By: Lateefah Edmondson Pamela Tapia
Bonita Tindle and Sarai Cornejo
What do you need from high school to be successful in college?
Usually high schools are classified based on factors ranging from class size to parent involvement. That’s not enough. High schools, like homes, have an obligation to provide students with the mindset to succeed in college.
At McClymonds, we should begin by confronting home-related issues, such as poverty, alcoholism, drug abuse, and lack of parenting. We need to feel safe, healthy, engaged, and committed to our future. We need to have more options in classes, more career paths to explore (in the arts and sciences) and more qualified teachers, who are specialists in their academic area.
After McClymonds split into two small schools, the aftermath of the school board’s decision had an overbearing effect on the students, parents, and staff. The schools were forced to reduce their enrollment leading to cuts in funding. Students had to travel outside of the only school in West Oakland to attend other schools.
“ Most students need motivation,” said Asia Hill, 16, junior.
Students at McClymonds seem to lack the most critical requirement of all: motivation. The lack of motivation causes insecurity in students thereby increasing the possibility of not going to college or dropping out of high school. According to a group of McClymonds students, adults in their lives, including teachers and parents, don’t provide them with motivation or assurance of their success in their future, making it difficult for them to believe in themselves.
In West Oakland, where violence is present every day, making the surrounding environment unsafe, the fear of losing a loved one to gang violence threatens students’ academic success because it distracts their concentration. In the very first days of 2011, one student’s brother was already gunned down in front of a corner store just one block away from school. Students mourning the 22-year-old man’s death created a disruption in learning for many students who have a relationship with the family.
Outside of failing to provide moral support, Mack fails to provide advanced classes that will give students a head start in college.
“ We need more advanced placement classes so I can be more on a college level,” said Kenya Lee-Fletcher, 18, senior.
Mack offers only one AP class — in English — compared to Oakland High, which offers AP classes in almost every subject. Students who take the only advanced placement class at McClymonds all feel that the class is taught at the same level as a regular non-AP class at other highly funded schools.
McClymonds high school needs an immense amount of support and funding to provide help to its students. High schools provide essential skills and tools necessary to foster a successful college experience. Schools like McClymonds should lay the groundwork by giving students the necessary tools to succeed in college and in their professional careers.