The OSA Newsletter: October 2020
Letter from the Executive Director:

To the OSA Community,

We will soon be completing the first quarter of the 2020-2021 school year. Through distance learning, we are navigating our classes, office hours, advisory, school assemblies, meetings and special events. It is challenging; however, we are working closely as a community to connect to one another by building relationships and partnerships to provide the best educational opportunities for our young people. I would like to extend a thank you to our staff, teachers,
administration and board who are aligning their work to support our 800-plus 6th-12th grade student body.

I have been meeting with leaders from different arts schools throughout the country to discuss the common challenges within our schools. These include but are not limited to: local, state and federal cuts in funding, managing the health and wellness of our community during the COIVD-19 pandemic, and supporting our community during this time of social injustice.

Martin Luther King stated “now is the time to bend the arc of the moral universe towards justice.” These words, spoken fifty years ago, continue to resonate as we witness injustice throughout the world. There are daily headlines in the news of inequality and discrimination, and people want to see change. After the court ruling where not a single officer was charged in the murder of Breonna Taylor, our students, staff and community mourned and we asked ourselves, where do we go from here?

We can be guided by those who stood before us and made progressive change. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a central icon who broke many barriers by reshaping the nation’s laws protecting women’s rights and equalities. Lisa Mascaro, reporter from the Associated Press, shared that she was “small in stature, large in history.” As we mourned as a nation when learning that RBG lost her battle to cancer, we are suddenly reminded of the incredible power one person can contribute to create change.

In this election year, we are encouraging our entire OSA community to get out and VOTE! 100% voter turnout in our OSA community is key. To learn more about Oakland’s local election please keep reading for an update from our amazing OSA parents on the Advocates Committee. There are four OUSD School Board seats open. Please feel free to learn more about the candidate’s individual platform so that you can make an informed decision.

OSA is holding two special events in October. An open invitation is extended to both events!

OSA Quarterly Reflection is a community event being held on Tuesday, October 6th from 5:00-6:30. You will hear from many members of the OSA community. Our purpose is to reflect on the past quarter of school, share adaptations being made heading into the next quarter, and to open some doors for you to meet other parents and OSA community members.

OSA Creates! is the fall kick-off of our annual online fundraising drive! This important event takes place on October 20th from 6:30 - 8:00 PM and is an exciting evening of student performances and uplifting stories of the amazing work happening at OSA for the coming year and beyond. More details are shared in this newsletter, below.

This October OSA newsletter is comprised of a wealth of information that includes valuable information regarding all aspects of the school. We hope you enjoy getting caught up on all the news. I look forward to working with our families and community throughout the 2020-2021 school year.

Lisa Sherman-Colt
Lisa Sherman-Colt
Executive Director
Oakland School for the Arts
Letter from the Principal:

Greetings OSA Families,

Please note that there will be modified schedules for the next two weeks due to shortened weeks. You can access the modified schedules on the school website. We ask that you review these schedules with your students at home to help us minimize potential confusion.

Thank you to everyone who completed the Remote Learning Survey we sent out a couple of weeks back. An analysis of this feedback along with student survey responses and faculty input has given our team a clear picture of both the successes and challenges of our current program. Though we are very pleased with the high student engagement and remarkable teacher dedication thus far, we are placing our attention on the supports that are needed to sustain this success. With this in mind, there will be some slight shifts to our weekly schedule and school policies for quarter 2. Our entire faculty is collaboratively engaged in this redesign process and details will be shared with our community in the coming days.

Thank you all for your continued support,

Mike Oz
Mike Oz
Oakland School for the Arts
Advancement News:

Event Date Change!
Because of the 2nd presidential debate, we have changed the date of
OSA Creates! A Benefit and Community Celebration for Oakland School for the Arts to Tuesday, October 20, 2020 from 6:30 - 8:00 PM

Join us for a free virtual evening full of art, performance, and community!

