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Oakland Unified School District students, families excited as classes resume

Oakland students begin school a week early to make up for missed time
Oakland students begin school a week early to make up for missed time 04:04

OAKLAND — Oakland was alive with excitement on Monday as students, parents, and grandparents celebrated the much-anticipated return to school.

Among them was Abraham, accompanied by his grandmother Maria de Jesus, embarking on his first day at Allendale Elementary School in Oakland.

"On the initial day, kids often feel a bit unsure until they settle back into the classroom, but he's thrilled," Alvarez said.

Abraham is just one of over 34,000 students within the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD), spanning 77 elementary, middle, and high schools. Notably, OUSD's academic year kicked off a week ahead of other local districts.

This back-to-school moment follows the resolution of a seven-day strike that unfolded in May, temporarily keeping Oakland Unified School District students out of class. The district and the teachers' union eventually reached an agreement, ensuring students could return to their studies.

For many, the new school year signifies a fresh beginning. Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell joined students during a recess at Allendale Elementary, noting, "I'm excited as school starts, and you can feel the energy. Kids are thrilled to be back, and the staff is busy setting expectations and fostering a sense of community."

Johnson-Trammell explained the reason behind the early school year start, a practice in place for six years. Aligning OUSD's calendar with the local community college system enables high school students to access additional courses, certifications, and college classes.

Alvarez expressed her support for the early start, stating, "It's beneficial for kids to acclimate to school and reduce any apprehensions."

Superintendent Johnson-Trammell highlighted this school year's priorities, which encompass enhancing public safety, bolstering mental health services and addressing academic and financial challenges.

Ultimately, the focus remains on enriching the experiences of families like Abraham's, showcasing the positive impact of a spirited return to school activities.

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