Tag Archives: Berkeley Unified School District
The Berkeley Unified School Board on Wednesday night made it plain it will do what it can to ensure Berkeley schools’ nationally recognized cooking and gardening program survives. The program faces federal funding cuts worth $1.9 million annually.
While a final decision and a vote on a budgeting model will likely come at the BUSD Board’s next meeting on May 22, the board members gave their tacit approval to a rescue package proposed by a superintendent’s advisory committee set up six months ago. The committee was tasked with identifying funding options, both short- and long-term, through donor and corporate giving campaigns, as well as public-private partnerships. … Continue reading »
[Editor's Note: Olajuwon Clayborn's funeral will be held Friday, May 17, at 11 a.m. at Missionary Church of God in Christ, 1125 Allston Way, in Berkeley.]
Students and teachers in one of Berkeley High’s small schools were left reeling this week after a former member of their cohort was shot and killed in East Oakland over the weekend.
Those who knew Olajuwon Clayborn, 17, described him as a sweet, quiet guy, a well-dressed ladies man who was passionate about basketball, and a dedicated student despite struggles in the classroom. Clayborn attended Berkeley schools from pre-school through 11th grade; he transfered to Castlemont High School in Oakland last fall for his senior year.
“If he loved you, he loved you to death,” said best friend Lonnie Brewer, 18, a Berkeley High senior in the school’s Communication Arts & Science (CAS) program. ”He had your back. If I had an argument on the court, he’d be right there.” … Continue reading »
On Thursday, May 2, officials say two sixth grade girls, who were waiting to be picked up from King Middle School, were approached by a man who asked them to help him retrieve an item from his car. The case is being treated as a possible attempted abduction.
On Friday, King Principal Janet Levenson sent an email and a recorded message via phone-tree to the King community in which she outlined what happened: “Yesterday at 3:00pm two 6th grade girls were waiting to be picked up at Berryman and Josephine,” she wrote in the email. “A man approached them saying that his keys had fallen into his car and his hand was too big to retrieve them. He pointed to the car which had the door open and was a couple of cars up the street. One girl started to go help him but her friend realized the potential danger and convinced her that they should run into the garden for help. The mom arrived almost immediately but the man was no longer there.He was described as a white male, 5’10″, thin build, brown hair and eyes, and driving a silver 4-door vehicle with no trunk (possibly a small SUV). Please be aware of who is driving around campus and remind your students to wait in front of the school.”
… Continue reading »
Julie Sinai, former chief of staff to Mayor Tom Bates and now director of local government and community relations at UC Berkeley, was unanimously appointed to a vacant school board seat on Wednesday night. Sinai emerged from a slate of nine candidates in a quick, non-contentious vote by the four sitting members of the Berkeley Unified School District board.
“I’ve been a parent, I’ve been past staff, I’ve been a partner,” Sinai said in her three-minute presentation at the special board meeting. Before her position with Mayor Bates, Sinai had been director of school-linked programs for BUSD. “I’m ready to help get the work done with the board.”
The vacancy was created when board president Leah Wilson resigned in March because of her appointment as Court Executive Officer for the Alameda County Superior Court. Sinai will serve the remainder of Wilson’s term, which expires in November, 2014. … Continue reading »
Ten Berkeley residents — including a former aide to Mayor Tom Bates, the former top administrator for the city of Oakland, a UC Berkeley law professor, a nuclear scientist, a Berkeley High math teacher, and a longtime member of the high school’s Safety Committee — have applied to fill the vacancy on the Berkeley Unified School District board.
The applicants are vying to fill the seat vacated March 31 by Board President Leah Wilson. The district will whittle down the list to a set of finalists by April 24. Those candidates will be invited to give a three-minute presentation to the board and the community at a May 1 meeting. The school board hopes to select Wilson’s replacement by May 8. … Continue reading »
Berkeley schools’ nationally recognized cooking and gardening programs are about to lose funding – once again. But, unlike last year, no last-minute reprieve of federal funds is expected.
Schools representatives met with about 120 parents last Thursday night at Longfellow Middle School to explain why the programs are set to lose $1.9 million of U.S. Department of Agriculture funds, and what potential solutions are being developed.
