Tag Archives: Willard Middle School

Police activity puts Willard Middle School on lockdown

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Willard Middle School in Berkeley was on temporary lockdown this afternoon due to a police search in the area.

At 1 p.m., Berkeley Police received a call about a suspicious person on a property in the 2700 block of Regent Street, police spokeswoman officer Jennifer Coats said.

She continued: “The initial call was suspicious persons, who appeared to be prowling or casing a residence. An officer arrived in the area and observed an attempted burglary into a residence. The officer attempted to detain them and they fled on foot.

“Officers established a perimeter and conducted a yard to yard search. … Continue reading »

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Bites: What’s new in East Bay food, XXVII

The Star, an extension of San Francisco's Little Star, is coming to Oakland. Photo: The Star
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Openings…

THE STAR ON GRAND Deep-dish pizza spot Little Star — which started in San Francisco but also has a location in Albany on Solano Avenue — is opening a new outpost, The Star, at 3425 Grand Ave. in Oakland any day now. The menu will be similar to that of its other locations, but with a few twists — like its East Bay-inspired pizza, The Tilden, which combines zucchini, feta, tomato and pesto on a thin crust. Meatballs and sandwiches will be added to the menu, and owner Jon Guhl says he has discontinued the use of high fructose corn syrup and GMO products at all locations. We tipped you about The Star in January, but owners are waiting on a liquor license and have had to push back the opening date. They haven’t made any promises, but according to SF Eater, they may open as soon as this weekend.  … Continue reading »

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Willard names new principal, Thousand Oaks on hunt

Debbie Dean
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Debbie Dean has been named as the new Principal at Berkeley’s Willard Middle School. Dean replaces Robert Ithurburn who is leaving to take up a new post.

The decision was announced at the BUSD Board meeting on Wednesday night.

Dean has been Assistant Principal at Redwood Middle School in Napa for the past five years. Before that, she was an assistant principal and school social worker in the Oakland Unified School District. She lives in Berkeley and is the parent of a student at Thousand Oaks Elementary School

In a statement read by BUSD Board Chair Karen Hemphill at the board meeting, Dean was described as being “well organized” and bringing “a wealth of administrative, teaching and cultural experiences.” She “communicates well with a wide range of individuals, listens carefully, possesses an innovative mind, assumes responsibility, demonstrates a high level of energy, possesses a willingness to learn, is very approachable and knows the secondary education territory, particularly middle school, well. … Continue reading »

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Learning to write, one edit at a time

Coaches from WriterCoach Connection help more than 2,000 students in 10 schools throughout the East Bay
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By Mollie Hart

Andrea didn’t make eye contact with her writing coach right away. The 8th grader from Berkeley’s King Middle School brought out her rough draft of “An Open Letter to the Adults of our Country,” and started to read out loud, but kept her face turned away from the woman sitting next to her in the school’s designated “coaching” room.

“What did you think of the assignment?” the coach asked.

“It was okay,” said Andrea, without much enthusiasm.

Despite the young girl’s shy demeanor, the coach forged on. Soon the pair was talking about Andrea’s thesis statement, her conclusion, and how the American Revolution figured into the piece. … Continue reading »

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Willard students semi-finalists in national art contest

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By Catherine Ference

Three of Willard Middle School’s 8th grade students — Karah Giesecke, Desiree Minkler and Sydney Tong — along with their families and Willard’s art teacher, Nancy Funk, celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday this week by attending a very special ceremony at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco.

Karah, Desiree and Sydney were all semi-finalists in The Dream@50 Art Contest, an award program that covers 10 cities and three school levels: elementary, middle and high. For the contest, students were invited to create artwork inspired by a word or phrase from Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Their artwork was judged on originality in form and content as well as the artistic merit, including use of color and visual impact.  … Continue reading »

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Plans to put a beehive in every Berkeley middle school

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A new initiative, spearheaded by Berkeley’s Edible Schoolyard Project, aims to put beehives in the city’s three middle schools by next spring.

King Middle School’s one-acre garden, home to the Edible Schoolyard, has already jumped in having acquired a hive of Russian bees six weeks ago, under a program the organizers named Bee Experimental Education in Schools (BEES).

