Category Archives: Schools

Schools

Berkeley School Board primer: Harold Way, admissions and enrollment, the budget

The Berkeley School Board. Photo: Mark Coplan/BUSD
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The Berkeley schools Board of Education meets tonight, May 20, at 7:30 p.m. See the agenda packet here. (It’s a large file that may take time to load.)

On the agenda: 2211 Harold Way and its impacts on Berkeley High; the school budget and LCAP plans; a review of the district’s approach to enrollment and admissions; sexual harassment; a new facilities master plan, and many other items. Did you know school board members hold regular office hours? See page 6 of the agenda packet for details and contact information.

There’s also a group of parents planning to rally outside at 6:30 p.m. to call for better district efforts related to inclusive education. They write in a flier about the rally that, “for too long now, BUSD has ‘talked the talk’ on Inclusion, without walking the walk. Students are being denied help that they qualify for under the law, teachers are not being supported, and classrooms are stressed.” Another group of community members, concerned about the district’s approach to a federal complaint about sexual harassment at Berkeley High, is also planning to make its voices heard. (The board is planning to discuss that complaint during closed session.) … Continue reading »

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Berkeley High students allege BUSD refused access to federal investigators over sexual harassment

Students from BHS Stop Harassing put up posters in campus, alleging BUSD has been refusing OCR investigators access to students. Photo: Jaya N.S.
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After BUSD officials allegedly refused to let federal investigators interview students about sexual harassment claims at Berkeley High, students plastered posters in campus hallways last month stating, “You are being silenced,” and “Your civil rights are being violated right now.”

Students and parents of the activist group BHS Stop Harassing, who alerted the Office of Civil Rights about alleged sexual harassment at the high school, contend that the school district has obstructed OCR’s efforts to collect materials and speak to students. The district has not turned over requested papers and documentation; refused to allow OCR to distribute an anonymous survey asking about sexual harassment in classrooms; failed to alert students that investigators were there to conduct interviews; and did not send permission slips for those interviews home, according to parents of BHS students. One of the parents was Heidi Goldstein, who filed the complaint to the OCR last December. … Continue reading »

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Council to consider broad limits on tobacco sales

A menthol-flavored electronic cigarette. Berkeley City Council is taking steps to prevent youth being exposed to menthol and flavored cigarettes. Photo: Lindsay Fox
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Update, May 13: Council approved a pared-down proposal Tuesday night focused on electronic and flavored cigarettes. See the Berkeleyside update.

Original story, May 12: The Berkeley City Council is set to adopt, on first reading, a severe nicotine sales restriction law during Tuesday night’s meeting that would limit sales of tobacco products and electronic cigarettes around local schools and parks.

Under the new law, most of the city would effectively become off-limits for tobacco and e-cigarette sales.

The new ordinance would go into effect Jan 1, 2016, and would prohibit the sale of tobacco products within 1,000 feet of schools and public parks. Businesses would be allowed a grace period of one to two years to “minimize economic hardship” and comply with the new regulations. Businesses that violate the new law could be categorized as a “public nuisance.”

The original proposed buffer zone of 500 feet, as well as the inclusion of churches, day care centers, and other public spaces, was previously considered and rejected by council. … Continue reading »

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Schools

Berkeley School Board primer: Budget priorities, facilities plan, sexual harassment, attendance

The Berkeley School Board. Photo: Mark Coplan/BUSD
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The Berkeley schools Board of Education meets tonight, May 6, at 7:30 p.m. See the agenda packet here. (It’s a large file that may take time to load.)

On the agenda: the school budget, sexual harassment, the latest school attendance report, the creation of a new facilities master plan, and many other items. Did you know school board members hold regular office hours? See page 6 of the agenda packet for details and contact information. … Continue reading »

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Police arrest 3, with replica gun, tied to BHS fight

Berkeley High police cruiser. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Police have arrested an Oakland man and two teenagers with a replica gun who authorities say planned to help with a fight involving two Berkeley High students on Wednesday.

According to Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats, police learned from Berkeley High earlier in the day about “a group of students from Oakland who were coming to Berkeley to fight.”

School staff, in response, asked students to stay on campus at lunch and limited visitor access to the campus, at 1980 Allston Way.

Coats said police worked with Berkeley High staff and assigned officers to watch the area surrounding the school to help keep the area safe.

During the lunch period, police contacted three Oakland residents — one of whom was later found to have a replica gun — who said they had come to Berkeley to help with a fight between two Berkeley High students, said Coats. Police detained the trio on Shattuck Avenue and Allston Way. … Continue reading »

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Principal restricts access to Berkeley High because of reports that a fight might break out

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Update, 8:10 p.m.: BHS acting principal Kristin Glenchur sent out an email to the school community at around 5:30 p.m. to report on the incident today and how the school managed it. She said the school had “exercised an abundance of caution” by increasing police presence on and around campus and that it had “issued school discipline consequences to those students who were involved in the McClymonds incident.” “We are glad to report that today was quiet with no interruptions to class,” she wrote. Glenchur recommended that families pick up their students on the MLK side of the school “as most of the trouble we have had to manage recently has occurred on the Milvia and Shattuck side of school.” Glenchur did not mention that three people were arrested in connection with the incident.

Update, 4:30 p.m. Police arrested three Oakland residents, one of whom was found to have a replica gun, during the lunch period. According to authorities, they told police they were planning to help in a fight between Berkeley High students. See the update.

Original story, 11:30 a.m. The principal of Berkeley High is asking students to stay on campus at lunch today and is limiting visitor access because of a concern that fights may break out.

Kristin Glenchur sent an email to the Berkeley High community Wednesday morning alerting families that Berkeley High and McClymonds High School students may be planning “to continue a personal conflict related to the very large fight that occurred in Berkeley three weeks ago.”

