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For parents, a long wish list for new Oakland elementary school

A track and field day, a holiday potluck for community members, gym classes and sports team, school plays and more homework.

That’s what parents put on their wish list for Oakland’s new elementary school at Monday night’s school design meeting.

The meeting was the first in a series to design a replacement for SOAR at Oakland, which will close at the end of this year. SOAR, a Denver charter network, voluntarily relinquished its charter due to continued low performance.

At the meeting, Lisa Mahannah, who has been hired to head the new school, addressed a group of parents, district representatives and SOAR teachers in the school’s library.

“We’re here to look at what can Oakland can be for the kids that are here,” said Mahannah. She urged parents to help guide her along the road to a new school.

Despite a focus on the school’s future, the discussion often turned to the school’s current situation. Parents complained of feeling shut out of the school and its operations.

“Maybe instead of telling me my kid’s failing in February, tell me in September,” suggested one mother. She also criticized the current school for turning a blind eye to bullying and for assigning too little homework.

Mahannah tried to strike a more inclusive note, asking parents what their ideal school would like and encouraging them to come back to future meetings.

“This is just an introduction to why I want you to come back next time,” said Mahannah. “Your voices are the most important.”

The next public meeting will occur in January. The exact date and location is not yet posted but will be available here.

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