In this series of posts, I hope to show Then and Now images Oakland Schools. and a bit of history of each school, I highlight. Some of the photos are in the form of drawings or postcards, or from the pages of history books.
Note: Piecing together the history of some of the older schools is sometimes tricky. I do this all at home and online — a work in progress for some. I have been updating my posts when I find something new. Let me know of any mistakes or additions.
Updated March 2, 2020 – see Highland School
Edison Elementary School
In 1927 the Old Grant school at 29th and Broadway was closed, and two new schools were built to replace it, one on each side of Broadway.
Grant School No. 1 was at Kempton Ave and Fairmount Avenue and, Grant School No. 2 was at Summit and 29th Street.
The school was closed in 1975 because it was not up to earthquake standards. The school was later sold to developers, and the classrooms were converted into expensive condos.
The playground turned into a city park called Oak Park.
The school was located at 3239 Kempton Avenue, Oakland
Highland School was established as part of the Highland School District in 1908 and was annexed into the Oakland School district in 1909.
The school was dedicated on November 14, 1908. There were 250 pupils had enrolled in the new Highland Grammar School. The Mission-style building was built at the cost of $23,000. There were 8 classrooms with the possibility of adding more.
1923 a one-story 8 classroom addition was built, and in 1924, they added an auditorium for $44,200.
In 1957 the old school building was demolished. Plans were approved for a new school to house 644 pupils. The new school was designed by Andrew P. Anderson and Irwin M. Johnson.
In 1958 a new school was built to replace the one from 1908. The new building has 9 classrooms, a special classroom, administrative offices, a library, and a multi-purpose room. The total cost was $411,999. The 1923 addition was retained.
The school is located at 8521 – A Street Oakland, CA
Today the school is called the New Highland Academy. The vision for New Highland is that our students become creative thinkers, effective communicators, and compassionate members of their community.
- New Highland Academy – OUSD Website
- School Site – Oakland Tribune Dec 28, 1907
- New Highland School – Oakland Tribune Nov 05, 1908
- New School is Popular – Oakland Tribune Dec 06, 1908
- Replaces 1908 Building – Oakland Tribune Apr 26, 1959
Grant School was built in 1885 and was located on Broadway at the corner of 29th Street, then called Prospect Avenue. The Grocery Outlet is now where the school was originally.
A new school was approved in 1904. The plans were drawn up by San Francisco Architects Stone & Smith.
Another New School
The last day of school in the “old Grant School” building was January 9th, 1928. The 500 grammar school children would march in a parade to the new school buildings that were built. The two new buildings were constructed to replace Grant School. At that time they were called
- Grant School No. 1 – Edison Elementary School (see above)
- Grant School No. 2 – Grant School at 29th and Summit
The old school building was abandoned and demolished. The land was sold for $350,000, and the money was used to pay for the new schools and property.
In 1966 Grant became a continuation school.
Grant School Today
It is now the site of the Oakland Emiliano Zapata Street Academy.
The vision of Oakland Emiliano Zapata Street Academy (OEZSA/Street Academy) is to provide students a small, safe, high school with a social justice-focused college-preparatory education.
- Grant School – Oakland Local Wiki
- New School Named Grant – Oakland Tribune Jul 28, 1885
- Old Grant School Property Sold – Oakland Tribune Sep 13, 1927
- Last Day at Grant – Oakland Tribune Jan 08,1928
- Now Wrecking Grant School – Oakland Tribune Jan 08, 1928
- Old Grant School Closes – Oakland Tribune Jan 29, 1928
- New Grant School Dedicated – Oakland Tribune May 30, 1928
- The Old Grant School – Oakland Tribune Nov 25, 1951
- Grant School ‘Too Costly to Continue’ – Oakland Tribune Jun 06, 1966
Toler Heights School
In December of 1925, Toler Heights School was just one portable classroom, where 40 students attended school. There were six grades in one room under the guidance of two teachers.
In 1927 a new school was built. The school had four classrooms and was Spanish in design. The new school’s capacity was 180 students and cost about $36,000.
The new school building was dedicated on May 24, 1928.
The school is located at 9736 Lawlor St.
In 2007 the school became known as the Alternative Learning Community, a middle school.
In March of 2009, it became notable as the first, middle school in the United States to be officially named or renamed after US President Barack Obama.
It is now the Francophone Charter School. It opened in 2015 as Transitional Kindergarten through third grade, which offers a French language immersion program.
- Tiniest School – Oakland Tribune Dec 10, 1925
- Toler Heights Bids – Oakland Tribune Apr 21, 1927
- Dedication – Oakland Tribune May 23, 1928
- School Re-Dedication – Oakland Tribune Sep 03, 1939