Live Oak is committed to reflecting the diversity of the San Francisco Bay Area in its students, families, faculty, administration, and governing board. We include people of all socioeconomic circumstances, family structures, and racial, ethnic, and gender identities. Here, all voices are heard, respected, and appreciated. Together we strive to recognize bias and discrimination in our world and to be the agents of change working toward a just society.
In the Classroom
Our classrooms are the starting place for fostering an understanding of diversity, equity, and social justice. Following is a sampling of student explorations.
All About Me
Our youngest community members learn to observe, discuss, and ultimately celebrate their similarities and differences. Considerations include: What do you eat for dinner? Do girls play with trucks? Can boys play with dolls? What makes a family?
Third grade geography invites students to explore self and others by sharing artifacts representing their familial or ancestral origins. Each student leads a learning session to introduce classmates to that place in the world associated with their artifact.
Art and Identity
The stereotype-challenging work of mother-daughter artists Alison and Betye Saar inspires middle school art students to sculpt multimedia pieces that reflect themes of identity, family, ancestry, and collective memory.
Conformity, Loyalty, Power, and Choice
Sixth grade humanities students are immersed in both contemporary literature and ancient cultures. Whether exploring self-esteem in The Misfits or studying Ancient Egypt’s pharaohs and slaves, students consider how identity and class shape one’s reality.
Natural Resources and Society
Sixth grade science students study natural resource access and consumption, encountering concepts such as “earthshare” and “food footprints.” Discussions ensue on the effects of race and class on rights and privileges surrounding natural resources.
While some aspects of our identity are visible, most of what makes us who we are lies below the surface. By probing the depths of literary characters’ lives as well as their own, seventh grade students realize that identity does not stop at observable reality.
By the time Live Oak students reach seventh grade, they are well prepared to engage in this cornerstone unit that asks: How could this happen? Students elaborate on aspects of human nature — exclusion and inclusion, gaining and maintaining power, and self-identity.
RACE: Are We So Different?
Studying this American Anthropological Association exhibition, seventh grade students grapple with a complex storyline: While the concept of race exists in societal contexts, contemporary scientific understanding of human variation questions its existence.
Science and Bias
Eighth graders are challenged to critically examine texts for bias. They are asked to consider, for example, the way in which certain disorders are categorized as biologically race-related, when in reality the diseases are caused by other, disparate factors.
Across the Grades
The whole student body is encouraged to participate in cross-grade conversations about identity, diversity, and equity through numerous programs. Following is a sampling.
In existence for nearly a decade, Live Oak’s groundbreaking GSA is one of the few at the middle school level. Participants have advocated for LGBT rights alongside the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the It Gets Better campaign, and other GSAs citywide.
Live Oak’s Affinity Grove invites lower school students who self-identify as children of color to share their stories and explore the foundations of their racial and ethnic identity with the support of peers who may have common experiences.
On Common Ground
Founded as a safe space for students of color to address specific issues they were personally encountering, OCG has grown into a support system where students can find connections, serve as role models, and see themselves reflected in their community.
Family, Neighborhood, and Beyond
A key element of Live Oak’s mission is to inspire students to act with compassion and integrity. Working together helps us bring this goal to life in the form of active citizenship.
Family Affinity Groups
Affinity groups including Families of Color, Adoptive Families, and LGBT Families host potlucks to bring together families who share common identities in a fun and supportive environment.
While local organizations are the beneficiaries of our projects throughout the year, Live Oak volunteers also reap the benefits that come with recognizing shared community responsibility and taking action to better the world.
Potrero Hill Peace March
Live Oak joins other Potrero Hill schools in an annual peace march and celebration that encourages the resolution of conflict through peaceful and verbal interactions rather than violence.
Potrero Hill Community Garden
Jackson Park is the home for our organic community garden, featuring urban farming activities that highlight the changes we can bring to our local food system. For more information, visit potrerohilllearninggarden.blogspot.com
San Francisco LGBT Pride Parade
Live Oak families — straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender — support each other and the larger LGBT community by marching in San Francisco’s Pride Parade as part of the Independent Schools Marching in Pride contingent.
8th Grade Advisory Service Learning Program
Through service learning, students become aware of equity issues in the community and gain skills to advocate for justice. Projects have included working at food banks and food distribution venues, family shelters, beach cleanups, and wetlands restorations.
St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church Food Pantry
Charity is the heart of community service and community service is the heart of social justice. Fifth graders distribute food to those in need and in turn seek to understand the larger social conditions that perpetuate that need.
Glide Memorial Church
Live Oak has partnered with Glide to develop a service-learning curriculum for eighth graders that examines the inequitable resource distribution that affects homelessness and the creation of systems to help people who are homeless.
Live Oak eighth graders take to the skies on their way to an annual service-learning adventure in the nation’s capital. During their stay, they work at the DC Central Kitchen and the Anacostia Watershed Society and take their selected issues straight to Congress.