary school in Oakland!

  • Mary Goodell

    Three cheers for Mayor Quan for recognizing a 4-star school! Kaiser sets the standard for Oakland public schools. I encourage the School Board and City Council to use it as a template for improving the other schools, instead of trying to close it again in 2013. Kaiser is a successful school by every measure – from academics to parent involvement – to developing children’s communication and empathy skills – to providing enrichment programs – to providing a school where diverse populations thrive together – and to remaining in the black financially. Thank you, Mayor Quan, and Go Kaiser!!!

  • Ann Whidden

    Kaiser has long been a hidden gem in the OUSD, but the attention brought to it in the last year has made its value to students and families in Oakland apparent–we are a secret success no longer! We are saddened by the disruption that the school closure process has had on families in schools across the district, and we are grateful to have had Kaiser’s unique contributions recognized and lifted up as a result of the increased scrutiny of the past year. We wish the same for every school in Oakland.

  • Katy Murphy

    So sorry, all, for the length of time your comments remained in no man’s land.

    The good news is that from now on, with the same user name and email address (and unless you post numerous links), your posts will appear automatically!

  • LG

    The Mayor’s proclamation was only to show support for Kaiser being up for a California Distinguish School award. I has nothing to do with the recent school board issue.

  • Seenitbefore

    Over the past 10 years, I’ve been to almost every school campus in OUSD and Kaiser Elementary School is hands down, THE best overall school in the district. I would work there. I would send my kids there. I would recommend this school to any family that wants their child to be successful and their family to be actively involved in a caring and welcoming school community.

    The Kasier community was built with love over the years… and the contributions of those who have come before still remain an important part of the school culture. We can’t thank you enough….Robin, Katie, Mel, Ruben, Tom, Ruby, Janan, Steve, Amelia, Trish, Amy….the list could go on and on…. This is a remarkable and special school filled with remarkable and special people.

  • OUSD Parent

    @ Seenitbeefore – What’s troubling to me as an OUSD parent is that the district had Kaiser on the chopping block and then backed off but placed some rather cumbersome restrictions on the school in order for it to stay in put. How can OUSD do this to one of its higher performing schools in the district with such a rich community working together to make the school such a success? It makes me feel like the district can go after any school and shut it down even if it’s doing well. If the district has to close schools it should focus on the ones that are not serving the kids well. The ones that are doing well or those that have made great strides to improve should be left alone. Good luck to Kaiser! I hope you get the CA Distinguished School award this year. I’m cheering for you and my kids don’t even go there!

  • Concerned parent

    Kaiser is a small school that draws attendance from every neighborhood in the city. That makes the school very unique, but it also rubs people the wrong way. It is viewed as “taking” families out of their neighborhood schools. Nevermind that the families would not stay in OUSD at all if not for this option.

    It was spoken out loud several times at several board meetings that Kaiser should be closed because it was “only fair” to close a “rich, white hills school.” (this a direct quote, spoken two times from two different BOE members). Nevermind that Kaiser’s largest demographic is African American. Nevermind it’s very large multi-ethnic population. Nevermind the large numbers of non-traditional families.The district was not even aware of the demographics of the school. Were they aware of the demographics of any of the closed schools? It was put on the list to appease hurt feelings. It was throwing a political bone. There are numerous small schools that are greatly under-enrolled that are under-performing that were not considered, also for political reasons.

    Kaiser has operated in the black every year, many parents work to keep their kids together into OUSD middle schools and high school. Many more will stay with the continued improvement of middle and high school options. This is a community that believes in public education. It operates on the bare minimum financial allotment. The school is literally one of the cheapest schools to run as far as the district is concerned.

    There are many students in OUSD that are not getting the kind of support Kaiser is able to give their kids. It’s nearly criminal given the huge obstacles facing the district that they would allocate staff time and money to “fix” Kaiser. Turn your attention and resources to the schools in desperate need of them.

  • Seenitbefore

    ^ agreed….. OUSD decision making has always been….and continues to be… completely void of logic and usually based upon the personal leanings of whomever is in charge at the time… and whom they are related to/sleeping with/getting kickbacks from. (and I WISH I was only exaggerating…)

    I personally believe that Kaiser was targeted because it was a small school with few “neighborhood” kids. It’s been under the radar and is within walking distance of the private “Bentley School”. OUSD would have no difficulty leasing out or selling the building to Bentley for expansion.

    However, they seriously underestimated the commitment and dedication of the Kaiser community.

  • Lisa Capuano Oler

    Schools that are slated for closure are also diverse. Schools that are slated for closure also have commitment and dedication. They were just not one of the lucky ones. This time.
    I saw nothing in the “proclamation” that says anything about “most distinguished school”. Was that the motivation behind this? Is Kaiser up for a “most distinguished school award? Does a “proclamation” from the mayor help this bid?
    It just seems rather trite. Given all the difficulty the school district has, and the pain that some schools have to go through with closure, perhaps Quan could be supporting those in need.

  • liza lyons

    @ Lisa Capuano Oler–

    I agree that the mayor’s office and OUSD should direct their energy toward supporting the schools in great need instead of focusing on schools that do well and cost the district very little and would save next to nothing if closed. Did the mayor’s proclamation take something away from other schools with higher needs somehow? Please explain that. Should the achievement of one school not be honored because other schools are faced with greater hurdles?

    I believe you are a teacher at Burckhalter that recently posted about the great partnership your fellow teachers and the teachers at Lakeview had been engaged in over the last few years and now many of the Lakeview students will be attending Burckhalter (which was also moved from the closure list to expansion in recognition of it’s high achievement). I’m sure that transition will have it’s bumps, but congratulations nonetheless and good luck to you, your colleagues and your students!

  • Lisa Capuano Oler

    Liza,
    We were not given a definitive answer as to why our school was allowed to remain open. Was a reason given to Kaiser, as to why they were taken off the list? There is a lot of conjecture, but did the Supt. or the Board ever give us a reason why we, Kaiser and Burckhalter, were given a reprieve?

    To answer the question about the “Proclamation”, no, it did not take anything away, it does however imply that other schools lack certain characteristics when it is stated that such characteristics are “unique” to Kaiser.

    Thank-you for the congratulations but “it ain’t over til it’s over”. My greatest fear is the worst is yet to come.