“I came here because this school is different from other, normal high schools. AIAHS showed me that I can be a leader and actually make changes in the school if I feel like we need changes. This school showed me that I have a voice and the coaches can hear me … AIAHS has helped me change into a better person and a person who can lead.” AIAHS Graduate, Class of 2018
A guest post from Phung Lai, Executive Director at Alternatives in Action High School
Alternatives in Action High School (formerly known as Bay Area School of Enterprise) was founded in 2001. Alternatives in Action High School (AIAHS) serves youth from the East Bay Area (mainly Oakland) who are motivated to transform their lives and their communities. AIAHS continues to provide an environment in which youth take ownership of their own learning and partner with caring adults to change their lives as they change the community around them.
The school was founded when a group of ten youth, working in partnership with adult experts, designed, wrote, and submitted the first ever youth-initiated charter school petition in the country. After receiving a unanimous vote of approval from the Alameda Unified School District Board of Trustees on May 16, 2001, the school opened in September 2001.
Alternatives in Action High School has close to twenty years of demonstrated success graduating students and preparing them for impactful lives in college, career, and community. Since 2001, we have engaged a diverse student body (97% of whom are students of color with diverse economic and English language learner backgrounds) in the creation of over 60 social action projects, hosted over 150 visitors wanting to learn more about the school’s innovative approach, and had our graduates accepted to colleges including UC Berkeley, UCLA, UC Davis, UC Santa Cruz, UC Merced, San Diego State University, Cal State East Bay, Sacramento State University, San Francisco State University, and Mills College.
AIAHS relocated to Oakland, CA in 2015, where it continues to enroll and serve students from across Oakland. The school is currently seeking charter reauthorization from the Oakland Unified School District for another five-year term. AIAHS has historically been authorized by the Alameda Unified School District, but it’s Oakland location and community connections makes a strong and logical argument for local authorization by OUSD. We strongly believe that the OUSD Board of Directors should support this existing and community-based educational program. AIAHS transitioned quickly to distance learning in March 2020 and continues to serve it’s full community as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact East Oakland and Fruitvale neighborhoods. This is the wrong time to consider a school closure. This is the right time to consider supporting the AIAHS community. It has earned this renewal and the community deserves stability.
Our response to the Oakland Unified School District Office of Charter Schools report can be found here.
Why to support AIAHS:
- AIAHS is a school of choice for its students, teachers, and community.
- AIAHS is the country’s first youth-initiated public charter school, and remains committed to staying a small school.
- AIAHS enrolls, serves, and supports students that have historically not been successful in both district and charter-run traditional high school programs.
- AIAHS recently secured a WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges) accreditation (maximum 6-year term which expires June 2025).
- AIAHS offers A-G approved and CTE pathway programs.
- AIAHS has secured a K12 Strong Workforce Program grant in collaboration with Alameda County Office of Education (career pathways).
- AIAHS continues to enroll students entering the 10th, 11th, and 12th grades. This is the work that is embodied in our mission. And we still have achieved success on behalf of our students.
- AIAHS continues to outperform both OUSD and CA DASS (Dashboard Alternative School Status) schools across most academic measures including A-G and college acceptance rates.
- 70% of students surveyed report feeling safe on the AIAHS campus.
- 80% of students surveyed report that they have at least one adult at AIAHS that they can trust and talk to.
- 90% of parents surveyed report feeling that the school is a safe space for their students.
- 96% of parents surveyed report feeling their students are supported at school.
- 93% of parents surveyed reported feeling satisfied with family engagement opportunities.
- AIAHS has created a school climate that supports incredibly high teacher/staff retention and a highly diverse staff that is reflective of its student body.
The OUSD Board of directors are scheduled to vote on the issue Friday 12/18/20, if you would like to leave a pubic comment for the board please do so here.