Children from soon-to-close Oakland schools: where they might land

You can say what you like about the Oakland school district’s policies and tactics — say, its decision to close schools — but when it comes to putting out granular data in user-friendly maps and charts, you’ve got to hand it to them.

Below is a series of five maps that show where the children from Lakeview, *Lazear, Marshall, Maxwell Park and Santa Fe were placed for the 2012-13 school year. At the bottom of each one, you’ll find the percentage of children, by grade, that got their family’s first, second, third and fourth choices.

Student placements after school closure

*Of course, the data for Lazear could well be moot. Parents at that school have a charter application pending, and the OUSD board seems poised to approve it later this month — yet again, despite the recommendation of the charter school office. Why go out of their way to support a new charter at a school they voted to close, just months earlier? It could be in response to an unexpectedly low first-choice placement rate for families that school (49 percent), compared to the other four, especially since most Lazear kids walk to school.

I’ve also asked the district for an update on the Crocker-Highlands enrollment crunch (still waiting!), and whether other schools also turned away neighborhood children. As soon as I hear back, I’ll let you know.

Katy Murphy

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

  • livegreen

    Yeah, they’re good at circles but not so much at lines & borders…

    Their colors & charts aren’t so bad either.

    Must be the artistic mathematician vs. the architect/engineer.
    (Also known as consultant vs. consultant).


  • OUSD Parent

    Are the schools that are taking on large numbers of displaced students (Grass Valley, Burkhalter, etc.) severely under enrolled? Taking on 70+ new students is quite an undertaking. I hope the district will provide these schools with all of the additional resources and funding necessary to make it successful for all parties involved.

  • Parent stuck in OUSD

    Do these numbers represent kids that were already enrolled, not incoming kindergartners? Crocker Highland is only absorbing 7 Lakeview kids. Hardly much to get in an uproar over. Especially since the vast majority are going to Burkhalter which is really very far from Lakeview. I thought one of the points was to create more “neighborhood/community” schools (a specious goal at best)?

  • Katy Murphy

    These figures don’t include incoming kindergartners — only children who are currently enrolled at the five elementary schools in grades k through 4. (Fifth-graders were going on to middle school anyway.)

    The enrollment issue at Crocker (which, I believe, mostly involves kindergarten families) is related to the expansion of its attendance boundary, following the school closure decision.

  • Rodney Brown

    Looking at the “Advisory Matching for OUSD Teachers” webpage, there are currently six available teaching positions at Burckhalter Elementary and four at Grass Valley, but current teachers being consolidated at the closing schools where students are being placed at those schools should have first rights to any position created due to the attendance of students from their closed school (per article 12.9.1- Transfer/Consolidations Due To School Closure/Replacement)

  • Adams Point Mama

    Parent Stuck — very few neighborhood kids went to Lakeview, which is one of the reasons it was chosen for closure. But now that part of that area is Crocker, parents who would have gone private decided to apply to Crocker for kindergarten, hence the crunch — 18 over for kindergarten, from what I’ve heard.

  • Peach

    Parent Stuck and Adams Point Mama –
    Very few neighborhood children attend Lakeview. On the other hand, most of the students that attend Santa Fe are from the area and walk to school. The Santa Fe map is the last one in the series.

    It is disheartening to see that so many of Santa Fe’s current students are slated to attend schools that have posted far lower API scores (knowing that these data don’t tell the whole story). What are the purported educational benefits of Santa Fe’s closing for its students?

    One hopes that Rodney Brown’s info is an OUSD typo and that there is no plan to shaft the hard working teachers who are being consolidated.

  • Wishful Thinking

    It appears that Crocker is trying to create an additional kindergarten class but needs to figure out how many of those accepted will actually attend. Neighborhood families who were not accepted into Crocker were provided this information:

    – A total of 113 Kindergarten applications were received of which: 94 reside in the old Crocker Highlands attendance area; 15 reside in the current Crocker Highlands attendance area; and 4 are siblings of current Crocker Highlands students, but reside outside the current Crocker Highlands attendance area.

    – 91 of these applicants received a placement letter for Crocker Highlands of which: 77 reside in the old attendance area; 10 reside in the current attendance area; and 4 are siblings of current Crocker students, but reside outside the current area.

