Kate Luebkeman: On Feb 6th 2013, 294 people armed with emotional stories of personal experiences, articulate letters, and a petition with 3211 signatures and 900 comments crowded into a board meeting at Redwood High School in Marin County, CA to fight for the continuation of the Team program. The Team program, an experiential learning program for juniors in the Tamalpais Union High School District (http://www.tamdistrict.org/theteamprogram) focuses on community service, wilderness exposure, and leadership skills. It has transformed the lives of more than 500 people in over 22 years. It was threatened closure on Jan 25th 2013. This petition was started on Jan 26th, and had 2000 signatures within 48 hours. A Facebook group was created for the purpose of saving the program, and had over 3000 members in a week. Because of the large community support and the patience and civility shown from supporters, as well as the large turn up at the board meeting where Team was discussed, the Superintendent and Board of Trustees wrote the community a letter today, February 11th, expressing their positive decision. We won! The Team program will officially run next year, and is taking applications from sophomores all over the district as of now. Thank you Change.org, we could not have done this without you!
The Team program is a one year academic and experiential learning program open to juniors in the Tamalpais Union High School district of Marin County, CA. It joins students from all three public schools in the area, and provides 24 places. The program offers a wide range of real life experiences in four main phases: community service, career exploration (day long internships in a never-ending list of careers), wilderness adventure (including a year long Wilderness and First Aid course as well as backpacking trips), and ropes course leadership (training students to lead at Fort Miley Ropes Course in San Francisco). The program was created in 1991 and has consistently graduated students with high performing test scores, as well as leadership and real life skills. It has improved the lives of over 500 kids using the power of close relationships, intellectual curiosity and a love of learning.
As of today, January 25th 2013, The Tam Union School District has decided to discontinue the program under the idea that they are "restructuring its alternative education offerings, and what Team offers does not match what the superintendent and board envision for the future" and a few other reasons- all of which can be fixed without the destruction of Team. We've brought in over $1.3 million in the last 15 years to fund our outdoor activities, wilderness medicine and college scholarships. We don't threaten or affect the schools surrounding us. However, because of that, we are easy to squash. Our biggest hope is that we can show the support of people outside the school board, and prove that this program affects more people than just our lucky 24. This program is one of the most creative and valuable programs in the bay area, and we need your support to save us! We are small, but with your help, we are mighty, and we will NOT GO DOWN WITHOUT A FIGHT!