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Community arts, education projects get boost from Cal

District officials say Berkeley schools focus on the whole health of students with programs such as its cooking and gardening curriculum, which families advocated for at a recent school board meeting. Photo: Berkeley Unified School District

The school district’s cooking and gardening program, which has been struggling to raise money in the wake of shrinking federal support, is one recipient of this year’s Chancellor’s Community Partnership Fund. Photo: Berkeley Unified School District

A UC Berkeley fund run by the chancellor’s office and designed to build partnerships throughout the city recently named 11 community projects that will receive $252,000 in 2013-14.

The Chancellor’s Community Partnership Fund selected a range of education, arts, math and sciences programs to support. The fund has awarded $1.65 million since 2006.

This year’s winning projects were selected from a pool of 66 proposals totaling over $2 million in requests. Some of the winners include the Berkeley schools Garden Education Collaborative; a new project to create art installations on San Pablo Avenue; a conflict resolution program at Rosa Parks Elementary; and a math tutoring program at several Berkeley schools.

“One of the highlights of my tenure as chancellor has been our dedicated support of community engagement which has brought about a partnership that will continue for many years to come,” said Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau in a prepared statement. (See the full list of recipients here.)

The Garden Education Collaborative is an initiative to connect in-school and outdoor learning, and Cal’s support will assist with planning, teacher training, curriculum development and green-space infrastructure. The program will serve 9,400 students who attend the district’s 11 public elementary schools, three middle schools, one comprehensive high school and an alternative high school. The project will also develop new garden infrastructure and curriculum pilots in 2013-14 at three elementary schools. The effort is a partnership between the district’s garden and cooking program, Berkeley LEARNS After School Program, Bay Area Community Resources, Bay Tree Design and The Edible Schoolyard Project, and will receive $23,000.

Print Public, which will receive $40,000, is described as a “new creative place-making project” developed by UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design, Cal’s Transportation Center, Kala Art Institute and local businesses “to create art installations, pop-up projects, print kiosks, and innovative acts of culture to activate San Pablo Avenue.” The two-year pilot project will focus on creating an “arts-integrated approach” to urban planning and community in West Berkeley. Kala’s executive director, Archana Horsting, said the campaign will include “innovative cross-disciplinary art projects that push the boundaries of print media in public space.”

A disaster preparedness program in West Berkeley, called Ready Neighborhoods, will also receive $30,000.

Conflict Busters, a restorative justice-based peer conflict resolution program at Rosa Parks Elementary will receive $25,000. The program “teaches students to de-escalate and resolve the conflicts of their peers,” and includes a 12-week certification course and conference about restorative justice practices in schools.

Berkeley Advancing in Mathematics is a pilot program to bring UC Berkeley undergraduates who have math education experience into elementary schools as tutors and as classroom trainees. The undergrads will work at Berkeley Arts Magnet School, as well as Cragmont, Malcolm X, Thousand Oaks and Washington elementary schools. The program will receive $34,000.

Head Start, run by the YMCA of the Central Bay Area, will receive $40,000 to help with science education to address the achievement gap and target low-income children in Berkeley.

Mayor Tom Bates said the program builds important connections between Cal, community groups and Berkeley residents. “Working together, we have been able to make Berkeley a stronger, healthier and vibrant community,” he said.

Related:
Portraits: Berkeley schools’ cooking, gardening experts [05.29.13]
Berkeley works to save schools’ edible programs [05.09.13]
School cooking, gardening programs in peril [04.16.13]

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