6:30-7:00 pm Virtual Lounge with galleries and performances
7:00-8:00 pm Featured student performances, guest speakers, and school presentation hosted by DJ Yo Girl Delores of 102.9 KBLX!
Links for Virtual Lounge and Main Event coming soon! 

RSVP today!

A Message from Advancement
The Office of Advancement has officially launched the Annual Fund Campaign for the 2020/21 school year. Thank you to all who have already donated! This year's Annual Fund Campaign is even more crucial as we continue to provide our successful remote learning program for both academics and arts. 

You should have received a letter and Annual Fund brochure in the mail. You can donate online, or by check using the remit form that came in the mail - there are many ways to donate

Each year we strive for 100% family participation in the Annual Fund, and currently we have a total of 12% school-wide family participation. So far, Production Design is in the lead with 25% of families that have contributed to the Annual Fund already this year!

The OSA Creates! Benefit on Tuesday, October 20th will be a virtual fundraiser and community celebration to help kick-off the Annual Fund. We look forward to seeing you there! In the meantime, learn more about how OSA is creating from home!

Would you like to help fundraise for OSA?
Visit the OSAConnects Advancement sign-up form. We welcome your support!

Please contact Annual Fund Manager, Kristin TT Robson, with any questions.
Calendar Updates
There's so much going on - please follow our school calendar to stay up to date!
Academic News:

Recent scores on the SRI reading assessment indicate that students are continuing to improve their reading skills during Remote Learning. All grades made significant gains, with students moving out of the basic range and into the proficient and advanced ranges. More than half of continuing OSA students are reading at the advanced level. On average, students in all grade levels made significant gains last spring despite the COVID closure, and students enrolled in Literacy Support made higher than average gains.  
The math department congratulates OSA students on high attendance and engagement in this challenging remote environment. We know that having class over Zoom can make things hard to follow. We encourage all struggling students to come to office hours or make an appointment with your teacher to make sure you understand what you can do to have a successful semester of math. We are here to help!
In our 6th grade Earth Sciences class, students have imagined their own towns and each built a piece of it, which we shared with each other online. As we study communities, many students mentioned that Black Lives Matter has been a major influence in their communities and by extension their daily lives, and
that change is needed in order for our modern communities to be successful. We are very glad that they were able to take the assignment to heart and really examine what is important to them, their communities, and justice!
Stay tuned as we highlight different grade level science classes in future newsletters.

Social Sciences
In World History, students just finished their border conflict projects. They were able to create informative videos and presentations to inform their peers about the different border conflicts happening currently around the world. In Economics, students completed some practical work around budgets, taxes, and other "real world" applications, and have now turned to a broader study of the field. They will be wrestling all semester with questions surrounding capitalism--where it works, where it doesn't, and what can be done to improve our economic system and make it more just. Stayed tuned for spotlights on other classes.

