Civicorps Corpsmember Academy is the only high school and job training program for students aged 18-24 in Oakland that grants a high school diploma to its graduates. We provide an educational program that will help overcome any previous learning difficulties and experiences that may have caused you to drop out or not to receive a high school diploma. In addition you will be part of meaningful paid job training through public service projects involving restoration of natural wildlife habitats, building and maintaining trails, creek restoration, maintaining waterways and improving public parks.
You want to earn your diploma? You can enroll and enter into the Learning Academy to get back on track with your academics. After demonstrating positive academic achievement, you are eligible to join our Environmental Stewardship Program (ESP) at the Civicorps Job Training Center, where you will receive paid training 32 hours per week. While you are working you will attend evening and Friday classes until you complete the requirements to receive your high school diploma.
You already have a diploma or GED? You can enroll and enter into paid job training in the Environmental Stewardship Program or internships with Civicorps Recycles, both trhough our Job Training Center. While in these positions you will be required to further your education by enrolling in and attending college courses.
You may be eligible to enroll in the Corpsmember Academy if you are:
- Between the ages of 18 and 24,
- Willing to further your education, and
- Physically able to work on public service projects.
How to Apply:
- Pick up an application from our main office at 101 Myrtle Street, Oakland, California 94607. We are located in West Oakland close to the Port of Oakland and Jack London Square.
- Submit the completed application and bring the required documents: Birth Certificate, Social Security Card, an Identification Card with a photo (such as Driver License or Government Agency or School Identification Card), Immunization Records, and High School Diploma and/or Transcript from last high school
- Contact our Recruiter if you have questions. Call 510-992-7819 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- To apply, please see our Corpsmember Enrollment Application.
Path of a Corpsmember:
- The first phase of the Corpsmember Academy involves 4 months of attending classes Monday – Thursday from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
- Upon successful completion of the Learning Academy corpsmembers are eligible to join our Environmental Stewardship Program at the Job Training Center.
- Successful completion includes: excellent daily attendance, positive attitude, class participation and completion of all class assignments.
- Corpsmembers in the Environmental Stewardship Program are assigned to crews and work on public service projects 32 hours per week 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday - Thursday and attend classes in the evenings twice a week from 4:10 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Fridays involve educational activities from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
- Paid job training is conducted through project work which is physically demanding, requires team work and involves the use of hand and power tools on environmental conservation tasks.
- Crews work on public service projects developed through our partnerships with sponsors such as East Bay Regional Park District, East Bay Municipal Utilities District, Alameda County Flood Control District, Caltrans, City of Berkeley, City of Oakland and Port of Oakland.
Earning your High School Diploma:
On average, a corpsmember takes 18 months to earn their diploma. Some have completed in 7 months and others may take a couple of years depending on their academic skills and personal drive. We hold graduation twice a year.
- The Corpsmember Academy High School Diploma is a competency based portfolio system (not credit based like most high schools). The portfolio requirements focus on Academics, Employability, Life Skills, Community Participation and Communication.
- Diploma requirements include standardized tests such as the California High School Exit Exam, CASAS and NWEA.
- Diploma requirements also include research papers, oral reports, class projects, community service, multi-media presentations and workshops such as Conflict Resolution, First Aid/CPR and Interview Skills.
- Other diploma requirements are in the area of Life Skills, Career Development and Post-Secondary Options.
After Graduation (Corps to Career):
- Upon earning the High School Diploma corpsmembers are eligible to remain in Civicorps and apply for paid full-time environmental, recycling and administrative internships through our Job Training Center.
- All Corpsmembers with a High School Diploma must enroll in community college course or postsecondary training.
- Through school and job training, Corpsmembers are eligible to earn AmeriCorps Scholarships that will help you pay for community college or other programs.
We challenge our students to step out of their comfort zone and try new things. Here are a few of the opportunities at Civicorps Academy:
- Outdoor Adventures: Corpsmembers get involved in activities such as white-water rafting, skiing, camping, kayaking and service projects in Yosemite National Park.
- Drama: Civicorps has partnered with the Midnight Shakespeare program of the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival since 1996. Corpsmembers put on performances twice a year. As an added bonus corpsmembers and staff attend the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon where actors spend the time with corpsmembers providing insight and perspective on the stage experience.
- Corpsmembers are encouraged to initiate activities and events such as prom and reunion barbeques.
Full Service Staff:
As a full service community school we recognize that corpsmembers may face challenges in their life that need to be addressed in order to focus on their academics or their future goals. In order to insure your success in achieving your education and job training goals, Civicorps provides wrap-around services including:
- Job training skills development;
- Counseling and support; and,
- Post high-school college, vocational and/or job placement support.
