Two Schools with Innovative New Models Approved in Oakland

November 4, 2013

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On Wednesday, October 23, Oakland families gained two exciting new secondary school options. Oakland Unified School District approved Education for Change's proposal for a new middle school, Epic Charter School, as well as East Bay Innovation Academy, which will serve grades 6 through 12. Both will open in the Fall of 2014.

As Ed-Surge reported in June, Epic seeks to "reframe the narrative within the middle school to make it more compelling than the current narrative in the streets in East Oakland." According to the design, students would be placed into four competitive 'houses,' Harry Potter style, that compete against each other. Individual student achievement helps the whole house, building in incentive for students to help another." The model was a winner at "Startup Weekend: NextGen Schools," hosted by Silicon Schools Fund, 4.0 Schools, and Startup Weekend EDU over the summer.

East Bay Innovation Academy (EBIA) is a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) school that will emphasize social and emotional skills. At EBIA, students will maximize different learning models, including online learning; develop the independence to ultimately steer their own education; engage in service projects to give back to their communities; and participate in 6- to 8-week internships with community organizations and local businesses. The school was developed by local parents, and parent and community supporters showed up en masse to the decision hearing.

Three more school options await decisions at Oakland Unified - all proposed by operators with a track record of success in the district. They are Oakland Unity Middle School, Amethod's Downtown Charter Academy, and Conservatory of Vocal/Instrumental Arts High School.

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