KQED American Graduate Education Town Hall

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Thursday, September 12, 2013 from 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM (PDT)


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KQED, 100 Black Men of the BayAreaCommunitySchool, OaklandUnifiedSchool Districtand OUSD Office of African American Male Achievement invite you to join us on Thursday, September 12, 2013 for KQEDAmericanGraduateEducationTown Hallwhere the topic of discussion will highlight innovative educational solutions to the crisis facing Oakland’s African American male youth.

The event will open with remarks from KQED and theOaklandUnifiedSchool District, followed by a youth performance by Young, Gifted and Black, a cultural arts and education repertory group of youth that uses historic poetry, rap and song to teach Black History and Black Pride.

We will watch Geoffrey Canada’s TED TALKS EDUCATION segment, along with KQED’s documentary on African American Male Achievement and OUSD.

This will be followed by a panel discussion. Panelists are Dr. Mark Alexander (Founder, 100 Black Men Bay Area Community School), Mr. Christopher Chatmon (Executive Director, African American Male Achievement), Rev. Dr. Charley Hames, Jr. (Senior Pastor, Beebe Memorial Cathedral) and Ms. Jill Tucker (Education Reporter, San Francisco Chronicle).

To learn more about TED TALKS EDUCATION, please visit: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/ted-talks-education/

This program is designed to extend public awareness, debate and community action around important issues related to the dropout crisis, showcased in TED TALKS EDUCATION (the first-ever TED project specifically produced for television) and is part of American Graduate:  Let’s Make It Happen, a public media initiative supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.”



Oakland Local: Education Voices: Safe routes to schools are elusive in Oakland

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EOYDC-RoutesSEMIFINAL-659x478June 27, 2013
By Barbara Grady, Irene and Jon Leckie
Kahmaria Adams, 15, listens to gospel music on her commute to school through the harrowing streets of East Oakland. She takes two city buses to get from home to Piedmont High School. She’s got the hour-long routine down, but there’s one stretch of the bus ride that gets to her.

“I always have the feeling that something will happen. On the bus I feel like I need to stay alert and watch out for troublesome people around me,” she said.

Jordan Williams, 15, always carries mace with him wherever he goes. “I don’t really feel any danger,” he starts when asked to describe his daily commute. “But, you know, the kidnappings and things like that. That’s kind of scary. So, you know, I keep an eye out, looking back every couple times to make sure, like, nothing strange is going on around me.”

He travels from his home on Seminary Avenue in East Oakland to Arroyo High School in San Lorenzo.

“I keep my mace just in case something happens, like someone tries to come up and do a sneak attack.”

To read more.

100 Black Men Community School of the Bay Area

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KQED will be working with the 100 Black Men Community of the Bay Area on an upcoming Teacher Town Hall on September 12, 2013. The videos were created by Joshua Alexander to showcase the continued impact that the 100 Black Men Community School is having on the community and their students.

New Initiative Aims to Double Percentage of Oakland Youth Reading on Grade Level by the End of Third Grade by 2020

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oaklandreads2020PRESS CONFERENCE: MONDAY, JUNE 17, 2013 AT 10:30 AM; Oakland Marriott City Center (1001 Broadway Oakland, CA 94607)

New Initiative Aims to Double Percentage of Oakland Youth Reading on Grade Level by the End of Third Grade by 2020

City of Oakland, Oakland Unified School District and Nearly 100 Organizations Announce Oakland Reads 2020, An Initiative Aimed at Dramatically Improving Reading Proficiency for Oakland’s Youth

Oakland, CA – When kids read at grade level, especially by the end of third grade, their future is much brighter. The Mayor, Oakland Unified School District Superintendent, parents, and other community organizations and leaders gathered on June 17th to announce Oakland Reads 2020. This multi-year initiative identifies and supports solutions that increase the percentage of children reading on grade level by the end of third grade.

As its goal, Oakland Reads 2020 will bring the community together to double the percentage of children reading on grade level by the end of third grade from 42% to 85%.

“The current status quo is unacceptable,” stated Jean Quan, Mayor of the City of Oakland. “Every child in this city deserves an opportunity to learn to read and write, and we have an obligation to support solutions that will assist them. This campaign affects all of us. Successful students can reach their dreams, strengthen our local economy, and help us reduce violence in our community.”

The initiative focuses on helping students read on grade level by the end of third grade because studies show that it is one of the most important predictors for high school graduation and career success. For example, children from low-income families are 13 times less likely to graduate from high school if not reading on grade level by the end of third grade. Oakland Reads 2020 will address reading proficiency by creating a shared vision and network of early literacy resources that are accessible, collaborative, integrated and supported.

