FROM TEAMS FELLOW EMILY RIGOTTI:
Dear friends and family,
Life Academy, the Oakland High School where I work, is fighting for
its life right now. As of Monday, we were informed that we would no
longer be allowed to continue to operate at our current facility next
year. If you didn’t know, seven years ago, we transformed a former Red
Cross building, then Adult Education building to become the welcoming
school it is today. We’ve poured in our blood, sweat and tears to make
it one of the most successful inner-city public high schools in
Oakland. We consistently rank at the top of our district in test
scores, attendance, graduation rates, student, staff and parent
satisfaction, and innovative professional practices. Last year, we
graduated over 30% of our senior class to a University of California
Many alumni accredit our small school family atmosphere setting with
their success and now the district wants to move us to an unknown
site, most likely to be shared by another school in an overcrowded
space. When asked what might happen if no appropriate site is found,
our District representative simply answered with, “I don’t know.” This
answer seriously concerns us with the possibility that the district
may even break up our school if no site is found.
Recently one of the Oakland Tribune reporters blogged about this move
and offered copies of the letter we received from the district.
Based on the letter alone, it seems like we have several openings for
a legal argument. On the first line of the third paragraph, it states
that, “the District has determined that the Life Academy facility
probably does not comply with Field Act standards for housing K-12
students and staff.” Not a very strong statement to be making when
they are trying to move an entire school of 250 students.
We are desperately searching for individuals who can help us in this
struggle, Politicians, Media sources, Education Law experts, and just
you as a concerned individual wanting to promote social justice and
keep our under-served youth from being once again mis-placed. Please
disseminate this email widely.
The future existence of Life Academy depends on it. If you’d like to
learn more about our school, please visit our website at
Finally, there will be a mass demonstration of support from the
community and our supporters on Wednesday, April 2nd at the OUSD
Administrative building (1025 2nd Avenue, 4th floor, Hunter Hall,
Oakland, CA). Please invite as many people as you can, especially
those who have been touched by Life Academy.
Thanks for listening.