Principal’s Message – January 21, 2020


Hello Kaiser Elementary Families:

This Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day I reflected on the spirit of service and justice that Dr. King inspired and thought about the many ways that the Kaiser community emulates these values.

In the challenging time of change we are in, there are Kaiser families who have focused their service and call for justice on stopping school closures and others who have put this energy into the design and community building for the merged Kaiser and Sankofa. Some have gracefully held both of these spaces. The important thing for us to remember is that we ALL want the best for our children and our schools. As we move forward into this new year, I ask that we stay strong as a community united in our commitment to the wellness of our children. My personal commitment to you in this time is to support your choice and agency; supply you with facts; and continue working hard for kids and equity.

I am incredibly grateful to Kathy Maloney, who is stepping in for me two days a week at Kaiser so that I can invest the time and energy needed for the design work and preparation for the next school year. Ms. Maloney is a retired principal who was one of a team of three interim principals who led Kaiser in the year before I became your principal. Ms. Maloney knows our community well and understands the complexity of the moment of the change we face.

I also want to welcome a new staff member and introduce a new program to Kaiser Elementary. DeMareon Gipson will be at Kaiser on Wednesdays and Thursdays. He will be leading African American Male Achievement (AAMA) groups for 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders and will be supporting all students in grades 2nd through 5th grade classrooms. Google “OUSD African American American Male Achievement” to discover more about this impactful program.

Meanwhile, the winter months are filled with exciting events and important deadlines. THIS Saturday we will celebrate the amazing Bonnie “Ms. Leonardo” Allen with a fundraiser and special art event from 11 AM to 2 PM in the Kaiser Multipurpose building.

We are now less than 3 weeks away from the close of the OUSD enrollment window. It is important that our 5th grade families complete the enrollment process by February 7th for a better chance at getting your top choice school. More information about enrollment is at ousd.org/enroll, and OUSD has a middle school website that I encourage all to check out: oaklandinthemiddle.org. For kindergarten through 4th grade families who have Kaiser-Sankofa as their first choice, you do not need to complete the enrollment process, as this placement will be automatic. For those who are considering other OUSD schools, it is important to meet the February 7th deadline. There are three remaining Kaiser-Sankofa enrollment tours. You can find out more and RSVP for any of the three listed below at: tinyurl.com/enroll2020

  • Saturday, 1/25. Enrollment tour @ Sankofa
  • Wednesday, 1/29. Enrollment tour @ Sankofa
  • Tuesday, 2/4. Enrollment tour @ Sankofa

Finally, thanks to those who have been following along with the progress of the Kaiser-Sankofa Design Team. The team has had 5 meetings and a “report back” to date. After each, notes are sent out to families on Konstella. The team will have a 2-day retreat at the end of this month to drill down deeper into this important work. Meanwhile, I am pleased with the support that we have been getting from every department within OUSD. I have met with leaders from Facilities, After School Programs, Curriculum and Instruction, Special Education, Behavioral Health and more to leverage support for next year. This is a huge undertaking, but with the support of many it is going very well.

~ Dennis Guikema, Principal