OAKLAND (KCBS) – The only school in Oakland focused on teaching young African-American males is closing on Friday, but school officials hope to reopen in the near future.
100 Black Men of the Bay Area Community School, a public charter school, was founded in 2012, and is citing financial issues for the closure.
Executive Director Spencer Hooper said the goal at the school was to prepare young men with the skills needed to be leaders in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics; and to instill confidence and a sense of responsibility for leading social change.
“It needed to be capitalized properly when it started and I don’t think that was necessarily the case,” Hooper said. “The funds just didn’t show up as anticipated.”
The school provided a strong structure and male mentors for students. Rob Battle said that was important, as many of the kids don’t have them at home.
“I did kindergarten, first grade and second grade. I have kindergartners that I train up to be respectful,” he said. “I have kids that have low self-esteem. Now, I have encouraged them to believe in themselves, (to say) I can do this.”
Most students have already transferred to other schools, but Hooper said he is determined to reopen.
“I think the school is tremendously important. There’s definitely a need for it,” Hooper said. “We just have to figure out how to do it right and get the proper support to make it happen.”
The school currently has 77 male students in kindergarten through seventh grades.