Vol: 19 No: 2 – December 2020

APT is committed to OSA as a diverse, equitable and inclusive school community. A place where students thrive, and where parents, teachers, and students— together with the school leadership and board, partner to ensure the success of the school.

Please join us for the Monthly APT General Meetings on 3rd Wednesday of the month at 6pm!

Next Meeting: January 20, 2021 

Zoom LINK Password: OSArocks

If you know 6th grade families or those who are new to the school, please send this newsletter to them.

Sign-up for Konstella! “The only platform where OSA parents can have interactive discussions online”

Konstella Videos & Guides: See these useful Konstella Videos & Guides

Resources for LGBTQ+ Students and Parents

In a school-wide OSA student survey last year, over 35% of students self- identified as LGBTQ+ or gender fluid. We know that there are also some OSA students who are children of LGBTQ+ parents. We are lucky in the Bay Area to have some excellent resources for students and parents. Here are some of those:

Oakland LGBTQ+ Community Center: www.oaklandlgbtqcenter.org

The Center offers monthly support groups for youth and families, a 24/7 LGBTQ crisis hotline, mental health counseling, and a LGBTQ+ mentoring program.

The Pacific Center: www.pacificcenter.org

Located in Berkeley, the Center has youth and parent/caregiver support groups, an after school youth program, counseling and psychotherapy services, and a youth speakers bureau.

Gender Spectrum: www.genderspectrum.org

This organization works to create gender sensitive and inclusive environments for all children and teens. Services include online programs for trans, non-binary, and gender expansive youth, as well as online parenting trainings and discussion groups. Gender Spectrum also provides training to educators and educational institutions. 

COLAGE: www.colage.org

COLAGE is a peer support network for kids and teens of LGBTQ+ parents that nurtures and empowers one another.. Services include a youth leadership development program, virtual education sessions, and social events for youth.

OSA Alumni Spotlight


OSA is 18 years young, and we are so proud to have begun the Alumni Association in the past year. 

Our November APT meeting was truly a memorable and inspiring event. Four of OSA’s cherished alum – Precediha Dangerfield (‘06), Safia Fasah (‘11), Jordan Holly (‘13) and Leon Jones (’20), joined us for a panel discussion moderated by APT, co-Chair Melinda de Jesús. The group graciously shared personal reflections on their OSA experience as well as their perspective on the huge changes in the world since they’ve left OSA. Precediha reminded the community that “fame is not everything…connect with people and use your art for a purpose.”

All our panelists echoed a common theme of hope in the power of young artists and activists. As Safia said, “young people have so much to teach adults.” What an important reminder to us and our students.

Many thanks to our panelists for their insightful perspectives and to everyone who was able to join the event.

The OSA Alumni group is just getting organized and has exciting goals of partnering with current students at OSA. To support their efforts and to learn more, visit their website: 


PODS – Parents of Students with Disabilities

PODS – Is a parent led social group for Parents of Students with Disabilities. 

The purpose of this group is to: 

  • provide emotional support
  • share experiences & ideas
  • educate each other on how to properly advocate for our children with IEP and 504 plans  

To receive meeting updates, resources, and connect to other parents in PODS please join our group APT-PODS in Konstella

Check out this link for more Konstella tips.

Our goal this year is to ensure adequate services are implemented for all students with IEPs and 504 plans.

OSA Staff Spotlight

Interview with an Equity Champion

Dr. Delores Thompson, Pathway Coordinator

What is a memorable catalyst to your ‘Why’?

Well, for one, being an African American in entertainment, it’s hard to get jobs. They’re very far and few in between. I’ve attended meetings where I’ve heard “Black people only make up 8% of the market, so we’re really not targeting them,” but yet you’re playing the music making money off of that. So I’ve been working on a documentary that tells the story of African Americans and radio broadcasters. We were a major component. In fact, the first white radio station actually hired their first black DJ in 1939, because they were about to go bankrupt. Once they hired the black DJ, their rating shot up. I’ve been in this business since I was 19 and monitored how every 10 to 15 years, black music departments are completely shut down.  The pop, rock and metal departments continue to grow, but the Black music departments, they get completely shut down.

What’s one hope you have for the future of OSA or the OSA Community?

I know the struggle, and I want our kids to have access. Anything I can do, I’m going to do because it is so hard for minorities to keep a foothold. I just helped someone get an audition for a television show. You could say I make connections in order to give connections.

What’s a book, film, podcast, website, or other resource, that has nurtured you through this pandemic, and that you recommend to our community?

One of the documentaries that really blessed my soul was I’m not your Negro, because it shows the strength of who we are. I remember being in a meeting with some teachers, and they were talking to me about having a hard time with giving kids information on slavery. They didn’t want to make them feel bad, but what I told them was, you have to learn how to flip the narrative. Slavery was awful and it had some lasting effects on us; however, you have to make our kids, our children of color, see the strength in those slaves. So I saw James Baldwin, I’m not your Negro and I was like, “Yes, this is what I’m talking about.” Let your history be the reason for you to understand the strength of your ancestors. Look at the Little Rock Nine and the fact that they had to go to school under conditions of being assaulted, threatened, teachers despised them, and yet they thrived. All but one went to college.

Is Equity Enough?

Oakland schools face the daunting challenge of helping all students reach their potential in a city structured by extreme inequity of income, educational access, housing, health and safety[i] and no school can solve these problems by itself. As OSA phases out auditions (that favor students with access to extra resources to be best prepared), our school will increase it’s likelihood of moving closer to resembling other Oakland schools with greater inclusion of low-income students, students with disabilities, English language learners and foster youth. Equity requires targeted resources that support each student to reach their potential and OSA is currently rethinking how we deliver needed support to current and future students.

Savannah Shange’s Progressive Dystopia (2019) documents a San Francisco school (where she taught for six years) that is dedicated to serving the city’s dwindling population of low-income youth with a liberatory, social-justice themed curriculum focused on youth of color. Yet this school still had the district’s highest rate of suspension for Black students and Shange paints a picture of a school where Black and Brown kids defy their well-meaning, liberal saviors. Shange concludes that schools do not stand outside societies permeated by white supremacy but tend to reproduce their exclusions despite sincere intentions. The school ultimately fails because the intellectual commitment to racial justice is consistently undermined by a visceral dedication to maintaining order. Can OSA escape this trap? 

Paolo Freire (FRY-ree), the world’s most famous educator, is little known in the US. In Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1970) he famously critiqued the “banking” or “antidialogical” model of education as reproducing social domination by treating students as empty vessels who passively receive knowledge. Liberatory education requires a dialogic, problem-posing approach in which students and educators focus on real world challenges to create knowledge together. The “active learning” many teachers use today and ethnic studies curricula focused on students’ lived experience under systems of oppression are consistent with Freire’s educational philosophy of dialogue and problem-posing.

Like Shange, Freire saw the classroom as product of the school and the school as product of the society; and his broader project was the liberation of all people from conditions of domination. For Freire, well-meaning educators, experts or leaders cannot paternalistically liberate others; liberation can only be achieved by people joining in community, in real, ongoing dialogue, and cooperation can only occur where there is transparent communication. How can OSA be the best version of itself and help as many students as possible reach their potential? The creation of that vision requires authentic participation by all members of the OSA community and vigilance to root out anti-dialogical and top-down habits of control that stifle democracy and reproduce the very patterns of inequity we seek to overcome.

[i] See Oakland Equity Indicators Report.


…more to come!

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