Tag Archives: Berkeley High School
For the past ten months, a group of Berkeley High School administrators, teachers, staff, parents and students has been spending long hours brainstorming ways to reduce the school’s achievement gap.
While African-American and Latino students have made great strides in recent years, many are still not performing at the level of their white and Asian peers, according to school officials. And often they are not getting access to the kinds of classes and opportunities that could help them excel.
Consider these statistics:
The graduation rate for African-American and Latino students at Berkeley High is markedly higher than the rates for surrounding schools and the state, according to BUSD statistics. And they are going to college in large numbers. Eighty-five percent of the African-American students who graduated in 2013 were enrolled in college within two years of graduation; the rate for Hispanic and Latino students was 83.3%, according to Sam Pasarow, the BHS principal.
Yet white students are four more times likely to be in an advanced math class than African-American students, and seven times more likely to be in an AP science class than Latino students.
“There is still a fairly profound achievement gap,” said Tamara Friedman, one of the co-facilitators of the Berkeley High Design Team. “A value that is held in the school and the city is one of social justice. We feel we could do better.” … Continue reading »
A mass casualty incident drill that took place at Berkeley High Wednesday, and in which students participated, was deemed a great success and earned praise from the Berkeley Fire Department. “In many respects we could not have achieved the same level of training without this opportunity and it strengthens the readiness of responders in our community,” BFD wrote to the school after the exercise was finished.
The drill, which began at 1:30 p.m., allowed Berkeley Fire Department recruits and Berkeley High fire-science students to practice responding to a situation in which there were a range of injuries, from cuts and bruises to casualties. One of the school’s student clubs, the Emergency Response Teens (ERT), also participated in the event which simulated the aftermath of a roof collapse in the Donahue Gym.
Thirty drama students took part, several of whom had makeup applied that simulated injuries. They were also asked to “act out their injuries” in an effort to “confuse and challenge” the firefighter recruits. … Continue reading »
In jazz, timing is critical, and the Berkeley High jazz program has long demonstrated a gift for landing on just the right beat. When Fourth Street merchants decided to end its annual Jazz on Fourth event, a cornerstone of the jazz program’s annual fundraising efforts, the Berkeley Music Group’s newly opened The UC Theatre stepped into the breach. On Friday, the Berkeley High Jazz Ensemble plays an opening set at the UC Theatre for the Pacific Mambo Orchestra, which shocked the Latin music scene in 2014 by winning the Grammy Award for Best Latin Tropical Album.
“The Fourth Street merchants felt like shutting down the street was too disruptive,” said trombonist Sarah Cline, who’s finishing her fifth year as director of Berkeley High’s jazz program. “We so grateful for their support. They did Jazz on Fourth for 20 years, raised more than $200,000 over that time, and they’re still supporting us. Abrams/Millikan is one of the corporate sponsors of the UC Theatre concert, and we’re looking for more.” … Continue reading »
At only 23 years old, James Small is about as seasoned a drummer as they come. He’s been a member of over 10 bands, opened a nationwide tour for a Grammy-winning artist, and attended one of the nation’s top music colleges. Yet Small’s journey hasn’t always been filled with success and achievement. The drummer has experienced his fair share of hardships and struggles along the way.
Small left school to chase a dream, experienced the rise and fall of a band, and, at one point, found himself teaching kindergarten at a performing arts school in Ohio. Through it all, he remains confident in his ability and excited about his future, however.
“It has all been worth it,” he said, smiling.
Now, as the drummer in four bands and working as an after-school program counselor at Emerson Elementary School, Small is intent on not only becoming the best drummer he can be, but the best person as well. … Continue reading »
Ask Spencer Stevens how he became so musically inclined and he’ll probably give you a modest response. Something like: “I don’t know, I’m just blessed,” or “A lot of time and effort.” Whatever humble answer the 22-year-old Berkeley High graduate chooses, he’s downplaying the truth. That truth is that Spencer Stevens is just flat-out talented, and he seems to possess a clear understanding of most aspects of music. The work he’s done as a producer, engineer, manager and DJ has put him in the position of being one of the hottest rising stars in the Bay Area’s underground music scene.
