Oriana Ides Fights Oppression In Schools


“If you don’t know where you’re going you’ll probably end up somewhere else.”

Oriana Ides, Fremont’s community schools manager said this quote by David P. Campbell influenced her life. The quote further motivated her to go back to college, get her degree, finish with straight A’s and take care of her son, who not only was her biggest source of motivation but also her new found source of empowerment and belonging.

For most of her school life in middle and high school, Ides didn’t feel a sense of accomplishment or belonging. “In high school, I didn’t feel connected to anything,” she said. During her junior year in high school, Ides found what soon became a part of her future career, with the influence of one of her best friends having a baby. Around this time she got involved in politics and became an organizer for the community to create positive change in the world–none of which included school.

Her parents forced her to graduate from high school.  Shortly after graduation, Ides had her son. She began to acknowledge her sense of belonging and continued her education in college knowing that she wanted to be a part of young folks healing. Her goal was to provide and create the space to do so and to make school better and more useful for students.

“I know school doesn’t need to be oppressive and traumatizing and unsafe for children of color,” Ides said.  “I’ve been a part of a school that humanizes education, that makes learning relevant and empowering for young people, and so I know that’s something different.” She doesn’t want black and brown young folks to continue being mistreated and be at the bottom of this unequal system.

Both in and out of work, Ides is a very enjoyable person. Her passions include building healthy relationships with young people and being a part of healing communities. “I cook, I laugh, I dance, I bead, I’m a mother, I’m a daughter, I like to be outside and play with my kitty.”

She continued, “There’s a fire inside of me that only the closest people in my life can see—the side eye, the shade, the hypercritical part of me. But Scorpios are extremely passionate. They are extremely stubborn, relentless and resilient. They are also someone who is critical and suspicious of what’s happening around them.Those things are really true for me.”

As the community school’s manager, she is responsible for coordinating mental health behavioral and academic intervention for students and building partnerships with community-based organizations to provide creative interventions. “Here on campus there’s a number of young woman that are at risk of childhood exploitation and sexual exploitation, so for me it’s understanding what the risk factors are.” Ides works with teachers to identify students at risk, helping to provide support for these students by facilitating a support group on campus once a week.

Looking back Ides “would have started in the summer so I could’ve got some really important pieces of the work developed before the school year started.”

Students and Coworkers agree that Ides is a motivating, patient, hardworking, helpful and caring person. They also mark her as one of the best people to consult with about college and everything to go along with it.