ACE Learning Centers Continue to Make a Difference
By Martha Sessums, President, ACE
ACE Learning Centers make a difference. Each year more students and their parents learn better English, math, computer and other key skills. Students are supported throughout the college entrance experience to help them navigate the process. Once in college, many are supported in navigating the very different college experience itself.
The 2019/20 school year has just started, but here are some of the results of the ACE Learning Centers and goals for this school year.
Alpha Public Schools – Alpha Parent Center
English classes are key to the Alpha Parent Center. Morning and evening classes are held daily and 30–40 parents attend. This past school year, six parents transferred to the high school program while four graduated from the program. These four also registered to attend community college this school year.
The 2018/19 school year was the first graduating senior class for Cindy Avitia High School (CAHS) and the Alpha Parent Center helped pay for 130 college applications. The result was that 65% of CAHS students will attend a 4-year university this year while another 15% were accepted into a four-year university but chose to pursue community college instead.
There were lots of other supporting services too. Once a month the Food Bank arrives on campus and is available to all the community. The Alpha Parent Center also supports free family therapy, free immigration training and resources including deportation hearing assistance, homeless services, domestic violence support, free or low cost medications and eyeglasses, resume template support, and the list goes on.
The Alpha Parent Center is a true part of its community.
Leadership change is in the air as Alpha Parent Center Manager Karen Martinez has chosen to transition to spend more time with her family and will co-partner this year with Alejandro Espinoza. Alejandro will take over the Manager role next year.
Oakland International High School – Learning Lab
Leadership change is in the air at Oakland International High School (OIHS) too. Sailaja Suresh, who was the Director of the Learning Lab, and Co-Principal Carmelita Reyes have been so successful with developing and delivering best practices for education that the Oakland School District asked them to spread their talents district-wide. Lauren Markham, who was the Community School Program Manager, will take over running the Learning Lab and all the other ACE Learning Center activities.
As Sailaja said, “…there are bigger fires outside of our school right now that need attention, and Carm and I are going to work on those as best we can.”
I believe that Sailaja and Carmelita are great fire fighters. OIHS was one of the first ACE Learning Centers and Sailaja was always good at thinking bigger. We often laughed – “Great plan. Think bigger.”
ACE welcomes Lauren with whom we have worked before. Lauren is author of The Far Away Brothers which brings Oakland immigration issues to life with the story of two of OIHS’s students. Also had a great New York Times review.
Look for upcoming reports on the wonderful things OIHS’s ACE Learning Center is doing this year.
San Francisco International High School – SPAN Program
San Francisco International High School (SFIHS) has also thought bigger. From the beginning, they not only supported English language classes for students but those grew to math, computer and a strong focus not only on getting into college but in helping graduates succeed in college.
Again, there’s new management of the program. We welcome the newest SPAN Coordinator Kirk Schuler. Kirk was a founding teacher at SFIHS and taught math. She will be managing the SPAN program which supports students entering and in-progress at college.
There are other parts to the ACE Learning Center at SFIHS, and I’ll be reporting on all of them soon.
Oxford Day Academy – ACE Parent Center
Parent leadership is the goal at the Oxford Day Academy (ODA) ACE Parent Center. Through engagement and dialogue in relevant topics such as conflict resolution, data analysis, and group management, parents become better at understanding the educational system and how to support their children to succeed.
Courses are run as interactive workshops, relying predominantly on case studies and group projects to develop parents as proactive school partners. As parents deepen their knowledge and sense of community, these workshops have delved more deeply and more meaningfully into the realities that parents and high schools face in supporting teenagers.
I think learning English would be easier. 😎 Again, I’ll keep the ACE community up to date on ODA’s activities.
KALW Public Radio – Audio Academy
A new class has been chosen and Ben Trefny, KALW News Director, will soon be introducing them. Look for it.
As the school year progresses, I’ll continue to report on the activities of the ACE Learning Centers. It will be full of new people and new ideas to share and appreciate.
Let’s get this school year started.