When thinking about Bright Spots, there’s a lot we can learn from our neighbors to the south. There are many things happening in Oakland to address the achievement gap. In the past week, I’ve attended events pertaining to three very inspiring groups that I’d like to share:
1. Camp Phoenix “empowers low-income children to overcome the summer learning gap through joyful academic learning, enrichment, and community building.” Summer 2013 will be the pilot summer for the camp. They’ll be bringing a group of rising 6th graders from the same school in Oakland to the camp for three weeks.
2. Oakland Schools Foundation (OSF) “is a local education fund that secures and manages resources for Oakland public schools in order to support our vision of equity: that all students have the opportunity to achieve excellence.” I attended a student fishbowl sponsored by OSF the other night, where we got to hear from a handful of middle and high school students from Oakland about what’s working in their schools and what else can be done to empower them to excel.
3. Great Oakland (GO) Public Schools is a “a coalition of parents, teachers, principals, and community leaders from the hills and flatlands, East, West, and North Oakland, charter and district public schools who share a vision of an Oakland where all children receive the schooling and support they need to live successful, fulfilling lives.” GO works on a variety of issues, including supporting effective teaching, making school board issues more accessible to the general public and supporting local candidates in the recent election.
Many of the issues that these three organization are working to address also impact the students in Berkeley. The achievement gap is a reality for our students- but there are momentous things happening to close it. Let’s continue to learn from the Bright Spots of our neighbors!