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Fremont Tigers demand intensive support, not charter takeover

Students say they know what improvements school needs

Loata Fine and Angel Cornejo work on improving relations with the school district after feeling infuriated about a plan to open the school up to charter companies for a possible takeover. The district agreed to meet with students after students demanded answers at a Jan. 8 community engagement meeting to discuss the future of the school.

DaVonte Blackston

Loata Fine and Angel Cornejo work on improving relations with the school district after feeling infuriated about a plan to open the school up to charter companies for a possible takeover. The district agreed to meet with students after students demanded answers at a Jan. 8 community engagement meeting to discuss the future of the school.

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Superintendent Antwan Wilson and his staff have decided to allow any group, including charter companies, to come up with a plan to improve Fremont and four other schools in the Oakland flatlands.

Brookfield Elementary School, Castlemont High School, Frick Middle School and McClymonds High School also have been selected for “intensive support” based on their enrollment trends, test scores and other factors, according to a Dec. 19 letter from Superintendent Wilson.

It’s all part of Wilson’s “Pathway to Excellence Strategic Plan,” and his goal is to redesign the five schools and launch new ones for the 2016-17 academic year.

Wilson wrote that this is not about “school takeovers” or “school closures” in the same letter he wrote that charter companies were invited to design the new schools. We are unsure why a charter school complelety redesigning Fremont and reopening it with new teachers and administrators would not be considered a takeover or a closure.

We wonder why “intensive support” means potentially giving the work to help our school over to private companies.

The Green & Gold spent several days in class discussing what Fremont really needs to improve the education for its students and came up with some demands.

We demand more mental health counselors, academic counselors and classes that will allow students to explore different career pathways.

We like the idea of a health pathway that would include courses in nutrition, health, sex education and culinary arts. This pathway would also prepare students for careers in the health industry, one of the fastest growing fields in the country.

We demand that students receive intensive support in passing the California Exit Examination and in improving their SAT and ACT scores.

We demand at least one qualified academic counselor per grade level to increase student success and to help us stay on track to graduate and get into college.

Intensive support also means that we have a mental health counselor for each grade level due to the large number of students who have experienced trauma by living in poverty and in a violent neighborhood.

We demand diversity in language courses to get students more interested in their schoolwork. A variety of languages being offered at Fremont — instead of a language many students already speak at home — would be exciting. We also would like to see the school seek funding to send students to other countries to use the languages they are learning and to expose them to new worlds.

We also demand an athletic field that is made of real turf and is at least 100 yards. For many years we have been using Curt Flood field for a football team that has the second best record in the Oakland Athletic League. There should also be an investment in a baseball field, a quality gym and trained coaches in sports that other Oakland schools have but we don’t.

We demand that the school district give Oakland what they voted for in November 2012 — a new Fremont High building, not a new charter school — at Foothill Boulevard and High Street. It is unaccpetable that Superintendent Wilson and the school board have put the construction on hold until they vote on who is going to run the campus. Why should a charter company get to have a brand new facility for a new group of students after current Fremont teachers, staff and students helped to campaign for the money to rebuild Fremont and after Fremont High students and staff have suffered in poorly equipped classrooms for decades?

We demand construction starts now for this Fremont High School.
The whole idea of the school board naming Fremont and the other four schools “priority” schools last year for intensive support was to give those five schools support — not to hand charter companies the campuses, and in Fremont’s case, $135 million for new buildings.

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Fremont Tigers demand intensive support, not charter takeover