Search Results for: Hemphill

Berkeley School Board: 3 seats contested by 5 candidates

The Berkeley School Board, at its August meeting. Photo: Mark Coplan/BUSD
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Three seats on the Berkeley Unified school board are being contested by five candidates in this year’s election. Three of the candidates — Josh Daniels, Karen Hemphill and Julie Sinai — are incumbents on the board (although Sinai was appointed, not elected, following the resignation of Leah Wilson). Ty Alper and Norma Harrison are the two non-incumbents running for the board.

Berkeleyside asked each of the candidates a number of questions about both their background and their views on some key issues facing Berkeley schools. The responses to the questions are provided in alphabetical order below.

One slightly unusual aspect about the school board race is that the three incumbents have endorsed each other and are circulating literature encouraging voters to elect them as a combined slate. Since school-board elections are citywide, building name recognition among voters is often particularly difficult for non-incumbents. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley 2014 election hub: What you need to know

BUSD administrators will hold budget hearing on March 29 in city council chambers
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Absentee ballots have arrived and the November 2014 election is just around the corner. Berkeleyside has been covering the issues for months, and we’ve collected some of our best Berkeley election coverage in a single post to help readers get informed before they cast their votes.

Browse Berkeleyside’s 2014 election coverage.

Berkeley has several council seats up for grabs, and seven ballot measures under consideration. If you haven’t yet plugged into the local issues on the table, here’s your chance. On election night, we’ll cover the results live, and we plan to keep this hub updated as Nov. 4 approaches. If you think it’s a good resource, we hope you’ll share it with your friends and neighbors.

What else do you need to know?

The deadline to register to vote in Alameda County for the Nov. 4 election is Monday, Oct. 20. Registration can be completed online. Berkeleyside does not endorse candidates or measures.

In addition to our news coverage, a lively debate has been going on in our opinion pages. Berkeleyside welcomes submissions of op-ed articles of 500-800 words. We ask for first refusal to publish. Topics should be Berkeley-related and local authors are preferred. Please email submissions to the editors. … Continue reading »

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The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley this weekend

Students register for classes at Vista College during its earliest years. Now called Berkeley City College, the institution is celebrating its 40th anniversary. Photo: www.berkeleycitycollege.edu
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BERKELEY CITY COLLEGE 40TH ANNIVERSARY Berkeley may be best known for one of its higher-ed institutions, but this week a much-deserved spotlight will be trained on the other. Although it has gone by many different names over the years, Berkeley City College has been producing scholars for four decades. BCC’s 40th anniversary celebration will kick off Friday, Oct. 17, and will continue with various events and activities throughout the coming year. Starting at noon, the day will be packed with discussion panels, live music, campus tours, and presentations by a host of officials including Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates. At 5:15 p.m. there will be a dedication of “From the Ground Up/Desde las raices,” a brand new mural created by local artists including BCC students. The college is located at 2050 Center St. RSVPs are encouraged. … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: After fatal stabbing, be the change in South Berkeley

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On Sept. 19, a 72-year-old woman was brutally stabbed in front of the Berkeley Zen Center in South Berkeley in a botched carjacking. For several days she lay in the hospital sedated and unresponsive, with irreparable brain damage. Because of this, her family decided to take her off life support. Two-and-a-half weeks after the attack, she died.

I keep waiting for the outrage. After all, when a slashing happened at the scenic North … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Less shoot-from-the-hip, more planning for schools

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In the past fourteen years, the Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD) has authorized $327 million in capital improvements. That represents approximately $15,000 in taxes per household, or about $35,000 per student, a generous investment by Berkeley residents. Most people are surprised to learn, however, that BUSD has allocated these resources without a Facilities Master Plan.

A Facilities Master Plan gathers and analyzes information from various sources to provide a comprehensive study of the district’s facility needs. Projections of student enrollment, an … Continue reading »

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Soda tax, school board race, open council seat bring campaign cash to Berkeley

The proponents of a tax on soda kicked off their campaign on Aug. 2. Photo: Berkeley vs Big Soda
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The lure of an open Berkeley City Council seat has turned the race to replace Gordon Wozniak in November into a big bucks proposition.

The District 8 race for Wozniak’s position, the city’s proposed sugar-sweetened beverage tax on distributors and the Berkeley School Board race — with four people vying for three seats — are already bringing in significant campaign contributions as the November 2014 election approaches.

Read Berkeleyside’s 2014 election coverageContinue reading »

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Berkeley School Board set to vote on slashed budget for cooking and gardening program

C&G photo
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UPDATE, March 27: As expected, the Berkeley Unified School Board last night voted to commit $485,000 for the coming year to its gardening program, under the terms outlined it the proposal that called for gardening classes for pre-kindergarten through grade 7. [See the full proposal on the BUSD Board meeting agenda packet, starting on page 54.] Commenting on the move, Martin Bourque, executive director of the Ecology Center, said Berkeley was showing leadership in finding money from its budget for the pioneering program after losing nearly $2 million in federal funding. “Who else is stepping up like that on their own dime?” he said. “Berkeley is leading the way.”

ORIGINAL STORY: For the past few months the Berkeley school district has been struggling along with funding for its beloved cooking and gardening program. After some back-and-forth on proposals this winter, the board is now expected to vote March 26 to approve very reduced funding for gardening classes only in the 2014-15 school year.

Supporters – teachers, students and parents – pleaded with the school board at its March 12 meeting not to make further cuts to the cooking and gardening classes, which lost an annual $1.9 million in federal funding last fall. The program is already operating on less than half its former budget this year – about $850,000 — with bridge funds. Next year’s budget would be under $500,000.