World Language
All Spanish classes finished their introductory lessons and are now working on talking about the classroom and activities in Spanish 1, travel by airplane in Spanish 2, and camping trips in Spanish 3. As a conclusion to the introductory lesson, all students made a short video in Spanish. In Spanish 3, students wrote and recited a poem about their identity and then recorded appreciations of each other's poems. One of these amazing poems by 10th grade student Aisha Garcia Jajeh is shared below.
Artistic News:
OSA Dance students have learned about Vaganova and Katherine Dunham, watched and reflected on Vaganova Exam videos, completed their own mid-quarter exams, received Progress Reports, and are working toward finishing the quarter strong by creating their own Q1 Goals and Action Plans. MS students are continuing to focus on their basic Dance flexibility and will begin increasing the level of difficulty of their Dance strength workouts as we move into the last part of the quarter.
HS students are challenging the honing of their instruments beyond the Basic Stretch Routine and Basic Strengthening workouts, by adding High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) to challenge and increase their stamina, and Heel in Hand stretches to focus on improving their extensions, to their Dance Conditioning regimens. Thank you to everyone who participated in our OSA Dance Mask Fundraiser which directly benefited the OSA Annual Fund, and thanks to Dance parent Olga Sanzheeva-Pezold for designing, sewing, and embroidering all the masks to raise funds for OSA!
Our next Monthly Dance Family Meeting will be Tuesday, October 13 at 7pm on Zoom--check your email for the recurring link, and hope to see you there!
Digital Media
DM is busy busy busy collaborating with Vocal, Visual Art, Literary, and Instrumental for the upcoming OSA Creates! fundraiser on October 20th. One of our Seniors, Thomas Williamson, designed the flyer and postcard for the event and both our Middle School and High School are working on Election Posters for this upcoming election.
Our next DM Family Meeting will be Wednesday October 14th at 6:00 - see you on Zoom!
Fashion Design
Fashion Design is excited to report that with the help of our parents and community, all fashion students now have a sewing machine at home! Thank you to all who helped to make this happen. Also, we were able to get dress forms in the homes of all fashion high school students, and Ms. Linda has been able to teach a draping course for the high school. It's so good to be able to step away from the computer a little and create with our hands again!
Instrumental Music
All of OSA IM’s projects are making headway. We are set to share at the now scheduled remote concerts this winter: Dec 9th 6pm (Strings Winter Recital), Dec 10th 6-8pm (OSA Piano Recital), Dec 12th 2pm (OSA Instrumental Music Presents), Dec 16th 6pm (AP&E Listening Party).
IM is pleased to announce that our very own faculty, Kev Choice, is featured very prominently in the San Francisco Symphony's latest Currents series. It includes conversations of expression, racial, and social justice, and meetings of hip hop and classical music. 
Literary Arts
The September issue of the OSA Telegraph is live! Check out stories written by both middle school & high school journalists on everything from Distance Learning and Anti-Racism in OSA classrooms, to how COVID-19 is affecting everyone from students, incarcerated people, to Native American Communities. Plus, reviews on podcasts, movies, TV shows, & even the RNC—& more!
Check it out!
Production Design
Middle school students learned about Surrealism by coming up with a surrealism idea or concept, and creating a collage composition that represented their view of the city and their state of mind (images left and center, below). We are now working on a more advanced collage where students reflect on their identity by putting together a composition that is a personal view and art work, and next week we'll be using this collage as a launchpad to learn Photoshop. High school students finished the revised color set design for the upcoming Theatre production of 'Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead' (right image below) and they are now using this color design to learn Photoshop software and create the same design in a photo-realistic way.
We look forward to seeing you at our monthly PD parent meeting on October 13th from 6:30 - 7:30 (zoom link will be emailed)!
Theatre is in full swing! Our classes are in the midst of training and projects. Middle school is building community and foundational theatrical tools, including performance, concentration, and physical awareness. Our extensive high school program is preparing for performance assessments for quarter one. Mr. Abrams is directing our spring play, 'Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead,' by Tom Stoppard, which is currently in rehearsals.
As the school year gets underway, our visual students are putting their talent to work in a whole range of projects and styles. In middle school our 6th graders are looking to Inuit designs in their exploration of line and shape and the 7th and 8th graders are exploring value through mark-making. In high school our 9th graders are creating invented compositions inspired by the human figure, while the 12th graders are looking at the figure through the lens of gesture drawing. Our 10th and 11th grade classes are recording history as it happens, with watercolor and pastel drawings of Oakland skies turning strange colors and creating posters to get out the vote!
Vocal Music has just started using two new online sources: SightReadingFactory which builds skills for sight reading rhythm, melody, and harmony, and should help all students improve their aural skills and Soundtrap for Education, which was bought for the department to be able to record in large groups. We will be learning how to use this in the next few weeks and look forward to recording together!
Also, get ready to see vocal students as part of OSA Creates! OSA Vocal student songwriters will be heard as part of the OSA Creates virtual lounge and One Voice is preparing a music video in collaboration with Digital Media! Hope to see you there!
CTE Pathways
Dr. Delores Thompson has put together an amazing Artist Speaker Series for our students from a wide variety of artistic talents. Check out the detailed list of speakers and dates, above, and be sure to mark your calendars! This series is part of our ongoing plan as a Linked Learning Pathway school to ensure college and career readiness for our students, as well as to create opportunities for mentorships, internships, and other collaborations.
Get out and vote - OSA Advocates Committee

Hello OSA Families & Students!

