We hear so much about the real and purported failures in Oakland Unified that the successes get lost. And a big exclamation of District success is Coliseum College Prep Academy (CCPA), formerly Havenscourt, a school boasting a 91% cohort graduation rate and serving Flatland kids.
It wasn’t always like this.
Havenscourt may have had a golden age, but it had passed by the time I came to Oakland. I knew Havenscourt by reputation. Our parents had stories, bad stories, and they were schlepping their children across the City to get away.
In 2006, Havensourt school was divided into Roots International Academy middle school and Coliseum College Prep Academy, which is a 6-12. I have long argued for the logic of 6-12, k-8, or K-12 schools, and research shows that the less transitions children make between distinct schools, the better they do academically and emotionally.
So we can see one structural change the school made, but what else is going on there, and how can we do more of it at other schools?
Something special is happening at CCPA, and while nothing is ever easy or finished, we can learn and we can do better. And as several of our comprehensive high schools look at “transformation” or whatever the particular term is, I hope that they will look at CCPA.
I think there are lessons there for all of us.