    – Currently, there are three Kindergarten classrooms at Crocker and each are designed to serve 24 students or a total of 72 students.

    – Based on past years experience, between 20% and 25% of those 91 applicants receiving a Crocker placement letter will not choose to attend Crocker by the start of the school year. Consequently, the current number of 91 applicants is expected to reduce to 72.

    What is upsetting for many of these families is that based on the data, this really shouldn’t have happened. When asked why families from the new catchment area weren’t sent over to Cleveland instead, it was intimated that Tony Smith and company wanted it to appear that the Lakeview closure was successful in preventing those children from going private. What they’ve done instead is push a different set of children to private school, angered a community by creating uncertainty, and created a lot of doubt and cynicism toward leadership and the principal of the school. There are other residual impacts as well that I won’t get into.

    Katy, I think the bigger question is what are they going to do next year and the year after? The damage is already done this year but many in the community who have children going to kindergarten next year are anxiously waiting to see what OUSD’s response is.

  • jmc

    82 Lakeview kids to Burckhhalter? If these kids are from the Burckhalter neighborhood what are they doing coming all the way to lakeview? its no Lincoln. What do the parents just like wallking around the lake before they pick ur their child?

  • On The Fence


    Thanks so much for sharing the inside info. Is there an organized group of disgruntled Crocker parents? I’ve been asking for a response as to how OUSD will address the predicted oversubscription since first learning of the plan to expand the boundary. Several weeks ago, I left messages with both Tony Smith’s office and Kakishiba’s listed number requesting information. I requested a call back from both. Neither public official ever responded. Apparently my voice alone is easily ignored, so I’d be interested in lending my support to group if ever one forms.

    This is a major debacle. And it will get worse (again, this is easy to predict). Tony Smith needs to inform the community as to how he plans to address the problem that he created. Katy, please continue to follow up on this issue.

  • ILoveTeachers

    The Lazear “first choice” percentage was low because a lot of families chose Ascend as their first choice, but the ASCEND charter situation wasn’t finalized in time for the assignment letters to go out.

  • AH

    Wishful Thinking,

    I’m confused by your logic. If it’s typical that 20-25% of families opt not to attend Crocker, why would this year be any different? It the # actually gets down to 72 (which seems likely based on past years), then where’s the problem?

  • Wishful Thinking

    Not sure what the difficulty is. First off, let me be clear, it is not my logic. This information was passed down from OUSD to those parents living in the Crocker boundaries who were not accepted into Crocker. If you look at the numbers, only 77 of the 94 families who live in the ORIGINAL Crocker boundaries were accepted into Crocker. Had the boundaries not been extended this year, it is likely that most of those families would have been accepted or gotten in on appeal. If OUSD looked at last year’s enrollment figures, they could not have been that different, which makes the decision to extend the boundaries even more baffling.

    Unless OUSD considers restructuring the boundaries, this will continue to be a problem, as many families moved into the area with the intention of sending their kids to Crocker. Those on my street who are aware of the situation are extremely concerned. I would imagine many if not all of those children accepted from the NEW area have younger siblings which will also increase enrollment figures. This is just a mess.

    [For those who have been closely following the situation, the original number of 18 families denied has now been revised to 17. This discrepancy may be due to a situation we are aware of where they sent twins from the same family to 2 different schools, which OUSD had to immediately address.]

  • Crocker Parent

    As a current Crocker parent, I am very much wondering how the proposed additional kindergarten class will affect the school. Where will this class be? What will we do with all the extra kids next year and the following years? And if we only do this extra k class in 12/13, what do we do with the “extra” teacher after that? Are we stuck with him/her? And if so, does one of our current teachers get bumped the following year?

    The fact that this situation could be seen coming from a mile away and was unnecessary and avoidable, yet was created (manufactured actually) and then dumped on our principals desk is infuriating.

