In 2012, Skyline's Black Student Union filed a complaint against the school for discriminating against students of color. This lawsuit resulted in an agreement with United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. Erin Clark has the story on this very active club.
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Skyline has one of the most diverse school populations in California with about 34% Latino students, 33% African American, 20% Asian American and nearly 10% white. Skyline is essentially an urban school in the most suburban part of the city. Mills reporters spent a semester getting to know the kids, teachers and culture of Skyline to bring us a portrait of the school today. Most students at Skyline don’t live in the neighborhood, they commute from East and West Oakland. So getting to Skyline can be complicated, as Maddie Fowler reports.
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Hyidea’ Burgess is one senior who is taking advantage of all the opportunities on campus. Reporter Emma Ishii takes us through a day in Hyidea’s life.
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Skyline’s administration is trying to implement restorative justice on campus in part because of historic discrimination within OUSD, as Sarah O’Neal reports.
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Oakland Unified launched its African American male achievement project in 2010 to support young black men in their educational pursuits and to end what they call “the epidemic of failure of African American students in OUSD.” FLINT: "Because by most measures African American males are performing the worst, relative to other demographic groups".
Troy Flint is the spokesperson for OUSD. He says Oakland has a history of strong black activism.
FLINT: "Black people have been the prominent minority, political institutions are older and more robust, so black students may benefit from attention".
But he says, Latinos could also benefit from targeted programs:
FLINT: "There’s certainly an argument that there should be an equally powerful initiative to support Latino students and there’s some work going on to raise that up and develop it.But as Latino community continues to grow and becomes more civically engaged and politically prominent, and as Latino students become more of the district, we’re going to see that balance shift a bit and we’ll see more programs supporting the Latino community". At Skyline that’s already happening.Reporter Mary Ruiz takes us inside the new Young Latino Men and Boys program to find out how it’s helping students through mentorship and teaching cultural history.
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Skyline is working to transform the culture on campus in lots of different ways, like we’ve been hearing, including trying to make sure no one falls through the cracks. One group on campus is doing that successfully with historically marginalized students, those with Asberger’s. Kids come to Skyline from all over the city in order to access the Asperger’s Inclusion Program. Megan Susman has that story.
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If a student doesn’t make the bus or is late to Skyline, parents might get a call from the Family Resources Center, which is located in the central administration building at Skyline. Reporter Nikka Tahan takes us there.
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History teacher Dave Orphal supports many radical reforms, including re-thinking the approach to teaching, which he discussed in a 2012 Ted Talk. ORPHAL: "So what if a Jewish person turned into a vampire? Karin asked me one day when he should have been working on his essay. And I said, I don’t know, what are you talking about Kirin? He said, Well, would a Jewish vampire be afraid of a star of David as regular vampires are of a cross? So I guess the big question is, What do you think a Jewish vampire would do?" By making students discover the answer, Orphal says, they are able to get into a much more meaningful conversation than if he’d just given an answer straight out. Elizabeth Welsh has this profile of a dynamic teacher.
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Skyline has a strong tradition in the arts. The school offers drama, dance, instrumental and vocal music, and theatre. It might sound like just your ordinary arts program, but as Alyia Yates reports, extraordinary things are happening within Skyline’s walls.
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