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Dear ARISE High School Students and Families,
It is with mixed emotions that I am writing to let you know that I have tendered my resignation as ARISE’s principal to ARISE’s Board of Directors, effective at the end of the current school year in June 2017. After working closely with the exceptional and dedicated staff to put programs and systems in place that helped students reach new levels of achievement, I am excited about pursuing new opportunities and challenges. I am honoring the terms of my contract, but resigning now in order to give ARISE ample time to find a highly qualified replacement.
I have thoroughly enjoyed working at ARISE. I am proud of what the staff has accomplished under my leadership. ARISE has transformed in the past few years and the staff has made great strides in improving student performance since I came into a leadership position. Some of these include:
I’m also very proud that for the 2017-18 school year we have over 200 applicants interested in being part of our freshmen class. ARISE is financially and academically stable and poised for continued growth. We have an amazing dedicated staff and we will continue to flourish. In the 2017-18 school year our enrollment will be close to 300 students because more and more students are attending, staying and graduating from ARISE.
Most importantly, I would like to thank ARISE families, for the opportunity to work toward the success of each and every child. I am humbled and grateful for the amazing opportunity of being part of this community for 7 years.
When you enter ARISE you can immediately tell that you’ve found a special place. On your way up the stairs a student may have made eye contact and said hello, they might have asked if you needed help, or they may have just held the door open for you as you entered. You wonder how a school can exist in such a unique space, how it’s possible that a school is in a major transit hub. You’re greeted by the latest student art, a mural painted 5 years earlier by a postsession class and banners that display the Authenticity, Rigor, Inspiration, Success, and Empowerment at the core of our name.
We believe education does not start or end in the classroom. True learning occurs at all times, when you succeed, when you fail, when you make mistakes, and when you accomplish your goals. We believe that as a school we are teaching all the time. Every hallway interaction, smile, check-in, home visit, and family meeting communicates who we are, what we value, and why we are here.
ARISE is a special place. We’ve carved out a small piece of East Oakland and made it our home. We’ve offered to this community a sanctuary where we attempt to disrupt toxic schooling practices, the trauma of poverty, and institutionalized oppression. By examining our living conditions, growing our skills in reading, writing, numeracy, and critical thinking, and applying what we’ve learned to our personal and community transformation we as a community can and will ARISE.
ARISE High School is distinct in its core features: it provides a Relevant and Rigorous Curriculum within a Collaborative School Culture.
The social-curriculum at ARISE is centered on our Core Values: Respect, Persevere, Build, and Lead. We recognize that teachers teach more than just content, they teach who they are. With this in mind we understand that intentional preparation and culture production in our classrooms leads to increased community satisfaction, buy-in, and academic achievement.
However, acknowledging the existence of this curriculum and the preparation needed to create healthy, loving, rigorous, and challenging classrooms and schools are two vastly different things. As such, over the years ARISE has been evolving its philosophy, systems, and structures to more clearly communicate what it means to Respect, Persevere, Build, and Lead. Grounded in the work of Keinfeld (1975), Ware (2006), Hollie (2011), Inlay (2010), and Claassen (2008), we’ve developed a multilayered system that explicitly recognizes our work as educators and culture producers.
There are three major components necessary for our Restorative Praxis program to be successful. These include approaching our teaching in the following ways:
ARISE’s vision to improve our own material and social conditions is the foundation for a Restorative Praxis (RP) program that trains our community to develop the agency and power to bring about change.