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placeholder March 20, 2017   •   VOL. 55, NO. 6   •   Oakland, CA
Camps & Summer School Guide

Bishop O'Dowd's Summer Academy is open to middle school students and includes algebra, Spanish, computer science and sports medicine.

A sample of high school in a
safe environment at O'Dowd

In the summertime, the gates of Bishop O'Dowd High School's Oakland hills campus swing open to welcome students who seek to prepare for their high school careers, or take classes to advance in them or enrich them or to remediate less-than-passing grades.

Through the Bishop O'Dowd Summer Academy, those gates are also open to middle school students.

Summer Academy
Bishop O'Dowd High School
9500 Stearns Ave., Oakland
Programs for middle school students, as well as high school prep, advancement, enrichment and remediation
A middle-school students' day in the Summer Academy offers academic and co-curricular activities, as well as an hourlong small-group session entitled "O'Dowd Community Time."

During the community time, which is nestled between two morning academic offerings, students will have the opportunity to discuss, in a safe, age-appropriate way, some of the topics high school students are talking about. Themes such as health and wellness, as well as identity, race, class, power and inclusion are among them.

The topics are derived from "our fast-paced time they're going through," said Jase Turner, O'Dowd assistant principal and principal of the Summer Academy.

Turner, whose experience before O'Dowd at a K-8 school with what he described as a "robust advisory program," said the community time is a time for social and emotional development in small groups. Topics such as healthy friendships, responsibility online, and "awareness of how you are in reference to the world around you" are under consideration.

The time, which Turner said is designed to be "fun, engaging and collaborative," will be facilitated by adults, as well as peer tutors, who are O'Dowd students who have been identified as student leaders. After a few years of the academy, Turner said, it was time "to give them a more robust role."

The blueprint for community time under development also offers the topics of consent and boundaries, bullying, gender roles and social justice.

The goal of the Summer Academy, Turner said, is to give students an O'Dowd experience with a focus on the academic, reflective and co-curricular.

Academic offerings for incoming sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders include math for sixth- graders, algebra for seventh-graders and advanced algebra for eighth-graders; edible gardening; Spanish readiness for sixth-graders; advanced Spanish readiness for seventh- and eighth-graders; Reading the Write Way for seventh- and eighth-graders; principles of computer science; sports medicine for seventh- and eighth-graders; and "Doing Good," a collaboration with The Forgotten International to encourage young people to get involved in the making of a better world.

The edible gardening class will use the campus's award-winning Living Lab and Center for Environmental Studies.

Afternoon offerings include art and theater classes, as well as robotics, strength and conditioning, and sports offerings.

Many of the teachers are O'Dowd veterans, Turner said, giving students the opportunity to learn from those who might be in their classroom a few years down the road.

The academy's success in introducing students to the high school is seen in admissions applications that mention the academy or sports academy, as ways students have come to value a Bishop O'Dowd education, Turner said.

Summer Academy for middle school is offered in two sessions: June 19-30 and July 10-21.

For students seeking advancement, both online and onsite classes are offered. High school prep courses in algebra are also on the schedule.

High school enrichment courses, including assistance with essay writing, a workshop on college application essay writing and a workshop to help college seniors prepare to complete their college applications, are offered.

Students seeking to remediate grades will find a different experience from the school year, Turner said. The focus will be to "affirm the information they do know," he said.

The students' knowledge, he said, "is better than they give themselves credit for."

In smaller classes, teachers may be able to present information in a different way, with an emphasis, he said, "on the skills the student needs to take away."

"What are key formulas you need to master?" Turner asked. Some students need help with organization; some don't do homework; and some don't take the best of notes.

Summer remediation programs give them a chance to practice better study habits.

Information on all the offerings is available at www.bishopodowd.org/academics/summer-academy.

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