East Bay Innovation Academy Makes a Difference in Oakland

February 3, 2016

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EBIA, a charter public school, completed 11,000 hours of community service in East Oakland last fall

East Bay Innovation Academy (EBIA), a charter public school located in Oakland, California, opened in the fall of 2014 with a mission "to prepare a diverse group of students to be successful in college and to be thoughtful, engaged citizens who are leaders and innovators." EBIA promotes a culture that encourages students to be of service to their communities through interdependent activities.

EBIA students are succeeding and making an impact in the community. Intersession occurs three times a year (Fall, Winter and Break for 1-2 weeks at a time) and is designed as an opportunity for students to engage in hands-on learning). During intersession in the fall of 2015, just one year after opening, the school completed 11,000 hours of community service throughout East Oakland, a neighborhood where 58% of households are below twice the federal poverty level.*

Not only did EBIA students get a chance to 'pay it forward' and make a difference across 10 different projects, but the school expanded its relationships in the community. Partner organizations include Burbank Center Preschool, Sausal Creek and Chabot Space and Science Center, the Oakland Zoo, and Acta Non Verba Farm.

"Oakland Zoo Education Dept. thoroughly enjoyed working with the East Bay Innovation Academy again this past October. The students were enthusiastic and energetic, and their hard work preparing and planting our edible native garden really gave us the boost we needed to move that project forward. Students have a great work ethic and sense of volunteerism. We look forward to partnering again with them soon!" said Bo DeLong, PhD, Managing Director, Education at the Oakland Zoo.

Throughout the year, students at EBIA participate in six to eight weeks of in-depth elective classes or internships with community organizations and local businesses. The fall 2015 Intersession program was centered on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) and EBIA partnered with East Oakland nonprofit organizations to design and implement service learning projects for students. Collectively EBIA students, staff, and parent volunteers completed 11,000 hours of community service in 2015 throughout East Oakland with 345 students spending 5 hours per day for 6 days on their respective projects. From garden development to bicycle repair, EBIA students made a difference while learning.

During fall 2015, EBIA students:

  • Designed and installed a large mosaic/sensory wall on the entryway of OUSD's Burbank Center Preschool in East Oakland
  • Cleared land at OUSD's Burbank Center Preschool in East Oakland and designed, built and planted a school garden
  • Worked with Friends of Sausal Creek and Chabot Space and Science Center to support environmental restoration projects in the forest and in the lab
  • Worked at Acta Non Verba Farm in East Oakland to compost, plant vegetables, build a living wall, drainage system and clear weeds
  • Worked with Oakland Zoo staff to clear land and build a garden as a part of the zoo's education center
  • Worked with a local muralist to design and paint a mural for EBIA's 'Revolution Lab'
  • Revolution Lab: students repaired and donated over 50 bikes to Cycles of Change, supporting bike programs for East Bay youth
  • Sewing Lab: using digital embroidery and sewing skills, students made totes, pillow cases, and other items for women and families in need
  • Designed and implemented an environmental awareness and waste reduction program at EBIA
  • Created and ran a workshop for other students about social and emotional life skills

EBIA began instruction in the fall of 2014, with a sixth grade class of 150 students and a seventh grade class of 90 students. The school plans to add a grade and 100 students each year until it reaches its capacity in five years. The curriculum is focused on a project-based, blended learning model with the infusion of technology throughout the curriculum. There are 54 founding families, who donated their time and resources to opening the school. Students come from every zip code in Oakland, including East and West Oakland. EBIA will have two more Intersessions this school year. In February it will focus on innovation, applied learning "maker" projects (an education movement that uses technology to make, repair, or customize and that brings engineering, design, and computer science and the power of learning by doing into the classroom). In June students will go camping and learn about environmental education. American Community Survey, Public Use Microdata Area 502404, 2005-2008.

EBIA students at work