Education and Technology

2019 MLA Kindergarten Portraits

I photographed the Melrose Leadership Academy kindergarten classes again. This year, I asked principal Moyra Contreras to join our portrait session. This is Moyra’s last year as the MLA principal. If not for Ms. Contreras, I would not have had access the last ten years to document the school’s growth. As a photographer, I am […]

Oakland Strike Zone

Oh District, my District. It’s been said that if the people lead, the leaders will follow… but what happens if they don’t. What happens if the young people pick up a megaphone and the district does not answer the call? During the seven day Oakland Education Association strike, students often led protests and rallies. The […]

MLA Pioneer Promotion

In 2009, the first two classes of Melrose Leadership Academy dual immersion kindergarten students started school. Last month, the first two classes of 8th grade MLA dual immersion students finished middle school. I photographed the June 7, 2018 promotion ceremony and a celebration dinner the day earlier. When we started at the school, we could […]

Melrose Leadership Academy Kindergarten

This is the first school year that one of my children have not attended Melrose Leadership Academy since the school began it’s dual immersion program in 2009. I have been taking pictures of the school before my kids started attending. During the first year of the dual immersion program, my daughter was a kindergarten student. […]

Craig Pitti San Marin Memorial

People often contact me and ask me questions about photography, but a couple weeks ago I received an unusual phone call about some of my photographs. A woman found pictures of the 2011 San Marin High School basketball team’s North Coast Section championship season. She wanted the pictures for a memorial service. That’s how I […]

Four Capoeira Festivals

Last month, Ginga Mundo Capoeira Oakland held their fourth annual Festival da Caopeira. The three day event includes sessions for youth at Melrose Leadership Academy in Oakland, California. (MLA is my children’s elementary school.) My fifth grade son has attended all four. The first festa da capoeira was held in December 2013; the last three […]

Chinese American Exclusion

Last month, Melrose Leadership Academy’s fifth graders traveled to San Francisco’s Chinese Historical Society of America. We walked to a nearby playground in Chinatown before we visited the new permanent exhibit “Chinese Americans: Exclusion/Inclusion.” We took a bus across the Bay Bridge from Oakland. I took some pictures. I included the photo gallery here. (The […]

The 2017 Melrose Leadership Kindergarten Portraits

This is the eighth year that I have photographed the Melrose Leadership Academy dual immersion kindergarten students. I have photographed every kindergarten class since MLA introduced the Spanish bilingual program. My daughter was in the first class; my son started two years later. I have also photographed other activities, often as the Historian. (See the […]

2017 Winter Performance Expo

I wanted to publish positive images today… reminders about the beauty of my children’s world. On Wednesday January 18, 2017, Melrose Leadership Academy in Oakland held their Winter Performance Expo. Here is my photo gallery slideshow of 121 images. On Wednesday night, Oakland Unified held another board meeting to discuss budget shortfalls. Today, our new President said in his Inaugural Address […]

Melrose Leadership Academy Peace March

“Imagine all the people living life in peace” John Lennon Yesterday, my son’s Spanish bilingual school, Melrose Leadership Academy, organized a march through our Maxwell Park neighborhood in Oakland, California. Here is the photo gallery of the peace and kindness march. The march had been planned before the recent tragedy in Oakland; however, our school community […]

The song of a shuttered soundstage

This feels more like an obituary than an anniversary… an acknowledgement that a language has died, or as John Lennon sang, “Everybody’s talking and no one says a word.” 13 years ago today, I began working at Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara. At the time, Brooks was a visual art college respected throughout the […]

Another First Week

Last week my children started school again. My son attends a Spanish dual immersion school in Oakland, California. (My daughter attended Melrose Leadership Academy the first six years of MLA’s bilingual program. Now she attends 7th grade in a neighboring district middle school.) MLA is not for everyone, but I believe in the school. When my daughter was in the […]

