Tag Archives: Berkeley schools

Berkeley School Board primer: English Learner master plan and increasing enrollment are on the agenda

The Berkeley School Board, at its August meeting. Photo: Mark Coplan/BUSD
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The Berkeley schools Board of Education meets tonight (Wednesday, Oct. 8) for a closed session at 6 p.m., followed by its regular meeting at 7:30 p.m. Follow along via the agenda packet.

The board will discuss the district’s English Learner Master Plan. It will also begin a four-part process of addressing the challenges of increasing enrollment. (Read more about school enrollment issues on Berkeleyside.) … Continue reading »

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Berkeley School Board primer: Leadership at Malcolm X and BHS, career training, common core, more

The Berkeley School Board, at its August meeting. Photo: Mark Coplan/BUSD
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The Berkeley schools Board of Education meets tonight (Wednesday, Sept. 17) for a closed session at 6 p.m., followed by its regular meeting at 7:30 p.m. Follow along via the Sept. 17 agenda packet.

The board will consider adding an assistant principal at Malcolm X Elementary School. The board is also slated to discuss career training efforts in the district and get an update on common core standards, including progress so far, expenditures and challenges. … Continue reading »

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State-mandated kindergarten program explains perceived student numbers squeeze at Berkeley schools

BUSD First Day 2014-15 0050
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When the Berkeley school district added two new kindergarten classes – one to Cragmont school and one to Malcolm X — just before school began, some parents were concerned about what impact the move would have on the schools, which, they said, were neither spacious nor overstaffed. In an opinion piece published on Berkeleyside, Joshua Room, former President of the PTA at Malcolm X, asked why the district couldn’t plan ahead better. Quite a few readers agreed with him.

In fact, this year’s incoming kindergarten class is smaller than last year’s class. The squeeze is instead coming from the fairly new – and growing — transitional kindergarten program, required by state law. And the BUSD admissions office said it was well aware of the crunch coming.

“I knew we needed more classrooms back in February,” said Francisco Martinez, district admissions director. But over the course of the spring, plans about where to put the transitional kindergarten classrooms went through several shifts. … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Berkeley schools are victims of their own success

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I am a proud graduate from, and enthusiastic supporter of, the Berkeley public schools. I am a lifelong resident of Berkeley, and have chosen to raise my family here. I love the school that my children attend, and have had nothing but tremendously positive experiences with all of the teachers and staff that have been involved in their education and care.

But Berkeley elementary schools are experiencing unprecedented problems with student population growth. In recent years, the number of students … Continue reading »

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Mediation between school district, staff union fizzles

The BUSD school board meeting at its new meeting space on Bonar St. in March headquarters. Photo: Mark Coplan/BUSD
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After failing to agree on a new contract despite three years of talking, the Berkeley Unified School District and a union representing 570 Berkeley school employees will now turn negotiations over to a fact-finding panel.

A mediator that has been working with BUSD and the Berkeley Council of Classified Employees union (BCCE) since February decided on July 29 that mediation could not bring the two sides any closer and turned the process over to a three-member panel. The main sticking point is the question of involuntary transfers. The district and union have reached agreement on many other issues, including salary raises. … Continue reading »

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Glenchur named Berkeley High interim principal

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Kristin Glenchur, vice principal at Berkeley High for the last six years, has been appointed interim principal of BHS for the 2014-15 school year by the BUSD superintendent and board.

Glenchur’s appointment comes after a brief search for a replacement for Pasquale Scuderi, who was appointed assistant superintendent for educational services for Berkeley Unified at the start of May. When the Scuderi appointment was announced, superintendent Donald Evans said he expected to hire a new principal by the end of May.

“There wasn’t a sufficient number of applicants,” said Mark Coplan, spokesman for BUSD.

Coplan said the school district would advertise the position and seek applicants from across the country next year. … Continue reading »

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Bridge Program helps narrow Berkeley’s achievement gap

Some of the kids in the Berkeley HIgh Bridge Program are (from left): Armando Maravilla, Jared Scott, Jacari Trent-Pontoon (in green shirt), Karina Juarez, Aia Abushareefh, Yakira Evans, Michelle Resendiz and Ariana Tamayo.   Credit: Jessie Luxford
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Four years ago Armando Maravilla came out of Longfellow Middle school a C-student.  Due to graduate from Berkeley High School next week, Maravilla is now heading to San Francisco State University, planning to study psychology.

How he got from there to here has a lot to do with the Bridge Program at Berkeley High, he believes.

The Bridge Program takes C-students from middle school – about 30 every year — and offers them summer programs, afterschool homework support, and lots of advice, nagging and hand-holding by dedicated teachers. The goal is to keep those C students from slipping, and hopefully make them B and A students.

“It felt helpful – all the advice, the summer programs, the information — how you’re supposed to talk to teachers,” said Maravilla. … Continue reading »

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4 new principals appointed to elementary and middle schools, search continues for new head of Berkeley High

Cragmont Elementary School: overcrowding is an issue
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Four new principals have been appointed to Berkeley elementary and middle schools, and the Berkeley Unified Board has decided to conduct a second-round search for a candidate to replace Pasquale Scuderi who is leaving his post as principal of Berkeley High to become Assistant Superintendent.

The board also approved last week the appointment of a new vice-principal at Berkeley High and a program supervisor for its Extended Learning Program.

