Diana Arbas, 27, is a student teacher at Oakland High School. She’s in a masters program at Mills College, where in order to earn her degree, she has to tackle a real classroom. Diana has the guidance of a more experienced teacher, known as a Cooperating Teacher, but the goal is for her to be able to stand on her own.
Oakland’s a hard city to teach in. Oakland High is in East Oakland. The student body is made up of kids with very diverse backgrounds, many from the poorest neighborhoods in the city. Not all come to the ninth grade ready to tackle that level of work.
Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) has seen its share of upheaval over the past decade. In 2003, the state took control of OUSD after a series of financial missteps. In 2009, local control was returned to the district – with the understanding that it would pay back nearly $90 million in debt to the state. That was two days before Tony Smith took office as superintendent.
The band you’re hearing now calls themselves Crosscut. Most of the players are from the Bay Area, but their sound is influenced by the Blues – blues from Chicago, Memphis and the Mississippi Delta. Crosscut will be playing music from their album, also called “Crosscut,” on Wednesday (06.12). The free show is part of this year’s “Union Square Live” program, at – where else? - San Francisco’s Union Square. They’re on stage from 6 to 8pm.