ACE Learning Centers for School Session 2015-16 “Off to a Great Start”
By Martha Sessums
Alpha Public Schools started the new school year this week with a tweet from John Glover, Founder and CEO: “It’s the first day of Fall session at Alpha, and it’s off to a great start!”
The Alpha Parent Center started its second round of “Learning English” classes this week, and added a morning class to the schedule along with its successful evening session.
The students at San Francisco International High School (SFIHS) expect to have a new iMac lab by mid-October thanks to a successful Tilt Campaign that raised $50,000. For a delightful statement of the need for new computers, check out the campaign video. “I’m sorry to say, but the computers are from the 2000s, man,” said Bahromjon, Grade 11.
The SFIHS ACE Learning Center will continue to focus on programs called Prevention, Spark and Span. Prevention supports students who have experienced interrupted formal education to develop academic literacy skills in English.
Spark focuses on academic language development, high school graduation requirement preparation, and community college dual-enrollment for students who have completed their high school coursework but have not yet passed the state graduation requirements. Span supports high-risk graduates through their first year of four-year college by promoting college retention, academic success and leadership development.
Of course, sometimes it’s about the fun and food. As Kyle Halle-Erby, Span Program Coordinator, said, “We had our first day with students for a senior BBQ – we’re really starting the year off right.”
At Oakland International High School’s ACE Learning Center, all 12th grade students have access to a college literacy class, including plans for coordinating this with the Peralta colleges. This focus will help ensure that OIHS students are ready to enter high-level ESL classes or English 1A, once they matriculate.
In addition, seniors will participate in an internship program. This is focused on exploring career interests and readiness, preparation for higher education and authentic English language practice in the workplace. A new class is offered in partnership with TV station KDOL in Oakland where students can learn the art of video production.
“We feel good about our program this year,” said Sailaja Suresh, Principal. “The district is also being proactive about making more connections from high school to community college, so I’m hoping our students will benefit from that work!”
More good news is that California removed passing the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) as a graduation requirement for the class of 2015. If you’re not up on what happened, the test was cancelled by the state Department of Education for both budget issues and the fact that it didn’t test for today’s Common Core curriculum. This meant that many students were caught in limbo as they hadn’t passed the test yet, and needed it to be admitted to college. The removal of the requirement opens up the future for lots of students.
“It’s such an exciting time as we start thinking about how to support these students in transitioning into college now that that door is being opened to them!” said Julie Kessler, SFIHS Principal.
KALW’s Audio Academy, another ACE Learning Center, is gearing up for the new school session to start in September. The eight new student’s backgrounds range from podcast experts (the future of radio?) to print journalists and columnists, to a physicist and philosopher interested in “radio drama” to a theatre major to the cohost of KALW’s Africa Mix.
There were 82 applicants and Ben Trefny, KALW News Director, claimed it was very hard to pick the top eight. This will be the third Audio Academy class, and it has given KALW a leading image in the radio industry.
“We’re now considered a visionary station in the public radio realm,” said Trefny.
Thus, the ACE Learning Centers are truly off to a great start this school year. We’ll be keeping the conversation going on the ACE Spectrum as students focus on their continuing education programs and tell their success stories – whether on-air, in video or podcast, in written word or in person.