Did you know you can pre-register to vote at 16, and can cast a vote at 18? Some of our OSA students may be eligible to help decide the future of our country! Make your voice heard and register to vote TODAY if you haven't done so already.

There's a lot happening in local and state politics this November, as well as on the national stage. We feel it's important for families to be informed so you can make a choice that's right for your family. For example, there are FOUR open seats up for election on the OUSD Board of Education. As many of you who helped support our charter renewal may remember, those are the folks who determine the future of our school every five years at our renewal. We will never make a recommendation or endorse a candidate, and simply urge you to learn more to make a choice that supports your child. If 100% of OSA families get out to vote, what a difference we could make!

Student Support Team Updates
OSA's Parenting During Distance Learning Support hour is hosted by school psychologist Dr. Erica Wandner on Thursdays 4-5 pm. This is a time to talk about the many challenges of parenting your middle or high schooler during Distance Learning. This hour is morphing more into a 1:1 15-20 minute individual consultation time. Please bring any question, stress, or worry you might have and we'll talk about what you and/or your student need right now. Feel free to drop-in (wait as long as you can, I will get to you) or make an appointment at
September Students of the Month!
Amber Carroll is an 8th Grader who is studying Vocal Music at OSA. She has been here since 6th Grade, and has been an exemplary student from the day she arrived. This has not changed in remote learning. One of Amber’s teachers shared, “I taught Amber for two years. She has always brought great energy and enthusiasm to class discussions and projects as well as a critical perspective that is so needed.” Another teacher succinctly noted, “I love Amber! She’s a star!” Congratulations, Amber, on being our September Student of the Month for the Middle School!
Justine Courtenay Huang is a 12th Grader in the Literary Arts Subpathway. She is an incredible student who has been with us since she started as a 6th Grader in the Visual Arts Department. As a Senior, Justine stepped up to be the leader for the College Support Club. As you can imagine, this Club provides a much needed space for those students who are preparing for college in this remote learning time. One teacher shared, "Justine is always so upbeat and encouraging, and has such a supportive spirit." Another teacher remarked, “Justine is amazing! She is leading the College Support Club as I write this!” Congratulations Justine, and thank you for all that you have brought to OSA. We appreciate you so much!
College Counseling News:
The Wednesday College Application Support sessions have been focusing on college essays. The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) opens, so we'll focus our Wednesday October 7th session on college finances and our Wednesday October 14th session on finding scholarships.
Workshops are from 4:15 to 5pm.
Seniors and senior families reach out to Ms. Snyder if you need the zoom link!

Also, 10th, 11th & 12th graders can take advantage of one-on-one meetings offered by our two counseling interns Jing Xiao and Yichen Shao. They offer essay support, college search guidance, and career/personal interest surveys.
Students in grades 10-12 can sign up for 30 minute sessions for Jing and for Yichen.
Oakland School for the Arts is pleased to announce the application period is open for our Step It Up program!

What is Step It Up?
Step it Up is one of OSA's Diversity Initiatives designed to give underserved Oakland youth in 5th-8th grades access to OSA's high quality arts instruction. Weekly after school arts classes with OSA's exceptional arts faculty take place virtually due to COVID-19. Through the study of foundational techniques in Visual Arts, Vocal Music, Theater, Literary Arts, Instrumental Music, Dance, Production Design, Fashion, and Digital Media.

Step It Up prioritizes families with students in specific Title 1 schools for placement in our program.