  • Yazstremski

    Crocker Parent: As a long time Crocker parent (10+ years), this has happened before and it was handled quite well by our amazing staff. We added a kindergarten and then this group moved up each year as the “large class”. So if there were 4 kinder classes this year, then next year there would be 4 1st grades, then the next year 4 2nds etc… The current principal was a teacher then and knows what to do. Several of the teachers volunteered to “loop” and keep their class for 2 years, teaching them in both 1st and 2nd grade. We have the extra room, no one gets bumped, we add a teacher. The problem is when this large group needs to be split into smaller groups, back then, it was indeed a challenge to fit them all in 2 4th and 5th grade classes. The PTA would most likely get an aide or some other assistance at that point. So lets not look at this as a negative…this is Crocker, there is a reason why the school is in such demand, we are a community and we’ll make it work for the KIDS!

  • On The Fence


    This is significantly different, unless the prior oversubscription to which you refer was due specifically to an enlarged catchment area. This will not be an isolated large year that Crocker can maneuver, but rather a trend of too many children for too few spaces, because OUSD expanded the boundaries too much.

    Sure, OUSD can restrict entrance to the families in the area, and manage to keep enrollment down to whatever fits the school, but that is the crux of the problem. OUSD created a situation where demand will continue to outstrip supply on a permanent basis unless they reassess the boundaries.

  • Yazstremski

    On The Fence: I was responding to the other Crocker parent’s concern about space, bumping and being stuck with an extra teacher. Even before the lines were drawn, Crocker has always accepted students from outside that defined area, especially the end of Trestle Glen and its side streets, where many of the families are. The long time former principal, before the rules were changed and the district handled all placements, always had a spot for these families.

    As Wishful Thinking points out, this is not a new problem at Crocker. MANY neighborhood families hold a spot at Crocker while they wait to hear from those private schools for a spot. They do not have the courtesy to let the school know that their child is not coming and we end up turning families away for a time. This creates a problem because many families do not show up at school until after Labor Day, so an accurate count isn’t available until then. There is no way to build on to the building, and we had portables before, a disaster for any outside activity.

    My point was that it will be looked at again next year, there is no way to squeeze any more kids in there and it might just be that every 4 years, they add an extra kinder class to accommodate those families. If the boundaries continually allow for 100+ kids for 72 spots, then they’ll be changed again.

    However, for next year, the current principal is in the position and has had the discussion, about adding a 4th kinder class because of the new boundaries. So, for the time being, we’re going to make the best of the situation that we’re in.

  • Harold

    @17 – should we “make the best” or should the high-paid folks over on 2nd Avenue, admit they made a mistake and fix it?

  • Yazstremski

    Harold: Do you really think anything will change for the Fall? No? Me either, which is why I’m willing to support the principal and make it work this year and focus on making sure it doesn’t happen again the next year.

    Tony Smith is there every day, I’m sure he knows, what do you want him to do? If he fixes it, then he’s showing a preference to the school his daughters attend. If he does nothing, same thing, criticism.

    As for the we…I’m a Crocker parent, are you?

    This is why Crocker works, we come together as a community. I’m sure the PTA will have something to say about this, but for right now, I don’t see it changing and I do not see 2nd Avenue denying admission to these families.

    Let’s see how many of the 17 families do not get in. It’s the beginning of April, the numbers change weekly as the private school acceptances come in. It will continue to change right up until the first day of school in August.

  • Wishful Thinking

    @Yazstremski – I think what everyone is having a hard time reconciling here is why this even happened in the first place. Clearly, there was data to support that Crocker could not handle the boundary extension but they did it anyway for reasons they are choosing not to disclose. I also understand that the principal is trying to work out a solution for this coming fall, but she is not blameless in this either. If you listened to her responses to questions about this issue early on during the school tours, you would understand why.

    We know of many families in the neighborhood who applied to private school as a back up this year b/c they were concerned about what was going on at Crocker. Some would think it’s the other way around. As a result, many who NEVER intended to go private have chosen to do so and in my opinion Crocker lost some really good families in the process. A few of the 17 families were given an opportunity to apply to a private school after this debacle and some may choose to go now after being deeply wounded by this whole process. Is this what OUSD really wanted to see happen?

    I was very much in support of OUSD’s decision to consolidate and close schools where it made sense. However, a mistake was clearly made here and whether or not his kids attend Crocker, Tony Smith should do the right thing and fix this problem as the Superintendent. He needs to restore some faith in the community regarding his abilities to make decisions b/c even the “no brainer” ones are getting fouled up.

