Tag Archives: Berkeley schools
A recent state report that includes fitness test results for Berkeley students in three grades shows the district’s ninth-graders falling far short of county and state benchmarks.
Berkeley Unified School District officials said last week, however, that the results actually are an indicator of a more holistic approach to health, rather than a sign that Berkeley teens are out of shape.
The 2012 Physical Fitness Test Results, released in mid-November, were given to 1.3 million fifth-, seventh- and ninth-graders statewide; they make up more than 93% of all students enrolled in those grades in California public schools, according to the state Department of Education. … Continue reading »
Last week, more than 100 community members, educators and city and school officials came together to share a meal and a vision for a future of equal opportunities for all children in Berkeley schools.
The theory behind the effort, 2020 Vision, is that success at school should not be predictable based on a child’s race or ethnicity. The goal, as the name suggests, is to eradicate the achievement gap by the year 2020. As it stands, Hispanic and black students, as a group, consistently score lower than peers on standardized tests, while having higher rates of chronic absenteeism, truancy, suspension and dropping out altogether, according to a statement posted by Berkeley Alliance, which is spearheading the Vision 2020 effort. … Continue reading »
The California Department of Education yesterday released its 2012 Accountability Progress Report, which show significant gains for Berkeley schools on both the state Annual Performance Index (API) and the federal Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). (Details of both district and individual school results for API and AYP can be seen on the state’s Accountability Progress Reporting site.)
Berkeley Unified School District had an overall growth of 19 points for a district-wide API of 810. Each of Berkeley’s elementary and middle schools exceeded the statewide API target of 800 or above. Berkeley High School, which went years without having enough students take the test to get an API, had a 19-point growth for a school API of 734, which was above the school’s target growth for the year. Only 30% of high schools in California exceeded an API of 800.
“I think these results are evidence that Berkeley is on the right track, that we’re making a difference for our kids,” said Co-Superintendent Neil Smith. “I think particularly looking at achievement all across elementary reading was a real strength for the district. Where we still have a lot of work to do is the high school.” … Continue reading »
A seemingly chastened Berkeley school board announced Wednesday night that it will restart its search for a new superintendent in early 2013 and will be more open and inclusive in the process.
Before opening the meeting to public comments, Leah Wilson read a statement from an iPad that the entire board had put together, presumably at its Tuesday closed-door session when it was scheduled to discuss Edmond Heatley’s selection for superintendent. But Tuesday morning, before the meeting, Heatley withdrew his name from consideration.
“We agree with and respect Dr. Heatley’s conclusion that despite his experience, skills, and achievements as an educator, Berkeley is not the right fit and we support his decision to withdraw,” said Wilson. “The Board acknowledges how difficult this time has been for everyone involved. We are and will be committed to serving and supporting all our children and their families. When we re-initiate this search after winter break, the Board is committed to doing so in a manner that reflects our community’s request for greater inclusivity and transparency.” … Continue reading »
Now that the search for the Superintendent of the Berkeley schools is back at square one, there will be plenty of time for members of the community to engage with the Board on the substance and process of their continued search. But the fiasco that just unfolded offers a few obvious lessons that the Board would be wise to heed.
Lesson #1: This is a smart, thoughtful, resourceful community. We know the difference between real engagement and lip service. This … Continue reading »
Edmond Heatley has withdrawn his candidacy for the post of Berkeley Schools district Superintendent. Heatley was the only candidate in the running, after the school board let it be known on Aug. 31 that they had narrowed to field down to one.
An alert released by BUSD at 8:38am today reads:
In an email to Board President John T. Selawsky Dr. Edmund Heatley said: “I want to thank you personally for all of your time and support. I have attached my letter of withdrawal from candidacy for the position of Superintendent of the Berkeley Unified School District. I wish you, the Board and Community of Berkeley nothing but success in the future.”
The Board will be meeting in the days and weeks ahead to determine the next step. President Selawsky stated, “We will advise the community as soon as we have determined what that next step will be. Fortunately we have two very capable interim superintendents doing a great job of running the District while we work this out.” … Continue reading »
Edmond Heatley, the sole finalist for the vacant post of superintendent of Berkeley’s schools, wrote a memo in 2008 urging Chino Valley’s Board of Education to approve a resolution in support of Proposition 8, the measure to prohibit marriage equality in California.
