She loves us AND our kids. Plus, she taught my kid to dab.
Dancing with Feet, Ideas, Words and Sherice Tyler
Like pretty much everyone in high school, she was just looking for an alternative to standard high school P.E.
In 1996, Berkeley High School junior Sherice Tyler discovered the West African dance troupe Diomano Coura. She decided to give it a try in lieu of P.E. Fast forward twenty years: she has deepened that simple introduction into a lifetime passion that has taken her to Taiwan, Washington D.C., New York and beyond.
Pursuing her dance interest with gusto meant that Sherice took extra time to get through college. But when it came time to decide what to do with her life, her West African dance practice also pointed her toward her eventual vocation: teaching. She worked in West and East Oakland, and North Richmond through Destiny Arts Center, Opera Picola and Sports4Kids (now Playworks), which she loved, but also, found restrictive. “I wanted my own program, where I could emphasize my own values.”
Soon, she got her chance through Aspiranet, who was looking for an after-school coordinator. They got that and so much more with Sherice, who landed happily at Peralta in 2008. Here, she found the culture and values she was seeking already in progress.
“It was a little but of culture shock for me coming here from other programs,” she admits. “At Peralta, the students were already playing with one another, and respecting each other.” She saw her job at Peralta as more reinforcing values and making small adjustments, without changing too much of the structure.
My fellow parents, here’s something we don’t hear everyday: “I love the parents,” Sherice, herself mother to Peralta 3rd grader Jayla, volunteers. “At other sites, I had to hunt and chase down the parents if I wanted to talk to them. Here, the parents initiate communication.”
Clearly, Sherice feels the love. She also returns it. “Students love us. We love the students. I have students who deeply enjoy our program. I have families who thank us out of the blue. We are not so separate from the school. Rosette has folded us in to the school program, with Dannese and Daniel working in the classrooms as aides. I’m really loving it here right now.”
All this love will not stop her from taking an eight week break, though, come the end of April. What? Congratulations are in order: Sherice is pregnant with her second child, to the delight of future big sister Jayla. Sherice will be pushing the PEACE Talent Show up a little earlier in order to hold it before the baby comes along. “The Talent Show was one of our biggest hits — even staff performed.”
A desire for more creativity, with more outlets for it, directs Sherice’s dreams for PEACE’s future: field trips, presentations by artists excelling in their fields, more student performances, maybe even a YouTube channel to highlight student achievements. “I want everyone’s creativity to grow. I don’t want kids to look back and think it was all rules and structure.”
Dinner and a Movie
A few years ago, a group called Gender Spectrum trained your children’s teachers how to create classroom environments and curricula that support kids in exploring the full spectrum of gender expression. (That is a mouthful, I admit. Normally, I like to keep my writing shorter and quippier. I just couldn’t do it.)
Based on their work at Peralta, Gender Spectrum also created a short film, Creating Gender Inclusive Schools. At the February PPTG meeting, in addition to dinner, the PPTG will screen this film, and host a discussion with the filmmakers afterward.
February 1: 6pm, dinner; 6:30-8pm, meeting/movie/discussion.
- Jan 20: So far, caffeine, pastry and chit chat addled parents and caregivers have raised some money for the PPTG, but come on, people, we can do better than this. Come together for our monthly ritualistic legal body chemistry-altering substance frenzy. Brewing Community, after drop off, outside the 63rd street entrance.
- Jan 27: Absolutely positively no school, because our teachers and staff will all be developing professionally.
- Feb 1: 6pm: dinner. The eternal question 'what is for dinner?' will be answered by someone who isn't you; 6:30pm: PPTG Meeting for grown ups and people who can act like grown ups; free childcare for littles and people who just can't handle it.
"This story begins within the walls of a castle, with the birth of a mouse."
Which classic children's story opens with this line? First person to send the correct answer to this address wins a personal reply — from me — and... a stylish Peralta mug that will make you the envy of your fellow caffeine lovers at Brewing Community this month.
Previous answer: Alice in Wonderland, (of course) by the pseudonymous Lewis Carroll (of course)
Winner: Peter Stenwedel, a frequent player on former winner
Time it took Peter to win: One whole hour exactly. Now I have to go find the bumper stickers because Peter already won a mug, and he doesn't need a whole set of them now, does he?
If you've got school or class announcements, or interesting community events you'd like to share with your fellow Peralta-ites, or if you just feel like it, please do contact me. We publish every two weeks or so. Kudos, complaints and scintillating ideas for future posts can go to the same.