Into the Heart of Integrated Learning

Twilight, lost my way Twilight, can’t find my way In the shadows, boy meets man (from U2’s Twilight) Last week I photographed Inventing Our Future 2016 at Chabot Space and Science Museum in Oakland, California. The three day event was the Fifth Annual Integrated Learning Summer Institute sponsored by Alameda County Office of Education and […]

2016 Spring Performance Expo – Melrose Leadership Academy

I have been photographing performances at Melrose Leadership Academy longer than many people have been taking pictures. Earlier this month, I photographed my 14th “Performance Expo” at my son’s dual immersion Oakland public school. You can access the Spring 2016 photo gallery here. I am an educator as well as a parent, so I probably view […]

Emotional Photography Mind Tricks

“Photographers mistake the emotion they feel while taking the photo as a judgment that the photograph is good.” – Garry Winogrand I regularly ask my students to choose their favorite photographs and their best photographs. These are separate activities; however, for the reason that Winogrand mentions above, beginning photographers often confuse the difference. Students can mistake their positive memories for […]

The 2016 Melrose Leadership Kindergarten Portraits

This is the seventh year that I have photographed the Melrose Leadership Academy kindergarten students. I started the project when my daughter was in kindergarten.  My daughter is no longer a student at MLA, but some of her former kindergarten classmates still attend MLA and they helped me with this year’s shoot. Last year I wrote about how the […]

Hot Couture 2016 Fashion Show

On Valentine’s weekend, I photographed The Crucible’s 2016 version of their Hot Couture fashion show. This year’s theme was Alchemy & Ardor, “A Fusion of Fashion and Fire.” This was the third year that I photographed the show. Every year I learn something unexpected about creativity; each year I learn something about myself. from runway 1 – click to launch […]

Melrose Leadership Performance Expo

The Melrose Leadership Academy after school program students presented the 2016 Winter Performance Expo on January 20, 2016. I believe that I have photographed each performance expo since my daughter started MLA in 2009. If I am correct, this is my 13th. A baker’s dozen The 2016 photo gallery can be accessed here. I have also included the Spring 2015 Performance Expo […]

Giving Tuesday – Women Who Code

Two weeks ago I photographed the Women Who Code Executive Council celebration. Women Who Code is a global non-profit that increases women’s participation in technology fields. As of last month, WWCode has connected more than 50,000 women. For Giving Tuesday, Google featured Women Who Code on Google’s “One Today” page. This is another indication that WWCode has led more than 2,000 […]

Roots in the Key of Life

Music is a world within itself, with a language we all understand… And you can tell right away at letter A…. Stevie Wonder, “Sir Duke,” album “Songs in the Key of Life”   Where do we begin? Last week I photographed the three day Inventing Our Future Integrated Summer Learning Institute at The Chabot Space and Science […]

The 2015 MLA Kindergarten Portraits

When my 11 year old daughter began kindergarten at Melrose Leadership Academy, I had a simple idea. I thought I could photograph each kindergarten class as long as my children attended the school. I live in the neighborhood. How difficult could it be? As I tell my photography students, simple and easy are not the […]

Mills Healing Plant Tour

On a standardized test, what does a leader look like? How do you build standardized assessments that reward collaboration and creativity? If you wanted to identify the next Julia Morgan, would you rely on the SAT? The two 5th grade pioneer classes from Melrose Leadership Academy visited Mills College in Oakland, California. Mills College is in our neighborhood, so […]

MLA Song and Dance

On Thursday March 5th, Melrose Leadership Academy held the first TK-5th Grade Choral Concert in Oakland, California. (You can view a photo gallery of The Choral Concert here.) Earlier this school year, MLA held its annual Dance-a-thon. (I have included dance-a-thon images at the bottom and a gallery here.) Since today is International Women’s Day and yesterday was the 50th anniversary […]

With Love From Me to OUSD

The last time I attended an Oakland Unified School Board meeting, I taught at an OUSD elementary school. I was an active Oakland Education Association (OEA) union member. People read newspapers. Nobody had a Facebook profile. Board meetings were held in the old district office, but everything else felt oddly familiar. If anyone is interested, […]