East Palo Alto
Parents Taking Action
Do you want to see great public schools for all East Palo Alto students?
In East Palo Alto, our parent organizations are now working to improve all Ravenswood public schools through building a coalition of community members, training our parents, and engaging in the making of improvement plans by elected officials. We are most focused on improving academic opportunities for Latino, African American, and Pacific Islander students, as well as English Learner and students with special needs. Previously, our parent organizations successfully supported the launch of KIPP Valiant, a K-8 public charter school, whose mission is to prepare all students to attend college. We have done this through establishing relationships with hundreds of families, holding research meetings with public officials and creating forums to win commitments from our elected leaders.
To get help applying to a new school, access support with your existing school, or get involved in this important work, please contact our East Palo Alto Community Organizer, Katalina Tameilau. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (415) 847-6183. We want to connect to hear about your experiences with education or community issues!
Overview of East Palo Alto Schools
East Palo Alto is a small city in the Bay Area’s mid-Peninsula region bordered by Menlo Park and Palo Alto that is home to 30,000 residents.
School Districts Serving East Palo Alto
The community of East Palo Alto is served by the Ravenswood School District, a K-8 school district, which also includes parts of east Menlo Park. Student enrollment is 80% Latino, 6% African-American, and 11% Pacific Islander. Over 50% of the students in the EPA school district are English Learners and 91% are low-income.
At the high school level, the Sequoia Union high school district serves East Palo Alto, as well as surrounding areas, including Redwood City, Menlo Park, and Palo Alto.
The Tinsley program is a initiative started in 1986 that allows a small number of children from Ravenswood to transfer to schools in the surrounding K-8 districts: Belmont-Redwood Shores, Las Lomitas, Menlo Park, Palo Alto, Portola Valley, San Carlos and Woodside. The program also provides transportation and is very popular with families. There are a limited number of slots available each year, but often far more applicants.
Latest Updates from East Palo Alto
Part of our work is bringing our staff, families and school leaders to visit high performing public schools in the Bay Area to be inspired by their educators and practices and learn about ways to improve.
“My eyes were opened when I walked into the classrooms and saw students who were newcomers to this country practicing their English, and in the next class, practicing math in Spanish. Teachers are always ready to help if students need help finishing their homework they are there early in the morning. Students can ask for help before class and homework gets done before school hours, and teachers make time after school to help those students who need the extra help. To learn that the school was not always high performing, but had actually had problems, and then turned itself around gave me hope for the potential of what we can do in East Palo Alto.” – Alina Arroyo, Innovate parent leader
“What you do as an organization to bring parents together to hold public officials accountable … no one is doing it like you are”
– Joe Ross, San Mateo County Board Trustee
Parents Advocating for Great Distance Learning
In the past month, our parent leader teams from Redwood City and East Palo Alto have held two important meetings with public officials:
- San Mateo County Superintendent of Education Nancy Magee, and
- San Mateo County Board of Education Trustees Ted Lempert and Joe Ross
Parents also met with the Redwood City Education Foundation to continue building a strong relationship and to learn about the group’s efforts to direct resources to the areas of greatest need within the Redwood City School District.
It is still unclear what is going to be happening with public schools in summer and fall as everything is developing daily. But parents are more important now than ever, and want to have a seat at the table with decision makers to ensure their voices are heard. Stay tuned for our updates!
Who represents East Palo Alto schools?
Current Ravenswood City School District Board Members and Superintendent
Mele K. Latu
Ana Maria Pulido
Jenny Varghese Bloom
A virtual community forum where parents share their experiences with SMCOE officials to promote educational equity during COVID-19
Take a look at their journey.
Ravenswood School District
Cezar Chavez Elementary School
Belle Haven Elementary School
Willow Oaks Elementary Schools
Ronald McNair Elementary School
Aspire East Palo Alto Charter School
Costano Elementary School
Learn more about schools in this area.
The Latest from the blog
Since 2018, parent leaders have pushed LAUSD to funnel resources to Black students. Now, Black parents, community members, and educators are working with board member Tanya Ortiz Franklin to devise a plan on African American Student Academic Excellence in LAUSD.
When Los Angeles schools shifted to distance learning, parents waited for weeks to receive clarity from the school district. But, LAUSD and the United Teachers Union of Los Angeles routinely worked behind closed doors to establish the learning conditions and expectations for students and families.
Innovate Public Schools has named veteran nonprofit leader Michelle Vilchez as Co-CEO of the nonprofit organization! Vilchez will join Innovate’s founder Matt Hammer in co-leading the organization this March.