My two children attend Melrose Leadership Academy in Oakland, California. MLA is a Spanish dual immersion K-8 school. Our school is part of Oakland Unified School District. In previous years, I have posted more frequently about our school, but this year I have been busy teaching photography and yearbook at Pittsburg High School. Both school districts finish their year next week. In this post, I will share a few events I photographed during 2014.
When I walk into the school, I “read” the signs on the wall. I see many of the signs when I am editing my photos. There is one sign that I seem to see more than any others. It reads, “Somos responsables de nosostros mismos y de nuestra comunidad.”
We are responsible for ourselves and our community
I do not speak Spanish, but I can look at my pictures and see people caring for each other. The staff people care for our children and our community. Our children learn how to care for others.
Future members of the community learn how to participate. I remember that my son attended Expos when he was four years old. He became friends with another child who did not speak the same language. Now they can talk to each other in two languages.
Last month was the 60th anniversary of Brown v Board of Education. I wonder why more parents who look like me do not send their kids to schools that look like MLA. I want to be careful about sounding too self-righteous. I take pictures and send my kids to a neighborhood school. I continue sending my kids to the school, because I believe in the educational benefits of diversity. Diversity is a multiplier effect.
My children are lucky. They often enjoy school. There is an Emma Goldman quote on one of the murals.
Si no puedo bailar tu revolución no me interesa.
We dance at MLA. Well, at least everyone else dances. I guess I better start.
When students perfomr, other students watch and support each other. When I attend sporting events or concerts, I am not as well behaved as the MLA students.
The children prepare and perform. When the children are backstage, I witness how the students are responsible for themselves and each other. They build community once dance at a time.
In case you needed proof that our students behave better than I do, here is another of my awkward selfies. You can find more in my 2014 Melrose Kindergarten Photo gallery. In my Melrose Leadership Academy Collection you can also view five years of photos.