  • Crocker Parent

    I agree that It is the Crocker way to pull together and make things work for the good of all the children. I also feel confident that whatever is decided, our kids will thrive. I’m concerned though as I think we have one empty classroom and that there was possibly going to an additional third grade teacher hired in order to go back to three third grade classes, which we will need next year. I’m also concerned that this situation is taxing our already overtaxed teachers, principal and parents. If this were a problem that happened unavoidably I would agree with the idea of making it work and the Crocker way, etc., but I’m angered that the problem was very much avoidable and unnessarirly created. If the school has and idea of how they are planning on accommodating ALL the children like the ideas posted above, I would like to hear them. I’m also unclear on how one teacher looping 1st and 2nd grade helps and would appreciate more explanation about that. I’m not sure all the parents with first graders would be happy about that prospect either. What about the kids who are ready for a new teacher ?

    I find it hard to believe that OUSD doesn’t have some ulterior motive after seeing how this has turned out. There is no way this happened by accident. I agreed with the idea of closing underperforming, under enrolled schools, but why on earth would you then try to cram those children into already oversubscribed schools? And why decide you are done after closing only five schools? Was the financial gain worth the upset? I wonder what the Santa Fe lawsuit alone will cost OUSD? Very frustrating to watch such irresponsible actions and spending.

  • Yazstremski

    @ Wishful Thinking: Fair enough, maybe that is the private school situation THIS year, but I worked at Crocker, and for the prior 5 years, it was just like I said: families holding a spot at Crocker until after Labor Day and then new children coming in during the school year, not at the beginning with the rest of their class. That is a fact.

    @ Crocker Parent: Looping was done only if the family agreed, and the teacher that did it is excellent and very popular, families ask to have her. No one would be forced to do it and if they chose another teacher, there was a family willing to move their child in there, no big deal.

    I agree that this did not happen by accident, but let me propose this in a different way. What if the same closures occured and Crocker did NOT absorb any of the families and it was the ONLY school that kept their original boundaries?

    This blog would be filled with people screaming about how Tony Smith’s kids are there and he protected the school etc…No one would believe the Crocker parents were just “lucky” or that the school couldn’t “make it work”, just like all of the others.

    Second Ave is a mess, made a bad decision and we’re all going to suffer. But, I’d rather focus my attention on making the new families welcome, finding a spot for the displaced families next year and working so it did not happen again.

  • Harold

    How about an accelerated superintendent position? Dr. Smith can apply for his job and compete against all candidates.

    Are the in-coming Kindergarten classes at Crocker going to be larger than the contractual limits?

    I still am waiting for Katy, or anyone else to report on what is going to happen to all the administrators, from the small schools, that will become large now?

    How much money in fines does OUSD pay for not spending enough state money (directly) in the classroom?

    Is there any conflict of interest when an ex-Emery administrator leases OUSD property to his old district?

    Who were the other finalists when our “wonderful” school board chose Dr. Smith? Are they still available?

  • On the Fence


    I agree that this is a mess and that Tony Smith made a bad decision. However, there is no reason to paint the decision making process as an ‘all or nothing’ type of deal, as if he had no choice but to make the decision he did. Not true. Tony Smith easily could have proposed a smaller expansion of the boundaries, but he specifically chose to expand Crocker’s boundaries by an unsupportable amount. Meanwhile, Cleveland Elementary had room to spare. BTW, I went back to look at both proposals for expansion that Katy posted for us in November and in both of those, Cleveland appears to have taken on a much smaller area than did Crocker.

    I also want to comment that I’ve never heard anyone propose denying admission to any family that has already been accepted as a solution to this issue, which you seemed to allude to in post #19. That would be cruel and unconscionable for the families involved. I am actually relieved that Crocker is contemplating hosting 4 kinders to accomodate the need. I also have no doubt that Crocker can make it work for all involved for this one year.

    I am curious what you meant when you wrote “make it work this year and focus on making sure it doesn’t happen again the next year”, and “working so it did not happen again.” What is your position on redrawing the boundary? Do you believe that Tony Smith or OUSD will redraw/reassess/contract the boundary for Crocker Elementary?

