What next for science labs at BHS?

Photo/Jeremy Franklin

Peggy Scott, parent representative on the Berkeley High School Governance Council, has sent out to a community email list a summary of last week’s SGC meeting. It has been slightly edited for style:

Regarding BSEP funds: According to Jim Slemp’s “Principal’s Report” at last Tuesday’s SGC meeting, Superintendent Huyett plans to submit these budget recommendations for approval from the school board:

1.4 FTE for AP/IB science labs
1.0 FTE for regular science labs
1.0 FTE for performing arts (e.g. music)
3.0 for equity grants

This totals 6.4 FTE  (Full Time Equivalent, that is one full teacher’s worth of salary and other costs, as in five teaching periods per day or 25 periods per week. )

This means that many science labs will be saved, but not all.

The equity grants cannot be used to buy down class size for classes that are already happening, and these FTE must be spent during 0/7th period. I don’t have confirmation on this but that was my understanding.

  1. 0/7 period science labs for all AP classes should get funded (AP or IB Chem, Bio, Physics, and Environmental Science)
  2. 0/7 labs for regular science are available but students need to sign up for this, and they get one extra unit of credit on their transcript if they take this. They can take this one extra lab for support (they need the extra help) or for enhancement (more hands on lab experience and of course also help succeeding  at the course). For some inexplicable reason, the counselors were telling the kids that they could not or should not sign up for these labs but according to the Superintendent they can. Go figure.
  3. Music during 0 period should get funded.

Teachers need to write up applications for Equity grants but those need to fit a very prescribed format that fits the BSEP measure A qualifications (that part is legal, it’s not as if someone just decided this part this year.)

This is just my analysis of what we were told at the SGC meeting but it fits with what I have been hearing at several BSEP  P&O meetings.

Also, the BHS governance structure will be re-written/redesigned during the month of April and will go to the school board twice, first for information and the second time, for approval. If students or parents want to comment on that I suggest that they attend the school board meeting on April 14th at 7:30pm. The approval meeting will be April 28. I’ll keep you posted on that issue as well as I can. I hope that the draft plan will be in the school board packet that gets posted here at least 72 hours before the meeting (should be the Friday before April 14).

Send them your good ideas! I think they know all about the parity component by now.