Team program preserved at Tam

02/14/2013

Tamalpais Union High School District officials jettisoned plans to close a 22-year-old wilderness academy for juniors on Monday, defusing a standoff with thousands of supporters of the small-but-beloved Team program. School officials initially proposed to cut the 24-student program last month, saying the specialty academy designed for at-risk populations was expensive and now tends to serve more wealthy, Caucasian and academically elite students than the district at large. An online petition drafted by a current student supporting Team drew 3,234 signatures of parents, alumni and students, and the district received scores of impassioned letters and public testimony arguing that the program offered refuge from the tedium of traditional pedagogy. “Board discussion showed support for the continuation of the Team program, given its benefits to the students who enroll,” Tam Union board president John Wright and superintendent Laurie Kimbrel wrote in a joint letter. “The board also expressed interest in a collaborative effort between administration and the Team staff so that recruitment efforts can be expanded to encourage a greater variety of students to apply and so that acceptance criteria are explicit, transparent, and available to all stakeholders.” Based at Larkspur’s Tamiscal High School, Team blends conventional academics with community service, internships and wilderness trips. Sophomores in the district, including students from Stinson Beach to the San Geronimo Valley, can apply for next year’s Team program until April 24.