At the time, Heatley was superintendent in Chino Valley. His memo stated:
“If Proposition 8 is not successful, then school districts throughout California will inevitably be required to adjust their policies and curriculum to align with the Court’s recent redefinition of marriage.
“This resolution also recognizes that the ideal learning environment for children is within a nurturing home governed jointly by a mother and a father as primary educators of their children.”
The resolution was passed by a 4-0 vote by the Chino Valley board. The memo was on the agenda of the Sept. 4, 2008 board meeting in Chino Valley USD.
Berkeley schools, in contrast, adopted the Human Rights Campaign’s Welcoming Schools curriculum in 2010, and BUSD and the City of Berkeley have sought to be in the forefront in LGBT-friendly policies. Heatley’s support of the controversial Prop 8 came under fire during public testimony at last night’s meeting of the Berkeley school board. The board announced last night that it is putting the brakes on the appointment of a new superintendent and taking more time to assess Heatley. … Continue reading »
When students at Berkeley’s REALM Charter School started their academic year today, there was a new creative space waiting for them at their campus on 8th Street, and a challenge: how might you get your hands dirty? Shortly after the semester kicks off, the students will spend a day and a half working on projects, either for the school or the local community, which they will dream up themselves, and then make.
The class is part of a course created by Studio H, a program run by Project H Design, a nonprofit that has brought its high school design/build curriculum to Berkeley after operating in North Carolina for two years. In a school that already puts an emphasis on technology, research and action, Studio H will be getting students involved in even more hands-on assignments. The projects aim to develop areas such as critical thinking, teamwork and citizenship, as well as practical skills such as construction and design.
“It’s project-based work on steroids,” says REALM’s Principal, Victor Diaz, who adds that when he first learned about Studio H, he knew they would make an excellent partner for the school. “We like to learn through doing,” he said. … Continue reading »
School started Wednesday for more than 9,400 students in Berkeley’s 11 elementary schools, three middle schools, and two high schools.
At Emerson Elementary School, students lined up on the playground in their class configurations and gave a big cheer of E-M-E-R-S-O-N, Emerson!, before entering their new classrooms.
2012-13 will be a year of transition for the district. The administration moved into new headquarters on Bonar Street in mid-August, and saw the retirement of Superintendent Bill Huyett a few days later. The search for a replacement has taken longer than expected, and the school board last week appointed two interim superintendents, both current administrators, to temporarily oversee the district. They are Javetta Cleveland, Deputy Superintendent, and Neil Smith, Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services. … Continue reading »
One of the crown jewels of Berkeley’s public school system is the District’s Two-Way Immersion (TWI) program, also called “dual immersion,” which was developed primarily to increase the academic achievement of English Learners.
The basic idea is that first teaching English Learners in their native language promotes long-term academic achievement and confidence, as well as English proficiency. In Berkeley, it was implemented in the late 1990s as a way to support native Spanish speakers’ academic achievement, boost their test scores, … Continue reading »
Sharon Danks and her colleagues around the world are doing their best to combat so-called nature deficit disorder in today’s children, many of whom are growing up with competing demands such as “screen time,” and other barriers to a romp in the park such as safety concerns or access issues.
Danks, a planner and partner with Bay Tree Design in Berkeley, recently co-founded the global group International School Grounds Alliance to address an increasingly sedentary and risk-averse generation of young ones who, it is feared, are becoming disconnected from their natural environments. Some children, shuttled from school to home to other indoor activities, simply don’t spend much, if any, time in the great outdoors.
The nascent organization, with members in Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States, want kids to experience the fun and games of outside play. … Continue reading »
A series of public meetings and workshops with teachers, administrators and classified staff took place over the last four days as part of the search for a new Berkeley schools superintendent to replace Bill Huyett, who is retiring on June 30.
Carolyn McKennan and Maggie Carrillo Mejia, from search firm Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates, led the meetings and workshops which will be used to draw up the profile for the new appointment. McKennan and Carrillo Mejia will present the profile to the Berkeley Unified School District board at its meeting next Wednesday. … Continue reading »