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Learning in Golden Gate, the backstory

on May 12, 2010

Dear Readers,

We’d like to explain the background story behind Learning in Golden Gate.  This project was a collaboration between Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, which runs the Oakland North website, and the Berkeley Graduate School of Education, where all of those who worked on this project took a class called Urban Education taught by Professor Ingrid Seyer-Ochi.  As part of this class, Seyer-Ochi requires groups of students to learn more about a particular urban neighborhood and about the learning resources available there.

“Learning resources” are sites and spaces in which learning takes place, both conventionally and unconventionally.  Our group was assigned to study the Golden Gate neighborhood of north Oakland, which shares borders with both Emeryville and south Berkeley.  In addition to learning about the schools there, we mapped religious institutions, libraries, art centers and more. What is presented here is only a selection of the learning resources in the Golden Gate neighborhood, and we encourage you to let us know about other resources you would like to see included!

Though our class was held at the School of Education, we represent students in a number of fields — from anthropology to business — and we tried to incorporate the particular methods of our various fields of expertise.  For example, the idea for the short interview came first from our anthropologist, Rachel Fiske-Cipriani, who regularly collects oral histories as a part of her work.  The idea of collecting and evaluating data regarding Internet access came from our public policy student, Julia Nagle, who consistently evaluates data in an effort to design public policies that address demonstrated social needs.

While we each approached the project in our own way, we had a very clear shared goal: to create an audio-visual “map”  that would accurately portray the experience of those residing and working in the Golden Gate neighborhood of Oakland, with an emphasis on the recent demographic changes in the neighborhood and the three elementary schools located there.

While we hope our efforts here provide an objective representation of the Golden Gate neighborhood and community, we cannot ignore the fact that there were conscious choices made for which people, pictures, and information would be represented in this space. In addition to being influenced by our own subjectivity, these choices were influenced by a variety of constraints, including difficulty in gaining access to particular information or acquiring the voices of certain individuals at the schools or other educational sites. We believe it significant that several of these difficulties were a direct result of the present economic condition of Alameda County and of the Oakland Unified School District. Staffing shortages and unmanageable workloads prevented several community members from telling their stories – a missed opportunity that would have greatly added to the depth and nuances of our Golden Gate “map.” Therefore, we hope that the stories and information presented on this website will not only illuminate the strengths and struggles of a neighborhood, but also the great need for current and future legislators to further invest in the educational resources of the Oakland community and its members.

We hope you enjoy exploring the site. May it engender future learning.


Cristina Lash, Graduate School of Education, M.A. Social and Cultural Studies ’11

Rachel Fiske-Cipriani, Folklore Graduate Program, M.A. Anthropology/Folklore ’11

Julia Nagle, Goldman School of Public Policy, MPP ’11

Jason Hirschhorn, Haas School of Business, MBA ’10

Lillian Mongeau, Graduate School of Journalism, MJ ’11


Lead image: Rachel Fiske-Cipriani interviews new Golden Gate resident George Chan.

Oakland North welcomes comments from our readers, but we ask users to keep all discussion civil and on-topic. Comments post automatically without review from our staff, but we reserve the right to delete material that is libelous, a personal attack, or spam. We request that commenters consistently use the same login name. Comments from the same user posted under multiple aliases may be deleted. Oakland North assumes no liability for comments posted to the site and no endorsement is implied; commenters are solely responsible for their own content.

Photo by Basil D Soufi
Oakland North

Oakland North is an online news service produced by students at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and covering Oakland, California. Our goals are to improve local coverage, innovate with digital media, and listen to you–about the issues that concern you and the reporting you’d like to see in your community. Please send news tips to:

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