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Excellence and Equity in Action at Alameda Unified School District

By Elizabeth R. Elstien

Serving preschool through high school and adult education students in Alameda for over 150 years, the suburban Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) wants every student to have a world-class education. The AUSD's mission is "to effectively use our limited resources to ensure that every child succeeds." Succeed, they do.

AUSD has nearly 10,000 students from a diverse cultural population, about one-quarter of whom are non-native English speakers. These challenges don't stop faculty from putting AUSD on top. Alameda and Encinal High Schools are rated two of the top 1,500 high schools in the country by U.S. News and World Report and many graduates go on to attend some of the most prestigious tertiary institutions.

But that's not all, as Community Affairs Senior Manager Susan Davis points out: "Our test scores are generally higher than the county and state average, and our academic, athletic, and visual and performing arts programs continue to attract a wide diversity of students." AUSD ideals are encouraged by numerous academic and enrichment classes and support services, as well as many extracurricular activities.

To prepare for personal and professional life, students are taught creativity, innovation, critical thinking and problem solving, communication and collaboration, information and media literacy, as well as global and environmental awareness without compromising AUSD's strict academic focus. "More specifically," notes Davis, "all of our elementary and middle schools have 'character education' programs that teach and encourage our students to develop life skills that in themselves contribute to leadership. Our middle and high schools also have stringent community service requirements and offer leadership classes, as well as clubs and other activities devoted to raising money and volunteering for a broad array of social, environmental, and economic causes."

Offering a variety of programs at each grade level, including science-based innovative and magnet programs, is a big part of the district's success. AUSD's belief in neighborhood schools for youth in the elementary grades is another factor. Its 10 community-centered elementary schools let younger students learn close to home allowing many to walk or bike to school.

Alameda Adult School is especially helpful for those 18 and older who request help learning English or need to get a high school diploma equivalency. English as a Second Language (ESL), High School Equivalency Test (HISET) and General Education Development (GED) tests are all administered here, as well as classes to prepare to pass them. With such a high percentage of ethnicities in the community, this adult learning place is a boon for parents born abroad looking to improve their education.

"Excellence & Equity for All Students" is the motto of AUSD. It's a motto that all staff, no matter the school, works hard to accomplish each and every day.

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About The Author

Elizabeth R. Elstien has worked in real estate for over 15 years as a real estate...

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