Tag Archives: Berkeley High School

Sparkler, or a Berkeley High reunion at the Freight?

Sparkler
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Did you hear about Monday’s Berkeley High reunion at Freight & Salvage? It’s listed on the club’s calendar as a double bill pairing Peter Apfelbaum’s Sparkler and Natalie Cressman’s band, but the indefatigably creative Apfelbaum has essentially assembled a Yellow Jacket conclave with his new electronica-laced band, which features a multi-generational cast of Berkeley High grads and a couple of ringers from nearby. The group released an EP of shimmering dance music last year, I Colored It In For You (M.O.D. Technologies), which includes a remix by bassist and studio wizard Bill Laswell.

For the Freight show Will Bernard, class of 1977, is out from New York with Apfelbaum to provide relentlessly grooving rhythm guitar. East Bay-based Erika Oba, class of 2004, is filling in for the band’s regular keyboardist, while Brooklyn’s Charlie Ferguson, class of 2006, is covering the drum chair (he brings his stellar Afrobeat band Zongo Junction to The New Parish on Aug. 7 with tenor saxophonist Noah Garabedian, another Berkeley-to-Brooklyn classmate).

“We have this whole reservoir of musicians,” says Apfelbaum, who belongs to the first generation that came through the groundbreaking jazz-steeped BUSD music education program that Herb Wong introduced in the late 1960s. “And not just in jazz. There are so many different style that these musicians play. Charlie had already studied with Josh Jones for three years while at Berkeley High before he studied with me at the New School. I’ll show him some rhythmic figure and he does his own thing with it. I don’t need explain a lot.” … Continue reading »

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Opinionator

Op-ed: A student responds to the AMPS yearbook incident

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I am responding to the recent hateful comment in the Berkeley High School yearbook directed at the Academy of Medicine and Public Service (AMPS) small school.

My overall reaction was pure disgust.

Someone on the yearbook committee took the time out of their day to perpetuate racial discrimination against our small school. This, after a long year of high emotions from the recent attention to the many killings and injustices done to people of color and the weight of discrimination … Continue reading »

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Berkeley coding school aims to help close tech race gap

Co-founders Bianca Giandolfo and Albrey Brown from Telegraphy Academy. Photo: Melati Citrawireja
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While grinding through software coding courses at San Francisco programming school Hack Reactor, Albrey Brown, 24, often found himself as one of the few students of color in the room.

Meanwhile Bianca Gandolfo, 26 — like Brown a Hack Reactor alum and former instructor — used to view software engineering as a career path for “a white guy in a basement by himself.”

Instead of ignoring these realities, as some might, the tech-savvy duo decided to do something about it.

Enlisting Hack Reactor as a partner, the pair has launched Berkeley-based Telegraph Academy, a tech coding school that aims to teach software engineering to under-represented minorities and create a network of tech workers of color.

The first class of students, arriving at the Academy’s bustling Shattuck Avenue location from as far away as Honduras and the East Coast, will fire up their computers on June 29. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley Community Fund awards record number of college scholarships to Berkeley students

Photo: Berkeley Community Fund
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Twenty-seven Berkeley High students who were awarded scholarships to college by the the Berkeley Community Fund (BCF) were honored at the Berkeley City Club on Monday, June 8.

The winners of the High Hopes Scholarships represent a wide range of ethnicities, family backgrounds, and academic interests. Most are first-generation college students, and many are immigrants. They will all receive $16,000 over four years in need-based scholarships and one-on-one mentorships.

The Berkeley Community Fund’s High Hopes Scholarship Program has supported low-income, high-achieving Berkeley High School students since 2008. This year marks the highest number of students ever to receive High Hopes scholarships, up from 23 last year. The students have already been accepted to a four-year college; BCF ensures that they can attend and succeed. Continue reading »

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Berkeley High anti-harassment student group wins award, celebrates with Patricia Arquette

Photo: Peggy Scott
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The efforts of Berkeley High School’s student-led anti-sexual harassment group, BHS Stop Harassing, were recognized this week by Equal Rights Advocates who presented them their 2015 Champion of Justice award at a luncheon gala in San Francisco Thursday.

Equal Rights Advocates (ERA) is a San Francisco-based non-profit that works to increase economic and educational opportunities for women. The award is given annually to “a person or group of people who are building toward a more equitable future for women and girls,” according to its website.

Hollywood actress Patricia Arquette attended the ceremony and posed for a photograph with the Berkeley High students. Arquette, who starred in the critically acclaimed movie Boyhood, is a known supporter of gender equality. Accepting an award at the Academy Awards this year, she said: “It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all, and equal rights for women in the United States of America.” … Continue reading »

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Berkeley High students from AMPS school denounce offensive yearbook comment

AMPS, one of the small-learning schools at Berkeley High, has issued a response to an offensive comment about the program in the school's 2015 yearbook. Photo; BHS AMPS
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Outraged students from Berkeley High School’s Academy of Medicine and Public Service (AMPS) released a statement June 8 denouncing an offensive comment written in the school yearbook that flagged students in the program as “future … trash collators” [sic].

