Education

OUSD students on verge of strike over COVID-19 measures

With more than 800 student cases of COVID-19 in Oakland schools, students have threatened to go on strike this week unless the district does more to keep them and their teachers safe. Students petitioned the district last week for KN95/N95 masks for every student, twice-weekly coronavirus testing and more outdoor spaces where they can eat when it rains. They plan to stay home this week and strike outside district headquarters on Friday if their demands aren’t met this week, according…

‘A school library is so important’: Community effort to reopen and staff more OUSD libraries

Every day Samantha Solomon opens the Calvin Simmons Library to students at United Success Academy and Life Academy in Oakland. She greets each child by name as they file in during their lunch breaks to read, play games, do homework or converse with each other.  The library serves both schools, which share a building, and Solomon has been its teacher librarian since it reopened five years ago, after nine years of being closed.  “A special thing about libraries is that…

Woodwork, glassware, metal pieces, leather: Annual GIFTY market returns for holiday shopping

Christa Cesario picks out a pair of colorful, handmade wooden earrings and holds them up to her ear.  “I came to buy a gift for my mom, and ended up buying one for myself,” she says. Cesario is among thousands of people who are expected to visit The Crucible’s annual GIFTY Craft Show & Open House this weekend in Oakland. The 56,000-square-foot industrial artists’ space is hosting approximately 70 artists, including woodworkers, glassblowers, beadmakers, neon artists, metalworkers, and leatherworkers, many…

East Oakland scraper bike program gives kids a chance to safely cycle

Beside bikes dazzling with brightly colored tape and foil, about a dozen East Oakland elementary school children excitedly, in unison, recited their ABCs:   “Air, brakes, chains.”  The kids learned the drill to check bike parts during a new six-week, after-school bike course this fall for children at Brookfield and Madison Park elementary schools. Mentors from The Scraper Team and the nonprofit Higher Ground launched the program to teach kids about bicycle safety and maintenance in a neighborhood that has very…

Reparations task force gets to work closing gaps for Black students in Oakland schools

Black mothers are leading calls for change and reparations in the Oakland Unified School District.  Pecolia Manigo Awobodu, a mother of three in Oakland public schools, said she’s watched her children experience disparities when trying to access resources at school. And she’s heard countless similar stories from other Black mothers in the district.  “I have experienced the pain and the joy of raising Black children in Oakland schools,” said Manigo Awobodu. “I am grounded in that experience in real ways.”…

Mills College students fear loss of safe and ‘sacred’ place in merger with Northeastern.

Mills College junior Faith Thalacker, who identifies as queer, is worried about the school’s announced merger with Northeastern University — especially how the admission of more cisgender men at the historic women’s college may change the dynamic for women on campus.  “Mills feels like a really safe place, and it feels sacred to me,” she said. “I’ve been sexually harassed at other colleges, and I’m able to let go when I’m on campus now. I feel like I’m going to…

Oakland school children must get COVID-19 vaccination, school board mandates

As the clock approached midnight on Wednesday, Oakland Unified School District board directors voted to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for students 12 and up.  Directors Sam Davis, Gary Yee, and Cliff Thompson introduced the resolution on Sept. 8, and Wednesday’s discussion about it prompted support and criticism from community members in attendance.  The board voted 5-1-1 in favor of the resolution, though the district won’t strictly enforce it until January. In the next few months, the emphasis will be on educating…

Oakland Zoo asks people to drop off ivory, other items made from illegal animal trade

When Ting Ting the sun bear arrived at the Oakland Zoo in 2006, she had a spacious field to explore. But Ting Ting confined herself to a raised wooden plank. Ting Ting, rescued from the illegal wildlife trade where she was sold as a pet, was previously kept in a small cage where she could walk only a few steps back and forth. In her first months at the Oakland Zoo, she maintained the same pacing pattern. The Oakland Zoo…

VIDEO: Teen weightlifting champion from Oakland talks about Olympic dreams

Seth Evans, an Oakland middle-school student, won four gold medals this summer at the USA Weightlifting National Youth Championships in Detroit. Oakland North caught up with Seth and his father, Dion, during a weekly training session at SPS Gym in August. Seth talks about competition, his training regimen and his dream of competing in the 2028 summer Olympics in Los Angeles.