Source: East Bay Times, May 10, 2017
Article by Sarah Tan
Montera Middle School is seeking to become one of the first International Baccalaureate (IB) schools in the Oakland Unified School District.
The IB program is an internationally recognized college preparatory course program, similar to Advanced Placement courses. Montera has been piloting classes from the IB curriculum for the past few years, and by the beginning of the next school year, the school hopes to be an officially recognized school. Skyline High School is poised to become the district’s first IB high schools.
“The big reason we want to incorporate IB is we’re a highly diverse school, and IB’s whole focus is a global society,” Montera Principal Darren Avent said. “We felt we were the perfect school to incorporate those characteristics, and it really allows the students to dig deep on topics.”
The IB program also requires that all middle schoolers take a foreign language, so Montera will be gearing up to offer Spanish or Mandarin classes for students in all grades. Montera has contracted with an IB program specialist, Afsaneh Olinga, who has been spearheading efforts to convert every class at Montera to an IB class.
“We try and educate the kids and prepare the kids to be open-minded and self taught, to be more tolerant of other cultures,” Olinga said. “Part of the framework is to do investigations of topics. They are more disciplined, more kind, more understanding, and we hope this will become the language of the school.”
Completion of an IB diploma means graduating from an IB accredited high school. From there, the IB diploma is internationally recognized, and students are able to apply to a university anywhere in the world, without having to go through extra paperwork or tests.
And Montera eighth-grader and student body president Maxwell Stern said he was excited for IB to officially come to Montera.
“I believe that the IB program will definitely make Montera more popular,” Maxwell said. “I believe it’ll make Montera stand out among other middle schools in Oakland because not many other schools have this.”
He added that he’s noticed that some people have a negative view of Montera, and he hopes the IB accreditation will help change their minds.
“Give Montera a chance before you look at other schools. It’s a great school here in Montclair and a lot of good things are happening on campus,” he said. “It’s nice having a neighborhood public school and I think it’s important that people support the local school and support public education.”
By September, Montera will be set to have every class be an IB class. For the school, it’s been a two-year process and the official IB status is much anticipated.
“Overall, the hope is that we’re building not just academic skills but character,” Avent said. “Part of IB is that everyone has an opinion, and everyone is working together to prepare for this global world we live in.”
Source: The Montclarion, February 24, 2017
Substantial budget cuts needed to right the financial ship of the Oakland Unified School District will not be made at the district’s school sites, administrators assured parents at a Feb. 15 meeting.
But the public had plenty of questions for interim Superintendent Devin Dillon, Vernon Hal, the district’s senior business officer, and Nina Senn, who represents District 4 on the school board. The meeting was held at Montera Middle School, where Senn is a parent. Hal began by defining the projected deficit and how it came about.
“I’m always asked ‘How did we get here?’ ” he said. “And I always ask the question, ‘What do you think ‘here’ is?’ ”
The total amount needed to be cut from next year’s district budget is around $8 million rather than the $30 million many parents had heard about, he said. The deficit was caused by a variety of factors, including changes in state funding and unexpected declining enrollment that cuts the amount of state money the district gets based on student attendance. Enrollment is expected to drop next year as well, Hal said.
Source: The Montclarion, February 3, 2017
Oakland Unified School District got its first official middle school cheerleading team this year started by a parent at Montera Middle School.
The team currently is made up of 28 sixth- to eighth-grade girls. And it’s not just athletics — but academics — that form the center of the team. Since its start in September, the team has raised their collective GPA from a 2.2 to a 3.1.
“I honestly thought it was going to be six cute little girls in uniforms and whatever, but we had 60 girls show up to tryouts,” coach Dunia Wilder said.
Wilder has a daughter in sixth grade at Montera. She was motivated to begin a cheerleading team when she saw that her daughter, who she described as “super girly,” wanted an athletic outlet but didn’t want to participate in teams the school already had.
After an enthusiastic turnout for tryouts, Wilder and her assistant coaches Kia Conrad and Claudia Gutierrez whittled the team down to its current size, and divided the team into two groups.
Wilder noted that many of the girls who have joined the team are girls who were otherwise feeling unengaged in school, but said the team has given them a community to rally around.
Our new Concerned Black Men CARES Mentoring Program at Montera was featured in a recent Oakland Local article. Participating students are paired with mentors and also meet weekly for lunchtime workshops providing academic enrichment, career exploration and teaching life skills. Click here to see the full article.