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OUSD Says No to Renewing EOLA’s Charter, Concerns on Police Chief’s Report

At Wednesday night’s Oakland school board meeting, there were few empty seats and dozens of people with speaker cards to discuss the several adult education programs that may be cut. Adult education, however, was not on the agenda and the board did not make any comments regarding any cuts.

Instead, the board approved to deny the charter renewal for East Oakland Leadership Academy High.

Philip Dotson, acting director of the Office of Charter Schools, read the report highlighting why the charter should not be renewed for EOLA based on figures developed over the five years the charter has been in place.

Some of those points included:

  • Failure to meet enrollment target of 200 students and is under-enrolled.
    • Currently 54 students are enrolled in grades 9-12; the most enrolled in one year was 67 students last school year.
  • Failure to retain students.
  • Failure to maintain a 95 percent attendance rate.
    • First two years of charter met this qualification but remaining three years averaged 93.1 percent.
  • Not accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, although the school is scheduled for a WASC visit March 17-20.
  • The school lacks a visible leader.
  • The API scores gradually decreased in three of the four years, although scores last year significantly grew.

Although individual students have benefited from attending EOLA and the school as a whole has made progress in improving math scores, the evidence against them was enough to elicit a vote to deny the charter, which will officially end on June 30. Continue Reading

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An Oakland Unified parent’s wish list for 2013

Stacey Smith is an Oakland school district parent and volunteer who has served on the District GATE Advisory Committee, the school board’s Special Committee on School Based Management, and the Community Advisory Committee for Special Education. What she writes about does not reflect the view of any group.

I know it’s late, but I was just at the check-out counter reading magazine covers still touting magical resolutions that would change us for the better in 2013. I was musing about what I would list for OUSD to tackle in 2013 that would benefit students with disabilities. My partial list, in no order:

1. Identify and publicly celebrate those achieving positive results for these students. There are a lot of success stories out there – programs and individual educators and administrators who are helping students to reach their full potential. It continues to surprise me how infrequently OUSD highlights these achievements and we only hear about the same few examples. C’mon, OUSD – brag a bit!

2. Stop withholding resources from special education by limiting funds and cutting supports. In 2012 it was the budget cuts, avoidable staffing shortages and impossible caseloads for front-line resource specialists. In 2013 there’s more. OUSD wants to increase the ratio of students per aide in high-need classes. Continue Reading

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Yu Ming Charter School Moving to New Location

By Serena Valdez

On Feb. 25, Yu Ming Charter School will continue the school year in a new home. After only one year at the original site in downtown Chinatown, 321 10th Street, Principal Laura Ross said she knew the school would need to move to a larger location and took advantage as soon as a new site arose.

A Mandarin immersion public charter school, Yu Ming’s new location will be at 1086 Alcatraz Avenue, about 4 miles away from the Chinatown location.

Parents of the students are behind the move as it provides a better learning environment for the students even if it may present challenges for some parents, such as a longer commute, Ross said.

Teachers have been preparing the 150-plus students for the big move for the past few weeks. They’ve presented slide shows of the new site, given them a chance to ask questions and provided information.

Several parents and students have already been to the new location.

“Every weekend lots of people are volunteering to help out by bringing boxes and unpacking,” she said. “It’s been really fun and a bonding experience.”

But it doesn’t stop here. The new location, set in a residential area, is only large enough to accommodate K-4 classes. Currently the school has classes from kindergarten to second grade, with enrollment already open for the next school year, which will include third grade.

As the school continues to grow into a full-fledged K-8 school, adding two new kindergarten classes each school year, administrators will need to find a new location. That gives administrators about three years to start looking for a bigger, more ideal school site.

Ross says she looks forward to being part of this new community and getting to know the families and businesses in the neighborhood. She hopes people will see the school as a positive change to the area.

To read more, go to the Yu Ming website at http://bit.ly/129H8N8

Serena Valdez is a Chips Quinn Scholar intern working for Bay Area News Group.