ARISE High School

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School History

On the train ride in New York City over the Thanksgiving holiday in 2003, ARISE co-founder Laura Flaxman had a conversation with a former student of hers who was then a college student on the east coast. This young man, David, had also been a graduate of the Mills College Upward Bound program. Laura and David were catching up on some of David’s former classmates and the stories of their varying levels of success in college and dissecting why David was succeeding while some of his friends weren’t. David credited his experiences at Life Academy and Upward Bound, as well as the role model that he found in ARISE co-founder and principal, Romeo Garcia, with his achievement. He also talked about how participating in various experiences away from home while he was still in high school impacted his future. Out of this conversation, ARISE was born, including the idea of requiring a “cultural immersion” experience. Laura immediately thought that it would be great to start a school with Romeo, in partnership with the Mills TRIO programs, and a few months later, Romeo came on board. Their next step was to ask OCO leader Emma Paulino if she was interested in getting involved in starting a high school, bringing the parent perspective on board, as well as her experience co-founding and working with ASCEND. From this point on, the team continued to grow and as they say, the rest is history!


ARISE would also like to give a special thanks to the following people and organizations:

Guadalupe Barrera - ARISE Parent

Eileen Barrera - ARISE Student

Leslie Barrera – High School Student

Kristen Chase – Future College Student

Mary Franklin – Community Member

Sharonda Green – ARISE Parent

Leah Herrera – Mills College Student

Josue Hernandez – High School Student

Julia Hollinger – Teacher

Jean Johnson – Community Member

Brittney Johnson – Community Member

Tonnesha Pace - ARISE Parent

Landesha Pace - ARISE Student

Edgardo Paulino – Community Member

California Charter School Association

California Department of Education

Coalition of Essential Schools

Mills College

Oakland Community Organizations

Oakland Unified School District

Wildwood School