“This has been a very difficult process for all of us,” Superintendent Donald Evans said. “This is a nationally recognized program. But that was when we had $2 million. We can no longer retain that type of program.” … Continue reading »

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2020 Vision: Skills improve, absences down, gap remains

Berkeley City Council and School Board special session, Jan. 28, 2014. Photo: Lars Skjerping
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A citywide initiative proponents hope will close the achievement gap in Berkeley public schools appears to be working, though significant disparities remain, according to data presented Tuesday night in a special session before the Berkeley City Council and School Board.

The 2020 Vision for Berkeley’s Children and Youth — called “2020 Vision” for short — is a broad collaboration dating back, in its earliest form, to 2008, and is designed to chip away at the achievement gap among racial groups in Berkeley schools by the year 2020.

According to organizers, African-American and Hispanic students consistently perform “significantly below their peers on state and district standardized tests and other measures that predict academic success, such as chronic absence, truancy, suspension, and dropout rates. By some measures, the disparity in the academic performance of Berkeley students along race lines, commonly known as the ‘achievement gap,’ is one of the widest reported in California.” … Continue reading »

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Schools

Berkeley School Board members to hold office hours

Berkeley School Board. Photo: Mark Coplan
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Members of the Board of Education will hold office hours in an attempt to make themselves more available to the community, the Berkeley Unified School District announced recently. Scroll down to see an interactive map of the locations and schedule.

Karen Hemphill, board president, will be at Café Leila, 1724 San Pablo Ave., on the second Saturday of each month from 10–11:30 am. … Continue reading »

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Portable classroom plan at Berkeley schools delayed

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A school district proposal to replace decades-old portable classrooms at Berkeley’s Washington Elementary and Berkeley Arts Magnet schools with a set of newer ones that are being removed from the Berkeley High campus, has been delayed for further consideration after concerns were expressed by parents at the schools.

At Wednesday night’s BUSD Board meeting, it was agreed that the plan (some of the details of which can be viewed here), that had originally been slated for approval on June 12, would be rescheduled to the Sept. 9 school board meeting.

The portables at BAM and Washington were installed in the lates 1960s as a temporary measure. In the latter case, they form Washington’s annex campus on McKinley St. across from the school’s main campus. The decision to switch them out with the BHS portables, which are 4-5  years’ old, was taken in 2011 as part of a system replacements plan funded by the 2010 $210m Measure I bond measure. … Continue reading »

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Willard names new principal, Thousand Oaks on hunt

Debbie Dean
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Debbie Dean has been named as the new Principal at Berkeley’s Willard Middle School. Dean replaces Robert Ithurburn who is leaving to take up a new post.

The decision was announced at the BUSD Board meeting on Wednesday night.

Dean has been Assistant Principal at Redwood Middle School in Napa for the past five years. Before that, she was an assistant principal and school social worker in the Oakland Unified School District. She lives in Berkeley and is the parent of a student at Thousand Oaks Elementary School

In a statement read by BUSD Board Chair Karen Hemphill at the board meeting, Dean was described as being “well organized” and bringing “a wealth of administrative, teaching and cultural experiences.” She “communicates well with a wide range of individuals, listens carefully, possesses an innovative mind, assumes responsibility, demonstrates a high level of energy, possesses a willingness to learn, is very approachable and knows the secondary education territory, particularly middle school, well. … Continue reading »

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Schools

B-Tech graduation rate soars under inspired leadership

Sheila Quintana with B-Tech students. Photo: Mark Coplan.
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This Friday, nearly 800 students from Berkeley High will attend their graduation ceremony at the historic Hearst Greek Theatre. But with equal fanfare, they’ll be joined by 62 seniors from Berkeley Technology Academy (B-Tech). Compared to the many hundreds from BHS, that might not sound like a lot, but consider this: two years ago, only seven B-Tech students graduated.

B-Tech provides a continuation high school diploma program for students who have either involuntarily been placed because of violations of Education Code 48900 or have chosen to be placed there because they are falling behind in academic credits at BHS. Many of the students are economically disadvantaged, nearly a third are homeless, and many have direct experience of violence and incarceration in their community. It’s a small school, with enrollment around 150, many of them in their senior year. The 62 B-Tech graduates this year are part of a class of 73 seniors.

“I want all 73 seniors graduating,” said Sheila Quintana, principal of B-Tech since July, 2011.  … Continue reading »

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Pat Mullan, recommended music gigs in Berkeley

JuniusCourtneyBigBand
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The Berkeley Public Library might seem like unpromising territory to develop a thriving practice as a jazz trombonist, concert presenter, and all-around East Bay mover and shaker, but Pat Mullan is an expert at creating spaces for the culture she loves. She spent a quarter century ensconced at the downtown branch, where she found numerous ways to bring jazz into the stacks. But since retiring seven years ago, Mullan has poured her energy into the hard swinging 19-piece Junius Courtney Big Band, which performs a program focusing on the music of Thelonious Monk tonight at Yoshi’s with powerhouse guest vocalist Zoe Ellis (Berkeley High class of ‘88). On Friday, Mullan brings her unusual trombone quartet Trombonga to the Westside Café on Ninth Street.

When she first started playing with the Courtney Big Band in the early 1980s the ensemble had faded from view after decades as an East Bay institution under the leadership of its namesake New Orleans-born Berkeley-based trumpeter. She quickly arranged for the band to perform at the library, and started calling around for other gigs. Her dogged efforts have kept the ensemble together, working regularly with biannual showcase concerts at Yoshi’s. … Continue reading »

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