Here’s a press release from Congregations Organizing for Renewal, which is hosting a forum to discuss plans for the redesign of Longwood and Burbank elementary schools, and Tennyson High. They were all on the state’s list of lowest-performing schools released earlier this year. COR is advocating a small schools model:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 7, 2010
Hundreds of Parents Gather to Demand Research-Based Redesign of Persistently Low Performing Schools in Hayward
Hayward – Parent, community and faith leaders from Hayward will have a community action forum with Mr. Paul Frumkin III, HUSD School Board President, and Ms. Maribel Heredia, Vice-President, on Tuesday, May 11th at 7 p.m. at St. Joachim Catholic Church, focusing on the redesign of Hayward’s lowest-performing schools.
California Department of Education’s list of the 5% lowest performing schools in the state includes several schools in Hayward, including Longwood and Burbank Elementary Schools, and Tennyson High School. Another 17 schools are in Program Improvement (PI) and according to the CDE, HUSD has not met the Adequate Yearly Progress for two consecutive years, with grades 2-5, 6-8, and 10, not meeting the proficiency levels in both English-Language Arts and Mathematics.
“My child is in 3rd grade, and she can’t read,” said Raquel Anguiano, a COR leader and parent of two at Longwood Elementary. “Things need to change now.” Olivia Montero, another COR leader and parent of two at Cherryland Elementary, said she cannot wait any longer for Hayward schools to improve. “My children are bound to struggle in middle school because they are not getting a strong foundation at the elementary level. Many kids are dropping out because our school system is not working.”
COR parent leaders have visited model schools in other districts, and have researched leading school reform methods to address these serious issues. They learned that smaller, more personalized learning environments, along with academic rigor, cultural relevance and other best practices better support students, teachers and parents than large, overcrowded schools. Small autonomous schools also cost less, increase both academic achievement and attendance, and decrease violence. Think College Now, for example, employed these strategies in Oakland, and dramatically increased student achievement.
Even though HUSD has cut almost $18 million dollars from its budget for next year, it is eligible to receive anywhere between $50,000 to $2 million in School Improvement Grant (SIG) funds for each one of the schools listed in California’s list of lowest performing schools to transform or turn around the schools. The district could also apply for another $650 million through a federal grant program, along with an additional $506 in matching funds recently made available by foundations, to expand innovative school improvement projects (“Investing in Innovation Funds”). COR parents urge the district to pursue these funding opportunities and partner with experts to redesign their schools into high performing model schools, based on proven strategies used in other districts.
For more information about this event contact Pablo Madriz at (510) 459-0683 or POMadriz@gmail.com
COR is a multi-faith-based federation of 11 congregations and 25,000 families across south Alameda County including Hayward, Union City, Fremont, San Lorenzo, Cherryland, Ashland and San Leandro. COR has worked to stop youth violence, improve public education, and increase access to health care and affordable housing at a local, state, and national level. COR is part of People Improving Communities through Organizing, or the PICO National Network, which represents one thousand congregations and a million families nation-wide.