Inspire News: By Students, For Students

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Purple Pages

Inspire News: By Students, For Students

Purple Pages

A bike path off of the Skyway, part of the intended Valleys Edge development.
To the Edge Of the Valley
Margareta Grant-Dreher, Reporter • April 15, 2024

Valley’s Edge is a 1,448 acreage housing development that encompasses about 13 miles of land from East 20th street to the Honey Run area. The...

Jaxon Strausbaugh (9), Morgen Resier (10), Zeno Beutenmueller (12), Shania Ruggenberg (11), Quinn Anderson (12), and Zander Renzi (12) working on a photo.
Best year yet for SkillsUSA
Andres Coronel, Comic Artist • February 26, 2024

With the 2024 SkillsUSA Regionals competition coming to a close, results have been revealed for the next batch of State Competitors. This competition...

The boarded up parking lot of the old downtown 7-11 building
Safe Space Shut Down
Elliott Herlihy, Graphic Designer • February 19, 2024

In Chico, there is a clear and present issue with the amount of people that are unsheltered, and oftentimes living on the streets. There are...

Snapshot from security footage during the incident.
Altercation leads to alleged stabbing downtown
Julian Manning, Editor • February 13, 2024

On Wednesday, January 31, at approximately 12:11 PM, an altercation between several Chico High and Inspire students escalated into a stabbing...

Alyssa Christensen (10), Rylee Culter (10), Lily Massa (12), and parent helper Raquel Karach all painting a background for anything goes.
Behind the Anything Goes! curtain
Lilah White, Writer • February 13, 2024

Many naturally crave to see and create arts and theatricals. People star in everything from movies to common high school plays. Many commonly...

Staff Recruitment

Only Fools Rush In

The decision to repurpose the Hooker Oak Elementary site feels uninformed

Our future location always seems to be up in the air. Inspire has had many plans to move discussed throughout the year. First the Canyon View plan, then the plan to stay on our current campus, and now the Chico Unified School Board has alluded to the possibility of us moving to the Hooker Oak Elementary site.

During the Chico Unified School District (C.U.S.D.) Special Board of Education Meeting 4/5/2023, Board Member Matt Tennis posed the following question to the Inspire community:
“Would they [Inspire] like to go to Hooker Oak school?”

With the agenda item being whether to Re-Purpose Hooker Oak Elementary School and no prior mention of Inspire making use of the Hooker Oak site, it was unreasonable to expect our school to be prepared to respond.

While the idea of a new campus sounds appealing, the Hooker Oak site is not suitable for our needs. Hooker Oak is one of the older elementary schools in Chico, opening in 1948. According to a presentation by Julia Kistle, Director of Facilities & Construction Chico Unified, Hooker Oak would cost more to renovate than rebuild. She reported that the Hooker Oak site has 75<100% replacement value in areas such as ADA, Building Interior, Electrical, Plumbing and Restrooms, and more.

However, that doesn’t mean Hooker Oak should be disrupted. Hooker Oak Elementary is a school with a hands-on, thematic learning approach. They utilize an alternative learning program, and are a choice school in the district. Like Inspire, families choose to attend Hooker Oak Elementary, rather than be assigned based on their residence. They have a dance class, electives, gardening, a nature center, a sensory room and more. They also used to have a successful theater program, but things got difficult after COVID. They have done all of this with their not so perfect campus, just like us.

“If you’re [C.U.S.D. Board] not going to remodel our school yet, we’re fine with that. Maybe years down the road when they are ready to build that brand new school out off Henshaw once they spend all the board money, maybe then Hooker Oak could be considered to go on that brand new site, but we are happy here now.” states Beth Geise, 4-5th grade teacher at Hooker Oak.

Current Inspire Student, Rowan Brooks (10), reflects on his time at Hooker Oak. “All the teachers I had were great, caring and nice … The nature center and the garden were super cool, as well as the murals … Hooker Oak was great and they really should keep it around.”

Sure a new campus would be great, but I believe that waiting for a permanent, lasting campus is better for us than another temporary C.U.S.D. facility. Ms. Brown put it perfectly, “Inspire is a home, and we will continue to be a home and a safe place for transformative learning…wherever we are.”

Perhaps it is just coincidence that Inspire was mentioned as a possible future occupant of the Hooker Oak Facility at the same meeting where the school board voted no to Inspire’s request to build permanent structures on the Chico High School campus. It seems the board is using Inspire’s need for future housing as another reason to close the Hooker Oak school site.

The reality is- both sites were blindsided with the proposal to move Hooker Oak Elementary off their campus, and the implication that Inspire could take their place. From the perspective of a former Hooker Oak Elementary student, it saddens me that key decision makers implied that they had not even spoken to either school about how a move would affect their unique culture and learning models. Nevertheless, they were being asked to vote to move the Hooker Oak Elementary community off their campus immediately.

Hooker Oak and Inspire are more similar than you may think. Both Inspire and Hooker Oak have electives, arts programs, emphasis on student choice, and an uncertain future.

The decision whether to repurpose the Hooker Oak site will be voted on May 3rd at a public Chico Unified School Board Meeting.

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