Tag Archives: Jim Slemp

Schools

District reopens search for high school principal

Berkeley High School. Photo: Charlotte Wayne
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Berkeley school officials are reopening their  hunt for a new high school principal after a two-month search failed to turn up a suitable candidate.

More than 40 people sent in their resumes for the job, but only six were asked to interview, said Mark Coplan, the district spokesman. Of those, only three bothered to show up.

So the district is going to hire a consultant to reach out and encourage qualified principals around the state to consider applying for the … Continue reading »

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Schools

Breaking: Berkeley High principal Slemp to retire

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Jim Slemp, principal of Berkeley High School, said today he plans to retire at the end of this school year. The announcement was made at this morning’s public announcements at the school.

Slemp has been at the center of this year’s controversy over the future of extra time for science labs at BHS. He proposed in December to eliminate the 0 and 7th period science labs and reallocate the funds to “equity grants”, designed to narrow the large … Continue reading »

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Schools

BHS science compromise slipping away?

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Parents attending the open house at Berkeley High School last night were handed a leaflet from “concerned parents and staff” about the science/equity controversy at the school. According to the leaflet, BHS principal Jim Slemp is opposed to the compromise plan suggested by Berkeley Unified School District Superintendent Bill Huyett:

Superintendent Huyett has publically [sic] stated his support for extra time for college preparatory science and for AP science courses. However, Principal slemp wants to eliminate this instructional … Continue reading »

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Schools

BHS science lab controversy: A parent’s viewpoint

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Susan Helmrich has been a parent at Berkeley High for the last six years. As co-chair of the Development Group and a former member of the school site council, Helmrich is very familiar with the workings of the high school. Yet last night’s school board meeting left her – and many others – confused about which science lab proposal is on the table. The following is her report of the evening.

There was a tremendous amount of confusion around last night’s school board meeting.  Despite the fact that Superintendent Huyett stated he had worked out a compromise plan with science teachers in January to retain labs for some of the IB and AP science classes, Principal Jim Slemp appeared to be pushing ahead with his original plan to eliminate 0 and 7th period science labs altogether.  The Board packet for last night’s meeting included Principal Slemp’s plan and not Superintendant Huyett’s.  All of this was extremely confusing as the BUSD’s own homepage stated that a compromise had been worked out.  However, the superintendent’s proposal was nowhere to be seen in the packet, and he apologized profusely at the meeting for the omission as he tried to clarify the agenda.  Supt. Huyett assured everyone in attendance that “we are looking for high standards for all students and he had no intention to bring the top down in trying to close the achievement gap”.

As a parent very involved at Berkeley High and a former member of the School Governance Coucil, I remain extremely confused.  Which proposal is being considered?  Does Principal Slemp need School Board approval for his plan?  Does the Superintendent’s plan trump the Principal’s? Does either plan need BSEP P & O (Process and Oversight Committee) approval?

I was hoping to speak at the BUSD Board meeting last night. However my card did not get picked. Here are some of the points I would have made:

1)  When would these so-called “equity” classes on note-taking and study skills be offered?  If (as some have said) kids aren’t showing up for interesting classes like science labs, what makes anyone think they will show up for a class on study skills and how to take notes?

2) We need to invest this kind of time and effort in the middle schools so students can come to BHS already knowing how to take notes and manage their time. Also, can’t these kinds of things be incorporated into every class already being taught — or what about the advisories?  I thought this was going to be one of the goals of advisories.

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Schools

Lots of talk, but no action on BHS science classes

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More than a dozen people spoke out Wednesday night against cutting science labs at Berkeley High School, but the school board took no action on the controversial proposal.

Parents and students, though, did get to hear the thoughts of BHS principal Jim Slemp, who has been publicly silent in the last few months  — after he played a rousing speech by the late Martin Luther King.

“Our community at Berkeley High School has failed the African-Americans,” said Slemp, according to … Continue reading »

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Schools

Superintendent Huyett issues statement on BHS science lab debate

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William Huyett, Berkeley Unified School District Superintendent, this morning issued a statement to parents on the Berkeley High science/equity debate.

There are two important items in the statement. First, Huyett writes that the proposal is expected to come before the BUSD Board of Directors on February 3. BHS Principal Jim Slemp has been asserting throughout the controversy that the board did not need to approve the plan. Second, on my reading, the thrust of the statement is to support the … Continue reading »

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Schools

Endangered science at BHS

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Berkeley High’s School Governance Council voted this week to approve principal Jim Slemp’s latest proposal for a new schedule at BHS. It now goes to the Berkeley Unified School District (although Slemp claims that the proposal doesn’t need BUSD approval).

The most contentious aspect of the new schedule is the elimination of before- and after-school time for science labs. The extra funding that goes to science will be used instead for unspecified “equity grants”, aimed at … Continue reading »

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