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Archive for the 'families' Category

Drawing new attendance boundaries

This afternoon, the Oakland school district posted maps showing how it might redraw its boundaries for 2012-13, after five elementary schools close.

OUSD Spokesman Troy Flint is double-checking on this, but it appears that the remaining schools’ boundaries would only expand — not shift — under this plan. In other words, that the only residents who’d be redistricted would be those who live in the attendance areas of Lakeview, Lazear, Marshall, Maxwell Park and Santa Fe. I think. If it appears otherwise to you, let us know!

Lakeview and Lazear each have two scenarios for consideration. Marshall and Maxwell Park have three (including one for Maxwell Park that splits the current zone into seven pieces). Santa Fe has just one three. You’ll find more detail below.

WHAT’S NEXT: The district is holding five community meetings, beginning Nov. 29, in each of the areas (see above link for dates and locations). It holds a public hearing Dec. 14, and is scheduled to make a decision on Jan. 11.

Here are the scenarios, with a list of all of the schools that would incorporate part of each existing attendance area: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, November 18th, 2011
Under: elementary schools, enrollment, families, school closures | 41 Comments »

Next step for families affected by Oakland’s school closures

Staff Photojournalist

As they come to terms with the upcoming closure of their schools, families from Oakland’s Lakeview, Lazear, Marshall, Maxwell Park and Santa Fe elementary schools must now decide where to send their children next fall.

Typically, OUSD (and prospective OUSD) families submit their top school picks — mostly for kindergarten, sixth and ninth grades — by Jan. 15. The hundreds of children affected by upcoming school closures will make their choices earlier and will receive their placements by Dec. 19, according to this letter from OUSD.

In other words, they have first dibs on the open seats in grades 1 to 5.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, November 7th, 2011
Under: elementary schools, families, school closures | 20 Comments »

Elementary school to join Occupy Oakland strike

The staff at Bridges Academy at Melrose sent a bilingual flier home to families, inviting them to join them in Wednesday’s general strike in support of Occupy Oakland — and informing them that teachers would not be in their classrooms that day.

They’re meeting at the East Oakland elementary school in the morning and traveling to Oakland City Hall together, by BART.

“We, the teachers at Bridges, are joining the Occupy Oakland protest on Wednesday, November 2. We will not be in our classrooms that day, all day,” the flier says. “We are the 99%!!”

Are the teachers at your school thinking about joining the strike?

Strike flier

Posted on Friday, October 28th, 2011
Under: families, strike, students | 72 Comments »

Rumors (and denials) of a rogue charter school opening next week

American Indian Public Charter School

Sometimes when I write about the American Indian Public Charter School I feel like I’ve entered an alternative reality. This is one of those times.

For that reason, I can’t tell you definitively whether an unauthorized elementary charter school will open on American Indian’s downtown campus on Halloween, as rumored — though it’s looking unlikely. I’ll just share the information I’ve collected so far.

Evidence that suggests a school affiliated with American Indian is (or at least was) slated to open two months into the school year:

- I called the receptionist at the school last week, told her I was a news reporter, and asked if American Indian was opening a new elementary school in October, as I had heard. She said, “Yes it is.”

- An OUSD mother who attended a recent informational meeting at American Indian said parents were told that a new elementary school would indeed open on Oct. 31. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, October 25th, 2011
Under: charter schools, elementary schools, families | 129 Comments »

Whooping cough shots: Time’s running out!

Staff Photojournalist

By Friday, all Oakland Unified students in grades 7 to 12 must show proof that their Tdap, or whooping cough, vaccinations are up to date — or be turned away from school, as required by a new state law.

Since the spring, nurses have given shots to thousands of kids who’ve provided parental consent forms, said Joanna Locke, director of health and wellness for the Oakland school district. This morning, the district set up a clinic on East Oakland’s Fremont high school campus (pictured above).

Still, as of Sept. 16, the district’s latest count, 14 percent of the students in those grades — about 2,000 — either still needed the shot or hadn’t provided the paperwork proving that they had gotten it.

If you know someone who needs help with this, they should call their doctor or the Immunization Assistance Project at (510) 267-3230. They can also visit http://www.acphd.org for a list of immunization clinics.

