Blogging Bayport Alameda

October 22, 2015

No better

Filed under: Alameda, School — Lauren Do @ 6:02 am

The other day someone tweeted this link to me asking if I had seen it yet: Why White Parents Won’t Choose Black Schools.   I hadn’t. And shortly after she had tweeted out the link it appeared on my Facebook page from someone I am friends with being tagged by someone who was moved by the piece.  Some of the frustrations expressed by this parent are similar frustrations I have struggled with over the years being a parent of students at Ruby Bridges Elementary School.  I look around my neighborhood and still get a little angry and sad that a large portion of families measure the school as lacking even though they’ve never even given it a try.  In fact, the afternoon after I had read the piece I returned from a delightful afternoon at the Alameda Point Pumpkin Patch where our PTA presented an unified positive front to both fundraise for enrichment (thanks to everyone who stopped by) and show that Ruby Bridges has what other schools have: dedicated teachers and committed families.   At the Pumpkin Patch a Bayport neighbor mentioned that she would be sending her child to Ruby Bridges in a few years but that a neighbor had warned her against the school because it was “too cultural.”

That’s why this piece resonates so strongly, from the post:

This summer, when I told the other moms at the pool where my kids went to school. I was repeatedly told to move them. This from women who had never ever set foot in my school. They had not had contact with our deeply passionate, and very responsive principal, had not met the pre-k teachers who my daughter loves more than Santa. They had not toured the various science labs, or listened as their child talked incessantly about robotics. They don’t know that every Tuesday Juliet comes home with a new Spanish song to sing and bothers me until I look up the colors in Spanish if I can’t remember them from High school. Juliet loves her school. Her mother, a teacher at a suburban school, and her father, a PhD candidate at the state university, both find the school completely acceptable, more than acceptable. We love it too.


September 23, 2015

Exceeds expectations

Filed under: Alameda, School — Lauren Do @ 6:03 am

About a week or so ago the first test scores from the new Smarter Balanced test became available and the results were as expected if you expect anything out of test scores.

Cohorts of students that were not economically disadvantaged or had parents that finished a four year college/university or better performed better than peers that were on the opposite end of the spectrum.  Which pretty much makes the point that, it’s not really that the test is measuring how well the kids are being taught or how good the teachers are test taking has a lot to do with the students’ background.

So let me talk about this a bit closer to home.  My kids attend Ruby Bridges Elementary School which is our neighborhood school that we are completely in love with.  The teachers are awesome and the community is amazing, but — for some reason — Ruby Bridges Elementary has a terrible reputation with some families in our neighborhood. I don’t know why it has such a terrible reputation other than “test scores.”  I mean, I know why, but no one ever comes outright and says they don’t want to send their kids to Ruby Bridges because there’s too much diversity.


September 21, 2015

Panda Express-monium

Filed under: Alameda, Alameda Landing, Business, School — Lauren Do @ 6:01 am

It’s my periodic Alameda Landing leasing update. When last we discussed, I wrote about the soft opening of CREAM, a direct competitor to local business Cookiebar. There has been pretty long lines at CREAM since it opened, but that might be due to the slowness of the actual process of testing out ice cream flavors and finally getting your sandwich made.  It is kid approved, but Cookiebar was declared to be superior.  Of course Tuckers still reigns supreme around these parts, but in a pinch CREAM is a stand in.

Yogurtland has also open near Habit to very little fanfare.  Still under a handful of reviews on Yelp but given that it’s a well known and popular chain, it’s going to stick around.

Speaking of popular, have you all been to Alameda Landing on a Friday evening?  That place is pretty popular.  I’m not sure if it’s the Jack and Jill hill or the convergence of four fast casual restaurants in a fairly small area but it’s pretty packed.

Anyway, here’s who is coming next based on the leasing map:


August 31, 2015

Welcome back

Filed under: Alameda, School — Lauren Do @ 6:01 am

It’s the first day of school for most Alameda Unified Schools out there so please be mindful of lots of little bodies making a come back around school drop off and pick up.

August 21, 2015

Smarter Balanced beam

Filed under: Alameda, School — Lauren Do @ 6:01 am

In September families in AUSD will receive scores for the new California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress test, aka the Smart Balanced Test.  Apparently you can decide to opt your student out of this test, but how else will you know how to arbitrarily decide on how good a school is without test scores?

