Tag Archives: Berkeley schools

BUSD poised to adopt tougher school enrollment policy

Photo by Melati Citrawireja
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Berkeley school board officials are considering tougher enrollment requirements to curb illegal enrollment in the district, following the initial success of new registration requirements this year.

Stricter enforcement in recent months led the Berkeley Unified School District admissions office to reject 11% of applicants from private middle schools to Berkeley High School for 2015-16 after it was determined they did not actually reside in Berkeley, according to Francisco Martinez, the BUSD admissions manager. About 150 students applied. Thirty-seven students were flagged for follow-up and officials found that 17 of them did not reside in Berkeley, he said.

Read Berkeleyside’s 2014 story on fraudulent enrollment in Berkeley schools.

BUSD, for the first time, also required all currently enrolled fifth graders to prove their Berkeley residency before being accepted into sixth grade, he said. About 8% of the 684 students did not reapply for admission, despite an aggressive campaign to inform families of new requirements. … Continue reading »

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Parents, students rally for more inclusive schools

PCAD ralley outside BUSD board meeting 5/20/15 Photo by Melati Citrawireja
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Parents, students and community members held a rally at this week’s Berkeley Unified School District Board of Education meeting to urge board members to provide a more inclusive district for students of color and with disabilities.

Announced by the faith-based activist group Berkeley Organizing Congregations for Action (BOCA), the rally was led by education groups Parents of Children of African Descent (PCAD) and Allies in Special Education. An estimated 25 people gathered before the meeting began at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 20.

Participants, both young and old, claimed BUSD has long “walked the walk” on inclusion but now needs to take action. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley’s Bike to Work day set for Thursday, May 14

Bike to Work Day will take place this Thursday, May 14th - get out there! Photo: Bike East Bay
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The wheels are set in motion for Berkeley’s annual Bike to Work Day on Thursday, May 14, which is being organized in conjunction with the local Walk and Roll to School Day.

The event, hosted by Bike East Bay, will feature a number of two-wheel-friendly events, including the “Mayor-Palooza Bike to Work Day Ride,” featuring two visiting mayors from Europe, and a pop-up bikeway on Milvia Street.

Bike East Bay and Berkeley High School will also host a morning energizer station at Berkeley City Hall from 7:30-9:30 a.m. serving tasty pick-me-ups from La Note Restaurant and snazzy cyclist swag bags.

“We’re expecting a record-breaking turnout,” said Dave Campbell, Advocacy Director at Bike East Bay. … Continue reading »

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Opinionator

Op-ed: Reforming Prop 13 will benefit our Berkeley schools

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The public school spring gala season is upon us, an annual ritual in which Berkeley parents get to shell out for a bunch of stuff we don’t want in order to bail out our kids’ cash-strapped schools. But there’s a better to raise money for public schools: tax reform.

California voters will soon have a chance to rectify one of the biggest blunders ever to plague the Golden State: Prop 13. Passed in 1978, Prop 13 froze property taxes for … Continue reading »

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Religious group with cameras targets school kids

Bible van photo Jolie Gobler
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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.

Not much.

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 »

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Feds launch civil rights investigation into Berkeley School District’s response to sexual harassment claims

Berkeley High School. Photo: Lance Knobel
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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 »

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Today: Students stage walkout at Berkeley High

Berkeley High students are walking out in solidarity with the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. Photo: Aidan Grundy-Reiner
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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.

Berkeleyside will be at the student march, and will post updates on Twitter. View them here. (A Twitter account is not needed to view the page.) Continue reading »

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Cal students make crowd-funding site for Berkeley schools

Tutors from the LEARNS Program, one of the school programs currently seeking a grant on the Friends & Family site, with students at Berkeley Arts Magnet. Photo: Diane Dew
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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 »

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Time-lapse video: A Berkeley school gets new classrooms

The new portables are on Washington’s annex campus on McKinley St., across from the school’s main campus
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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 »

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Students target sexual harassment at Berkeley High

The students will encourage their classmates to wear the shirts and pins on Dec. 1. Photo: Facebook
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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 »

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Berkeley School Board primer: Soda tax panel, new personnel commissioner, recess restriction

The Berkeley School Board. Photo: Mark Coplan/BUSD
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The Berkeley schools Board of Education meets tonight (Wednesday, Nov. 19) for a closed session at 6 p.m., followed by its regular meeting at 7:30 p.m.  Follow along via the Nov. 19 agenda packet.

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.”

Closed session

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 »

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Op-ed: Recess restriction is discriminatory and counterproductive

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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 »

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Op-ed: Sexual harassment at Berkeley High must stop

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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 »

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