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Oakland International


The mission of Oakland International High School is to provide quality alternative education for recently arrived immigrant students in English language acquisition and in preparation for college. The school's diverse students become active participants in our community while learning in small groups through hands-on, interdisciplinary projects and collaboration. A strong focus on environmental stewardship starts in the campus garden and extends through the school's recycling programs providing hands-on opportunities to gain language and conservation skills alike.

Chinese Educators Visit Oakland International High School


Teacher Liza Richheimer Describes OIHS's Service-Learning ProgramTeacher Liza Richheimer Describes OIHS's Service-Learning ProgramOn Tuesday, November 5th, a delegation of educators from China visited Oakland International High School to learn more about the school's approach to environmental service-learning.

Wujing Harrison from the Yigongyi Center for Nonprofits organized the visit to help advance a goal of including service-learning in high schools throughout China. The delegation included Mr. Wang Lujun, the Deputy Director of the Service-Learning and Leadership Institute of The Chinese Society of Education, as part of his visit to the United States to attend the International Association for Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement Conference in Omaha, Nebraska.

Observing the cafeteria food scrap diversion systemObserving the cafeteria food scrap diversion systemTeacher Liza Richheimer provided a tour of the campus and explained her efforts to engage students in meaningful service-learning opportunities to meet a variety of goals. "Service-learning helps our recent immigrant students practice English language skills and explore career options, but more importantly, it helps them make a difference in the community, gives them a sense of belonging and lets them know they matter," explained Richheimer.

The delegation learned about students' prior work to study the campus waste stream and design waste reduction systems for the cafeteria, then the delegation observed the system in action.

A tour of the campus highlighted a variety of edible landscapes installed by students and parents working together to bridge differences between cultural groups, build a campus community, and advance healthy nutrition.

This summer, Wujing Harrison hopes to organize a delegation of service-learning leaders and practitioners to attend a conference in China to help build a vision for youth engagement in Chinese schools through service-learning.

Oakland International High School Launches Food Scrap Diversion


Monitored Waste Station at OIHSMonitored Waste Station at OIHS In the spring of 2012, students and teachers at Oakland International High School examined the types of waste generated at school and began working to reduce the school's environmental impact. Students took immediate action to improve recycling and clearly label bins on campus. They also identified the largest point source of waste generation: the cafeteria. Stacking trays saves spaceStacking trays saves space

The school developed a plan to install monitored waste diversion stations and won a grant to employ student monitors at lunch. "The grant allows us to employ 2 students at each lunch to work as waste station monitors. We employed 10 students, so each team of two is responsible for one day each week," explains teacher Liza Richheimer.

With support from their school custodian- Anthony Johnson, Waste Management, Oakland Unified School District and the Service-Learning Waste Reduction Project, Richheimer and her students were able to start the school year with new diversion stations in place in the cafeteria.

Food Share BoxFood Share Box

Richheimer supplied all teachers with a flyer explaining the new system during the first week of school. Teachers taught and re-taught correct usage of the stations each day before lunch. Richheimer and a team of her colleagues each take turns supporting the student monitors ensuring that the system has a strong start.

Key features of the stations include a "Food Share" box for students to place unopened, uneaten food for others to eat; a "Liquids" bucket for leftover milk and juice, and traditional recycling, food scrap, and landfill bins. After scraping their waste into the appropriate bins, students stack their compostable trays to reduce the amount of space that bagged compost occupies.

"Students are starting to pre-sort their waste at their tables at the end of lunch before coming to the waste stations- it is really speeding up the process," noted Richheimer. "We still have a couple of small kinks in the system to work out, but so far this has been a huge success!"

Congratulations OIHS!

Student monitors help the system run smooth and clean,Student monitors help the system run smooth and clean, 

Green Team Plans for Composting


Republished from the Oakland International High School Community Garden and Wellness Blog

Diversion PostersDiversion PostersHere, unhealthy the publishing class poses with their well made Photoshop signs. They took photos of everything that should go in the garbage, viagra recycling and compost bins and then Photoshopped them into the signs they made. Thanks to teacher Ms. Thi for her contributions to this project. 

Below are more waste diversion pictures and a handful of photos of the 11th graders doing WPA (Works Progress Administration) projects at OIHS. Thanks to Ms. Raquel, salve our 11th grade US History teacher, OIHS had all the 11th graders doing school improvement projects with a garden twist. S

tudents made signs that asking that all help to keep the school clean, rebuilt garden beds, built a new compost system, turned over the winter cover crop, planted seedlings and cleaned up garbage. All in all it was a very successful two days. Thanks for the extra help, Grey Kolevzon, Zack Reidman and Hubert McCabe!

In other news, OIHS is setting up a food scrap program to be up and running by next Fall. According to lead teacher Liza Richheimer, "While I had hoped it would happen sooner, I am pleased it will start in the Fall. I am working on a grant to pay two student monitors to help teach our community how to clear their trays!"

OIHS Green Team Gets to Work


Republished from the Oakland International High School Community Garden and Wellness Blog

Bin LabelingBin LabelingThe Green Team decided that it was important for all the garbage and recycling bins to be well labeled.

Classroom PresentationsClassroom Presentations

Thanks to a partnership with the school's publishing class, Oakland International High School now has beautiful signs for garbage and recycling.

The Green Team spent close to four hours labeling every can we in the school with signs visually indicating the types of materials that go in each bin.

Then the Green Team went around to each Advisory class and gave a power point presentation about where our garbage goes, how much we waste and the importance of reducing the amount of garbage we produce.

See below for the Green Team's Powerpoint:

OIHS Joins SLWRP


Republished from the Oakland International High School Community Garden and Wellness Blog

OIHS Students Volunteer at SF Green FestivalOIHS Students Volunteer at SF Green FestivalIn November 2011, OIHS started a Green Team. It is a dedicated group of about 20 students who are meeting with teacher Liza Richheimer every Thursday at lunch to discuss issues of waste, garbage and energy use at OIHS.

The group is planning some exciting projects that will hopefully reduce the amount of waste produced at OIHS. Some of the Green Team members volunteered at the Greenfest in San Francisco this past weekend and returned to school with waste-busting ideas.

OIHS also joined SLWRP, Service Learning Waste Reduction Program. So far it's a great resource and support for our budding Green Team!