Friday, January 24, 2014

Oasis Charter middle schoolers get a reprieve

Parents of some middle school students at Oasis Charter school were pleased to hear their board members will take another month to decide the fate of the 7th and 8th grades.

Oasis Principal Juanita Perea told them recently she wanted to close the middle school grades to make room for a lab so the school can focus on teaching Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. She made the proposal to the board in December, but she was told the conversion could wait. At Wednesday's board meeting, parents were told the board would take another month to decide whether to eliminate 7th and 8th grades starting 2014-15.

"Many parents talked and we all said the same thing, 'Give us a chance until 2015/2016 to start a new middle school in a different location,'" said Ehab Ali in an email. "We are willing to do the research, invest our time/effort/energy and experiences to make this happen."

Ali and other parents will meet this coming weekend to explore the possibility of opening up a middle charter school.

Parents have reported Perea has told them the teachers are not qualified to teach middle school, and that's one of the reasons the closure of the middle school is required. However, the teachers do have the appropriate credentials.

"To our surprise, last night Juanita said "we don't have financial problems, and also our teachers are qualified to teach k-8." which contradicts what she told us before," Ali said.

I asked Perea if she'd ever told parents the teachers were not qualified to teach middle school, and this is what she replied:

"To the best of my recollection and if my memory does not fail me, I can say with great certainty that I never made such statement.  However, if the families interpreted anything I said to mean that, I would like to clarify it for them and reassure them that our teachers are highly qualified.  Any community member can look up teacher credentials at the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing."

Indeed, you can look up whether a K-12 teacher or administrator has California credentials here.

So, the parents wonder: if the teachers are qualified, and there are not financial problems facing the charter, what's the reason behind proposing the closure of the middle school?

And so it goes... Stay tuned.


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