Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Thoughts and Prayers into Action at Oakland Tech

If We Just Talk of Thoughts and Prayers                                              Carolyn Winfrey Gillette
                                                            Tune: O WALY WALY  ("Though I May Speak")

If we just talk of thoughts and prayers
And don't live out a faith that dares,
And don't take on the ways of death,
Our thoughts and prayers are fleeting breath.

If we just dream of what could be
And do not build community,
And do not seek to change our ways,
Our dreams of change are false displays.

If we just sing of doing good
And don't walk through our neighborhood
To learn its hope, to ease its pain
Our talk of good is simply vain.

God, may our prayers and dreams and songs
Lead to a faith that takes on wrongs -
That works for peace and justice, too.
Then will our prayers bring joy to you.

December at Oakland Tech

Mr. Harris continues to encourage, challenge and empower our Kings in the Manhood Development Class. Mr. Harris has raised the bar for his class and they have risen to the challenge. 

Meanwhile 100 Black Men Mentor the EMT class from 3:30 - 5 on Thursdays and then hold their regular meeting at 5:00. The good work they do is a fine example of sharing love and social justice.

The African American Student Action Planners. 
This is a new group started by parents of African American parents. Among their plans for the new year is a group visit to the classrooms on February 21 and an additional College Career Night from a people of color perspective. This group reminds us of the beginning days of Aspire and Achieve and we look for ways to support their effort. 

Aspire and Achieve

We continue to support all three organizations as well as providing a tour of the Museum of African Diaspora in April. We look forward to renewing and strengthening our tutoring in the next semester. 
We are currently looking for more tutors to strengthen our imprint at Oakland Tech. If you are interested in being a tutor, please contact Aspire and Achieve. This could be your chance to move beyond thoughts and prayers. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Back to School Night at Oakland Tech

100 Black Men member Langston Walker greets students and parents as they enter  the AAMA Manhood Development Class in portable classroom TP8

An Unguided Tour of AAMA Manhood Development Classroom 
On Back to School Night

Tuesday, September 19, 2017 was back to school night. Aspire and Achieve Members along with
100 Black Men Members were on hand to lend support to Manhood Development Teacher, Mr. Harris, and to speak to the students and parents about our organizations. We spoke about the work we do, the resources we offer and the support we give to our Kings.

We were happy to be visited by former AAMA teacher Lamar Hancock, who is now in charge of Literacy in the OUSD Office of Equity. And Principal Staci Ross-Morrison stopped by to meet our members and thank us for the support we offer.

When you step inside our portable classroom, TP8, you can't help but be impressed by the scope of the curriculum Mr. Harris has, and the ways he seeks to support, encourage and challenge our Kings to not only be empowered, but to also help the other Kings in the class. We are thrilled with the new teacher and the new class and we look forward to making 2017-2018 our best year yet!

Our Aspire and Achieve  tutor, Maxwell Shapiro, talks with Derrick Nesbit, who is both an Aspire and Achieve member and 100 Black Men Member

100 Black Men leaders, Langston Walker and  Darryl Richardson,  part of the many dedicated leaders who provide  mentoring, discussions, school and business visits and food at every meeting. Aspire and Achieve is proud and honored to be working with such outstanding leaders. 

Former AAMA Manhood Development Teacher.  Lamar Hancock. Although  Mr. Hancock is very busy developing his work at the OUSD Office of Equity, he works on many assignments and his heart is still with, and will always be with,  the Kings he taught and the new Kings.

Friday, September 15, 2017

A visit to Manhood Development Classes at Oakland Tech

Call and response at beginning and end of Manhood Development Class

Thursday, September 14, members of Aspire and Achieve, 100 Black Men and College Prep visited the AAMA Manhood Development Classes. We were all impressed by the way Mr. Harris engages, encouraged and excited his students. He is emphasizing each student helping all students. He has assigned group leaders and they keep track of everyone's classes and the progress each student is making. We are all excited about the classes and eager to show our support and share our resources.

Keeping track of progress

Thinking critically

Towards the end of each class, our organizations spoke about our support, resources, help and fun available to our Kings. We begin in earnest next week. The space is yet to be determined,  but we are determined to make it work. We ask for prayers and blessing for our Kings and our work. Aspire and Achieve is grateful and honored to be supported by these organizations and we are honored to support their efforts as well. 

The Freshmen Class

From left to right: Philip Barnett, 100 Black Men,  A&A student  Rickey Jackson, now in his second year at Cal State East Bay, Marcus McGhee, College Prep, and Jude Onwuemeka, 100 Black Men

Aspire and Achieve Tutor Maxwell Shapiro and  Lamar Hancock, former Manhood Development  Teacher and now head of Literacy at OUSD Department of Equity

Friday, September 1, 2017

New School Year, New Teacher, New Classroom and New Possibilities

The 2017-2018 School Year began on August 21st.

Our former AAMA teacher, Lamar Hancock, is now working at OUSD in charge of Literacy in the Office of Equity. (Hope I got the title right). Lamar will be missed, but he has left our Kings in very good hands. Our new teacher in the Manhood Development Class is Mr. Sekou Harris. And he will be teaching in a different classroom. Portable Classroom TP8.

I met Mr. Harris on Thursday, August 31. I was impressed by his plans for the class, the books to be used in class, including a book on investment, and most impressed by the way he worked with our Kings and Max and I could see the positive, encouraging way he worked with our Kings. It's going to be an exciting year. 

Max, of course, had already met Mr Harris the week before and this Thursday he was again working with students in two different classrooms. 

Turning in Incompletes

On May 23, 2017 Aspire and Achieve Tutors, Tom Demerath and Max Shapiro held a workshop for our students. While the focus was on writing, students could also bring in any academic problems they has as they prepared for their final exams the following week. It was a successful workshop and tutors were able to use two classrooms. 

II. Aspire and Achieve Meeting with OUSD School Board President James Harris, Reverend H. Jim Hopkins and Jessie Lucas

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Sad Times at Ridgemont Highs

This week I went to Oakland Tech and headed for the sign in sheet as visitors must do when they enter the High School. But the Security Guard stopped me and said because of the shooting in San Bernadino this last Monday, April 10, all visitors now have to go to the office and have the staff call the teacher or staff member the visitor intends to visit to see if the visitor should be allowed to enter the school.

Violence is a ripple that affects all communities and affects the flow of life.

Sunday, April 2, 2017