ACE/Oakland International High School Learning Center Scores Early Success
By Martha Sessums
From 5th Year Study graduates to increased use of computers and SMART Boards in the classrooms, Oakland International High School (OIHS) is off to a fast start this year with their continuing education programs and technology.
One student in the 5th Year Study Program has already passed the California High School Exit Exam (CASHEE) and will be graduating from high school. The class now has 17 students that are learning English and computer skills so they can pass the exam and move on to the next phase of their lives, including college.
“It’s a very positive group of students and it has been so great to be able to keep them on campus,” said Sailaja Surish, one of the principals of OIHS.
Plus, with the addition of laptops used by teachers, students and in the computer lab, OIHS is the only high school in the Oakland Unified School District that is ready for California’s Common Core Standards Initiative for math and English language arts and history. The new standards require that schools have computers that use the Windows 7 operating system, have 1 gigabyte of internal memory, a screen size of at least 9.5 inches, use secure browsers and have bandwidth access of 5 – 10 kilobytes per student.
“We have the capacity to administer the new computer-based Common Core assessments to all of our students on Windows 7+ machines,” said Surish. “More importantly, teachers and students are using the computer labs and the laptops every day–we are so lucky to have them.”
OIHS also has new SMART Boards for many of their classrooms. In the ACE/OIHS Learning Center, parents of students are learning about how to use computers to search and find helpful information about living in the Bay Area and are learning English using Rosetta Stone software. In the classroom, math lessons come alive as teachers use video and interactive learning programs when teaching math concepts and drilling students on lessons. Students actually want to come up to the SMART Board and test what they have learned. Currently, OIHS has installed a couple of SMART Boards, but will have several others installed this month, along with training for teachers.
Like all schools, OIHS held its Back to School Night for parents last week. But language was one of its challenges, so parents sat at tables designated by language, ranging from Spanish to Karen, a language spoken in the Tibet-Burma region. Students translated the presentation for their parents. Then, everyone moved to a technology class where students taught their parents how to connect with the school site to communicate with teachers and the administration. By attending, each family earned a voucher for a free computer from Oakland Technology Exchange West. Now that’s a great way to bring students of all ages and technology together!