Our case counselor provides support to students and corpsmembers through one-on-one and group counseling to help you connect with resources, be able to advocate for your needs and navigate the resources within the community. We especially focus on the six areas that other corpsmembers have found to be the largest barriers to their ability to be successful in our program: housing, childcare, job holding support, health, mental health, and grief counseling. Our counselor meets these needs through on-going meetings and by connecting the students with outside resources such as Child Care Links, Stars Behavioral Health Group, Covenant House, A Safe Place, community health centers, shelters and transitional housing.
As part of your learning experience and to help prepare you to advocate for yourself, you will also participate in several group sessions each year led by the case counselor. Topics will include available community health resources, conflict resolution, and transition support when promoting through the program and exiting the program. Civicorps has long standing relationships with the Downtown Youth Clinic, Family Violence Law Center, and Berkeley Food and Housing Project while continuing to build a wider network of ancillary service providers.
Our College and Job Placement staff will help you prepare for your next steps after you graduate. We work closely with local community colleges, such as Laney and Merritt Colleges and will guide you through the process of determining your vocational interests and the best path to achieving them. With your AmeriCorps scholarship that you earned while in the Field Academy, you will have some of the resources to pay for advanced education.
Paul Paradis joined Civicorps to become our social studies teacher in the fall of 2008. Paul has worked with conservation corps since 2000 when he was a crew leader for the Montana Conservation Corps. From Montana he moved to Durango, CO to work with the Southwest Conservation Corps where he helped SCC quadruple in size by expanding its impact on youth and public lands in the Southwestern US. A History and Native American Studies major from the University of Montana, Paul is currently enrolled at San Francisco State University and working towards a Master's Degree in Educational Leadership.
Avery Moore is the English Teacher at Civicorps. He grew up in Berkeley and completed his undergraduate work at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. Avery received his English teaching credential from CSU East Bay and has taught with Oakland Unified School District, as well as in Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia and in Venice, Florida. His philosophy as an English teacher is to inspire students to gain a lifelong love of reading, writing, and critical thinking. He aims to provide as many skills as possible during the short time he has with his students, but to also preview how beneficial and enjoyable it can be to become an independent, self-motivated reader, writer, and learner.
Lauren Hoernig joined Civicorps as our Resource Specialist in the fall of 2011. Lauren grew up in a small town in northwest Indiana and earned a Master's Degree in English from DePaul University in Chicago. In 2006, she moved to Oakland to join the Oakland Teaching Fellows and pursued her Teaching Credential through San Francisco State University. Lauren is excited by the progressive teaching and learning that happens at Civicorps everyday. She is a strong supporter of positivity and her optimism is renewed every time she works one-on-one with Corpsmembers.
Rachel Friedman joined Civicorps in the summer of 2010. As the Instructional Lead she guides curriculum, facilitates student academic support, and fosters teacher development. She stays directly connected to the Corpsmembers by teaching Friday seminars. Rachel grew up in South Florida and headed to Washington, D.C. for her undergraduate and graduate studies at the George Washington University. She has been in the field of education for 15 years, which includes time teaching students and mentoring teachers in Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Oakland, East Palo Alto, and Richmond. She is committed to high standards for the teaching profession and equitable access to rigorous and relevant academic curriculum for all students.
Paul Juarez is excited about joining Civicorps to teach mathematics. After growing up in San Francisco and attending Stanford University, he has spent many years teaching middle school and high school mathematics in a variety of educational settings. He has spent summers working locally for telecommunication, health care and network system organizations. Recently he has worked at a local summer camp teaching mathematics enrichment courses to talented middle school students. He has recently completed a Doctorate in Education, Education Leadership at Mills College. He spends time away from teaching either attending Giants games at AT&T or officiating local soccer games. He is looking forward to helping students move forward beyond any mathematical obstacles toward personal success.
Caitlin Cruz is the Science Teacher at Civicorps. She grew up in Gainesville, Florida and received her BS in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation from the University of Florida in 2004. After working as a biologist in the field for awhile she ended up teaching outdoor environmental science in Alabama. This experience made her want to teach in the classroom and she went back to UF to start work on a masters degree in education and completed her credential in 2006 when she began teaching in Florida. She moved to Oakland in 2007 and currently lives in Alameda with her husband and son. She loves teaching at Civicorps and seeing the members develop the skills that they will need to succeed. As a teacher, she strives to not only transfer her passion for science but to communicate to her students how all of the subjects we teach are connected and how what they learn with us today will serve them in their day to day lives.