The six students who signed the statement said the derogatory comment shows there is continued bias against the small schools in BHS, of which AMPS is one, and that racism and classism are “large factors that exist on Berkeley High’s campus.”

“This latest representation of AMPS in the yearbook illustrates that discrimination against small schools is alive and well,” said the statement. “The slanderous comment about AMPS students being referred to as ‘future trash collators’ or ‘collectors’ is extremely disrespectful to the staff and students and does not recognize their hard work and achievements.” … Continue reading »

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Remembering the Legacy of Mr. Norman C. Letcher, Berkeley Schools, 1933-2015

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By Natalie Letcher

Norman Cornelius Letcher, Dean of Students at Berkeley High School, passed away peacefully in his sleep on May 1, 2015, and had been continually surrounded by family and loved ones. Born June 11, 1933, he was just one month shy of 82 years old.

Mr. Letcher had a longstanding successful career in education that spanned 25 years, which included employment in the Berkeley Unified School District as well as the Parks & Recreation Department. For over … Continue reading »

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Schools

Berkeley High celebrates graduations

BIHS graduation. Photo: Mark Coplan, BUSD
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Berkeley High School’s all-school graduation is Friday, June 12 at the Greek Theatre. But in the last week, many of BHS’s small schools and programs celebrated their own graduations, with a variety of different venues and styles.

Congratulations to all the students. You can see all the photos from all of the different ceremonies from the school district’s page on the ceremonies.  … Continue reading »

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Berkeley High recalls yearbook due to offensive comment

The 2015 Berkeley High yearbook is being recalled due to an offensive comment on one of its pages. Photo: Melati Citrawireja
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See clarification at the foot of this story.

Update, June 4, 1:30 p.m. The Berkeley High School Black Student Union (BSU) released a statement to Berkeleyside late Wednesday night reflecting on the yearbook incident as well as a pattern of “failed communication between the administration and the students at Berkeley High School.” The statement highlighted the BSU’s frustration at the lack of transparency and accountability by BHS administration, and referenced an earlier related incident last fall, in which a noose was found on campus and students were not notified for eight days.

Update, 9:10 p.m. 
At around 7:50 p.m., BHS Interim Principal Kristin Glenchur emailed the school community about the yearbook incident. It was the third email sent out by the school in one day on the subject. Glenchur wrote: “As you may know, an offensive and racist phrase was discovered on the AMPS page of the BHS yearbook. Our investigation to this point indicates that the original text of the page was maliciously replaced. ” She continued, saying it had been difficult to pinpoint who was responsible as so many people were involved in the compilation of the yearbook. The entire yearbook staff has assumed collective responsibility for the incident. Read her full email.

Original story: This year’s Berkeley High student yearbook was recalled today after an offensive comment about one of the school’s ‘small schools,’ the Academy of Medicine and Public Service (AMPS), was discovered on one of its pages.

Text published in the yearbook describes AMPS as, “a small learning community focus [sic] on medicine, making our future doctors, dentists, nurses, physicians, fire chiefs and trash collators [sic].”

The community was first alerted to the snafu by an email sent out at around 2 p.m. Wednesday by BHS Vice Principal Daniel Nube who said the 2015 yearbook was being recalled. He requested that students turn in their copies to the front desk with their names written in them. He did not say why the recall was necessary, or who was responsible for writing the text. … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Harold Way deserves better than Berkeley

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Harold Way could be one of the best streets in Downtown Berkeley. It’s a quiet, narrow, low-traffic, shady street with some beautiful architecture from the Dharma College buildings. It’s highly accessible – with a parking garage next door, in direct proximity to both Shattuck and Milvia (and the bike station on Shattuck), and just a few hundred feet from Downtown Berkeley BART. Harold Way is easy to get to by bus, BART, bike, foot, or car. With all the other opportunities in Downtown, a trip to Harold Way could easily be combined with a visit to the library, the theaters, the pharmacy, or even when making a transfer on the daily commute.

But right now, there’s not much to visit on Harold Way. Right now, it’s a bleak, abandoned street in the heart of our thriving downtown. A featureless wall greets pedestrians at the intersection with Allston, and runs the entire length of Harold Way and up Kittredge Street, with one break in the monotony for the sunken entrance to Habitot Children’s Museum, whose street-level windows are protected by metal bars. A recent evening walk revealed that every streetlight along the road was either burnt out or nonfunctional.

It’s ridiculous to leave such an accessible location underdeveloped when Berkeley stores and residents are facing rising rents due to limited retail and housing opportunities. Given that the eastern side of Harold Way is also the least utilized area within the Downtown Area Plan’s “Core Area” (approved by voters to allow 180-ft buildings), it’s highly sensible to build one of Berkeley’s new high-rises here, where the impact on most of Downtown and disruption to other businesses will be minimized. … 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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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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