Every public school in Berkeley — from pre-school to high school — currently has either a cooking program or an edible garden, with 10 schools having both. A series of videos shown at Thursday’s meeting — kindergarteners working with knives and graters, kids watering in the garden and stuffing their mouths with greens — shows just what is at stake. … Continue reading »
Berkeley Unified School District’s board Wednesday night agreed on the procedure to appoint a replacement director for Leah Wilson, who resigned earlier this month. The board has posted an application for directors on its website, with responses due by April 15. The board plans to make an appointment at a special May 1 meeting, with the regular board meeting on May 8 as a fallback in case agreement can’t be reached.
The Berkeley city charter allows the board make an appointment within 60 days of a vacancy occurring. After that point, the County Supervisor can order a special election. … Continue reading »
Leah Wilson, president of the Berkeley Unified School District’s board, today announced her resignation, effective March 31. Wilson recently accepted an appointment as Court Executive Officer for the Alameda County Superior Court. That role presents potential conflicts of interest in future litigation.
“It’s potentially chilling to litigants that might be engaged in litigation with the district,” Wilson said. “It was something that I was told would not work. But it’s beyond bittersweet. It’s an incredible career opportunity and at the same time it has resulted in my not being able to fulfill the commitment I had made.”
Wilson was elected to the board in 2010 and assumed the presidency last year. She faced the delicate task of bringing the board together after a split over superintendent choice in the spring of 2012, and then the collapse of the search when finalist Edmond Heatley pulled out last fall. … Continue reading »
“Prudent budgeting” has allowed Berkeley’s school district finances to weather obstacles such as rising employee health care costs and insufficient revenue from the state, officials said earlier this week.
“We have heard about the pain in other school districts from furlough days, significant layoffs, increasing class sizes and school closures — but not in Berkeley,” said Berkeley Unified School District Co-Superintendent Javetta Cleveland in a prepared statement. “We managed the State’s budget uncertainty, kept cuts away from the classroom, and prevented layoffs.”
The Berkeley School Board will receive an updated report on the 2012-13 budget Wednesday night.
In commercial districts across Berkeley this afternoon, teachers will be speaking to Berkeleyans about the current state of contract negotiations between the Berkeley Federation of Teachers and Berkeley Unified.
According to Cathy Campbell, president of the BFT, negotiations are “not going smoothly” and teachers want to explain the situation “before we turn to more high stakes actions (such as ‘working to rule’), which hopefully we will not have to do.”
The teachers’ contract expired in June 2012, but that contract was just an extension of the July 2008 agreement, which was intended to last two years. Both the teachers union and the BUSD agreed to extensions with no salary increases during the worst of the economic recession. In this year’s negotiations, the BFT proposed a one-time 10% bonus, paid from part of the BUSD’s $8.7 million ending fund balance. … Continue reading »
A vigil to remember the victims took place over the weekend in Berkeley, and messages from school leaders and staff members have been going out daily to members of many Berkeley schools.
Berkeley High’s Principal, Pasquale Scuderi, this afternoon sent an emailed letter to the BHS community in the wake of the tragedy that occurred in Newtown, CT, this morning. In it, he addresses how the school has dealt with communicating news of the mass shooting at an elementary school to BHS students, issues of security on campus, and shares guidelines on how to talk to our children about such a senseless and potentially traumatic incident.
We publish the letter here in full:
Dear BHS Families:
This morning, following the devastating news we all received from Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, we made a brief announcement to the staff and students updating our community on what we knew to be the facts, and encouraging us all to support one another as a school community. We simply asked that as a staff and student body we keep our thoughts and positive energy moving in the direction of the families, children, and fellow educators who are in the midst of a tragedy whose dimensions are still nearly impossible to fathom. … Continue reading »
More than 400 Berkeley public school teachers have received nearly $200,000 in grants from the Berkeley Public Education Foundation for 2012-13, the organization announced on Thursday Dec 6. The foundation will celebrate teachers Friday afternoon at a special reception at Northbrae Community Church.
The total number of grants increased this year by 15% to 285. Molly Fraker, director of the nonprofit organization, said in a written statement that it was the highest number of grants the group has ever awarded. (See a full list of the grants here.)
The grants, which are a central program of the education foundation, support educator-initiated projects at every grade, in every school, she said. Teachers can apply either individually or in teams. … Continue reading »