Tag Archives: Berkeley schools
When Jolie Gobler, an eighth-grader at King Middle School in Berkeley, left school at the end of the day Wednesday last week she was surprised to see people right outside campus assertively passing out religious pamphlets to students, titled “Our Savior Jesus Christ.”
They were working from a van, parked on Grant Street by the school. Messages painted on the van read: “Seek the Lord Jesus” and “Holy Bible” in English and Spanish.
Gobler was also a little irked. She wrote Berkeleyside: “They were shoving (the pamphlets) in to students’ hands. I asked one of them what they were doing at a public school preaching about religion. They replied they were informing students about Jesus and said that if we believe in “our savior” we would be forgiven for our sins.”
Eventually, Gobler said, a vice principal came out and talked to the apparent missionaries, a response she felt was slow. “It would be great to find out… what the school administration will be doing to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again,” Gobler wrote.
This is because passing out religious material outside a school is perfectly legal, as long as the activity isn’t on school property, said Mark Coplan, Berkeley Unified School District spokesman. … Continue reading »
Feds launch civil rights investigation into Berkeley School District’s response to sexual harassment claims
The federal Office for Civil Rights has launched an investigation into whether the Berkeley Unified School District inadequately responded to sexual harassment claims at Berkeley High School, thereby creating a “hostile environment on the basis of sex.”
Failure to adequately respond to sexual harassment claims is a federal offense under Title IX, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded educational program. The Office for Civil Rights, which is a sub-agency of the Department of Education, opened the investigation after receiving a complaint letter in December from Heidi Goldstein, a parent of two Berkeley High School students. The office’s investigation was launched in late January. … Continue reading »
Berkeley High School students are expected to stage a “peaceful walkout” today, Dec. 10, at 2:30 p.m.
A message about the event went out over the Berkeley High email list just after 1:30 p.m.
According to the note, from Principal Kristin Glenchur, the administration is aware of the demonstration and will not allow students who walk out of class to come back to campus, or to make up work they miss.
“Their plan is to leave class immediately after fifth period and walk out to Civic Center Plaza where they have organized speakers,” she wrote. “They intend to march after school up to the Cal Campus. Given the last several nights of protests, it is possible the gathering could include a large number of non-students.”
Another group plans to meet at the Cal campus at 4 p.m. to watch a live-stream of a Michael Brown-related tribunal in Ferguson, Missouri, and then plans to march.
Crowd-funding has made its way to the Berkeley public schools, thanks to a group of students at Cal. Berkeley teachers can now use the Friends & Family Grants website through the Berkeley Public Schools Fund to raise money for everything from books to robotics kits.
Take John Fike for example. The Berkeley Technology Academy teacher is on special assignment this year, addressing intervention for the alternative school’s 100 or so students.
“Many have academic struggles because they have life struggles,” Fike said. Most of the students, he said, need mental heath care and emotional support.
Fike wanted funding for public speakers, field trips, training for BTA teachers, and after-school activities, such as dance and music production classes.
Fike turned to the new Friends & Family Grants page and posted his request for nearly $10,000. He sent the link to the school’s families, but also to his own friends – many of them fellow graduates of Berkeley schools — and posted on Facebook. He also solicited family, and, “Mom was hitting up her friends,” he said.
Fike got his $9,500, and now the kids at BTA are taking dance and music classes, and planning their field trips. … Continue reading »
Over the summer, Washington Elementary School in Berkeley got a new set of portable classrooms. The new classrooms replaced a group of portables which dated back to the 1960s, even though they were installed originally as a temporary measure. The new ones come from Berkeley High School. They were removed from there in order to complete the high school’s $46 million new construction project.
The decision to replace very old portables with seven less-old portables on Washington’s annex campus on McKinley St., across from the school’s main campus, was not popular with many Washington parents who say an underlying problem not being addressed by the district is overcrowding at the elementary school. … Continue reading »
Earlier this year, some male students at Berkeley High School created “slut accounts” on Instagram. The accounts included photos of female students with misogynistic, sexual captions. A number of the instigators were suspended as a result. However, a group of students who have launched an anti-sexual harassment campaign on campus say the punishment doesn’t help curb the culture that set the stage for the incident in the first place.
Similarly, the student campaigners, mostly juniors and seniors, say the policy and preventive actions finally being taken in the wake of sexual assaults on college campuses nationwide are happening too late in students’ lives.
The group has launched “BHS Stop Harassing” with a goal to educate its peers about inappropriate behavior and where they can seek help — and to eventually improve what it perceives to be the vastly inadequate sexual harassment policy and preventive education at Berkeley High. … Continue reading »
The board will vote on a recess restriction policy, appoint a new member of the BUSD Personnel Commission, and nominate candidates for the city’s new advisory panel on spending the Measure D “soda tax.”