  • dm

    I posted before a few weeks ago but under a different post subject. During this years Options period, we initially requested for our child to attend our local school (Sequoia) for the 2nd grade, but the school did not have room for our child and instead got assigned to Fruitvale. We appealed OUSD and just got a letter a few days ago confirming re-assignment to Sequoia (our local school). All went smoothly during the appeal process, but we were very nervous about the whole thing. The reason why our child didn’t attend K-1 at Sequoia is we kept our child at a pre-school that has a K-1 class; we have a younger child there as well and have received good financial aide support from the pre-school during that period. But, we will send our youngest child to Sequoia for K at age 5 to avoid running into the same problem we did for our oldest child. Hopefully this info is helpful to someone else.

  • Yazstremski

    On The Fence: Denying admission to the remaining 17 families when space opens up, that is what I meant. Not to anyone who has already been admitted, not what I said or even alluded to. (My next sentence in #19 says that.)

    Yes, I think that they will reassess the situation next year. They will have to, there is limited space at Crocker and the 4th Kinder class would only work for 1 year because of the space constraints.

    @ Wishful thinking…not sure what you are saying about the principal during the tours. The school site has no choice about what families get accepted. What did she say specifically? I was not there, although I’ve personally given dozens of tours over the years there. And I disagree…she is blameless, not her fault. I’ve watched parents out of the attendance area change dates on their child’s birth certificates and lie about their address to get their child into Crocker. This year, I watched as an irate parent scream in the front office of Crocker because he claimed the realtor who sold him his house promised that his kid would get in. She takes a lot of crap and has no way to help some of these parents, even if she wanted to. She is a positive person who is trying to work with what she has been given for the fall 2012. So, to support her and the staff, I’ll try to help out this fall and find out how to rectify the situation for the fall of 2012. Redraw, reassess…whatever needs to be done.

  • AC Mom

    For the record…Crocker is not the only school that has been or is currently over enrolled. While the administration budget is problematic, there is nothing that I have heard from this board or elsewhere that supports keeping the current roster of schools open.

  • Adams Point Mama

    @ AC Mom — What other schools are over-enrolled this year? I’ve been wondering about that.

  • Super

    I think we all must face the probability that we’re dealing with incomplete information. Based on articles I’ve read over the years on how OUSD operates, I am led to believe that OUSD gets financial support from the state, to some extent, on a per/student basis. OUSD got rid of Lakeview, an underperforming school in a district where probably an inordinate amount of students attended private school. To Tony Smith et al, that’s an opportunity. So OUSD establishes a school district that pulls in more of those students that would go private by offering parents a shot at Crocker (10/10) and if that doesn’t work out, there’s Cleveland (9/10), both far superior options to Lakeview. And in the end, OUSD gets more students enrolled, which means more dollars. (Next up, fix the middle schools please).

    The redistricting was clumsy and why Cleveland wasn’t considered for the expanded catchment that became the new Crocker, I don’t know. Perhaps this is part of a process that will ultimately mean a new district for each Crocker and Cleveland in a year or two. I have to say, although I am sure OUSD is listening attentively to Crocker complaints and exploring options, I’d bet there are many in the system that are not too sympathetic as many, many kids in Oakland don’t get the opportunity to attend a school like a Crocker or a Cleveland.

  • Ms. J.

    I’m wondering as I read this thread what ‘overenrolled’ means on a classroom level. I read in one post that Crocker is planning for kindergarten classes of 24 kids. Is that accurate? What are the numbers in first, second, and third grades?

    I think that 24 is too many for kindergarten, but for the record Bella Vista and other schools in the district are at 27 in kindergarten and 30 in 1st through 3rd. I don’t say that in order to argue that these ratios are okay but in hopes of understanding the concern at Crocker.

    Is the issue that parents at that particular school are irate their kids are going to suffer larger classes? Or is there another space issue which I haven’t grasped? If it’s the former, I agree that it’s awful, and as I have stated elsewhere I think the larger class sizes make the education kids in the classes are receiving worse in many ways by an order of magnitude (as a teacher of 20, then 24, now 30, I speak from experience). But I can’t see making the case that one school out of the many in the district should be exempt. And realistically, with current budgets, it seems unlikely the district will fund lower classes again any time soon.