With the success he’s had managing up and coming Oakland artist Legendvry, and playing the role of lead man for his DJ collective, Wavbros, Stevens has made himself a familiar face around the Bay. It seems there isn’t a musical event you can go to in the Bay Area where Stevens isn’t in attendance, and you can bet that each time he’s doing something different. … Continue reading »
Is it just that time of year again? Three high-school-aged students were arrested Thursday after fights broke out among youth in downtown Berkeley, authorities said.
Berkeleyside was reporting similar news last year in April.
Lt. Alyson Hart, the Berkeley Police watch commander Thursday evening, said there had been some type of disturbance at lunch involving Berkeley High School students, leading school and police authorities to be on alert when BHS let out due to rumors that problems would continue.
Not long after school ended for the day, at 3:30 p.m., Hart said police received numerous reports of youth fighting downtown. There were multiple groups of students who were “running around everywhere.”
Originally, the BART Police asked for help to handle reports of fighting on the platform at the downtown Berkeley station.
“There were a bunch of little different skirmishes or reports,” Hart said. “Around City Hall also.” … Continue reading »
Battling one of the nation’s top-ranked teams for the state title, the Berkeley High boys basketball team recovered from a 34-23 halftime deficit to grab a narrow 37-36 lead in the third quarter. But a dream ending for the underdogs wasn’t to be as Crespi-Encino went on a 9-1 tear and led the rest of the way.
The Yellowjackets had upset the odds three times in their drive to a long-awaited NorCal Division 1 championship, beating Jesuit 62-59, Monte Vista 64-52 and Menlo-Atherton 61-51. But SoCal champions Crespi proved too tough at the Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento. Berkeley finished its season with a 24-9 record. … Continue reading »
When the Yellowjackets boys basketball team last won a NorCal championship, Woodrow Wilson had just handed over the White House to Warren Harding, Babe Ruth had completed one season with the Yankees, and the founding of the precursor to the National Basketball Association was still 24 years in the future. But memories of 1921 can now be safely shelved at Berkeley High, because the Yellowjackets are the 2016 Division 1 NorCal champions after defeating Menlo-Atherton 61-51 at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento on Saturday night.
On Thursday, the team travels back to Sacramento to face SoCal champ Crespi-Encino for the state title. … Continue reading »
MEET ME DOWNTOWN DAY Berkeley’s downtown will come alive on Sunday with the first Meet Me Downtown Day. Five major arts venues and the Downtown YMCA will be open with free events and numerous downtown restaurants have special offers. Among the free events are tours of the soon-to-open UC Theatre, film demonstrations on the new BAMPFA’s outdoor screen, bluegrass and country jam at the Freight & Salvage, free workshops at the Berkeley Rep’s School of Theatre, a jazz trio concert at the California Jazz Conservatory, and free use of the pool and gym (as well as some free yoga classes) at the Y. Among the restaurant specials are a free salad bar at Sandwich Spot, a free 4 oz taster with every full pint purchase at Jupiter, and 10% off at Phil’s Sliders.There’s also an Instagram contest for the best #MeetMeDowntownBerkeley photos (iPad Mini to the winner) and a draw for an “extravaganza weekend for two.” Full details of the day and the offers on the Meet Me Downtown Day site. Meet Me Downtown runs from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, March 20. Start at the Welcome Kiosk at the Downtown Berkeley BART Plaza. … Continue reading »
Sometimes bad things happen to good people, changing the trajectory of their lives with no notice. For Jorden Johnson, a 17-year-old senior at Berkeley High School, this moment came while attending football practice in the summer of 2015.