There follows information on all the new appointments, provided by BUSD.

Hazelle Fortich is the new principal at Cragmont Elementary School

Hazelle Fortich has deep roots in our district community. She has served as Coordinator for Early Childhood Program, summer school principal, interim principal at Washington, literacy coach at Washington, after-school teacher at LeConte, and teacher at Malcolm X. One of her references states: “She lives and works in Berkeley and is a committed parent, teacher and community member. Those experiences mean that she will bring the importance of family and community to any school district. As a parent, she knows the value of strong ties to families and the value of fostering all forms of diversity in our schools.” … Continue reading »

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23 Berkeley students awarded BCF scholarships

The 2014 Berkeley Community Fund High Hopes scholarship winners. Top row, l to r: Junming Li, Kayla Garrett, Katherine Acosta-Hernandez, Monte Metal, Merewan Jemal, Julia Maciel. 2nd row: Evangelina Sanchez, Tehan Ketema, Refugio Gonzalez, Amanda Medina, Michelle Shannon, Jake Hao Ma. 3rd row: Nuha Al Ammari, Raekwon Dallett, Priyanka Jindal, Yakira Evans, Sophia Liu, Lyheng Phey. Bottom row: Derek Spears, Suyi Zhu, Alejandra Alas, Alfonso Alonso, Nora Jang. Image: Berkeley Community Fund
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The Berkeley Community Fund has granted a record number of scholarships to students from the class of 2014 at two Berkeley high schools. Twenty-three Berkeley High and Berkeley Technology Academy graduating seniors who are now college-bound will receive support to help them succeed in school and beyond.

The students, who are all in the first generation of their families to pursue a college degree, will be honored at a High Hopes scholarships awards ceremony on June 9 at the Berkeley City Club, which is open to the public (see details and register.)

Each scholar will receive $16,000, paid over four years, and important services that help them succeed in college and graduate: a volunteer mentor to help them better navigate the challenges and demands of higher education, financial literacy training, transition-to-college workshops, and support from BCF’s College Success Coordinator. … Continue reading »

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Chanting protesters shut down school board meeting

Nearly 200 union workers from the Berkeley schools shut down the school board meeting temporarily Wednesday night. The group declined to stop their impassioned chanting, forcing the board members to go into closed session for about 15 minutes. (The video, above, by Mary Flaherty, shows members leaving their posts.)

District spokesman Mark Coplan said he’d never seen a Berkeley school board shut down in 20 years of service.

The Berkeley Council of Classified Employees union represents about 570 office staffers, custodians, food service workers, instructional assistants, school safety officers, secretaries, librarians, bus drivers and others.

The union is has been negotiating a new contract for three years, and is currently working under an old one. … Continue reading »

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BOSS to honor Berkeley’s ‘Rising Stars’ on Thursday

Kyle Evans, one of the Rising Star honorees, has been accepted to Brown University. Evans was homeless only last year
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A year ago, Kyle Evans and his family were sleeping in motel rooms and, at times, their car. Despite his circumstances, Evans focused on keeping his grades up and being a role model for his younger sister. He had to forgo various activities enjoyed by his peers, as his family didn’t have the money to pay for them. He managed to keep a positive perspective and achieve success despite the odds.

“Adversity is a chance to find the God in you,” said Evans, who has been accepted to Brown University and plans to become a doctor. “It makes you a stronger person.”

Evans is one of 20 youth who will be honored Thursday at the first annual “Rising Stars” gala, put on by local advocacy organization Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency (BOSS) to recognize youth for achievement in the face of adversity. The group is also raising money this week for a scholarship fund for award recipients; scroll down for details.

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Police, BHS prepare for more ‘havoc’ downtown Friday

Police were using cameras to record people crowded around Berkeley High School around 4:30 p.m. Photo: Siciliana Trevino
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After several weeks of increasing youth activity, which erupted into violence in downtown Berkeley last week, police have reorganized their staffing and plan a highly visible presence downtown to keep the peace Friday.

Last Friday, hundreds of high school students from Berkeley and Oakland roved around downtown. Some of them got into fights and several youth were pepper sprayed by one juvenile during several hours of “chaos” and “mayhem” downtown.

Berkeley Police Lt. Dave Frankel said today that “The Police Department, in an effort to stem potential violence and havoc caused by high school-aged kids, has shifted resources around to ensure that there are plenty of officers on the street to deal with it. We’re not going to tolerate any unlawful behavior.” … Continue reading »

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2 Berkeley school principals move to new district roles

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Berkeley Unified School District is promoting two of its school principals to new district-level director positions.

Longfellow principal Pat Saddler will be the director of special projects and programs, and Jefferson principal Maggie Riddle will be the director of schools, both in the Educational Services Division. BUSD Board President Josh Daniels made the announcement at the board’s regular meeting Wednesday night.

Both Saddler and Riddle will report to the district’s new Assistant Superintendent, Pasquale Scuderi, who, it was announced earlier this month, is moving to the district from Berkeley High where he has been principal for the past four years.

Pat Saddler came to Berkeley in 1999 as LeConte Elementary School principal. She was asked to take the helm at Rosa Parks Elementary School in 2005. At Rosa Parks she established an API score for a school that had not historically participated in California Standards Testing (CST), and gained 36 points over a three-year period. In 2008 Saddler became principal at Longfellow Middle School. … Continue reading »

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