  • Yazstremski

    Crocker currently has 60+ kids in 2 3rd grade classes. This is the 1st year that there have only been 2 3rd grades, a teacher retired last year and was not replaced. There are 3 2nd grade classes with 23 or 24 each and around 60+ 1st and Kinder students in 3 different classes at each grade level. So, we’re full.
    The principal sent something out on the Yahoo group recently about class sizes and the K – 2 can go to 27 each. But not the 3rd grade since there are only 2 teachers at that grade level. Everyone at Crocker is asking the same questions.

  • OUSD Parent

    This thread is talking a lot about Crocker but I’m still really curious about the schools that are taking on large numbers of kids. If anyone affiliated with Burkhalter and/or Grass Valley can comment about the large numbers of kids being reassigned to their schools I’d like to hear what the school community is thinking/feeling. And were these campuses under enrolled? Will the district provide the resources and funding to expand to meet these growing numbers in the fall?

  • On the Fence

    Also, AC Mom commented earlier that other schools are currently overenrolled in the district. Most of us are aware of the perennial problem with over subscription of Hillcrest by neighborhood families, and the historical issues with over-demand in Redwood Heights (although I’m not sure how they are faring currently). What other schools in OUSD have a higher demand from neighborhood families within their catchment areas, than spaces available? Is this a new problem for these schools? Was this problem created by OUSD changing their boundaries recently or another reason? Any information would be helpful. I can only speak to the new problem created by OUSD in Crocker, but would be very interested to learn about the issues that other schools are facing.

  • Parent in OUSD


    I am neither a parent or staff member of any of these schools, but I have been following the process closely. i can tell you what I have read here, heard in Board of education meetings and whats left is somewhere between rumor/conjecture and truth.

    Burckhalter was originally on the closure list. Underenrolled may mean two different things—empty classrooms or just a small school site that may have full or nearly full classrooms.Im not sure where Burckhalter falls, but I believe Lakeview had empty classrooms. Lakeview and Burckhalter staffs have been working together for years apparently, strategizing teaching methods (I believe thats a good way to put it) and since there is an established relationship there, it makes sense to both campuses to have a good number of Lakeview students attend Burckhalter. Geographically? That looks fairly unsound. But I have “heard” OUSD plans to provide some form of transportation. Apparently Burckhalter is getting portables and, from what I recall, they do not have the largest outside area so it sounds cramped.

    Grass Valley was/is under-enrolled for its site. It is physically in proximity to Thurgood Marshall’s boundries and is a fairly large (and beautiful!) campus. I have not heard anything about transportation or portables to Grass Valley which is not the easiest campus to get to (its above the zoo).

    I’m amazed that most of the focus here continues to be on Crocker’s boundries issues. That really gives a lot of weight to a previous comment that readers here tend to be more priveleged than the average OUSD parent. Not a single comment on the lawsuit the Sante Fe community is bringing forth which could have a serious impact on the school closures. It would serve parents in this district well to really pay attention to that outcome.

  • AC Mom

    I should have stated that there are several schools for which demand exceeds capacity. I think that it would be interesting to know how OUSD defines “overenrollment”. Generally, in demand schools are pretty easy to identify as they tend to have higher API scores. In the case of Lakeview, the school is in relatively close proximity to schools that are in high demand–Cleveland, Crocker and Lincoln. Distributing some of the Lakeview students (and absorbing a portion of Lakeview’s catchment area) to schools that some parents/staff may describe as overcrowded is certainly not ideal, but I am with Yastremenski and On the Fence on this issue. I don’t see how/why Crocker should be exempted from taking in additional students. Crocker, while affected,is not nearly as impacted as Burkhalter and Grass Valley. For that matter, they are not nearly impacted as the former Lakeview students who will now go to a school in another part of the city. I am far more concerned about what plans those schools have in place to absorb a large number of students. I any event will do my part to support the staff at my children’s school and to make these new families welcome.

