Tag Archives: Berkeley Unified School District

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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Update: Rowdy high schoolers disrupt Berkeley downtown

Hundreds
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Update, 10:50 p.m. According to Lt. Dave Frankel, Berkeley Police Department had planned a large police presence this afternoon, following two previous Fridays with what he described as “rambunctious” behavior. The police had received reports that some confrontations were expected between Berkeley High and B-Tech students.

Today’s confrontations, however, spiraled into a series of fights and other disruptive behavior by students.

Two Berkeley High students were arrested and released to their parents, one for punching someone, the other for resisting arrest and disturbing the peace. A student from an Oakland charter school was also arrested for battery via pepper spray, Frankel said. He said Berkeley High staff had been helping police.

There was no information of property damage.

“This turned into groups of people wanting to fight each other,” Frankel said. It wasn’t, he explained, a riot where property damage was an aim. … Continue reading »

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Dine out to help Berkeley schools’ gardening program

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Since it lost $1.9 million in federal funding last year, Berkeley schools’ much lauded, 12-year-old cooking and gardening program has been struggling to find a way to survive and continue to provide invaluable edible education to the city’s young.

The unique district-wide program encourages students to explore the value of eating fresh fruits and vegetables, getting physical activity, and knowing where their food comes from.

But the program is now “operating on a lifeline with a piecemeal budget,” said its director, Jezra Thompson.

The community has been very supportive to date and gets two new opportunities both this month and next to help.

On Tuesday May 13, you can participate in the second annual Berkeley Dine Out, when many local restaurants, bakeries and cafés will donate a percentage of your bill to the school program. Participating spots include Elmwood Café, Zut!, Cancun, Eureka!, Benchmark Pizzeria, Babette, Ippuku and Flaco’s. (See the full list.) … Continue reading »

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Thursday May 8 is Bike to Work and Bike to School Day

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Thursday May 8 is Bike to Work and Bike to School Day and local bike groups and schools are geared up to encourage as many people as possible to participate.

Bike East Bay is hosting hundreds of Energizer Stations throughout the area, distributing goodie bags and “celebrating the joy of biking.” Last year over 15,000 cyclists participated throughout Bike to Work Day.

“We had a record number of children bike to school and mayors leading by example and biking to City Hall,” the nonprofit said on its website. 

Many local schools are participating this year, including Berkeley High. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley School District seeks feedback on how to spend $2.4 million for low-income students

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Berkeley schools are getting an extra $2.4 million this year to help low-income students and English learners under a new state funding system. To decide how best to spend the money, the district has been working with the community for the past seven months.

Last week administrators shared the first draft of the three-year plan, which includes hiring more teachers of English as a foreign language and more reading specialists. The district is looking for feedback on the draft by this Friday, May 9.

The plan is called the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP). It is part of a new system of state funding for schools, signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown last year, called the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), which began this school year.

It sounds dry, but it’s a big deal, said BUSD Assistant Superintendent Neil Smith. In fact, Smith said, the LCFF is the biggest change in how California schools are funded that he’s seen in his 25-year career with Berkeley schools. … Continue reading »

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Schools

BHS principal Scuderi moves to assistant superintendent

Pascuale Scuderi at Berkeley High. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Pasquale Scuderi, principal of Berkeley High School since 2010, will become Berkeley Unified’s assistant superintendent for educational services at the end of this school year. Scuderi will take over the role from Neil Smith who is retiring after 25 years with the district.

“The upside to this is that I could move along my career trajectory and still remain connected to the work we’re doing here at Berkeley High,” Scuderi said. “But it’s certainly a little bittersweet. I’ve not really connected yet with what it will mean not being with the kids on a daily basis.”  … Continue reading »

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Herb Wong: Visionary founder of Berkeley jazz program

Dr. Herb Wong, Washington Elementary School Principal invited world class big bands to perform for BUSD students.
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Herb Wong, the founding father of  the pioneering jazz program at Berkeley’s schools, died on Sunday April 20, 2014. He was 88.

In an obituary published today on Berkeleyside, Sarah Cline, Jazz Program Director at Berkeley High School, remembers the visionary principal of Washington Elementary School who believed in jazz education for young children — as music education, as a part of the civil rights movement, and as a way of propagating a democratic and artistic spirit — and who brought famous jazz musicians, including Duke Ellington and Oscar Peterson, to give concerts at the school. … Continue reading »

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Obituaries

Herb Wong: Visionary founder of BUSD’s jazz program

Dr. Herb Wong, Washington Elementary School Principal invited world class big bands to perform for BUSD students.
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By Sarah Cline, Jazz Program Director at Berkeley High School

We at Berkeley High School and in BUSD Jazz lost our founding father this Easter. Dr. Herb Wong passed early in the morning Sunday April 20. He was 88.

Wong was the visionary principal of Washington Elementary School who was responsible for hiring Phil Hardymon, Dick Wittington and Bob Chaconas to teach jazz to little kids in the Berkeley Unified School District, way back in the late 1960s. At the time, Wong was one of a … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Let’s join forces to back Healthy Berkeley program

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A broad coalition of diverse community representatives came together before the Berkeley City Council recently to call for Council support for two very important “Healthy Berkeley” initiatives. One involves a city parks bond proposal, and the other a proposed tax on sugary drinks.

Both could provide long-term funding for healthy city improvements, including parks, playgrounds, pools, school gardens, and nutrition and physical education programs.

Recent events require action

Several recent events have galvanized community … Continue reading »

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