"Children reading on grade level by Grade 3 is critical to a healthy future," stated Tony Smith, Superintendent of the Oakland Unified School District. "That's why we have to dedicate more of our efforts to helping kids from an early age. OUSD knows that schools and teachers cannot do it alone, and we welcome the collaborative approach of Oakland Reads 2020."

With less than half of its third graders reading on grade level, Oakland leaders decided take action and develop an effort to engage students and parents beyond the classroom. Oakland Reads 2020 focuses its efforts on four areas they believe will help increase the percentage of students reading on grade level by the end of third grade:

· School Readiness: Oakland Reads 2020 will support community-driven efforts to ensure that every child enters kindergarten ready to learn and has quality early learning opportunities.

· School Attendance: Oakland Reads 2020 will support strategies to increase school attendance and reduce chronic absence.

· Summer Learning: Oakland Reads 2020 will support access to summer activities that help Oakland’s students not to lose ground in the summer months.

· Family Engagement: Oakland Reads 2020 will support parents, grandparents and caregivers because they are the first and most important teachers and advocates for children.

“Beginning this summer, our community-driven network will build on Oakland’s collaborative spirit and identify strategies to help children read on grade level,” stated Brian Rogers, Executive Director of the Rogers Family Foundation. “We are committed to working collectively over the next seven years and to continuing to share strategies, goals and metrics for success with the community.”

Oakland Reads 2020 will also work with the National Campaign for Grade-Level Reading to strengthen its work. The national campaign is comprised of 124 communities committed to improving reading proficiency.

“The City of Oakland, like communities all over the United States, is showing what is possible when people come together to help children read proficiently by improving school readiness, attendance and summer learning,” stated Ralph Smith, Senior Vice President of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. “I am excited to see how Oakland innovates, particularly in relation to family engagement. The city can be a model for other communities.”

While Oakland Reads 2020 is focused on early childhood education, the initiative envisions their work leading to an Oakland where students will continue to be supported until they graduate from high school and will be fully prepared for the 21st century economy.

To learn more about Oakland Reads 2020, visit www.oaklandreads.org.

About Oakland Reads 2020: Oakland Reads 2020 is a community initiative aimed at dramatically increasing the number of Oakland students reading on grade level by the end of the third grade. The network is comprised of the City of Oakland, the Oakland Unified School District and nearly 100 public and private organizations. Oakland Reads 2020 is a chapter of the National Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (http://gradelevelreading.net/).

Oakland Reads 2020 is currently supported by a collaborative group of funders that includes the Rogers Family Foundation, the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, and the East Bay Community Foundation. Oakland Reads 2020 seeks to leverage and maximize resources, and welcomes participation and matching funds from other foundations and corporations.


Dan Cohen, Full Court Press Communications    

O: 510-465-8294; C; 510-282-7621                            

Full Court Press Communications

O:510-550-8176; C: 530-305-9427

Oakland Local: OUSD names new school board member

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ACW-familyJune 13, 2013
The OUSD school board just voted to appoint Anne Campbell-Washington to represent District 4, given former board member Gary Yee’s appointment as Acting Superintendent.

Anne Campbell-Washington is the mother of two OUSD kids and a longtime Oakland public servant who has served in multiple city administrations and departments. She will serve the remaining 18 months of the term, and there will be an open election for the seat in November 2014.

To read more.

Newshour: To Lower Dropout Rates, Finding Potential Where Support Systems Are Lacking

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June 7, 2013

Oakland Local: From prison to Phi Theta Kappa: How one Oakland youth is helping change the juvenile justice system

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20130528_212916-659x497June 6, 2013
By Jon Leckie

When Jonathan Roach graduated from high school, he was thirsty for higher education, but as an inmate in Alameda County’s Juvenile Hall, the opportunity didn’t exist. Yet despite his lack of resources, Roach became the first person in Alameda County to begin his college career while still a prisoner of the juvenile justice system.

In 2010, Roach was arrested and charged with armed robbery. He was only 15, living life in poverty with his single mother and five other siblings.

“I made a mistake,” he admits. “I was on the wrong path, wasn’t going to school and ended up making a big mistake and going to prison.”

During the two years Roach spent in juvenile hall, he got back in school, attending daily classes and taking on independent study before accumulating enough credits to earn his high school diploma. But as Roach reached this major milestone in his life there were no caps, no gowns and he had little to look forward to except extended hours in his jail cell.

“After you graduate you’re just in your room because you don’t have to go to school,” he said, “and what you have is a lot of violent young men without anything to do.”

Roach, however, was not about to sit around letting time pass him by. Eager to continue his education, he sought out avenues that could lead him from his cell to college commencement.

On his search, he would eventually met Dr. Siri Brown, chair of Merritt College’s African-American studies department.