The idea, said Edible Schoolyard Director Kyle Cornforth, is to extend King’s existing hands-on gardening and cooking education to include learning about pollination. … Continue reading »

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Community rallies to get pool measure on ballot

Students, parents, and community members rally on Sunday to reopen Willard Pool. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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About 75 people rallied on the corner of Telegraph Avenue and Derby Street in Berkeley Sunday afternoon to convince the City Council to put a pool bond measure on the November ballot.

Holding signs that read “Save Willard Pool,” and “Honk if you like to swim,” the group of students, parents, and community members yelled, chanted, and encouraged people to sign a petition that called for the reopening of Willard pool, which was closed and filled with dirt in 2010. (The petition is also posted at Change.org.)

“I would like to see Willard Pool open again,” said Amelie Melde Fontenay, a parent of a Willard School student. “My only son got here just in time to see the pool filled in with dirt. I don’t think it’s fair that the other two (middle) schools have pools and Willard doesn’t.” … Continue reading »

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Willard School teacher has students doing the math rap

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Willard Middle School teacher Robert MacCarthy, or “Mr. Mac” as he’s known around the campus, has found a creative way to energize his students around learning math.

MacCarthy blends art, games and music with math instruction, and, as reported in the Oakland Tribune, the result seems to be paying off. His classes are challenging, but their quirkiness makes it fun to learn, according to many of his protegés.

The talents of MacCarthy and his students are also very much in evidence on the … Continue reading »

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Berkeley schools see new appointments at the top

Audrey Amos
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It’s like a game of musical chairs at Berkeley schools right now, as a group of new faces move into top positions following the departure of key personnel.

John Muir and Oxford Elementary schools, King Middle School and Berkeley Technology Academy (B-Tech) have new principals, and there’s a new vice-principal at Berkeley High.

Jason Lustig’s decision to pursue an academic course at Harvard, which saw him step down from his position as principal of King Middle School at the end of this academic year, set the ball in motion for several appointments that followed. Lustig, was in the post for four years after a stint as principal at Cragmont Elementary School. … Continue reading »

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Willard students cook with a passion in Iron Chef contest

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By Gary Alinder

You’ve all watched the Food Network’s Iron Chef: two chefs have an hour to prepare five dishes based around a secret ingredient, and three judges award points based on flavor, originality and presentation.

Last week I had the privilege of being a judge at an end-of–term Iron Chef contest at Berkeley’s Willard Middle School. Berkeley has the reputation of being a wacky place, but some great things happen in that singular East Bay City. I find it remarkable that, in a program funded mostly by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Berkeley students learn healthy cooking and gardening beginning in kindergarten.

I’ve been an Iron Chef judge at Willard before, and I’m always impressed by how much effort and skill these kids bring to the contest. They take it seriously. In addition to the criteria used on the TV show, Willard students are also judged on teamwork, recipe writing and clean-up. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley school bands perform at Giants game

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On Thursday this week, Berkeley Unified School District’s high-school and middle-school bands joined forces to perform the Star Spangled Banner at the San Francisco Giants baseball game. The excitement was more than palpable — holler and shouting alert. Watch the musicians in action at the 1.55-minute point in the video above (which comes courtesy of BUSD’s Mark Coplan).

Oh, and the score? San Francisco Giants 3, Arizona Diamondbacks 2.

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Sell-out at Yoshi’s raises funds for BUSD jazz programs

The sax players in the Longfellow Jazz Band wail at Yoshi's. Photo: Doris Moskowitz
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Yoshi’s in Oakland, a legendary venue for the best in jazz, was packed on Monday night. The boisterous, enthusiastic crowd had come to hear the jazz bands from Longfellow and Willard middle schools. Fan — and mother of a baritone sax player — Doris Moskowitz reports that $1,200 was raised for the middle schools’ jazz program. More photos below the fold. … Continue reading »

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Willard School will not be site for REALM Charter School

Willard Middle School: no longer under consideration for the REALM Charter School
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Willard Middle School is no longer in the running as a possible location for the middle school part of the city’s new REALM Charter School — much to the relief of many Willard parents who were campaigning against the move.

After a closed meeting Wednesday, the BUSD Board announced it had decided against Willard as a home for Berkeley’s new Revolutionary Education and Learning Movement (REALM) middle school

Victor Diaz, REALM’s principal, told Berkeleyside on March 17 that he was opposed … Continue reading »

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