Posted on Tuesday, September 27th, 2011
Under: families, health, high schools, middle schools | 2 Comments »

Parent Trigger: Coming to a school near you?

Staff Photojournalist Staff Photojournalist
Staff Photojournalist

People who follow education news in California probably have heard of the new law known as the “Parent Trigger.” It allows parents to unionize — and to petition to convert eligible low-performing schools into charters or force major staffing shake-ups, among other interventions.

It was enacted in January 2010, but it wasn’t until this summer that the California Board of Education approved regulations to clarify how it will work.

Parent Revolution, the L.A.-based group behind the law, stopped in Oakland this week on a bus tour through California. Nearly all who came to the information session at Brookfield Elementary School were either part of the bus tour or members of the Oakland chapter of the NAACP, invited by Oakland school board member Alice Spearman. I noticed that only a handful of current OUSD parents (maybe just two or three) were in the room to learn about a movement described by organizer Shirley Ford as “grassroots in every sense of the word.”

That appears to have been by design. Spearman told the small group that she wanted to start with “all the key players in Oakland” to decide whether to form a parent union chapter here. If so, she said, they could bring other groups and “the grassroots parents” into the discussion.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, September 16th, 2011
Under: charter schools, families, school reform, state news | 46 Comments »

First day back

I love the first day of school, but the parents at Oakland’s Grass Valley Elementary put my enthusiasm to shame this morning. You can see the PTA moms (and Dad’s Club dads) in action in a video I took of my visit, which will soon be posted to this Tribune story.

Some Oakland schoolchildren didn’t have such a stellar first day, through no fault of their their own or anyone at their schools. A manhunt in East Oakland led to an afternoon emergency lockdown at Castlemont and East Oakland PRIDE. For students at those schools, it meant noisy helicopters hovering overhead, hours stuck in the cafeteria, or hours without lunch. Hopefully they will have a much better day tomorrow.

How was your first day back? Tell us about it — even if it’s the second day of school by the time you read this.

Posted on Monday, August 29th, 2011
Under: families, students, Summer, teachers | 4 Comments »

School closures on the horizon in Oakland

Oakland school district officials have said for years that the district runs too many schools — 101 for 38,000 students.

Superintendent Tony Smith has been judicious with his use of the `C’ word, though he’s blamed some of the district’s financial challenges — and its relatively low teacher pay — on the number of schools in the district.

Now, his staff have come up with a complex ranking system (link below) for choosing which schools to close or merge. The school board votes on the criteria tomorrow, during its 5 p.m. meeting. The closure list would be announced at the end of October, according to GO Public schools. It’s unclear from the presentation how many there would be, but I’ll let you know when I find out.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011
Under: budget, families, school closures, students | 61 Comments »

Oakland’s “Santa Claus of computer land”

Bruce BuckelewI thought you might enjoy today’s column by Dave Newhouse about Bruce Buckelew. The Piedmont resident and IBM retiree founded Oakland Technology Exchange West, a nonprofit based in West Oakland that distributes free, refurbished computers to schools and homes and training to children and their parents.

According to the OTX West website, the organization has distributed more than 20,000 computers since 1999 — and diverted more than 700 tons of electronic waste from landfills.

Buckelew thinks schools should use computers more than they do now to tailor instruction to each student, based on the child’s skill level.

“Not one size fits all,” he added. “There are schools that are going to 30 to 40 percent online individuated instruction, and 60 to 70 percent traditional interactive teacher-led, and they’re successful. We don’t have that model yet in Oakland.”

Do you agree? How does your school use computers in an innovative way?

Posted on Thursday, July 7th, 2011
Under: achievement gap, families, initiatives, students, technology | 3 Comments »

School’s out: A series about the summer

SUMMER VACATION

As an education writer, I like the summer — and not because I get to file all my stories poolside (though that’s not a bad idea…). I like it because it sometimes gives me a break from breaking news, which means I get to work on projects.

I have a few up my sleeve, and I’m especially excited about one of them: a print and multimedia series about the summer, itself.

You can find the first story (print only) here.

Posted on Monday, June 20th, 2011
Under: achievement gap, families, health, safety, students, teens | 2 Comments »