Another Oakland student news blog: Castle Crier!

High school newspapers, ready to be distributed (not at Castlemont) from elizasizzle’s site at flickr.com/creativecommons.

Student journalism in Oakland has popped up at yet another high school. At Castlemont High, students have launched an online site with a wonderfully old-school newspaper name, the Castle Crier.

AP English language students are the publication’s first reporters.  Guided by teacher Marguerite Sheffer, they post updates three or four times a week. This winter, the Crier will have its first print edition.

Today, we can read all about John Lynch, the new principal of the newly consolidated school, an ethnic studies partnership with San Francisco State, and what it’s like to be an Asian-American at Castlemont. Not to mention an exclusive interview with Castlemont’s Freshman Princess, photographed in a Raiders hat and Holy Names University sweatshirt. Continue Reading


Oakland schools, students step up to host candidate forums

Life Academy school board candidate forum
photo courtesy of Preston Thomas, Life Academy

Students at Oakland’s Life Academy of Health and Bioscience interviewed District 5 city council and school board candidates Thursday night in a public forum they organized.

Principal Preston Thomas described the event as “totally authentic and student-led.”

“This was a great example of what it means to be a full service community school,” he wrote in the email he sent to me afterward.

If you missed it, here are some other election-related events: Continue Reading


Sustainable Urban Design at Castlemont High

Sustainable Urban Design Academy
photo by Ray Chavez/ Bay Area News Group

This spring, photographer Ray Chavez and I tagged along with a group of students in an urban ecology class at Castlemont High School for a story and video that came out today. It’s part of the school’s new Sustainable Urban Design program, a California Partnership Academy started by teacher Timothy Bremner (He brought from Youth Empowerment School after it closed.)

The Sustainable Urban Design Academy is slated to expand this fall as part of Castlemont’s controversial merger and redesign — which was the subject of an early morning protest on the campus last week; another is planned for tomorrow morning.

The students have undertaken a number of projects on the campus, including a community mapping initiative featured in the below video. They have been documenting the strengths and challenges of their neighborhood from various perspectives: public health, economic opportunity and the natural vs. “built” environment, among others.

In addition to learning about various `green’ career paths, the students hope to weigh in on city and school district projects. The MacArthur Boulevard strip outside the high school campus could sure use a little TLC.