The meeting begins at 6 p.m. with a closed session to discuss anticipated litigation, a settlement agreement with an employee, collective bargaining and a student expulsion. Also, the board will meet with a Berkeley police representative and the Dean of Discipline at Berkeley High School to talk about campus security. Public comment, up to 15 minutes, will be taken prior to the closed session. … Continue reading »
This Wednesday, the Berkeley Unified School Board will vote on a policy that would allow teachers to restrict students’ access to recess. As a parent of a child at Willard, I oppose the recess restriction policy as discriminatory and counterproductive.
K-5 students have two short recess periods, fifteen minutes in the morning and twenty minutes after lunch. Middle-school students have a combined lunch-recess period of 30 minutes. The policy would allow teachers to take away up to ten minutes of … Continue reading »
On the evening of Nov. 12 we sent an invitation to each member of the Berkeley School Board and to members of the leadership team of the Superintendent’s office at the Berkeley Unified School District, asking them to support a fundraising initiative for a student-led organization called #BHSstopharassing.
The students of #BHSstopharassing are planning an educational “teach-in” event for later this month to build community awareness about sexual harassment at Berkeley High School and about students’ rights under … Continue reading »
Two years ago, Berkeley parent Sinead O’Sullivan got tired of hearing from her kindergartener that he was missing recess for misbehaving. She knew he wasn’t a saint, but she didn’t think taking exercise away was going to improve his behavior.
“It’s not effective,” O’Sullivan said. “ The kids who get (recess taken away) are the high-energy kids, who can’t control their bodies. It’s the last punishment they need.”
“Many kids who get recess taken away have behavioral challenges. I say, deal with a behavior problem the way you deal with a reading problem,” she continued. O’Sullivan complained to the school, which then tried other solutions to help her son manage his behavior, she said. But the next year, he was losing recess again.
O’Sullivan did her homework. She found the following in California’s educational code: “The governing board of a school district may adopt reasonable rules and regulations to authorize a teacher to restrict for disciplinary purposes the time a pupil under his or her supervision is allowed for recess.” … Continue reading »
With an extra 250 students projected to crowd into Berkeley schools in the coming three years, the school board considered a long list of options for creating space at its Nov. 5 meeting. The board will narrow down the choices at its Dec. 10 meeting, and decide on a plan of action in January.
After hearing a report on the options to add up to 12 classrooms, board members asked staff to more fully explore three possibilities:
- Moving transitional kindergartens out of the elementary schools to a pre-school site;
- Converting some, but not all, of the 12 “enrichment classrooms” around the district to regular classrooms. Enrichment classrooms are those used for art, dance, theater, science or other purposes.
- Moving Berkeley Technology Academy and Independent Study to the Adult Education School on San Pablo Avenue, and using the BTA site on Martin Luther King Jr. Way near Derby as an elementary school.
“There’s no solution that has no downside,” said board president Josh Daniels after the presentation. … Continue reading »
Election day may be nearly a week behind us, but votes are still being counted and the results of some Berkeley races are still being determined, including District 8 where Lori Droste is currently very narrowly ahead for that council seat.
Absentee ballots are still being processed and will likely continue through the week. The latest counts are posted to the Alameda County registrar of voters website around 5 p.m. daily. Under state law, Alameda County has until Dec. 2 to certify its election results.
Berkeleyside is keeping results updated daily on our main Election 2014 results post, and will continue do so so until all races have officially ended.
In District 7, incumbent Kriss Worthington has kept his seat on the council after Sean Barry, who was the only candidate running against him, conceded the race.
“I’d like to congratulate Kriss Worthington and thank my supporters. The outcome is clear even if the final tally is not,” Barry said today. … Continue reading »
In response to unruly behavior on the Berkeley High campus Oct. 24, and the current absence of top leadership at the school, Berkeley Unified School District Superintendent Donald Evans has asked the school’s former principal to take a more active role in the day-to-day running of the school, and has committed to having a new principal in place by July 1, 2015.
In an email sent to the Berkeley High community Tuesday, Evans said the problems that occurred on Rally Day at Berkeley High demonstrated that the district had “much more work to do.”
A Berkeley High staffer was sent to the hospital with a head injury sustained during what the school described as a mob scene involving an estimated 500 mostly junior and senior students “participating in hazing and bullying behavior,” chanting and throwing objects, including glass bottles after school let out on Friday Oct. 24. While trying to break up the mob, two additional staff members were hit. Fifteen students were found to be intoxicated and were suspended. … Continue reading »