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Our Students Need Space to Grow. Please help.

The below letter is a collaboration between Yu Ming Teacher Leader Yue Shao on behalf of the Yu Ming Educator Union.

To Alameda County Board of Education,

On behalf of the members of Yu Ming Educators Union (CTA/NEA), we are writing to ask for your support for the Yu Ming Charter School’s Material Revision application to secure a more suitable site for our school.

In pursuit of our Yu Ming Charter School Material Revision, we have met with other union leaders, and we understand and respect their concerns. We also understand that our fellow union members in San Lorenzo and elsewhere will oppose this request on the belief that it will harm their District schools. It is not our desire or intent to cause harm to any other schools, nor to resolve our problems at the expense of others. Our goals  – like theirs – are to best meet the needs of our educators and students.

We desperately need a school site with the necessary space and facilities to better meet our needs. It is our understanding that no suitable sites have been identified In Oakland, where our campuses are currently located. We would strongly prefer a solution that meets our needs within our existing community, but no such solution appears to exist at present.

YMEU represents educators at Yu Ming Charter School. We have been in negotiations for our first union contract since unionizing in 2021. Some of the major problems we have been trying to solve in negotiations stem from major deficiencies in our current location at the Chestnut and other Yu Ming campus. These include: 

  • Insufficient space: Our English teachers must use our cafeteria as their only available workspace, and only when not in use by students. 
  • Lack of Support Spaces: Our student support specialists also have no dedicated office space. Many of our meetings must take place in hallways, outside, or in noisy, public surroundings.
  • No recreational facilities: Our current locations lack any suitable recreational facilities, requiring teachers to take classes to an offsite recreational center blocks away. This creates safety concerns for both our students and our staff.
  • Poorly maintained facilities: During the storms in December 2021, our campus was badly damaged due to flooding that disrupted classes for several days. We remain very concerned that additional damage and disruption is likely during future storms.
  • Limited Outdoor time: Scheduling conflicts between Yu Ming and the other shared school make for limited time outside the classroom. Our kindergartners do not have PE– they have a movement class which takes place inside their same classroom. Throughout the entire school day, there can only be three fifteen minute blocks for our kindergarteners to even get outside the classroom for fresh air. 
  • Limited Education Experience: Full language immersion is critical to our learning model and the children’s language acquisition, especially for our youngest students who are still in their critical period of language development. Sharing a campus with a local middle school has proven challenging to achieve this model. We are unable to hang our signs and deliver instructions fully in Chinese as would be part of an authentic learning environment.

These have proven impossible to resolve in our negotiations within the constraints of our present site, and have a significant and adverse impact on the safety and well-being of students and staff. We desperately need a school site with the necessary space and facilities to better meet our needs. We have been told that the site in San Leandro is the only available site that will address these needs.

We truly appreciate the ongoing support that you have demonstrated for Yu Ming. We would also invite any support or assistance the board can provide to help us find a better solution. Like all educators, we deserve safe and adequate facilities that support teaching and learning. We ask for your support to secure the facilities we need to provide the best possible schools for our students and the communities we serve.

Sincerely,

Yu Ming Educator Union

Contact Info: yuming.educators@gmail.com

 

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