Tag Archives: Willard Middle School


Andy Samberg, Lonely Island, return to Berkeley High

Lonely Island pose next to the utility box painted with their portrait outside Berkeley High School on xxx. Photo: Mark Coplan/BUSD
Print Friendly

Berkeley High alumni Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer (aka, comedy group The Lonely Island) returned to Berkeley High School a week ago Sunday to shoot footage for a project that aims to chronicle their lives in Berkeley.

The three TV personalities, who met at Willard Middle School and moved on to Berkeley High in the 1990s, worked together on Saturday Night Live for eight years.

After they left SNL, Samberg made several movies and is currently starring in the award-winning show Brooklyn Nine-Nine, now in its second season. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley this weekend

Berkeley Half Marathon organizers are expecting 10,000 runners to participate this year. Photo: berkeleyhalf.com
Print Friendly

HALF MARATHON Running out of ideas for things to do this weekend? Spend Sunday, Nov. 9, in your sneakers. It’s the second annual Berkeley Half Marathon, which takes racers through the Cal campus, Gourmet Ghetto, Fourth Street shopping area, and along the beautiful Bay Trail. If the 13.1-mile journey sounds daunting, participant can opt to run a more reasonable 5 kilometers instead. The race starts (8 a.m.) and ends (12:30 p.m.) at Civic Center Park at 2151 Martin Luther King Jr. Way. Registration costs $25-$115, and supports Cal Athletics and the Berkeley Public Schools Fund; last year’s event brought in $30,000. Non-runners may want to check out the list of street closures. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Josephine: Creating home-cooked meals, community

Julie Hotz for the photo of Charley & Tal
Print Friendly

On Thursday evenings, a black clapboard sign sits outside Terry Betts’ West Berkeley home. A steady trickle of people stops by to fill their own containers with Greek-style chicken cooked with honey, cinnamon, tomatoes and garbanzo beans, rice pilaf and a cucumber salad on the side.

While there, they can choose from a few add-ons, like home-made granola, fresh juices and a plum cake for dessert. Some sit around the living room and chat for awhile before leaving.

Betts is a talented home cook who is making additional income each week through Josephine, a new start-up offering home-cooked meals for sale. On another night, she offered Vietnamese tamarind chicken with rice noodles, and on another, it was Polish stuffed cabbage. … Continue reading »

Tagged , , , , , ,

Police activity puts Willard Middle School on lockdown

Print Friendly

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 »

Tagged , , , , , , ,

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
Print Friendly


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 »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Willard names new principal, Thousand Oaks on hunt

Debbie Dean
Print Friendly

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 »

Tagged , , , ,

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
Print Friendly

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 »

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Willard students semi-finalists in national art contest

Print Friendly

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 »

Tagged , ,

Plans to put a beehive in every Berkeley middle school

Bee hive1
Print Friendly

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 »

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Community rallies to get pool measure on ballot

Students, parents, and community members rally on Sunday to reopen Willard Pool. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
Print Friendly

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 »

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Willard School teacher has students doing the math rap

Screen shot 2012-01-06 at 6.36.49 PM
Print Friendly

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 »

Tagged , , ,

Berkeley schools see new appointments at the top

Audrey Amos
Print Friendly

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 »

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Willard students cook with a passion in Iron Chef contest

Print Friendly

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 »