Hillcrest K-8 Parent Community Against School Closures
All Oakland Neighborhoods Deserve Neighborhood Schools
Launching A Weekly Communication for Our Parent Community
This is the first of weekly communication updates around School Closures that we will be sending out in the lead up to the OUSD School Board Elections on Tuesday, November 8. Konstella is a parent communication platform and these anti-closure activities are grassroots and parent-driven, part of the larger protest and action taking place across the Oakland Community.
What to Expect
Over the next 9 weeks this communication will distill some of the basic need-to-know information so that parents can get up to speed on the school closures issues and what our community can do to reverse the decision to close Hillcrest Middle School. Today’s communication focuses on informing our parent community about the closure decision and communicating our grassroots parent community perspective.
School Closure FAQ
- What Happened? - For those new to OUSD or to Hillcrest, you can find a summary of the decision on school closures in this Oaklandside article.
- What Board District Am I In? Oakland redistricted in 2022 and the majority of Hillcrest families are in District 1 or District 4. Use this map to find out which board district your family and friends are in.
- Why Should I Care About November’s Board of Directors Election? The new board has the power to reverse the decision on school closures beginning in January ‘23. With 3 seats up for grabs in this November’s Election, electing 3 officials who are anti-closure is the quickest and surest way to reverse this decision. Districts 2, 4 and 6 have seats on the ballot this year.
Hillcrest K-8 Parent Community: What We Believe
A large group of Hillcrest parents formed an informal grassroots effort in January ‘22 to educate themselves and their parent community about the board’s proposal and eventually to oppose the school closures. Our (growing) parent group includes diverse backgrounds, professional skills and perspectives, but we are united on the following:
- Neighborhood schools are the foundation of safe, thriving communities. All Oakland neighborhoods deserve neighborhood schools. Hillcrest families stand in solidarity with all OUSD communities facing school closure.
- The decision to close schools earlier this year was rushed and lacks both sufficient logic and planning. The Hillcrest parent community attended several board meetings in the lead-up to the school closure and had two private meetings with outgoing District 4 Director Yee. Our overwhelming conclusion was that the school closures decision was not logical, strategic or planful and would not strengthen the district in the short or long-term. Specific to Hillcrest, Hillcrest Middle School is the highest rated Middle School in OUSD and #12 in the state of CA according to US News.
- There is no data supporting the claim that closing schools saves the district money. Period.
- School closures will not solve declining enrollment in OUSD and in fact will accelerate decline, negatively impacting OUSD financially. Schools recently closed as part of this decision had far greater than projected attrition of 10%. Hillcrest K-8 specifically has had >20% attrition this academic school year due to its upcoming middle school closure (2023/2024).
- Future closures may happen. Parents and families in non-impacted Oakland schools who feel unaffected by the board’s decision should be cautioned that their schools and neighborhood may be next. Now is the time to get informed and become active in OUSD decisions.
- The decision to close schools creates trauma in an already traumatized student & parent community. School closures were announced mere months after schools reopened post-Covid. The closures disproportionately affect students of color. There is a lack of follow-through on promised transportation to support students in closed schools and has created real safety concerns for parents and children.
- Closing Oakland middle schools weakens OUSD high schools. Most Oakland families who leave during middle school don’t come back. Families with the capacity to send their children to private middle school or to relocate outside of OUSD typically don’t return.
- The upcoming Board Elections are our best opportunity to reverse this decision. The elections are on November 8, in which Districts 2, 4 and 6 will be decided. Electing officials who are on the record as being anti-school closure is the quickest and most likely way to reverse the decision on school closures, including Hillcrest Middle School.
Questions? Reach out to some of our parent volunteers via Konstella.
- Konstella Weekly Newsletter: Holly Smith (parent 4th, 6th grades)
- Anti-Closure Litigation: Erin Bernstein (parent 2nd, 7th grades)
- General Anti-Closure Efforts: Oliver Brennan (parent 1st grade and future Kindergartner)
- Hillcrest Parent Anti-Closure Facebook Group & Newsletter Sign-Ups: Meghan Langston (parent 5th grade, Hillcrest MS grad)