Peter Von Ehrenkrook teaches at Santa Fe Elementary, one of the five Oakland elementary schools slated for closure in June. Below, he gives us his account of event the Oakland school district held on Friday evening for displaced teachers like himself.
The Advisory Matching School Showcase was indeed an opportunity for the displaced elementary school teachers to meet with school representatives. It was also much more, evidently, since there were tables there for charter schools, middle schools, and even high schools.
Some tables had nothing but a sign-in sheet for people who might be interested in the school – no ambassadors or information.
Most tables had one brave and often tired-looking teacher who gamely tried to answer questions posed by displaced teachers (as well as many other adults who were not from the closed schools).
A few schools made the effort to display pictures and stats, leading one student who walked by to ask if it was a science fair. Sankofa Academy displayed data on a portable screen.
On a personal note, I found little information that was not available online, and most of the $250 school ambassadors had no clue what the procedure was from here. The list of openings provided at the door did not match the verbal information offered by ambassadors either, at most sites. They were either hedging when they provided the information to HR, or perhaps dissuading teachers on the spot who did not fit their desired profile.
I was most impressed by Lincoln Elementary, with two teachers and the principal eager and willing to share real information about their expectations for the future of Lincoln and their expectations for incoming teachers. This was also the only table that readily provided contact information (a business card from the principal).
I am still weighing the value of leaving my classroom during this pre-CST time period to visit some of the schools. That decision may be easier after next Wednesday, when we have another site visit at Santa Fe from Human Resources.
It is also not clear to me how many of the schools with openings will be visiting my classroom over the next few weeks, and whether I will have any say in how many or who does interrupt my teaching to observe and chat with me.