“The Department of African-American Studies at Merritt College has a long history of understanding the connection between academics and community organizing,” Brown said. “Two years ago we started offering college courses in juvenile hall. Students take correspondence or online courses, we use volunteer student tutors and try to create an environment where there is an intellectual exchange.”

Brown learned about Roach from Amy Cheney, the head librarian inside juvenile hall. After attending an event put on by Merritt’s African-American Studies Department on issues related to prison and death row, Cheney reached out to Brown about an inmate who wanted to go to college.

“I was looking for great speakers to talk with our youth. I had met Dr. Brown years ago and we had talked about her coming up and doing presentations,” Cheney said. “The situation taking place with realignment and the California Youth Authority shutting down created a situation in which there are kids here for a longer period of time.”

With the help of David Muhammad, Oakland’s former chief probation officer, Brown and Cheney developed a program to bring higher education to youth incarcerated in the juvenile justice system, and, in May 2011, Roach became the first inmate in Alameda County to earn college credit while inside juvenile hall.

To read more.

The Education Report: An unwise cut: help for new Oakland teachers

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Source: http://baynewsnetwork.org/site/287/By Katy Murphy
May 29, 2013

Steven Weinberg, a retired Oakland teacher and occasional blog contributor, writes about a cut to a program that supports hundreds of new teachers each year.

Since my retirement I have stayed involved with the district by providing coaching and mentoring to new teachers as part of the district’s Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment (BTSA) program. Last week those of us who provide that help were told that the program will suffer a huge budget reduction for the coming year, with only about 70 new teachers receiving mentoring support instead of the 320 receiving that help today. Since each coach receives a $1,300 stipend for each teacher supported, this reduction will save the district about $400,000 next year.

The coaches in the BTSA program meet once a week with each new teacher. The coach observes the new teacher in the classroom several times during the year. Together the coach and new teacher discuss lesson planning, classroom control, the needs of English language learners and special needs students and methods to assess student progress and evaluate the effectiveness of instruction. Together they review and evaluate student work. The new teacher reflects upon how various approaches are working and learns to continually revise his or her practice to become more effective.

As part of the process, the new teacher also completes and turns in to the New Teacher Talent Development Office a series of forms and reflections demonstrating his or her growth over the two years that he or she is involved with the BTSA program. These forms and reflections form the basis for the Talent Development Office certifying that they have completed “induction,” a state requirement for converting a preliminary credential (which lasts only 5 years) to a clear credential.

New Oakland teachers would still have to complete all the forms and reflections, but most of them would not receive the coaching that is now provided. Coaches were told that the Talent Development Office was hoping that subject area specialists and consultants working from the central office, along with school administrators, would assist the teachers without coaches. It appears, however, that those individuals haven’t actually been consulted about this increase in their responsibilities and workloads.

No one presenting this new plan could say who decided that the budget should be cut in this way, or why budget cuts were required in a year when funding for the district should be increasing.

To read more.

Oakland Tribune: Oakland: Claremont Middle finds success with twin principals

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Claremont Middle School turns 100May 30, 2013
By Maya Mirsky

OAKLAND -- As Reginald Richardson, co-principal at Claremont Middle School, walks down the hall, he stops constantly -- to hug a staff member, shake hands with a parent, high-five a student and stop another student for a quiet word.

And then he's off again, down another corridor to check in with a classroom teacher.

This is the atmosphere these days at Claremont, which is having a good year -- and just in time for the school's 2013 centennial, which will be celebrated Saturday.

This school year was the first for the two new co-principals, identical twins Reginald and Ronald Richardson. Last year, the school went through four temporary principals. Now both brothers know every child in the school by name and will stop and check in every time they see something out of place.

"When they believe that you love them and want the best for them, they begin to change," Reginald Richardson said.

According to Paul Kagiwada, parent of a seventh-grader and co-chair of the Claremont Dads' Club, the arrival of the Richardsons has changed the tenor of the hallways and playgrounds.

"There's so much less tension in school," Kagiwada said.

It's part of the Richardsons' approach, encouraging a culture of respect and character-building that they apply not only to the children but to themselves as role models. They see restorative justice and positive messages as fundamental to creating an environment in which the children canexcel.

"We say discipline is a skill, not a punishment," Reginald Richardson said.

Their galvanizing effect and the fact that they are identical twins has given them plenty of local press and even some national attention. They've been the subjects of an article in the San Francisco Chronicle that was picked up by multiple blogs, and they were part of a national CBS News segment.

They were also heard across the country when public radio show "This American Life" did a spot on the brothers in January. Host Ira Glass came to Oakland to spend a day with the brothers.

"It's such a weird setup to have twin brothers running a school together," Glass said.