Step it Up incorporates active outreach into the community to engage as many of Oakland's upcoming middle and high school students as possible, informing them about the opportunity to participate in these workshops, and we are asking for your help in getting the word out! Please share this information with your friends and family who may be interested in applying to OSA, meet program criteria, and would benefit from this training.

For the 2021-22 school year, applicants to OSA audition for placement into the admissions lottery for grades 7-12 only; applicants for grade 6 apply directly via the admissions lottery.

Those who have completed the Step It Up program by attending a minimum of 9 classes receive preference in the admissions lottery.

Program Criteria:
Students in grades 5-8 at specific Title 1 Oakland schools can apply for the Step It Up program.

Step It Up Team:
Jordan Karnes - Communications
Kev Choice - Community Outreach Coordinator
Michaela Peters - On Site Coordinator/Admissions

Please contact us with any questions at!
Hey 6th grade parents!
Want to feel more connected at your student’s new school?

Looking for a way to meet other parents & guardians in a time when school and meetings are not held on campus?

Join us for a ZOOM social!
6th Grade Parents/Guardians MIXER
Bring a beverage of your choice and enjoy some time mixing with other 6th grade parents & guardians. This event is organized and facilitated by OSA parent volunteers who can support you and answer your questions!

Hosted by the OSA Ambassadors Committee
  Thursday October 8th at 7:00 PM
Accolades & Achievements
  • OSA Dance is collaborating with San Francisco Ballet School as a community partner through their Class with Community diversity outreach program.

  • Literary Arts alumni, rapper, and activist Jwalt is featured on the 106.1 KMEL Artist Spotlight with his latest song, 'Don't Fight It.'
  • Former OSA student Zendaya just made history with her Emmy win for Best Actress in a Drama, over other actresses such as Jennifer Anniston and Laura Linney, as the youngest woman to win the award. She stars in HBO's Euphoria with fellow OSA alumni Angus Cloud.
  • Ten year old Naima Nascimento made a video about the Black Lives Matter movement and protests in response to police violence this past summer, before starting as a 6th grader at OSA. Rolling Stone magazine had something good to say about it.
  • Check out the new Neflix documentary series about the Challenger Space Shuttle, Challenger, co-directed by Daniel Junge, brother of our very own Visual Arts Assistant Chair Andrew Junge! It has gotten good reviews in the NY Times and Wired, and is the third biggest show on TV right now.

  • Visual Chair Pablo Cristi and Vocal teacher Cava Menzies were featured on Yerba Buena Center for the Arts' Instagram page as part of the Fellows Cohort, with technical support from Digital Media Chair Lauren Scully, speaking about public participation and the role of the arts in the current moment.

  • Speaking of the Recording Academy (the folks who vote on the Grammy awards each year), congratulations are also in order for Instrumental Music teacher Kev Choice who was recently elected as Vice President of the San Francisco Chapter.

  • Literary Arts Chair Jordan Karnes just published another piece with The Believer Magazine for their Distancing Series, featuring the music we're listening to during quarantine. They wrote about Nina Simone's Emergency Ward album. 

We are so proud of you all and your well-deserved success!
One More Thing!
OSA still needs your help! We need to obtain a Free and Reduced Lunch (FRL) application for every household. Thank you to those who have completed it already.
Having the application on file helps you and OSA in the following ways:
  • Identification of the number of students who qualify for free and reduced lunch enables us to provide support and meals to students.
  • If your student qualifies for free and reduced-price meals, they may also qualify for fee waivers on the SAT or ACT exams, college applications, and a fee reduction on the AP exams.
  • Information provided helps us with funding and compliance reporting required by OUSD.

Below you will find the application for you to complete and return to by 5 pm on OCTOBER 5TH as well as the detailed letter that went to families on August 14, 2020 which provides additional information on the FRL program. 

If you have questions or need the application in another language please contact Ms. Jones at (510) 290-2376. 

OSA Leadership Team

FRL Application
More FRL Information
Oakland School for the Arts