My two children attend an innovative public school in Oakland. The school, Melrose Leadership Academy, is part of Oakland Unified School District. Many people believe that MLA is a charter school, but is not. Our students learn how to lead… in a district public school.
During the annual period known as the “Options Process,” families tour schools searching for an educational community for the following year (and years.) Many parents will not send their children to a charter school, so it is important that parents know our status as a district school. During tours, some parents reported that even OUSD staff have incorrectly identified our school as a charter. It has happened often enough, that I believe the reports, but I cannot confirm that it has happened.
I am not necessarily against charter schools as much as I am against the confusion. Why do so many people think we are a charter? Do charters market better? Are people confused by our school’s name? Does our innovative dual immersion Spanish education program confuse people? Is there an assumed bias that low-come urban schools are unable to perform unless someone from outside the neighborhood teaches the families the correct way to learn?
There are so many questions. Is our art program too good? Does Coach Joe from Playworks make us too active for an urban public district school? Do we have too much parent involvement? Do we meet too much? Are our teachers too experienced? Too committed?
Melrose Leadership is an OUSD school. It is not for everyone. We are not like Rocketship, the innovative Bay Area charter school organization. We do not experiment with some other person’s kids. We experiment with our own children. Does this make us better? Are we a good fit for your family? I cannot answer that question.
I would not send my kids to a school called Rocketship, but I am old enough to remember The Right Stuff. I also have the choice to send my kids to Melrose Leadership Academy. If I did not have this choice, I might choose the charter down the street or a Rocketship near me.
We have a dual immersion Spanish bilingual program for kindergarten through 3rd grade. We will continue adding a grade of Spanish bilingual instruction until our school operates a full k-8 program. (Middle school students currently attend MLA. )
updated Jan 10 2013
This entry was posted on Saturday, December 29th, 2012 at 9:29 pm. It is filed under Education and Technology, Melrose Leadership Academy and tagged with Oakland Public Schools, Rocketship Education, The Options Process. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.