Youth Programs and New Facilities – Between the city of Oakland, the county of Alameda and the Oakland Unified School District, there are many duplicative programs that serve youth. These programs need to be aligned and coordinated so that children in Oakland are served comprehensively and holistically. Schools must be major staging area for youth services because families spend so much time at school. We need to move into a 7 am – 7 pm model at our schools (Ceasar Chavez and a couple small high schools at Castlemont already use this model) to keep programs going at the site before, during and after traditional school hours.
Some areas where we need additional coordination:
Mental health services and Child Protective Services need to have offices in targeted Oakland public schools. Some OPS already offer mental health services through various grants through Alameda County, but we need to beef up the number. Child Protective Services also needs to partner at school sites, because school staff is constantly made aware of neglect and abuse issues that they do not report or deal with because they do not have the training or resources.
Some families need a comprehensive intervention approach that involves counselors, CPS workers, academic and health professionals because the problems that plague our families are multi-faceted. Educational problems are frequently traced to emotional and physical problems. I created a state-of-the-art health clinic at Oakland Technical High School in 2002, and additional health clinincs that have since been staged at schools across the city have been tremendously beneficial for students and teachers. We need to grow these successful models of wrap-around services.
Other areas where the city and the school district should collaborate and coordinate services:
I created the Field of Dreams ball field behind a formerly closed OUSD middle school site to address the needs for a home baseball and softball field for Oakland Technical High School athletes, and to preserve needed open space as a catalyst for re-invigorating baseball in Oakland - one of the most historic baseball areas in America. In partnership with the Oakland Unified School District, Oakland Tech parents, the North Oakland / South Oakland Little League and the Babe Ruth League, this project ensures a beautiful home facility for Oakland Tech athletes and will serve thousands of youth 15 to 18 years of age. I carried three different resolutions with three different State Administrators to force the school district to subdivide the land and allow us to work with the Friends of Oakland Parks and Recreation non-profit to raise $400,000 to make the field a reality.
The field is completed. We are now raising money to complete the other side of the field, which will be a girl’s softball field for the community and for the students who have since moved into the school. There are a number of closed schools across the city that have green space on the back (particularly in east and west Oakland) that should be similarly rehabilitated. City Council members each currently get $250K annually to spend in their districts for capital projects – that money should be coupled with school district facilities money and state bond money to bring new ballfields on line every year for children to play.
Other areas where the city and schools should coordinate:
Our police officers MUST spend time with children in schools. I invited many officers to read with students as a part of our Family Reading Night Series, which I created. The events were great!
Kids First (Already funds significant After School Programming which should be measured more closely to ensure ALL children attend daily).
City and School District pools – should be open after school and on weekends year round. Every child should be swimming competently in Oakland by third grade!
Libraries – City libraries should be an extension of our after-school network, with the personnel approved in the last library parcel tax being put in place and serving children every day after school in every city library. Same with city recreation centers.
Schools, the City and UC Berkeley should collaborate on a wide-ranging Green Academy at Oakland High School (which already has a bio-science Academy) to look at recycling, new energy technologies and strategies to quantify and reduce Oakland's carbon footprint.