Johnson says it was like any other day. He was prepping for the first preseason game of his senior year. He had spent most of the summer preparing for that moment, and was eager to show his coach how he had developed as a player since the prior season. He went through his normal routine: stretching, team jumping jacks, and a few other exercises to get warmed up. It was when the team transitioned to position drills that Johnson began to notice something was wrong.
While going for a pass, Johnson watched the ball as it left the quarterback’s hand, soaring through the air and eventually eclipsing the sun. As the ball passed in front of the sun, Johnson recalls seeing a glare and not being able to relocate the ball, which caused him to drop the pass.
“It was nothing new. I had done this drill a million times,” said Johnson recently. “I had lost the ball in the sun and been blinded by the glare, so I thought nothing of it.”
Johnson says he apologized to the coach for the dropped pass and determined he would make up for his mistake. His turn came around once more, and just as he had done so many times before, he took off for a pass. Again he was blinded by a glare and again he dropped the ball. This time he wasn’t sure the glare was a result of the sun.
“After that second drop I realized something was off,” said Johnson. “The glare began to turn into bright spots. I didn’t know what it was from, but I knew it couldn’t be good.” He was worried but not terrified, and he left practice thinking that some rest would do the trick. … Continue reading »
TAKACS QUARTET One of the world’s great string quartets, Sunday’s Cal Performances concert by the Takács Quartet includes works by Haydn, Brahms and the 30-year-old, California-born, Brooklyn-based Timo Andres. The program opens with Haydn’s G minor, Op. 74, No. 3, “The Rider,” one of his most popular quartets. Andres’ “String Language” was composed for the Takács, who premiered it last November in Baltimore. The program closes with Brahms’ third and final quartet (although written mid-career), the B-flat major, Op. 67. 3 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 21, Hertz Hall. Tickets starting at $64 from Cal Performances. … Continue reading »
The Berkeley School Board said a resounding “no” to a proposal to add a second police officer to its campus roster during a discussion earlier this month about ways to address safety and racial tension on campus.
The proposal, from Superintendent Donald Evans, was among a group of ideas collected from the community in December following several race-related incidents at Berkeley High in recent years, including the hanging of a noose on campus, disparaging statements that were slipped into the school yearbook last spring, and racial threats posted on a school computer in the fall.
Scroll down to see what’s on tonight’s School Board agenda.
The Berkeley Police Department had won a Department of Justice grant for $125,000 over a three-year period to help fund an additional school resource officer position. There is just one school resource officer in the district, stationed at Berkeley High on weekdays.
Berkeley Technology Academy Principal Sheila Quintana has lobbied in recent years for an officer who could also be present on her campus, the district’s lone continuation school. The grant would have helped provide funding for that position, said Capt. Dave Frankel of the Berkeley Police Department. … Continue reading »
Many of us set out to change our lives at the beginning of a new year. Faraji Wright is hoping 2016 can pick up right where 2015 left off. The 25-year-old from Berkeley released the mixtape Telegraph Ave. in December and the project accumulated over 50,000 plays on Soundcloud in just one month.
Wright, who graduated from Boise State in 2012, decided to pursue music full-time after playing college football for four years with the Boise State Broncos. It’s a decision he says he battled with throughout his college career. Wright was a standout football player at Berkeley High, and signed a football scholarship in 2008. Many assumed that would be the start of an illustrious football career.
Berkeleyside contributor Delency Parham got the chance to sit down with Faraji at his studio in South Berkeley. They talked about some of the factors that lead to him letting go of football and picking up the mic. As he preps for upcoming shows including a possible short tour in Japan. Wright says he’s elevated his work ethic and has been in the studio on a consistent basis. He wants everyone to know his goal for 2016 is to get his music across more platforms and to create content that can inspire and entertain.
What was life like for you after graduating from college and moving back home?
It was a bittersweet moment. I was graduating college and I was the first in my family to do so. It was great, but when I came home I didn’t exactly get the welcoming that I expected. … Continue reading »