Teresa Chin

Oakland students, administrators try organic school lunches

“I put love into this food,” said Lawana Wyatt, who has worked with food services in Oakland for the past 13 years, as she instructed a member of her staff on how much food to add to each plate when the students arrived. Although Wyatt is enthusiastic about school lunch on any given day, she knew that Thursday’s meal was really something special. “It’s not every day that we can get organic food,” she said. “I think it’s a good idea. I really hope the kids come.”

Oakland Tech students and staff plead to keep teachers

Students and staff from Oakland Technical High School presented the school board with more than 700 signatures Wednesday night, asking the district to support tenured statistics teacher Evelyn Francisco, who faces deportation back to the Philippines if her visa is not renewed before December.

State’s late budget may set back Oakland schools

Before the state finalized its budget on Friday, the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) had already made $122 million in cuts for the 2010-2011 school year, and had scheduled several child development centers for closure. Superintendant Tony Smith had called the further cuts “a possibility,” a scenario which district officials now say will be unlikely.

Can “Superman” save the conversation on education? New films explore reform

Hundreds of moviegoers were more than willing to brave the 45-minute line in front of the Piedmont Theater on Wednesday night for a free screening of Waiting for Superman, the controversial new documentary that some movie reviewers say could change the face of American education. The screening, which included a question and answer session with Oakland Unified School District superintendent Tony Smith, received about 1,000 RSVPs, but was only able to accommodate the first 412 people.

School attendance clipped by new transit passes

It’s become an increasingly common scenario this fall: a parent loses his job, and his child suddenly stops showing up at school. Oakland United School District officials say this is largely due to a recent policy change at AC Transit.

Rockridge Out and About festival a feast for the senses

The smoky-sweet scent of barbeque wafted over College Avenue on Sunday during the fourth annual Rockridge Out and About Festival, as Oakland residents turned out in droves, despite the blazing hot sun, to sample local businesses’ culinary and artisanal talents.

McCullum Youth Court turns to community for financial support

McCullum Youth Court, a student-run justice system in Oakland for first-time middle and high school-age offenders, turns 17 this Friday. That makes it older than many of the young people who serve as its lawyers, bailiffs, and clerks. But instead of a birthday party, Youth Court organizers are scrambling to invite as many people as possible to a different type of event—a fundraiser.

Superintendent appoints city’s first director of African- American Male Achievement

In a surprise announcement during Wednesday night’s school board meeting, Superintendent Tony Smith named Chris Chatmon, of the organization 100 Black Men of the Bay Area, as the district ‘s first director of African American Male Achievement. The creation of the new position, which is supposed to focus on identifying and reducing of institutional racism in education, is a part of Smith’s 2010-2015 Strategic Vision for OUSD.

Oakland school board representative Nikita Mitchell gives a voice to students

Mitchell, a senior at Oakland Technical High School, is just getting started in her role as the 2010-2011 All-City Council student representative on the Oakland school board. Unlike her adult counterparts, however, Mitchell has no official voting power on the school board, a fact that she considers a minor detail in her mission to make sure the voice of the district’s students is heard.

At daybreak, already in line for free school supplies

Several hundred people gathered on Saturday in Frank Ogawa Plaza, where promises of free back-to-school supplies attracted a wide range of students, from kindergarteners to college freshmen. Many parents arrived hours before the official start time, children in tow, in order to ensure a good place in line for the give-away.