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New Playground Comes With Added Dose of Pride

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Getty Images
    Roosevelt Middle School opened something like this

    A new schoolyard that was unveiled at Roosevelt Middle School in  Oakland today has given its students and staff "a sense of pride," principal  Clifford Hong said.

         Hong said that when he toured Roosevelt, which serves students in  grades six through eight, before he became its principal last year, the  schoolyard "was pretty decrepit, with cracked asphalt and little pebbles all  over the place."      The school's track wasn't even visible, and the schoolyard "looked  pretty awful and pretty depressing," he said.
         But the schoolyard at Roosevelt, which is located at 1926 19th  Ave. in southeast Oakland's San Antonio neighborhood, has now had a makeover,  complete with an innovative turf field, greenery, playing surfaces and  artwork, Hong said.
         The turf field has an all-weather surface that can be used for  football, soccer and exercising.
         Hong said the turf is used from 8:15 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day.
         He said students use it for their physical education classes  during the day, and then it's used for after-school activities.
         In the evening, it functions as a recreation center that can be  used by community residents, Hong said.
         Teachers and students can now point to the school and tell their  friends, "This is where I teach or this is where I learn," he said.
         Funding for the improvement project cam from the Oakland  Schoolyard Initiative, which is a partnership between the East Bay Asian  Youth Center, the Unity Council and the Oakland Unified School District.
         Hong said the initiative brings parents, students, and community  members together to help create a vision for schoolyards at various schools  in Oakland.
         When the schoolyards are completed, they are available to students  during the day and for after-school programs and to the community throughout  the year.
         Schoolyard improvement projects were previously completed at three  other schools in Oakland: Garfield Elementary School, Urban Promise Academy  Middle School and Manzanita Elementary School.
         Five others -- Sankofa Elementary School, West Oakland Middle  School, Greenleaf Elementary School, the Barack Obama Academy and Sobrante  Park Elementary School -- are in the design phase.
         Financial support for the Roosevelt schoolyard also came from the  California Endowment, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Stewardship  Council, Oakland City Councilwoman Patricia Kernighan and The Home Depot.