Mills College

Proposed cuts at Mills spark protest

Nov 18, 2015
Ninna Gaensler-Debs

The Mills College Campus is beautiful – wide sweeping lawns, and tree-lined boulevards. It’s a tranquil place where I can picture myself reading a book in the warm sunshine, or maybe even doing interpretive dance in front of the student union – which is exactly what’s happening when I walk onto campus. 

Navigating food in a new land

Jul 2, 2015
photo courtesy of Peralta Hacienda

It’s barely past 8 a.m. on a Wednesday morning in Oakland’s Fruitvale district, and the PeraIta Hacienda Park is already teeming with life.

Flickr user masha_k_sh

This past summer thousands of women and young people flooded over the border -- seeking to escape terrible violence in South and Central America. Many who came brought little with them, but they carry emotional baggage. And that’s where mental health counselors step in -- to help the recently arrived deal with the trauma they’ve faced, and even to help convince American courts to let them stay. But there are a lot of barriers to good mental health care for immigrants.

Flickr user Brooke Anderson


It’s a bright spring afternoon in Oakland’s Northgate district, and a half dozen Yemeni-American students from Oakland International High School, or OIHS, are leading a group of their teachers and counselors on a tour of places they go when they’re not in school. Outfitted in brightly colored head scarves, they’re walking to one of their first stops: the Bee Healthy Honey shop on Telegraph Avenue.

Familial love between different cultural generations

Jun 30, 2015
Flickr user katphotos

Over the past six months, student reporters from Mills College in Oakland have been tracing the path of the American dream. Jessica Toyota brings us the story of Lisa Hsia, whose Chinese parents thought very differently than she did.

If you love and respectful for your parents, then you know more than them, they push you to be Americans, but then you see them as knowing less than you. It is a little bit difficult. My relationship is good with them, but some things are out of touch. Culture definitely plays a role in that.  

A mother reflects on raising her daughter in America

Jun 30, 2015
Alex / Flickr

Over the past six months student reporters from Mills College in Oakland have been tracing the path of the American dream. Jessica Toyota brings us the story of Erika Monico, a mother who explains what she’s gained and lost by moving from Brazil and raising her daughter in the U.S.

Angela Johnston

Skylar Crownover is walking me through the lush tree lined streets of Mills College, and through buildings with red clay roofs.

Students constantly wave hello as we make our way to the center of campus. Crownover is a junior this year, and the current student body president.

V Smoothe, Flickr

It’s 7:30 in the morning at Skyline High and the halls are humming with activity. Kids are talking and slamming lockers. It’s loud.  But one building’s playing a different tune.

Richard Spitler / Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License


Sonia Black is walking through the halls of Skyline High School, trying to get the last few kids to class.

Black is in charge of discipline and attendance for ninth and twelfth graders at Skyline. She’s been at the school for two years and this year, they’re trying something new: restorative justice.

Flickr: iamthetherapist

For a lot of high school students, the best part of their day is spending time with friends. That's also the case for students with Asperger's syndrome, which is characterized by trouble with social interactions, especially in reading nonverbal cues.

Paying to ride the school bus

Jun 2, 2014
H. Micheal Miley


Skyline is one of 15 public high schools in Oakland and the only one located in the hills. The 42-acre campus is nestled among redwoods and million dollar homes.  Nearly 2,000 students attend this traditional campus and many value the diverse student body.  But that wasn’t always the case.

Skyline High opened in 1961, and was almost immediately surrounded by conflict. It’s proposed attendance zone was one mile wide, ten miles long, and based entirely in the hills, which excluded students from the flatlands. This kept the school racially, as well as economically, homogenous -- despite the fact that the city’s black population nearly doubled during the previous decade.

Bridging the language gap for immigrant parents

Jun 2, 2014

Oakland’s Skyline High School has one of the most diverse campuses in California, with students coming from a wide range of backgrounds. That means some parents are not fluent in English, making it difficult for them to communicate with teachers and administrators. That is where the school's Family Resource Center comes in, helping to bridge the language gap with translation services.


In 2012 Skyline's Black Student Union filed a complaint charging the school with discriminating against students of color. They accused Skyline of short-shifting black students, providing lackluster support which led directly to students not graduating. A lawsuit resulted in an agreement with the United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, and Skyline and the Oakland Unified School District agreed to make some serious changes. Included in those reforms was a voluntary resolution plan to oversee the disciplinary methods toward African American male students.

Reaching out to Latino youth

Jun 2, 2014

Oakland Unified School District spokesperson Troy Flint said that in order to make sure all students succeed, OUSD needs to target and support the most vulnerable. “By most measures African American males are performing the worst, relative to other demographic groups,” he said. That is why in 2010 the Oakland Unified School District launched its African American Male Achievement project to support young black men academically.

But students from other demographic groups could also benefit from targeted programs.

Giving teens the space they need, at the library

Jan 22, 2014

For many teens in Alameda County, the library isn’t just a place to study, it’s become a space for them to get away from mounting pressures from school and their social lives and a place where they can just relax and be themselves. For example, Oakland teenagers can come to the Asian Branch once a week, for game day.

Anna Xu is a teen advisory member at the library. She and the teen advisory group brainstorm ways the library can help meet the teens’ needs.

Oakland librarians add biking to job description

Jan 22, 2014
Oakland Public Library TeenZone Facebook page

Mana Tominaga is part of the Oakland Library Main Branch's unique outreach program, the Mobile Bike Library. When patrons can't make it to the library, the library comes to them by bicycle.

A library reaches outside its stacks

Jan 21, 2014
Friends of the Elmhurst Library


If you head southeast from the Lakeview Library, way down to the 80s blocks of International Boulevard, be sure to take a turn at 88th to visit the Elmhurst branch of the Oakland Library. You'll have to look closely—this library is in a small converted house. Elmhurst operates like any other public library: books to check out, computers to use, and a children's program. But it's got a problem: most kids can’t get to it very easily. The Elmhurst branch is trying to fix that. 

Summoning ghosts at the Oakland Museum

Mar 14, 2013
Photo by Frederic Larson, courtesy Port of Oakland

If you’ve traveled out of Oakland airport, you’ve probably seen a beautiful piece of artwork – graceful, long-legged cranes painted on the windows in Terminal 2. It’s called “Going Away, Coming Home.” It’s a piece about being of and from two places at once, about the in-between existence we inhabit in transit. By looking at it, you’d probably never imagine that the artist once risked her life to make paintings like this.

Urban Debate has existed since 1985 and has continued to evolve – making it a national and local phenomenon. The Bay Area Urban Debate League sponsored a recent tournament at UC Berkeley, where 400 Bay Area high school students showed up ready to debate.

Step inside a Fruitvale corner store

Nov 22, 2012

Corner stores in Oakland are predominantly run by immigrants from the Middle East. Most of the merchants are originally from Yemen. Some estimates report that 80 percent of Bay Area convenience stores are operated by Yemenese.

One of those stores is Foothill Market on 19th and  Foothill in Oakland’s Fruitvale district. The Hassan family runs it. Ali Farrad Hassan is a first generation Yemeni-American, and has been working in his uncle’s store for a few years now.

A second chance for Oakland's San Antonio Park

May 23, 2012
Courtesy yelp! user Richi C.

San Antonio Park stretches a full city block on each side, in a lush area near Foothill Blvd and 18th Avenue in Oakland. About 15 years ago, the park was considered a dangerous eyesore. Since then, through the help of people who care about healthy public spaces, like Grey Kolevzon it has become an important example of what can happen when people pull together to build something up.