By Amanda Ahn, Andrea Martinez, Keith Ng and Jacob Silva
As you enter the campus of Summit Tahoma and KIPP: Navigate, two charter schools, you see portables to the right of the Oak Grove High School buildings. If you walk through the KIPP campus, you see signs above the classes. The signs list values such as courage, innovation, reflection, collaboration and leadership. If you make your way down further into the campus, you see Summit Tahoma portables with brightly colored classroom doors.
“It’s pretty small, but people become a really close family,” Tahoma sophomore Kyle Fujisaka said.
According to California’s Proposition 39, it is required that “school districts make available … facilities that will sufficiently accommodate all of the charter’s in-district students.” In San Jose, this means public school property can be allocated to charter schools by the East Side Union High School District when space is available at a local public school.
Four years ago, Summit Tahoma moved to the Oak Grove campus because of Prop 39. This year, the freshman class of Navigate was given the portables adjacent to Summit Tahoma by the school district.
Tahoma senior Alex Heredia said, “Since I’ve been here, I’ve made friends really easily, and I know that was because of the strong sense of friendship we have here at Tahoma.”
Navigate Freshmen Alicia Perez described her school as “a small community, but we all bond together.”
Although each school feels its own community is close-knit, there aren’t many interactions between the two schools. The two schools utilize the same bathrooms and basketball courts; but beyond that, the alternating schedules between the schools make it difficult for students to socialize with one another. Kyle Fujisaka, a sophomore at Tahoma, said “it’s just like two separate worlds.”
However, some students and teachers have reported that they would like to see more interaction; for example, James Bayless, a history teacher at Navigate, suggests “we could do like a pep rally … it’d be fun to maybe do an integrated one.”
See below for a video with the interviews conducted with Tahoma and Navigate community members: