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Building Networks that Support Learning

Building Networks that Support Learning



With a background in Computer Science, Emmanuel Onyeador is used to building networks that manage the needs of people.


Emmanuel Onyeador About 12 years ago, the Oakland Technical High School teacher decided to “make my passion my life” by joining OTHS as the teacher tasked with launching a computer science academy “because the students were interested and it’s what I love to do.”


“I had been working since college for corporations and the government and I joined OUSD as a math teacher before coming to Oakland Tech where people were excited about finding a computer science teacher who knew what to do,” Emmanuel said. “You have to be very passionate about teaching like I am to say, ‘Hey, we need to be teaching these systems to our students and helping them find new opportunities,’ and that’s very difficult to find a computer science teacher who is willing to give up high salaries.”


The formation of the academy has led to a network of Oakland Tech students who are now experiencing the rewarding challenges of Computer Science including his students winning the Judges Award at the the 2015 Silicon Valley Regional in San Jose.


The award is another accolade in an ever-expanding and increasingly successful program at Oakland Tech. Five years ago, when the Robotics Course was started at OTHS, Emmanuel’s students won first place at a regional competition. The next year, his students entered the national robotics competition in San Jose - where they were picked as New Competitor’s Award out of 15 teams with a robot that shot basketballs.


“These kids decided that we should do the big one - the national stage in San Jose with 65 schools and it’s just huge after we did so well the first year and it was very exciting to see the kids getting involved,” Emmanuel said. “It was different in so many ways like for the first time we are seeing schools that build $20,000 robots and that year was very challenging because of all the time I had to go to Home Depot and get pipes or parts that the team needed.”


His students are the only people being noticed from the Computer Science Academy. Emmanuel is currently one of 40 teachers in the country piloting new CS Curriculum with universities such as Harvard, Stanford, and MIT, to write new Advanced Placement testing that will debut in 2017. He hopes new partnerships between OUSD and technology companies, such as Intel, will help expand CS opportunities for Oakland’s students. Rev. Jesse Jackson also stopped by Emmanuel's classroom to visit with him and students, view the student projects and speak at an assembly during a tour of Oakland Technical High on May 27.


“It’s very difficult when I do my recruitment and I have to stop at 60 because I can’t take anymore than the infrastructure we have in the academy can support,” he said. “I look around and I’m seeing new hope in the district and I think it’s a great time to be teaching computer science because there are positive people in the district who step up and support computer science programs in Oakland schools.”