“We now have what we believe are credible reports that the group of students they are fighting with intend to come to Berkeley today either at lunch or after school,” Glenchur wrote. … Continue reading »

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5 arrested in Berkeley after 15-20 youth fights downtown

Berkeley High police cruiser. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Update, April 13, 5 p.m. Regarding the students who were arrested Friday, the Berkeley Police Department has provided the following basic information:

  • A 16-year-old female was arrested on suspicion of participating in a riot, as well as battery on a peace officer or other sort of officer or first responder.
  • A 16-year-old male was arrested on suspicion of probation violation.
  • Two 17-year-old males were arrested on suspicion of battery.
  • An 18-year-old male was arrested on suspicion of battery, as well as either fighting in a public place or challenging another person to a fight in public. (Police identified him April 15 as Deantae Williams.)

Four of the students are listed as Berkeley residents. The 18-year-old lives in Richmond, according to Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats. Berkeley High Principal Kristen Glenchur identified all five of the youth on Friday as Berkeley Unified students: three Berkeley High students and two Berkeley Technology Academy students. She said the students also would “face additional school discipline.” … Continue reading »

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School Board adopts interim sexual harassment policy

Sexual Harassment Advisory Committee Peggy Scott speaks to the School Board during public comment.
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Amid a federal investigation on whether Berkeley High School inadequately responded to sexual harassment claims, the Berkeley School Board voted unanimously Wednesday to pass a new, interim sexual harassment policy.

While passing the sexual harassment policy, and its accompanying administrative regulation, the Board placed conditions on certain points of concern raised by parents and students, such as revisiting the policy in no later than a year, and expediting the hiring process of a permanent Title IX Coordinator.

The interim policy, the first update to BUSD’s sexual harassment policy since 2006, is a model policy created by the California School Boards Association, or CSBA. The policy outlines how sexual harassment complaints should be handled by the district and what disciplinary actions offenders should receive. … Continue reading »

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Sam Pasarow named as new Berkeley High principal

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Sam Pasarow, an Oakland middle school principal, will be Berkeley High School’s new principal, starting in July, Berkeley Unified Superintendent Donald Evans announced at last night’s school board meeting.

Pasarow will take the helm from Kristen Glenchur, who has been interim principal since last summer. Pascuale Scuderi, who served as principal for four years, became assistant superintendent for educational services at BUSD last summer.

“Finding the right leader for Berkeley High School has been both challenging and exciting,” Evans said in a statement yesterday. “We had so many great candidates, and we were fortunate to have the involvement of teachers, administrators, board members and parents who participated in the interview process. I am very pleased with the outcome, and confident that the BHS community will find a strong educational leader in Principal Pasarow.”  … Continue reading »

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Berkeley student suspended after stabbing other student

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Update, April 13, 3:30 p.m. According to Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats, police arrested a 17-year-old male from Richmond on the evening of the stabbing on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon.

Original story, March 26, 6:57 p.m. A Berkeley High School student was suspended after stabbing a fellow student in the back Thursday. The incident happened off campus during the lunch period. The BHS senior who was injured sustained a non-life-threatening knife wound, and was in stable condition with his family Thursday afternoon, according to an email put out by BHS Principal Kristin Glenchur at around 5 p.m.

Glenchur issued the first of two emails to the Berkeley High community just before 3 p.m. She said the incident happened near Milvia Street and University Avenue. Initially it was thought the perpetrator was not affiliated with Berkeley High but, in her second email, around two hours later, Glenchur said authorities had identified a BHS student “as the person who had the knife.”

“The altercation appears to have been personal and not random,” she wrote. … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: We must address the affordability crisis faced by Berkeley teachers

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Recently a fifth grade student in my class told me that she wanted to be a teacher when she grew up. I was incredibly pleased, a bright young person deciding that they want to be an educator is an amazing thing. It also made me feel pretty proud that perhaps I had played a role in inspiring such an ambition.

However, another part of me wonders what will the teaching profession look like ten years from now when she is graduating … Continue reading »

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Berkeley-based college becomes first Muslim accredited college in U.S., plans to move to Northside

Zaytuna College, the first Muslim accredited college in the United States, is moving to 1712 Euclid Ave. this year. Photo: Seung Y. Lee
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Amid preparations to move its campus to a new location north of UC Berkeley, Zaytuna College recently became the first Muslim college in the United States to receive accreditation.

March 4, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, a regional accrediting agency in California, Hawaii and the Pacific, sent an approval letter of accreditation to Zaytuna College President Hamza Yusuf.

Zaytuna College students are now eligible for federal financial aid. However, most of the 50-plus students attending Zaytuna College are financially covered by private donations, according to campus spokesman Safir Ahmed. … Continue reading »

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Semi-pro Ultimate frisbee team moves to Berkeley

The San Francisco Dogfish, a Major League Ultimate frisbee team, is moving to Berkeley for its 2015 home games.
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For being the lone teenager in a group of adult professionals in last Sunday’s practice, Colby Chuck showed his San Francisco Dogfish teammates he was no greenhorn in Ultimate frisbee.

Perhaps home advantage came in play for the Berkeley High junior. After two years bouncing around in San Francisco, the Dogfish, one of eight teams in the semi-professional Major League Ultimate, is moving to Berkeley and will call Yellowjacket Stadium in Berkeley High its new home starting next month.

Chuck can’t play for the Dogfish due to his status as a high-school student, but he is gaining valuable experience by practicing every week with the team.

“The players mentor me to get better for college and beyond,” Chuck said. “It’s just great that they can correct my game and make me get better.” … Continue reading »

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