  • Grand lake parent

    I am pretty new to learning about the school district but followed the school closure process pretty closely because we live in the lakeview area and have a kid who will be in kindergarten next year. Obviously more people applied to be in Crocker than the school district expected, and they are dealing with that now, but I did not find the process to be particularly secretive or mysterious. When I talked to both Director Kakishiba and David Montes, they said they were trying to take into account natural neighborhood boundaries, busy streets, etc, as well as demographics in making the boundaries that make most sense. If you look at the map, the most logical place to put the Grand Lake neighborhood is Crocker. The new area also means that the Crocker boundaries go from an area of almost all single family homes to a mix of residences, so the population may be more diverse while still maintaing a geographic cohesion. So, unfortunately, there is an enrollment problem, and maybe there was a different methodology the district could have used to estimate enrollment, but I can see logical reasons why the maps were drawn the way they were. And I hope that next year there is not any lingering resentment from parents towards those of us from the “wrong” side of lakeshore!

  • On the Fence

    Grand Lake Parent,

    Please do not worry about resentment towards parents or children. I have not myself heard of anyone in this discussion who finds fault with any family for making the best choice for their child. Crocker is a pretty great and welcoming place, in my experience.

    The issue is not with any family, demographic, “wrong” side of a street, it is simply an issue of space and the problems that are created when there are too many families vying for not enough seats. I wish that there were more spaces, as there are many families who would gladly attend and strenghten the school. Sadly, space is limited. This is a problem of poor planning by OUSD. The resentment is towards the policy makers.

  • Wishful Thinking

    Those involved in the transition of Lakeview students indicated that when given the choice of where to attend, the families preferred to follow the teachers. If a number of the Lakeview teachers went to Burckhalter, then the figures would make sense. Since the majority of Lakeview students were not from the area, I’m unsure as to the impact the geographical change will have on those families.

  • Crocker Parent

    I agree with On the Fence. I don’t think any of the angers or frustrations being expressed here or around the school community are directed towards any of the families from the new catchment, or even the siblings from outside the neighborhood, just towards the district.

  • livegreen

    There are a lot of really good comments about the Crocker situation, on all sides. Which shows what a challenging situation this is. Before I go on I will say I also agree we need to explore the other schools that have been affected by the changes in both school boundaries and for students & families of closed schools. We do need to speak more about them, but that does not make this an either-or proposition.

    Back to Crocker, Grand Lake Parent’s point that OUSD was looking at neighborhood boundaries appears to show that OUSD was doing it’s best to listen to neighborhood concerns. As a previous poster said, if they’d done differently they probably would have received reactions on the other side, about how they were trying to be exclusionary, etc. (a common mantra in Oakland).

    However there are also points to make:
    -If the closest school to some of these areas, Lakeview, had been able to attract more local families, we might not be in this situation to begin with. It wasn’t. Hence the challenge we’re in;
    -On the one hand most of the area in Lakeview’s old attendance area is NOT contiguous with the Crocker or Trestle Glen neighborhoods that school pulls from. This is not an effort to shun others, it just is.

    Yes, these distinct neighborhoods in Lakeview’s boundary are closer in Geographic proximity to Crocker than other schools. But that doesn’t make it the same neighborhood.

    There are other neighborhoods in this situation. The closest similarity I know of (& I bet there are others) is Oakmore & Upper Dimond, which is split bet. 3 schools: Sequoia, Glenview & Joaquin Miller. So it is not unheard of to be in a neighborhood which is split bet. different schools, esp. when that school does not have its own neighborhood school. But that does not mean Oakmore and Upper Diamond are in Montclair, Piedmont Pines, Glenview, etc.

    -OUSD has historically not been good either at drawing boundaries OR at enrollment projections. ESPECIALLY for schools with increasing neighborhood attendance. To be fair, this is only partially their fault, as it has been pointed out many neighborhood families going private are waiting to decide or blowing off OUSD. But it does show that OUSD needs to pay closer attention to these challenges in areas where families WANT to go to their neighborhood schools.

    Now this is actually a good problem to have. Why? Better for our entire City to be WANTING to go to their neighborhood schools. That’s progress!

    Now it’s time to work on solutions for this new set of problems. Potential solutions include:

    –OUSD should boost funding to planning and projections;
    –It should also consider some changes to the follow-up system to get more conclusive commitment/replies from neighborhood parents, esp. those planning to go private.

    Oakland is a very diverse city, and this makes it difficult not to step on SOMEBODY’s toes. Esp. when people are looking to find nefarious reasons, either because of historical discrimination, because they truly believe its the case, or because they want to use it as ammunition to get what they want (all are equally plausible in Oakland).

