Tag Archives: Berkeley High School

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

Screen shot 2015-06-09 at 1.34.28 PM
Print Friendly

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 »

Tagged , , , , , ,

Berkeley High celebrates graduations

BIHS graduation. Photo: Mark Coplan, BUSD
Print Friendly

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 »

Tagged , , , , , ,

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
Print Friendly

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 »

Tagged , , , , , ,

Op-ed: Harold Way deserves better than Berkeley

Print Friendly

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 »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.
Print Friendly

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 »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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

Berkeley High police cruiser. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Print Friendly

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 »

Tagged , , , , , ,

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

Print Friendly

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 »

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Poetry and jazz: Surging together in Berkeley

Raymond Nat Turner
Print Friendly

The unassuming apartment complex at Seventh and Allston doesn’t look much like the cradle of a creative movement, but for spoken-word artist Raymond Nat Turner the West Berkeley locale provided everything he needed to launch UpSurge!

Working as roadie, manager and all-round assistant for Donald “Duck” Bailey in the 1980s, Turner started frequenting a weekly jam session hosted by the jazz drum legend at the Wellington Hotel at Seventh and University (where La Quinta stands today). With a steady flow of young musical talent from Berkeley High attending the sessions, Turner found the personnel he needed to launch the politically charged jazz/poetry ensemble that celebrates its 25th anniversary 8 p.m. Friday at the Berkeley Art Festival performance space on University Avenue, just a mile east of where the project first came together in the fall of 1990. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , ,

Berkeley teacher illustrates rad City Lights kids’ book

Kate Schatz (left) and Miriam Klein Stahl work on "Rad Women A-Z," a feminist children's book out this month from City Lights. Photo: Lena Wolff
Print Friendly

When City Lights publishes a children’s alphabet book, you can bet that the “A” won’t stand for “airplane.” Try “Angela Davis” instead.

The recently released Rad American Women A-Z: Rebels, Trailblazers, and Visionaries Who Shaped Our History…and Our Future! is an encyclopedia of feminist icons, written by Alameda-based Kate Schatz and illustrated by Berkeley High School art teacher Miriam Klein Stahl. For each of the 26 women featured in the book — activists, artists, scientists, Supreme Court justices — Stahl created a striking paper cut-out portrait against a boldly colored background.

But eager readers had to wait in suspense to see them. Rad Women, the first children’s book from legendary San Francisco publisher City Lights, sold out almost immediately after it was released on April 7. (Update: As of Monday morning, April 20, we hear it is back in stock and available for purchase.)

“It’s an awesome problem to have, but it sucks for going on book tour,” Stahl said earlier this month, as she prepared to travel to the Pacific Northwest for readings. “It’s obviously hit a nerve. We first thought that feminist moms would be totally into this book but it’s clearly gone well beyond that demographic.” … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

5 arrested in Berkeley after 15-20 youth fights downtown

Berkeley High police cruiser. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Print Friendly

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 »

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Sam Pasarow named as new Berkeley High principal

Caption goes here
Print Friendly

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 »

Tagged , , , ,

David Bowie to Broadway: Dan Wilensky back in Berkeley

Print Friendly

Fresh out of Berkeley High in the summer of 1979, Dan Wilensky had to make a fateful decision. The prestigious Eastman School of Music was offering a full scholarship at the same time that the Ray Charles Orchestra came calling for the young saxophonist. Wilensky chose Charles, and the gig turned into a six-month bandstand education that launched a gloriously diverse and insistently creative career. He returns to town next week for a series of gigs, making his first Berkeley appearances as a leader since heading to New York in 1980. Appropriately, he kicks off the run at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Freight & Salvage, performing as a special guest with the Berkeley High Jazz Ensemble and Berkeley High Combo A (which just earned top honors at the Monterey Jazz Festival’s 2015 Next Generation Jazz Festival).

“I’ve played in the East Bay as sideman over the years with artists like Stevie Winwood and Joan Baez, but this is the first time I’m coming back under my own name,” says Wilensky, who relocated to Portland, Oregon in 2012 after three breathless decades on the New York scene. “I’m really excited to go back to Berkeley High to play and work with the students and tell them some stories about the life of a working musician.” … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Berkeley student suspended after stabbing other student

Print Friendly

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 »

Tagged , , , ,