I think a good warning to most parents is, when they get the scores is: don’t panic.  I keep telling myself this because (1) I’m a worrier and (2) a bit of a tiger mom.  I’m not necessarily proud of the second thing, but at least I can recognize it in myself.

Here’s a short video that explains how to read the test:


August 19, 2015

Census track

Filed under: Alameda, School — Lauren Do @ 6:09 am

Mike McMahon’s comment yesterday regarding attendance zones got me thinking about creating some new graphs based on census tract specific data and how this compares to the attendance zones for the neighborhood schools. I wasn’t able to precisely map the census tracts to the attendance zones, and there is some overlap, but in general it gives you an idea of the neighborhood data as compares to what the school demographics end up being.  Here are the tracts that I associated to each school, I did not include Maya Lin as it is a magnet school and therefore open for all students regardless of attendance zone:

census tracts

I created two types of infographics: one which overlays a line graph over bar graphs and the other as side to side bar graphs. All of the East End and Bay Farm schools (Earhart, Bay Farm, Edison and Otis) tracked the school demographics closely to the census data.  Franklin also tracked pretty closely to the census data as well.

However all the other schools did not (Lum, Haight, Ruby Bridges and Paden) these school have disproportionate numbers when you compare the census numbers to the school demographics.  Haight is a bit tricky because it’s a large attendance zone after Washington’s rebirth as Maya Lin, so I won’t be going into detail about Haight.  First off Lum:


August 18, 2015

Uneven bars

Filed under: Alameda, School — Lauren Do @ 6:08 am

Updated to include Paden numbers.

KQED, piggybacking on the great This America Life show on schools and segregation, which uses the Normal Rockwell title and painting of Ruby Bridges to evoke the general feel of the piece, tackles the issue from a Bay Area perspective.   Listening to some of the comments of the parents who were upset with students from a failing school district being bused to their district was very difficult in the This American Life piece.

Yesterday someone asked if the trend in Alameda is similar to what is happening in San Francisco and the answer is, “not really.”  The only school that comes close to being “racially isolated” which is defined as 60% or more of one race is Edison at 59.5%.

I put all the elementary school data from the latest available on Ed-Data to show the difference between what the demographics are at the general AUSD level and then compared to the individual elementary schools.   I also compared each individual school against the district wide numbers to show how individual schools’ population differ from the district wide numbers.  Here’s an example of my kids’ school: Ruby Bridges.


July 30, 2015

Critical mess

Filed under: Alameda, School — Lauren Do @ 6:00 am

There’s one issue regarding the School Board appointment that has been hinted about but I haven’t touched at in detail.  I might have mentioned it in my “cons” section when Anne McKereghan was reduced as the “parcel tax” candidate as though that were the only qualifications that she had to offer.

At the end of the meeting during the reopening of public comment, a lot of people came up to tout Gray Harris’s parcel tax experience in order to counter-balance this particular narrative about Anne McKereghan.


July 29, 2015

Don’t hate the player

Filed under: Alameda, School — Lauren Do @ 6:09 am

I have heard from no less than five different people about the machinations of Philip Hu and how his courageous move was some larger political game that he played.

Here’s how to story goes based on cobbling together pieces from various sources: Philip Hu had planned all along to support Gray Harris, but first he intended to throw his support to Anne McKereghan because he knew that there would be a deadlock and that he would come out looking like the hero if he then switched his vote to break the deadlock.

If that indeed the case then I say, “bravo.”  Look, anyone playing a long and involved political game like that deserves recognition that he outplayed some seriously political players.

But here’s why it’s probably a bit of a stretch.


July 28, 2015

Lead vs lead away

Filed under: Alameda, School — Lauren Do @ 6:08 am

I mentioned yesterday that former Mayor, Marie Gilmore, was the one person that — during the re-opening of public comment — reminded the School Board of their duty to make a decision that night.  The possible fallout of not appointing that night would have been a forced Special Election, but — in the interim — the seat would have been filled by the Alameda County Office of Education, completely removing the local School Board from the equation.

Clearly that was not what anyone wanted.

While everyone else was desperately trying to tell the School Board why their candidate should be the choice, Marie Gilmore said what needed to be heard.  While it would have been better for the School Board to have a frank discussion about the pros and cons of each of the candidates, a straightforward and frank reminder was necessary to move the topic along.


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