    The important thing is that OUSD is looking for a solution. It sounds like they are. It would be nice if OUSD could communicate more. And there might be legal reasons why, it being the US of A, they can’t…

  • livegreen

    Since the OUSD map of where students are going points to Burckhalter, Piedmont Ave, Lincoln, Cleveland and La Esqualita, I’m curious to know more about those schools.

    Piedmont Ave. is a commuter’s school that has a lot of potential and I understand has been working for years to get more neighborhood kids. It has excellent potential. Will this help, or not?

    I’m surprised Burckhalter has that much room, though I also understand they were close to being closed as a very under enrolled school. Setting this issue aside, are families going there from closed schools from that attendance area or commuting long distances?

    If the latter, why? What are the lingering problems with their local schools? (Despite the meaningful efforts of the Strategic Plan).

  • Peach


    First, I join you in congratulating OUSD schools recognized as outstanding Title One schools, including Buckhalter.

    If you can, please find out from the Office of Exceptiional Children (special education) the new placements for special needs students attending the soon to be closed schools, as their placements are done separately from the Options process. Some were recently moved from previously closed campuses such as John Swett/Tilden. Others may be moved out of schools in order to make room for other displaced students.

    Both Buckhalter (autism) and Marshall (learning disorder) have extensive special education programs that serve scores of students with continuity that is usually missing from OUSD special education. What will happen to these vulnerable students, teachers, and programs?

    Maxwell Park has a longstanding, much respected Reading Clinic (moved there when Washington/Sankofa was shuttered)and other special education programs that serve students throughout the district and those from private schools. Where will that program and the other special ed classrooms be relocated?

    Lazear, Lakeview, and Santa Fe also have special day classes that serve students. If there are plans for those students and personnel as well, I think this forum has people who are interested in the complete picture of this district initiative.

    Thanks as always.

  • Jesse James

    I just learned that the principals from both Marshall and Grass Valley School will both be in charge of Grass Valley. Is this true? I thought the idea of closing/merging schools was to SAVE money! Does anyone know about this?

  • Crocker Mom


    Has OUSD responded to ANY of the questions asked here?

  • Katy Murphy

    Not yet!

  • In Shock

    I heard a rumor that Dr. Smith told the principals at a meeting this past Tuesday that he didn’t care if all the schools in Oakland went charter. Has anyone else heard this too?

  • Harold

    if the above (#46) is true, we need our school board to ask some tough questions at the next school board meeting.

    It also makes me think the TSA positions at three of our high schools, is the beginning of an attempt to (permanently) fracture the OEA.

  • In Shock

    I just got confirmation from two principals that Dr. Smith did indeed say he didn’t care if all of Oakland schools went charter. Harold, what Dr. Smith is doing at the three schools is union busting, plain and simple. Not only that, but he’s putting in a system that provides constant upheaval for those students most in need of consistency. Dr. Smith has been a colossal mistake for Oakland.

  • On the Fence

    While I would need more confirmation, including the context in which Tony Smith made the comments, I would agree that he has been a colossal mistake.

    I do not agree with his vision for OUSD, in general.

    I do not support his vision of full service schools. I’d prefer a school district to provide traditional academics and learning in a setting of appropriately rigorous discipline. If some children opt for and/or need a social service wrap-around school setting, then I’m happy for there to be one available to them. Otherwise, this is not the direction I’d support for all.

    I would also add that while he changes the game for teachers and students in the TSA schools (and I agree, it is defacto union busting), he has sent an equally powerful statement to families in strong, popular and successful neighborhood schools, as well. The message is that their children have no reasonable assurance of attending their neighborhood school. Yes, I am referring to the Crocker issue, but not so much to rehash the problem, but to explain the greater message that it sends. Essentially, he has increased the situation of widespread uncertainty to include more and more families. You try to go to your local school, but you have no assurance of getting in. You hedge your bets by applying to others, you stress. It is not unlike the uncertainty of a pure charter set up. His actions suggest that he really does not care.

  • Crocker Mom

    I recall hearing of him saying similar things before, but in the context of doing whatever works best for the kids. I guess we will see.