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Oakland High School Community School Partnerships Create a Culture of Health

 
Oakland High School Community School Partnerships Create a Culture of Health 
Over 20 partners help to provide opportunities and support to OHS
                                                       
 
SHOP 55 - Oakland High School Wellness Center 
 

"I know all of you have just come from long flights, close your eyes and breath, ding…ding…ding…"
 The Tibetan Singing Bowl calmed the group from the Community Schools Leadership Network Retreat, who selected to take the Oakland High School (OHS) site visit on October 24, 2016. The meditation leader, Senior, Terrilyn Williams, successfully used the mindfulness practice to calm the CSLN visitors. The meditation exercise is routinely used at OHS Public Health Academy as a stress reduction technique. Shortly after meditation, counselors, students, and administrators shared how the community schools strategy was making a positive impact at OHS.
 
Vonzele Reed, Assistant Principal of OHS led the presentation and directly connected the school’s success to SHOP 55 also known as the Wellness Center. SHOP55 is a partnership between Oakland High School and local community agencies that provide physical health, mental health, internships, academic support, and youth development services to students.
 
"The adults that work within the Wellness Center are seen as mentors for students. This really helps students and their families see our building as a community center; a place that is not just interested in educating but also supporting students," states Vonzele Reed, Assistant Principal

Oakland High School staff panelist

According to Terrilyn Williams, the Wellness Center played a pivotal role in the healing process of her Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
 
"Freshman year I felt like everyone was talking about me. I was also bullied virtually all the time. I was provided a counselor and case manager, from the East Bay Asian Youth Center, an organization that partners with the Wellness Center. I told the assigned counselor how I felt about myself and she took my hand and guided me through freshman year. I was crying every day but she was the one person who had words of wisdom. Although she does not work here anymore we still have a good relationship from a distance."
 
OHS serves over 1,500 scholars of African American, Asian, Filipino and Latino descent. All 10th - 12th Grade students are enrolled into one of six Academies: the Kephera Academy (African-American Manhood Development), the Environmental Sciences Academy, the Public Health Academy, Project Lead the Way, Social Justice & Reform (which houses the AVID program), Newcomers Program, or the Visual Arts & Academics Academy. 
 
The success of the students enrolled in these academies is determined by OHS’s ability to deliver an excellent education in a safe environment so that each student has a foundation for pursuing personal and social growth and high academic achievement. The Wellness Center is helping to deliver these results one student at a time. For example, one of Oakland High Schools goals is to increase graduation rates by all students to 70% of the senior class at the end of the 16 – 17 school year. The goal for the 15 – 16 school year was 65%. OHS managed to reach a baseline of 61% missing their goal by just 4%. The Wellness Center is helping to increase student’s well-being, equity and community spirit at Oakland High.  
 
The community schools strategy focuses on driving a culture of health through successful partnerships. Working collaboratively helps to drive wellness and academic services offered to the students at Oakland High. 
 
In case you are wondering how the partnership process is executed, Martin C. Young, Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) Partnerships Manager for Community Schools, states 

"OUSD Partnerships Office is looking to connect with all outside partner organizations and individuals that enter our school sites. Essentially, we ask partners to one create a formal agreement with OUSD including verification of staff clearance process and commercial liability insurance, and secondly register in our partner database." For more information about OUSD partnership process please click here.
 
In addition to the Wellness Center, OHS also has a Future Center, ran by the OUSD Health Services team. Counselors and case managers are employed by a variety of local agencies and organizations. These partners are helping students to thrive. Some of the services include:
• Post high school advising
• College application support
• Financial Aid application support 
• Scholarship support 
• ACT/SAT Prep
 
The Future Center primary goal is to help ensure students receive financial aid and attend college. The center strategically identifies students who would get full rides and work with institutions throughout the state to secure their admission into college. In 2016 58% of seniors indicated they were planning to enroll in a community college, a 20% increase from the previous year. 62% more seniors indicated they will or have applied to a California State University compared to 36% in 2015. 
 
Oakland High School partnerships are helping future student leaders obtain a culture of achievement, health, and wellness. Vonzele Reed, Assistant Principal realizes that a lot of the successes for OHS come from the achievement of students who have benefited from the Wellness Center. 
 
"The Wellness Center creates after-school programming, that helps develop strong positive peer relationships that ultimately impact their relationships with adults as well." states Assistant Principal, Vonzele Reed.
 
OHS suspensions have decreased by 45%, and 31% more students believe they have a better relationship with the teaching staff, thanks to the Wellness Center positive influence on the students. 
Senior Terrilyn is grateful for the health and wellness partners and teachers at OHS who are continuing to have a positive impact in how she handles her stress. 
 
"The mindfulness practice was something that I did for extra credit. For Senior year. Now, it’s not about getting extra credit. I noticed that it helped me! Especially junior year… I needed it. When I feel my muscles tensing up and I need to center myself. I’m not the only one who needs it. A lot of students come in with a lot of stress. We need that oxygen to help our brains function properly. When I feel stressed before I do my homework I do the mindfulness practice."
 
 For more information about Oakland High School please click here. To view OHS community school strategy results click here
 
Oakland High School Community School Partnerships Create a Culture of Health Senior, Terrilyn Williams, successfully used the mindfulness practice to calm the CSLN visitors
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