The Oakland Unified School District is closing another 24 schools. An extensive study of public-school closures, conducted by the National Education Policy Center, indicates that closing schools in urban communities do not save money and causes the greatest harm to the lowest income students. Of the 24 threatened schools, all are in the low-income flatland neighborhoods; zero are in the affluent hills area; zero are charter schools. The 15 schools that were already closed are also in the lower-income areas.
A lack of oversite has allowed numerous charter schools to come into the district promising new approaches and better results. This takes money out of the budgets for the public schools. Free educational options these communities desperately need are removed. Many of these Charters are driven by profits, not an educational mission. They are great at marketing with introducing pedogeological changes or innovative approaches but in most cases, it is still a traditional approach to education packaged a different way with smaller class sizes and a 3D printer.
Every child needs a rigorous, excellent education, specifically designed to help them discover the best versions of themselves and empower them to improve the quality of life for themselves and their families. There is a great opportunity for a distinctly Adventist school to lead in this 21st-century education space with a model that addresses the need for students to experience failure and learn from their own mistakes and others. Too often we are solving problems for students that they do not consider problems at all. Students need a voice and ownership of problems our society currently faces. Isolated classrooms with tech equipment and professional guest speakers are not enough. The emphasis is still on test scores (content) and not
Our aim is to open a school specifically designed to mentor and nurture growth using an Agile mindset in both character and competency. We are a diverse, inclusive, high-achieving, and fiscally sound Seventh-day Adventist institution. Through Golden Gate Academy, students will learn the latest in technical expertise, and how to apply it both conceptually and practically. We aim to evolve our core competencies by focusing heavily on nurturing positive student-teacher relationships and using them as the foundation for our educational agenda. We use a uniquely structured mentoring approach, based on Seventh-day Adventist principles, educating the whole individual on the foundation of the story of redemption.
Traditionally, Adventist education is characterized as being musically rich, focused on vocational training, service opportunities, and travel-based experiences. The new Golden Gate Academy will be no different. Incorporating our well-known health message, into a state-of-the-art food service program, students will receive breakfast and take part in making their own meals. Diet is a critical part of the education process, at the new Golden Gate Academy meals will be a part of the curriculum not a break from it.
As we incorporate strong traditions into our educational plan, we also consider innovations that reflect the excellence God has called us to embody. The new Golden Gate Academy is not only innovative and unique but also rigorous, enabling us to create a school culture beyond compare.
- What opportunities are there for students to learn from failure?
- Do our classes include collaboration between students with meaningful projects requiring at least six months to complete?
- Is there "productive struggle" academically that provides students opportunity to “figure it out” on their own?
- How often do students practice their writing and public speaking skills?
- Are students required to solve real-world problems? (eg. How can we improve our electoral college?)
- What percentage of student work is peer-reviewed or assessed by members of the community?
- Do “service projects” actually change or impact the community?
- How is math being used to develop students decision-making skills?
- Are ethics and morals intertwined in lessons daily to shape character?
- Does our intake process discover student talents and passions, leveraging to make the school and community better?
We live in a new era and we have designed a unique institution, one that is best suited to address the challenges and opportunities that will arise from now until Jesus’ soon return.
In addition to fulfilling our mission, we expect GGA to achieve a replicable model of financial sustainability within a rich, experiential learning environment. Our plan goes beyond the tuition base and includes achieving financial sustainability on a cross-section of business models both institutional and community-based. We believe strongly in exercising sound business principles, and an academic structure that integrates technology and real-world experiences for young people supported by community partners. With a calling to leadership and God’s infallible grace, we are confident in our ability to revitalize Adventist education and create a replicable model for other institutions.