When the District Gets it Right- Study Abroad for Flatlands kids

When Thrival Academy’s co founder described their program, a year abroad for 20 Oakland kids, studying and learning about the culture of a faraway land and themselves through academic internships, I thought it was a great idea.

But the District would never approve it.  There are a million reasons to say no and only one reason to say yes—it’s good for kids.

But that is not usually what it’s about.

Sometimes, I am happy to be wrong, and to eat my words, eating crow can taste good.  By all accounts the school is on track to open in the Fall, and just ironing out the final details.  They didn’t even have to go the charter route, but are doing it within the District, which is usually where good ideas go to die.

This is great news for Oakland families.  Many students literally live within their neighborhoods.  Though San Francisco is only a train away, I was always shocked by how many of our students went there for the first time with our schools. This is what the schools should be doing.  Opening worlds and options for students, engaging them in their passions.

You want to engage a kid, take them Thailand.  And no it’s not for everyone, but it will be an amazing an unforgettable experience for some kids.

And Thrival did not cherry pick, it’s Mac, Fremont, Castlemont and MetWest students that will get this opportunity.

Kids and families are excited. I loved the story of kid at Castlemont who had bonded with his father around Muay Thai fighting.  This young man just lit up, shocked and elated that he could do an internship that studied his passion, in Thailand.

Our kids don’t get these opportunities, I could bemoan the “fake classes” all year subs, and all the problems in OUSD.  But this is a win for our kids, and I applaud the district for embracing it.

Right now this crow is tasting like crab.

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