Board meeting attendees listen to former AIMS site administrator Jennifer Avelino during Sunday's board meeting. Avelino was fired Friday.

During a volatile meeting of the American Indian Model Schools (AIMS) board Friday, the board members lost two of the schools’ most fierce defenders: AIMS Director Sylvester Hodges was fired during a closed session, and board President Toni Cook resigned soon after the closed session and left the meeting. AIMS site administrator Jennifer Avelino was…

Read More
AIMS students sit on the floor of the La Escuelita gymnasium holding posters and waiting for the OUSD board vote.

At a long-awaited special school board meeting, and after over six months of hearings and notices, Oakland Unified School District board members voted to revoke the three American Indian Model Schools’ (AIMS) charters. The 4-3 vote came after Superintendent Tony Smith recommended the board revoke the charters, and after a particularly emotional and dramatic series of public comments and discussion.

Read More
Karely Ordaz, left, talks to students in her tutoring program, Golden Eagles, at AIPCS II.

Karely Ordaz remembers the first time she realized that good grades had good consequences. She was an eighth grader at Oakland Charter Academy and she had just found out that she was one of ten middle school students chosen for an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C. “Never in my wildest dreams as an eighth grader did I think I’d be able to go to the capitol for free just because I had good grades,” she recalls. “That’s when I decided that I’d keep doing it.”

Read More
Interim AIMS executive director Sylvester Hodges addresses the OUSD board at the public hearing Wednesday. Photo by Lauren Kawana.

About three dozen American Indian Model Schools (AIMS) students and parents took turns Wednesday, each speaking for one minute, hoping to convince the Oakland school board that their three schools shouldn’t be shut down. The board voted in January to give the AIMS administration a “notice of intent to revoke” the schools’ charters after alleging fraud and financial mismanagement at the schools.

Read More
Concerned parents crowd an upstairs room at the Paul Robeson building and watch the proceedings of the September 27, 2012 OUSD meeting, during which AIMS was formally given a notice of violations. Photo by Lauren Kawana.

American Indian Model Schools founder Ben Chavis said Tuesday that the Oakland Unified School District’s recent decision to start the process of revoking the three AIM Schools’ charters is unfair and based on biases. “OUSD is upset because I did my job right and they lost students to me,” Chavis said. “They just want their kids back so they can get more state and federal funding.”

Read More