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Melissa Hellmann

Second chances: An ex-convict’s path to higher education

On an early October morning in 1990, Ralph Spinelli swung open the back door of a large restaurant as he shoved his other hand into the pocket of his lightweight windbreaker, pretending to hold a gun. He had eaten at the restaurant several times before and knew that the door was unlocked around that time for deliveries — it was his habit to notice the weaknesses of an establishment. The three workers in the restaurant stared at Spinelli in bewilderment…

“Design Thinking and Making” class at Claremont Middle School encourages students to think outside of the box

A middle school hallway with its long, lonely corridors often serves as the typical wandering place for a troubled kid. At Claremont Middle School in North Oakland, students are fed up with the perception of hallways in their school. Through a ‘Design Thinking and Making’ class that was implemented this fall, students in grades 6-8 are actively attempting to change the space they study in five days a week. To make the school more welcoming, students have discussed strategies for…

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