West Oakland’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School is on the rise. A highly involved administration and staff, along with growing parent involvement and community support, has provided the school with the resources to blossom into a vibrant educational hub.
Literacy is the top priority at MLK Jr. Elementary, located on 10th Street between Market and Filbert. Principal Roma Groves has worked to improve literacy and advance STEM studies at the school.
Currently, many students read below grade level. To address this, MLK has implemented a reading campaign with the objective of getting at least 50 percent of the students reading at or above grade level this year.
The school recently held their annual Family Reading Night on May 4. In addition, the school will be hosting a summer literacy camp for grades K-2 from June 22-July 17. The four-week summer program will focus on reinforcing vocabulary and encouraging kids to read independently.
The second target, focusing on STEM subjects, is a topic that Principal Groves and school staff are extremely passionate about.
The school wants to ensure students are prepared for higher education and career success. MLK offers enriching programs such as Tech Bridge (engineering program for girls), Bank of the West financial saving workshops, lectures and labs from outside professional scientists, and a summer engineering camp. MLK also has a community garden which allows students to learn about urban agriculture and healthy eating.
The Summer Engineering Experience for Kids (SEEK) is a three-week program sponsored by the National Society of Black Engineers in which college mentors who are majoring in STEM fields teach elementary students through hands-on learning opportunities.
The program begins June 22- July 10 from 8:30 a.m. -3:30 p.m. All interested students, including those not enrolled at MLK Jr. Elementary, are encouraged to register online.
Registration is online at NSBE.org under the “students” tab. A mandatory parent meeting will be held June 21 at MLK from 10 a.m. to noon.
In addition to the great academic offerings the school provides, MLK also offers unique recourses for parents, including a six-week Parent Empowerment Series four times a year. This workshop series teaches parents about Google Chrome and other technologies that their students are using. It also ensures parents are aware of the Common Core State Standards and other performance tasks.
Principal Groves says she wants to “empower the students and parents to let both parties know that we are there for them.”