Coliseum College Prep Academy (CCPA), a small public school in Oakland Unified School District (OUSD), opened in fall 2006 to offer high-quality college-prep education for historically underserved students in the Coliseum/Havenscourt neighborhood of East Oakland. CCPA combines rigorous academic coursework, extensive support services, and enriching after school programming to deliver a holistic education to 475 students in grades 6 – 12.

Participation in the After School Program is free for students, thanks to a partnership between OUSD, the Oakland Fund for Children & Youth, and Safe Passages. Safe Passages is proud to partner with CCPA to help implement the After School Program. Furthermore, many of the After School staff are either CCPA or AmeriCorps alumni that have since been hired full-time by Safe Passages.

New partnerships for the After School Program this year include a Bike Club for the high schoolers facilitated by the Oakland Department of Parks and Recreation, where two Parks & Rec staff members take a group of 12 students to mountain bike in different parks. So far the club has explored the Martin Luther King Jr. Shoreline, Tilden Regional Park, and the Oyster Bay Regional Shoreline; and upcoming trips include a UC Berkeley “college tour” where the students will bike around campus and have an opportunity to have a closer look at the school.

Another new partnership this year is Seeds of Awareness, an organization that teaches mindfulness-based social and emotional learning to 14 CCPA students. Campbell explains that this skill is especially useful for students at CCPA because “trauma in this community is so pervasive,” and he hopes that it will eventually become an after-school class held every day. Campbell says that according to a student survey, “more than half of our 6th graders have experienced more than one significant trauma, and at such a young age, trauma can have very lasting effects. Intervention is necessary.” The students learn different methods of calming themselves, such as breathing techniques and various focus exercises, and learn skills that they can use in their daily lives. Studies show that mindfulness instruction has a positive impact on executive functioning, decreasing anxiety, improving focus, and enhancing overall well-being.

The last new offering in this year’s After School Programming is a physical education class taught by Campbell himself called “Fabulous Fitness for All,” which takes place in the newly renovated weight training room. Campbell explains that his vision for the class is “to be an exercise option for kids who aren’t traditionally athletic or team-oriented,” and that his class is in addition to the physical activity required for the after school program.  An important aspect of Campbell’s class is talking to the students and their parents about nutrition, sleep, and overall wellness. Campbell adds that he and the students “are really in this program together. I’m working out more  because I want to be a healthy role model for the kids.”