The twins have used their double act and particular skills to their advantage, like the time the former track-and-field stars chased down students who were fighting just outside school grounds. They caught the students and their speed impressed a few others, too.

"The funny thing is that those students never tried it again," laughed Reginald Richardson.

The Richardsons' family has a history in education. Their mother was a teacher and their grandmother a principal in Oakland. The twins are graduates of San Francisco State University and UC Berkeley who went through a lengthy process to get the Claremont job. As co-principals, they have no assistant principal. Provisional for the first year, the brothers' jobs were confirmed as permanent in May.
It's a coincidence that their first year is also a special year for the school -- founded in 1913, this year marks its centennial. On the same site since the beginning, it has seen many changes, from the disappearance of street cars to the building of BART and the freeway to many other neighborhood ups and downs.

The school is celebrating with an afternoon open to all and a special invitation for alumni. The day will include guest speakers and music by the school band and orchestra, with food provided by neighboring restaurant Oliveto and, of course, birthday cake.

Although the school site is the same, very little of the original architecture remains. But one bit of the old building is an ornamental iron gate. Long abandoned, it languished on the school grounds for years.

"There was this historic gate just kind of leaning against a wall," said PTA chair Amy Vaughn.

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Oakland Tribune: East Oakland program helps youth become `agents of change'

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Source: http://www.joshuasofaer.com/2011/09/oakland-tribune/April 19, 213
By Katherine Brown
In looking at the negative perception many people have of East Oakland, one would think that there was no opportunity for success, especially among youth. With limited resources and outlets to support youth in their professional and academic development, the future seems to be very bleak for young people.

However, organizations like the Alameda County Health Pipeline Partnership (ACHPP) work to counter this perception, by creating healthy pathways for East Oakland youth to be agents of change in their city.

The program recruits middle school to college-aged youth that have an interest in health care careers.

"Sometimes they may not know or understand these careers, " says ACHPP Workforce Development Coordinator Sequoia Hall, "but ACHPP's initiative is to expose youth to the field."

Career opportunities range from Emergency Medical Technicians to careers in the biotech industry. The partnering organizations that offer this exposure include Bay Area Youth EMT Program, UC Berkeley's Biology Scholars Program, Biotech Partners, and CHAMPS — Children's Hospital Oakland.

Launched in 2007, ACHPP developed as a coalition with health-related organizations that serve young people. Each of those groups had the similar mission of increasing diversity in the health care workforce.

The ACHPP coalition decided to design a program that created a pathway for youth to gain careers in the health care field.

Dr. Jocelyn Freeman-Garrick — Alameda County Medical Center's Emergency Medical Services Base Director helped push forward the effort, and has received funding from East Oakland Building Health Communities (EOBHC).

ACHPP Program Manager Jacqueline León explains, "there is a huge need to have a coalition to address health disparities that are unique to Oakland. We feel that they can be combated with diversity in the workforce."

Health concerns that plague East Oakland communities include alcohol abuse, substance abuse, mental health challenges, domestic violence, and obesity. "We are a very rich community," says León, "but the health statistics don't support that."

The ACHPP is looking to address those disparities by recruiting young people from those neighborhoods and training them to be health care professionals.

While offering paid internships, ACHPP recognizes the importance of making sure that youth are academically and professionally prepared as they continue on their career paths. For example, partnering organization EMS Corps offers EMT courses, and in addition to a stipend, they provide professional development and life coaching — where youth are supported in navigating their internal and external environments.

As of 2012, ACHPP has served over 1,000 youth, and they continue to work hard to create more paid internships, especially for youth of East Oakland.

One youth that has benefited from ACHPP is Ivan Arreola. The 16 year-old East Oakland native has always had aspirations of becoming a physician, and the program, "solidified my desire to become and doctor. It's also broadened my eyes of careers in health, and how they each provide support and care for patients."

ACHPP has, "provided me with a path I should follow and how to get to the next steps to reach my dream," he adds.

The Alameda Science and Technology Institute student also takes classes at Alameda Community College, and will have completed eight college level science courses by the time he graduates from high school.

Soon to be a first-generation college student, Arreola joined ACHPP in the 8th grade Model Neighborhood Program.

In the summer of 2012, he participated in ACHPP's Mentoring in Medicine and Science. The monthlong internship provided him the opportunity to shadow staff in Oakland's Highland Hospital and the University of California at San Francisco.

Through his work as a physician, Arreola hopes to give back to East Oakland. "It's important to give back to the community," he said. "All you see about Oakland is violence, but it's also a place that brings people together in a positive way."

With East Oakland youth that are passionate about creating better health outcomes for the community, the perception of the city will be much brighter.

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