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Grants and Special Programs
Public Radio Reporting, Fall 2012

Logan Birdsall
Logan Birdsall: Planting Hope

The Bay Area is a leader in environmental education. Even now, when the Oakland Unified School District faces budget troubles and cutbacks, 65 schools have working, educational gardens and the numbers are growing. Reporter Logan Birdsall takes us into the heart of an East Oakland high school where a small but prosperous garden has taken root and flourished thanks to students.
Listen to Logan Birdsall's story

Skylar Crownover
Skylar Crownover: Learning Without Limits

Budget cuts have impacted schools all over Oakland. Class sizes swell and teachers are getting laid off. Learning Without Limits, a small elementary public school in the Jefferson neighborhood was faced with with that dilemna. In an effort to strike a balance between providing a high quality education and preventing teacher burnout, the school transitioned from public to district sponsored charter.
Listen to Skylar Crownover's story

Angela Hopkins
Angela Hopkins: Teaching Manhood

For Oakland’s Unified School District, it’s not “back to school” for everyone. In 2009, the district’s drop-out rate was 40%—almost double the state rate. Of those rates, African American males were among the highest. Issues such as chronic absences and suspensions are just a few of the challenges they face. To target these problems, OUSD has implemented the Manhood Development Program at Oakland High School. Angela Hopkins takes us inside of this innovative pilot program.
Listen to Angela Hopkins's story

Halo Howell
Halo Howell: First Year

The first year at college can often be the hardest period of adjustment for any young person. Halo Howell explains how involvement within her community served as a tool for life improvement.
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Kim Ip
Kim Ip: Debate Gets Hip

Formal debate, an ancient greek tradition, has existed for years as a main staple for political process: two people get together and duke it out over topics like nationalized health care versus private, for example. One side takes pro, the other con. Each speaker then argues his/her case, using evidence and citing sources. Well, in case you haven’t heard of it there’s a newish style called urban debate. It allows students to use personal experience and new styles. Reporter, Kim Ip recently attended a tournament and she brings us this story.
Listen to Kim Ip's story

Moriah McKnight
Moriah McKnight: Teaching Citizenship

American Indian Public Charter School II, is a small middle school that encourages its students to achieve in academics, and teaches them to be good citizens. David Chiu, a teacher at American Indian, takes it one step further. He helps his middle schoolers break out of their shells.
Listen to Moriah McKnight's story

Natalie Meier Natalie Meier: Engaging Teaching
East Oakland’s Franklin Elementary is home to almost 800 kindergarten to 6th grade students. How to engage each and every one of them requires teachers to constantly look for innovative techniques. Darissa Phipps, one of the second grade teachers at Franklin, opens her classroom doors for us to see her approach.
Listen to Natalie Meier's story

Cecilia Orantes Cecilia Orantes: An Oakland Senior Struggles To Stay In School
Latinas in California are quietly leaving school in large numbers—in Oakland the drop out rate among Hispanic girls is nearly 40%. Not only do they face typical teenage issues such as getting good grades, maintaining friendships, and pressure to look attractive, but they often also have to juggle work, helping the family, and school. Cecilia Orantes has the story of one young woman struggling with these decisions.
Listen to Cecilia Orantes's story

Stephanie Scerra Stephanie Scerra: Revolutionizing Math Homework
California has nearly a thousand charter schools, themost in the nation. 35 of those are in the Oakland Unified School District. Charter school popularity has spurred education experimentation, the documentary Waiting for Superman, and left lots of people wondering what these independent schools have to offer. One charter, Oakland Unity High School is so small that it rents its campus from Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in East Oakland. And it’s transforming how its students do math homework by using Khan Academy, a non-profit educational program developed on YouTube by educator Salman Khan. While most schools use Khan Academy for its video lectures, Oakland Unity uses it for the randomly generated exercises that facilitate independent learning. Stephanie Scerra takes us into Unity’s classrooms to see how this is all working out.
Listen to Stephanie Scerra's story

Bri Scharmann Bri Scharmann: Debate At Fremont High
In recent years, school districts across the US have had to make drastic budget cuts. For Oakland Unified, this meant a $120 million reduction from its 2010-2011 budget and another estimated $30.5 million for 2012. Politicians, parents, and teachers have gone back and forth about what to cut and what to keep. But the voices you don’t often hear are the students’. At Fremont High School, there is another debate going on. The debate team at Fremont High has a voice, and they like to be heard. Bri Scharmann takes us to Fremont High to hear what these kids have to say.
Listen to Bri Scharmann's story

Lizzy Schultz Lizzy Schultz: School After School
Where does an Oakland teen turn when coping with negative events in their life? How do they stay focused on school when they are missing a parent, for example? What approaches are being taken to prevent African American and Latino teens from continuing their drastic drop-out trend? Ever Forward is an after school program that steers its participants toward academic success and an educational future. Reporter Lizzy Schultz explores the approach Ever Forward’s leaders take and how it is changing the lives of Oakland teens.
Listen to Lizzy Schultz's story

Alexandra Sheppard Alexandra Sheppard: Oakland High School ReVAAMPs Students
Remember the feeling of creating an object with clay? Or compiling a collage? Or applying paint to paper with brushes and letting your imagination take the lead? In classrooms across Oakland’s school district, teachers and students are working together to keep art in the classroom. Perhaps I can paint a picture for you. While funding for the arts is being cut drastically, a pivotal arts program at Oakland High School manages to continue inspiring and supporting urban youth. Reporter Alexandra Shepperd, takes us into the school to see what’s being done for its students and teachers.
Listen to Alexandra Sheppard's story

Theresa Soares Theresa Soares: Science And Tech
Behind classroom door #43 at Oakland’s Skyline Public High School is a high tech computer lab and studio for students to create digital magic. There is the latest audio/visual equipment, which helps give high school students an opportunity to explore everything from computer hardware repair to documentary filmmaking. Reporter Theresa Soares takes us into classroom #43 to meet it’s students and teacher Mr. Frey.
Listen to Theresa Soares's story

Jessica Stevenson Jessica Stevenson: Meeting The Needs Of All Children
Oakland’s Cleveland Elementary School is among the few public elementary schools in California to receive a distinguished “Great Schools Rating” of 9 out of 10. Like the other Oakland Public Schools, it feels the reverberations of budget cuts. Parents, faculty and staff at Cleveland Elementary school are distressed, especially since the most vulnerable group of students are being affected, students with special needs.
Listen to Jessica Stevenson's story

Lulu Thrower Lulu Thrower: Art Murmur Shout Out
Six years ago, Oakland Art Murmur started as a small grassroots movement of local artists, community members, and art galleries in downtown Oakland. The event, which happens on the first friday of every month, is dedicated to promoting and supporting local talent and cultural diversity of the city through artistic expression. It attracts more than 20,000 people to downtown Oakland. Art Murmur has flourished into an event so big and unique, you have to be there to see it yourself. Lulu Thrower takes us with her to her first Art Murmur.
Listen to Lulu Thrower's story

Ryan Zavala Ryan Zavala: Making Music In School
Learning an instrument is often a childhood rite of passage and can lead to a lifelong love of music. But, in many school across California, funds for music education have been cut again and again and that’s where the Oakland symphony stepped in. Music for Excellence, also referred to as MUSE, takes members of the East Bay Symphony and send them to 18 Oakland public Schools. These musicians provide music education for students who otherwise probably wouldn’t have access. Reporter Ryan Zavala take us to one Oakland school and introduces us to one of the muse instructors.
Listen to Ryan Zavala's story

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Last Updated: 12/21/12