Last Tuesday, the Oakland Unified School District honored 42 employees from across sectors at an annual event entitled “Honoring Our Own.” Among this year’s honorees was ECP’s own 7th grade English Teacher Mara Flores-Schustack. An eight-year veteran, Ms. Flores-Schustack was one of eight teachers given a Teaching Excellence award.
Board President James Harris introduced Ms. Flores-Schustack, saying: “Mara Flores-Schustack creates warm, inviting classroom spaces, where students are pushed to work collaboratively, read extensively, and write fluently. She provides the structure and supports necessary for students to achieve at high levels, and consistently reflects upon and refines her practice in order to reach more kids and push them further. As a colleague, Mara knows we are borne forward on the strength of our professional relationships, and she consistently demonstrates the power of collaboration and working together to create the best possible learning experiences for our young people. She is a true model of professionalism and excellence. ”
In accepting the award, Ms. Flores-Schustack said, “ECP is a true community, and I am honored to work there every day.”
On Friday, February 26, ECP students packed the school’s auditorium for a weekly Town Hall. The topic this week was a celebration of Black History. Principal Betlach started off the event by acknowledging that society sets aside February as a time to honor the contributions of African-Americans throughout history, but that we ought to study and recognize the contributions of all groups of people throughout the year. “The history of one group of people, is the history of us all,” he said.
Ms. Council, affectionately known as Coach T, then too the mic and introduced the performance.
Then, the ECP dancers took the stage.
Coach T.’s performers re-emerged for the next act, holding signs which read “Rest in Peace Oscar Grant” and “Rest in Peace Trayvon Martin.” Ms. Lucero performed a praise dance and at the end of the ceremony, Ms. Shepherd lead students in honoring fallen and departed ancestors.
Check out the entire performance on ECP’s YouTube channel.
The winter sport season got off to a great start for the student-athletes at Elmhurst Community Prep. Building off the success of last season, which saw the girls make it to the play-offs and post the highest team-GPA in the school, The girls soccer team has started 3-0. ECP girls have posted a goal differential of +15 during that three game span.
Boys soccer won their first game 7-1. In their next two games, they have been unable to duplicate that success, but have continued to score goals, and have an even goal differential.
The basketball team is excited to hit the court, and have posted a 2-0 record behind two different forfeits. Hopefully, their opponents will meet the Elmhurst Eagles on the court before the end of the year!
Elmhurst Community Prep students are participating in the inaugural year of the Bay Area Middle School Urban Debate League. The fall debate topic was the Syrian refugee crisis. Eagle Debaters prepared arguments for both the pro and con side of the resolve statement: “Countries should prioritize the humanitarian needs of refugees over national interests.”
So far, Eagle Debaters have participated in two tournaments against other middle school students from San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland. In the second tournament, Mahason Nagi and Juan Sura came in 7th in the debate pair category while Donna Arce-Moreno and Jayla Brumfield came in 14th and 13th overall in the individual speaker category.
A new topic will be announced soon for the spring debate season. At that point, Eagle Debaters will be hard at work gathering evidence, analyzing sources, and constructing arguments for the next tournament, scheduled for March.
Last week, the Atlantic published a long article on Elmhurst Community Prep’s work to hire–and keep–amazing educators. It is a great look at a difficult, complex situation. You can read it here!