Ace Spectrum is about you — the ACE Learning Centers.
It’s a quick sharing of ideas, inspiration, opinions and best practices among our continuing education organizations.
Please join the conversation.
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.
By Martha Sessums, President, ACE
For 30-plus years of ACE’s 51-year history, George Maloney – called Chip by most everyone – was there for ACE.
He joined the ACE Board and was always a supporting force and inspiration as the Educational Broadband Services (EBS) industry changed. He was there when ACE broadcast from classrooms to office buildings throughout the Bay Area, the original distance learning format. He was there when distance learning delivery morphed from TV to the internet so anyone could watch a mobile device or computer and learn anything anywhere.
He was there for ACE during a variety of transitions that, as a non-profit, were a struggle. There was a period of no income for ACE and he and the rest of the ACE Board supported the organization because they believed in the spirit of education and the power of the educational broadband spectrum assigned to ACE by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC.) Chip helped ACE transition from direct broadcast to supporting Bay Area schools in their educational needs by providing internet access for classrooms. And he was there helping to direct our current strategy of ACE Learning Centers for select Bay Area schools.
He also contributed to the strategies of our current transition as the FCC re-examines EBS licenses and considers loosening up educational requirements and perhaps freeing the spectrum for auction. Change is in the air.
Chip passed away at his home in Saratoga, CA on June 18, 2019 after a long illness after surgery. His wonderful wife, Weedgie, will always be a personal friend. Weedgie, daughter Kieran, son Peter and their six grandchildren will miss Chip’s storytelling, how he made them laugh and his many words of wisdom.
We at ACE will miss Chip and his wit and stories too.
But we welcome as Director to the ACE Board Ron Loiacono. Ron has 17 years of experience in the EBS industry as Executive Director of the Bay Area’s Catholic Telemedia Network. He understands the new challenges and opportunities that face ACE and his wisdom will help direct us to success.
Ron’s background can be seen here.
So welcome, Ron. We look forward to a great partnership and your strategic advice as ACE successfully navigates these new times.
We’ll never forget you, Chip. Thank you for your thoughtful advice and support all these years.
By Ben Trefny, News Director, KALW and Lisa Wang, KALW Audio Academy Graduate
It’s been a busy summer! Here are KALW, we recently completed a 14-episode run of our podcast Bounce: The Warriors Last Season in Oakland. Our Sights & Sounds team held a live block party alongside Eastside Arts Alliance in East Oakland, featuring a mini-documentary film called “Where is East Oakland,” which was recently accepted at the Oakland International Film Festival. And we started working with nearly a dozen emerging journalists in our summer training program, along with five high school interns who will be producing a podcast about the ways in which they interact with the media. Exciting stuff!
While we’re always looking ahead, it’s also nice to reflect. We’re going to do that, today, with recent Audio Academy graduate Lisa Wang, who recently moved from the Bay Area to Brooklyn:
I’m moving to New York because I got a six-month production internship with Stitcher where I’ll be helping out with two podcasts — Science Rules! with Bill Nye (a call-in show) and another true crime documentary podcast. I’m going to say the most cliched thing possible now: I can’t believe this is happening. I’ve been building up a steady career in tech for the past eight years, and to leave that behind for a very uncertain future in audio is really scary. Thinking about it too much breaks me into a cold sweat. But it also makes me all tingly and excited the way that falling in love or going to college made me feel.
This didn’t happen overnight. I’ve been immersed in all things audio for the past nine-months as a KALW Audio Academy fellow. I had taken some radio classes before, but my experience at KALW has really solidified my love for the process of creating a radio story: pitch, report, draft, edit, rinse, repeat. In my first feature, I reported on the story of a non-profit in the Mission District that dove deep into real estate development in order to help the people in their community better. Initially, I thought the premise was simple enough, but soon, I found myself drowning in housing acronyms (RAD, PHA, SRO, etc) that I had never heard of before. My mind went into meltdown many times over all the facts and figures, but my editor, Jeneé Darden, steered me back to my core story every time things got too overwhelming. After many grueling months, I finally finished my story. When I heard it on air, I was immensely thankful for all the people who were involved that made it happen: the people I interviewed (even the ones whose voices didn’t make it to air) who were kind enough to share their story with me, my editor, my Audio Academy mentor and other Audio Academy fellows who supported me emotionally, the amazing sound engineers. So yeah, I guess when I really think about it, I shouldn’t be so afraid of my uncertain future in audio because I’m going to have all these amazing people pushing me through.
Originally, my start date at Stitcher was going to be on June 17, which is the day that we’re having our Audio Academy graduation. Everyone (myself included) was super bummed I wouldn’t be able to walk out along with the rest of the graduates. But Stitcher agreed to extend the start date, and so I was able to attend in person (the alternate was a cut-out of me), walking out to some bangin’ music and celebrating with some of the best people I’ve met in my adult life. I’m so jazzed for my own future and for all my fellows’ futures. I can’t wait to hear all the stories that we’ll make one day and think of the tingly and excited way that making our first radio stories here at KALW made us feel.