Sour Note: Oakland Unified Closes COVA Music School For Poor Academics
(BANT) – Oakland Unified School District board members said they have voted to revoke the charter for an elementary school in the Oakland hills that focuses on music because they said academic performance data shows significant deficiencies in performance there.
District leaders said they found that the Conservatory of Vocal and Instrumental Arts (COVA), a charter school located at 3800 Mountain Blvd. that teaches students in kindergarten through eighth grade, has an unsound educational program.
The school board’s denial of COVA’s renewal application means that the school will no longer be authorized by the district to operate after its term expires at the end of this month.
The school board said its decision means that nearly 200 families are now working to find new schools for their students for this fall.
“This is an unfortunate situation, but our responsibility is to ensure all Oakland students receive the best possible education whether they attend a district-run school or a charter school,” Board of Education president James Harris said in a statement.
“Because of all the problems this school had, we had no choice but to deny its renewal application,” Harris said. “Our other schools are more than ready to welcome the affected students for the 2017-18 school year.”
School board members said the underlying problems at COVA are illustrated by several indicators:
–Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) test scores decreased from 2014-15 to 2015-16 in math for white and black students and in English language arts for black and socio-economically disadvantaged Hispanic
–Schoolwide Academic Performance Index (API) scores decreased by 20 points.
–There was a lack of effective leadership and a high teacher attrition rate, which grew to 78 percent in the past year.
–There was a 20 percent decrease in student enrollment from 2015-16 to 2016-17 and an 18 percent decrease during the 2016-17 school year.
–The school’s policies were poor, as were its governance, fiscal management and operations.
The school board said the families of some of the remaining students at COVA have already started looking for other schools in the school district.
Any families who haven’t started the enrollment process yet are encouraged by the district to do so as soon as possible because schools are filling up quickly.
School district staff members are compiling a list of available schools from which families can choose for their students to attend.
In addition, the district’s enrollment office will be open from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on June 28 to process applications exclusively for COVA families.