On December 14, 2011 Civicorps Corpsmember Academy was granted a 5 year charter renewal with a unanimous vote of approval by the Oakland Unified School District Board of Directors. The vote came after many months of review by the OUSD Charter Schools Office.
Civicorps’ original charter began in 1995 and has been renewed every 5 years since. The process for renewal is more rigorous each cycle and includes a review of policies and procedures, data and statistics over the last five years, academic expectations and requirements, observation of classes and the school community, meetings with staff and students, a review of plans for the next five years, and a presentation to the OUSD Board of Directors. The lengthy and thorough process is an opportunity for Civicorps to reflect on our program, speak to our strengths and identify our needed areas of improvement, while at the same time gaining valuable input from the District.
Civicorps Corpsmember Academy begins this new charter cycle July 1, 2012 and will be up for renewal again on June 30, 2017. We do so with the support of OUSD and their recognition of us as a full-service community school serving those who were unsuccessful in their traditional school setting.
Shakespeare - Much Ado About Nothing – November 15, 2012
One of our most popular course offerings at Civicorps is our Shakespeare seminar, a class in which students take on the challenge of putting together and performing a Shakespeare play in ten short weeks. Our school partners with San Francisco Shakespeare Festival’s Midnight Shakespeare program to accomplish this impressive feat. Our most recent performance was Much Ado About Nothing, and it was (admittedly) one of the best performances yet! Throughout the ten week rehearsal process, Corpsmembers spend seven hours each week understanding Shakespearean language, getting to know their characters, learning the acting method, and memorizing lines. In the end, all of their hard work culminates into a final show performed in front of family, friends, and community members at the Garden Center at Lake Merritt. Corpsmembers have had nothing but positive feedback to give after the seminar is over, and many even return to Shakespeare a second time. Additionally, if students are especially dedicated to the program, they may even be invited by SF Shakespeare Festival to audition for a role in African American Shakespeare Company. Melvin Brown, a member of the Much Ado cast, was the most recent member to be chosen and will be performing in their upcoming show. Ultimately, no matter what students hope to get out of it, Shakespeare is always a worthwhile experience for everyone involved!
Yosemite Trip - July 20-22 2012
Each year, Civicorps staff and Corpsmembers head to Yosemite National Park for 3 days and 2 nights of camping in this amazing setting. Leaving on a Friday morning in summer, we set up camp, swim, play cards, barbeque, etc. for the day. On Saturday, staff and Corpsmembers participate in a Service Learning project through the Yosemite National Park Volunteer Program Office. This 6-8 hour project is both for learning and in trade for our campsite, and can include native plant revegation, non-native removal, building park benches, taking down unused or unsafe structures, cleaning and organizing campsites, or numerous other tasks. We take our young adults on trips such as this to relax and to inspire. Many Corpsmembers have travelled very little, with many having never left California and some having never left the Bay area. It is a joy to watch their reactions and to hear the broadening of their viewpoints that comes from a trip to the pristine and amazing Yosemite National Park.
Brandon Penny – National Corpsmember of the Year 2013
During his third week with Civicorps Learning Academy, Brandon Penny wrote a poem in which he stated, “Just because I don’t have my high school diploma doesn’t mean I am not smart.” This stanza encapsulates Brandon’s journey and his humble nature.
There is no doubt that Brandon is smart, but it’s true that high school wasn’t always easy for him. He dropped out after he failed the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) and couldn’t receive his diploma on time. Despite being unemployed and discouraged, Brandon realized it was his own responsibility to pick himself up. That motivation paid off: within a year of joining Civicorps, Brandon passed the CAHSEE and received his high school diploma. He is currently using his AmeriCorps Education Awards earned through Civicorps to attend Merritt College in hopes of receiving his associate’s degree.
Brandon has been a role model and leader since he started at Civicorps in February 2009. During his first week in the Learning Academy he kept cool and avoided a physical confrontation with a fellow Corpsmember, reminding his peer that they were both there to learn. Brandon later became a leader in his math class when he volunteered to be a teacher’s assistant and help students who could not understand the professor’s thick accent. He was so modest about his leadership role that other faculty and administrators had no idea he had even created the position. It didn’t take long for Brandon to be invited to be a Crew Leader.
Brandon eventually moved to the Civicorps Recycling Program where he was promoted to forklift and heavy equipment operator. He then earned his Class B driver’s license and became a truck driver, the highest level of responsibility in the recycling program. He is currently working to complete his 2-year internship with the program. Brandon might go into waste management when he leaves the corps, but his real goal is to pursue his passion for landscape design by starting his own landscaping business. Whatever career he chooses, Brandon is certain he wants to be mentor in his community for at-risk youth.
School Accountability Report Card (SARC)
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