Dear Kaiser Elementary Community,
It was heartbreaking to hear reports from last week’s OUSD Board of Education Meeting. I was deeply troubled by the videos and images I later saw emerging from the board meeting. I am calling on OUSD to follow through on its promise to review the video and take all the appropriate actions necessary to respond. Monday I was invited by Kaiser teachers to a vigil to stand with them and families. In the words of my friend and Oakland Education President, Keith Brown, what we saw at the board meeting last week “isn’t the school district I want for my students.”
Grappling with these issues has been difficult for me as a person and as a leader. I have struggled to reconcile what happened at the board meeting along side the community building that has been happening amongst Kaiser and Sankofa families.
With the OUSD enrollment window opening next week (and remaining open until February 7), families are beginning to think about what will be best for their children for the next school year. Knowing that Kaiser Elementary at our current location will not be an option is incredibly difficult. To keep you informed and to help ease the challenge of this change, I’ll be sharing information through the Pink Panther and on Konstella about all OUSD options, the Opportunity Ticket, and the Kaiser-Sankofa design process.
It was inspiring to see Kaiser families meeting with Sankofa families last Wednesday at the Design Team Info Session. There was a feeling of optimism amongst participants, who used words like “opportunity” and “possibility”, while acknowledging that there is a lot of work to do and that the task ahead feels daunting. Some important questions were raised about the facilities plan, budget, enrollment projections, and supports for employees from both sites. The meeting ended with participants talking about the need to come together around a vision for the new school. A packet of information about the Design Team, including answers to some of these questions, was shared and can be found online at tinyurl.com/DTlaunch. A ballot for our Design Team has been sent via Konstella and is included in this Pink Panther. The ballot may be turned into the office or completed online. On the heels of this meeting, nearly 100 folks gathered Saturday at Bushrod Park to continue to build community, break bread, and have fun. Thanks to the Kaiser families who organized the food and the fun!
Alongside all of this, we have faced the challenge of power outages and smoky days. Thanks for everyone’s patience through these difficult times. I will continue to share information as soon as it becomes available via Konstella and robo-call. We will monitor air quality prior to each recess to determine if it is safe for students to be outside.
~ Dennis Guikema, Principal