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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. Continue Reading

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Oakland school wins National Blue Ribbon award

PERALTA ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

Here’s some more good news: Peralta Elementary School in Rockridge is one of 21 public and private schools in California — and 305 in the United States — to be awarded the 2011 National Blue Ribbon from the United States Department of Education.

The school scored a 937 out of 1,000 points on the state’s Academic Performance Index this year. Its African-American students, who made up about 16 percent of the enrollment in 2010-11 (down from 66 percent percent in 2005-06), had an average API of 857. Latino students, about 12 percent of the students, had an API of 939, higher than the school average.

Peralta is the fourth public school in Oakland (and the second non-charter school) to be honored for academic excellence. Previous winners: Lincoln Elementary in Chinatown (2010), American Indian Public Charter School in the Laurel District (2007), Oakland Charter Academy in Fruitvale (2008).

Other Bay Area schools to earn this distinction in 2011 were James Leitch Elementary School in Fremont; Ulloa Elementary in San Francisco and Ruskin Elementary in San Jose.

You can find a list of winners here.

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Announcing … the Title I awards

This just in from the California Department of Education:

Academic achievement awards for 209 schools that serve large numbers of poor children and are closing the achievement gap. (Criteria explained here.) There are fourteen awardees in Oakland — 10 district elementary schools, four charter schools — and two in Berkeley. They were selected from the 6,000-plus schools statewide that participate in the Title I program for low-income students.

Last year, there were just six in Oakland and one in Berkeley to earn this distinction.

Here’s the list of East Bay awardees:

BERKELEY UNIFIED
Jefferson Elementary
Washington Elementary

OAKLAND UNIFIED
Continue Reading

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Who’s attending CA’s elite public schools?

I finally got around to sorting state-level test score data, something I’ve been meaning to do since the Academic Performance Index release last month. (Boy, is it harder than it should be. Those mismatched column headers…)

Hillcrest Elementary/Tribune file photoFive of Oakland’s schools are up in the top 100 — roughly 1 percent of all public schools in California — when sorted by API: the three American Indian Model charter schools, Montclair and Hillcrest.

The American Indian Public Charter School in East Oakland’s Laurel District was the highest-performing middle school in the state, with an API of 988. (Not including schools with K-8 or 6-12 grade configurations, whose middle school scores aren’t broken out here.)

Here are some more data points:

  • Only nine schools in the top 100 educate a “significant” number of low-income students, as defined by NCLB (which means they need to report the scores of that group of kids); three of those nine are the American Indian Model schools.
  • None of the top 100 schools had aggregate scores for black students or special needs students, meaning their numbers are too small. And while Latino children make up nearly half of California’s public school population, their scores are included at just eight of the 100 schools. Continue Reading
25

The latest high school exit exam results

graduation

Talk about a high-stakes test. Unless you pass both sections of the California High School Exit Exam — English and math — you don’t get a high school diploma.

Students take the exam for the first time as 10th-graders (the test includes some Algebra I concepts and English standards through grade 10) and they may retake it several times in their junior and senior years. Last year, 100 percent of the students in Piedmont Unified passed both subjects as 10th-graders, and the same was true this year at the American Indian Public High School.

I put together a spreadsheet with four pages that breaks down the first-time pass rates by district and race/ethnicity and highlights changes (by district in Alameda and Contra Costa counties) from last year to this year.

Tab 4 — titled “OUSD” –  lists Oakland’s high schools, including charters,  in alphabetical order and then, below, sorts them from highest to lowest 10th-grade pass rates in each subject. The charter schools are definitely clustered at the top.

Continue Reading

2

American Indian center might close its doors

Hintil Kuu Ca in the early 1980s. (Courtesy photo)I drove up to the Hintil Kuu Ca childhood development center this morning (yesterday morning, technically). It’s name means “Indian children’s house,” according to this fascinating article about the center published in 1986 in Cultural Survival Quarterly.

Hintil opened in 1973; it was started by mothers whose kids — recently relocated from reservations as part of a federal government integration program — were struggling socially and academically in Oakland schools. In the late 70s or early 80s, it moved to its current location in the Oakland hills, near Merritt College and behind Carl Munck Elementary.

But Hintil is on the list of seven childhood development centers the Oakland school district plans to close at the end of the month in response to the governor’s proposed budget cuts. Continue Reading

8

Native American leader, former Oakland activist, dies at 64

Wilma MankillerWilma Mankiller, the first woman to be elected chief of a major American Indian tribe — the Cherokee Nation — was once a Bay Area resident and a strong advocate for Native American children in Oakland’s public schools. She died Tuesday in Oklahoma at age 64.

In our library, I found a small envelope stamped “MANKILLER, WILMA/ INDIAN LEADER, OAK.”  Inside were several articles, including a Tribune story from January 9, 1977. Susan Shoemaker, then an education writer for the newspaper, reported that Mankiller and other Native Americans “believe the school district simply does not care about their children.”

“Oakland public school services are just inadequate for American Indian students,” Mankiller was quoted as saying.

Continue Reading

3

Six Oakland schools win Title I award

Peralta

The California Department of Education announced the names of 238 schools that serve large numbers of low-income children and have made substantial progress on state test scores. (Interesting that this comes right after Steven Weinberg’s post.) They’ll receive their awards April 21 in Disneyland.

And the winners of the Title I Academic Achievement Awards for 2009-10 are… Continue Reading

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Oakland’s Lincoln Elementary nominated for National Blue Ribbon

Lincoln Elementary School kindergarten
Tribune file photo by D. Ross Cameron

Lincoln Elementary School in Oakland’s Chinatown has just been nominated for the prestigious National Blue Ribbon Award, which honors schools for high academic achievement.

Lincoln was one of 35 public and private schools statewide to be nominated for the 2010 award by the California Department of Education, and the only one from Oakland. The school has an API of 933 out of a possible 1,000 points, one of the highest in the district.

About 78 percent of Lincoln’s roughly 600 students  Continue Reading