Elmhurst Community Prep and Alliance Academy choose new name

Students, staff, and families continue to make plans for the upcoming school merger, where Alliance Academy and Elmhurst Community Prep will combine to form a new, larger, and better middle school. Before the holidays, the schools completed a three-month process to select a name for the newly constituted school.

First, staff from both schools met and engaged in a design process to identify the priorities and values they wanted to see in a new name. Staff identified their top three as: 1) historic; 2) connected to community; and 3) simple and direct. Students repeated the process in advisory and identified their top three: 1) historic; 2) connected to community; and 3) empowering. Staff and students had almost the identical priorities.

From there, the Design Team met and developed out three name choices, keeping the historic school name “Elmhurst” in all of the name choices. Student government and staff leaders planned a Town Hall assembly for both schools, sharing the three names the Design Team proposed as well as the additional name the Family Leadership Team brainstormed. Then everyone voted, and after the votes were counted, we had identified the new name for next school year:


Family Resource Center renovations complete!

Over the past year the Movement Church, an Oakland-based group, has used the Elmhurst Community Prep auditorium for its services each Sunday morning. This March, the church donated appliances, furniture and numerous volunteer hours in service of refreshing the ECP/Alliance Family Resource Center. Take a look at the redesign below, and stop by campus to see the all the new features and community resources that our team has available for you!

Support Elmhurst Community Prep

Like many urban public schools, Elmhurst relies heavily on grants and fund-raising to provide the best possible educational program for our community. You can help!

    • DONATE ONLINE HERE.  In the Leave a Comment box, please write “Donation to Elmhurst Community Prep.”
    • DONATE WITH A CHECK or SIGN UP TO VOLUNTEER through the Oakland Public Education Fund.  Your donations go directly to providing additional Chromebooks for our scholars or providing new uniforms for our student athletes.  If you write a check, please write “Donation to Elmhurst Community Prep” on the Memo line.
    • ESCRIP By registering at Escrip, purchases made at online retailers like Amazon or grocery stores like Safeway earn donations for ECP.
    • BOX TOPS FOR EDUCATION Collect and turn-in Box Tops to support ECP! Box Tops can be found on many office, cereal, and baking products.   box tops

Elmhurst shows tremendous growth in School Performance Framework!

The Oakland Unified School District released its latest round of the School Performance Framework (SPF). This report analyzes school quality in both academic performance and school climate and culture, including recent SBAC and SRI scores, chronic absence, suspensions, and student/ staff/ family surveys.

For the 2014-2015 school year, ECP had an overall score of 1.91 placing the school in the bottom tier. Of the 22 schools that serve students in grades 6-8 — including 6-12 and K-8 schools — ECP ranked 20 out of 22.

“It was frustrating and embarrassing,” said Principal Betlach. “I know we are a better school than that, and we needed to work hard and focus on results.”

The current SPF, which shows performance for the 2015-2016 school year, demonstrate that teachers and school leaders did just that. ECP raised it’s overall score to 3.43 an increase of 1.52 points, moving the school up to Tier-III. More exciting still, the school improved it’s overall standing among middle schools to #6 in the District, behind only Hillcrest, Brewer, Life, Greenleaf, and Claremont.

“We’re excited,” said Principal Betlach. “This is really validates the hard work of our amazing staff, and it sends a message to the community.”

Highlights include tremendous improvements in English SBAC performance, 8th grade high school readiness, chronic absence, and suspensions.

Asked what message he thought this report sent, Principal Betlach elaborated: “If you live in Deep East Oakland, you don’t have to go searching about for a quality school. You don’t have to leave your neighborhood or leave the district. ECP is here for your child. We are a safe, stable, high-functioning school, and we get better every year.”

You can find the full report below.


Ms. Flores-Schustack Honored for Excellence in Teaching

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.”


Elmhurst Students Honor Black History

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.


Winter Sports Begin at ECP


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!

ECP Students Participate in Bay Area Debate Tournaments


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.