March 7, 2018
A+ News

In this Edition:
  • Black History Evening at Berkeley Arts Magnet
  • Superintendent's Budget Message
  • 2020 Vision College & Career Week
  • BUSD Oratorical Fest
  • Committee Meetings
  • 2018-19 School Calendar
  • Upcoming Events/Meetings, and more
The Forgotten Cowboys Visit Berkeley Arts Magnet in a Celebration of Black History
On February 28th, celebration of Black History Month culminated at Berkeley Arts Magnet (BAM) Elementary School with a skit on the story of Black cowboys and cowgirls, performed by students. The community enjoyed a warm dinner and home-baked cornbread brought by the families who gathered together to trace back the stories of Stagecoach Mary Fields, the first woman and African American mail carrier; Bass Reeves, the first African American US Marshal; Nat Love, the renowned rodeo cowboy; and John Hayes, "The Texas Kid" who was a civil rights activist.

Throughout the month of February, students at BAM have been learning about the history of African American migration west with Shaunte é Edwards, vice president of African American affairs of BAM PTA. As a continuation of last year’s theme on migrating east and the Harlem Renaissance, students researched the characters, made costumes, built props and rehearsed the skit on Wednesdays and Fridays after school.

Edwards said that she wanted to introduce the community to the history of the Great Migration, so that students can connect with the experiences of Black innovators and recognize the contribution of their culture and skills on American history and life.
When she discovered that there was no existing play about the Black cowboys, Edwards co-authored an original script, together with Thea Sizemore, a fellow BAM parent. They called it “The Forgotten Cowboy.”

“I’m grateful to the school community for letting me do something out of the box and be innovative,” Edwards said. “In this way, students can learn something fresh and new about Black History.”

In the photo below, students are performing "The Forgotten Cowboy" under the direction of parent Shaunte é Edwards, standing stage left.
2020 Vision College & Career Summit Week: March 13 - 16
The 2020 Vision College & Career Summit is a week-long series of events to engage Berkeley’s students in college and career related activities beginning on March 13, 2018. Our goal is to create several opportunities for students to “design their future” as they imagine and learn about college and career possibilities. 
Throughout the week, students of all ages, preschool through high school and beyond, will participate in college and career awareness activities that include guest speakers talking about their professions, presentations, student panels, school library programs, fire trucks and more.

BUSD employees, parents/guardians and mentors are encouraged to wear college and career gear to help start conversations with students about the many paths to success on March 15.
Mock Newbery Award – BUSD 4th and 5th Graders Pick Best Children’s Book of 2017
Again, our student Mock Newbery Book Clubs demonstrated their critical independence from adult experts this year in choosing the best children’s book of 2017.

After meeting regularly since September, roughly 350 enthusiastic 4th and 5th graders in our 11 elementary school book clubs cast their votes during the week of Feb. 5. The overall winner was  The War I Finally Won , a tale set in England in World War II, written by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley.

The Mock Newbery clubs have been a big hit with students, according to District Library Coordinator Becca Todd. "The book buzz generated by our Mock Newbery program is palpable! And infectious! And downright fun! What a blessing," Todd said.
The top pick chosen at each school can be found on Google Drive . You can read more about the Mock Newbery program in a blog post by BUSD teacher librarian Mary Ann Scheuer, a co-founder of the initiative.
Free eBook/Audiobook Access for Students and Staff of BUSD High Schools and Middle Schools
Under a new partnership between BUSD and the Berkeley Public Library, students and staff at our middle and high schools can now use their district email address to immediately access free ebooks and digital audiobooks through the Berkeley Public Library website.

To get started, go to our launch document and click the link for Overdrive eBook and eAudiobooks.

Borrowed audiobooks and eBooks will automatically expire and return to the library’s digital collection at the end of the lending period.
Recent Letter from Superintendent Evans:
Budget Decisions and Process Moving Forward
Dear Parents/Guardians,
Making budget reductions is one of the hardest things to do as Superintendent, because we all want more services for students and families, not less. At the same time, the fiscal solvency of the District is one of my most important responsibilities, and as financial conditions change, it is important to be proactive and plan ahead. I have to make sure that we keep our expenses within our means and take the necessary steps to protect the future of our public schools and the students we serve.

If you are a BUSD parent, and did not receive this letter by email from the Superintendent last week, then it is likely that your student's online record does not have the most recent email address for you. Please check in with your school secretary to ensure that the right email address is on file in the Illuminate student record portal.
African American History Month Events
Lead up to BUSD Speak & Inspire Oratorical Fest
Come on out on March 22 and cheer on the young orators in our midst.
Find all the details on our webpage .
Upcoming Meetings and Events
School Board Meetings
Wed., March 14, 7:30 pm

Board Meetings are held in the Board Room, 1231 Addison St, unless otherwise noted.

School board meeting agendas/materials are posted at least 72 hours before meetings on the School Board Meeting Information page of our website.
School Board Members hold office hours at convenient cafe locations in the city.
Board President Josh Daniels:
Vice President Judy Appel:
Third Saturday of the month, 10am
Ty Alper:
Last Sunday of every month, 3-4:30pm
Beatriz Leyva-Cutler:
First Monday of the month, 4-5:30pm
Karen Hemphill:
Second Saturday of the month, 10:30am

BSEP Planning & Oversight Committee
Tues., March 13, 7:00pm

Berkeley Schools Excellence Program (BSEP) P&O Meetings are held at 2020 Bonar Street on the first floor of the district offices in Room 126.

This is a Brown Act Committee and meeting agendas and minutes are posted on this webpage.
The BSEP Planning and Oversight (P&O) Committee, comprised of representatives from each school, meets regularly to review the implementation of Measure E1 of 2016, and to ensure that the annual BSEP funds ($29 million) are spent in compliance with the Measure.

In case you missed it
Transitional Kindergarteners Head to the Forest
Several times a year some of the district’s youngest students can be found in the middle of the forest in Tilden Park, hiking along the Wildcat Creek, collecting leaves and acorns, observing worms and lizards, and singing a song dedicated to the land which the children call home.

This year the students in the Transitional Kindergarten (TK) program at the King Childhood Development Center (CDC) participate in what they call “Forest School,” part of the TK curriculum that aims to encourage students’ curiosity for exploration using all their senses in a natural setting.
This year’s Forest School program is an expansion of the classroom pilot program that began at King CDC in 2016, which was inspired by the TK Forest School program at LeConte. Students have already enjoyed four of the seven trips to Tilden Park scheduled this year, each with more challenging hikes and more extended creek play.

Watch the video slideshow below - you'll feel like you were there with them!

According to Marguerite Talley, one of the three TK teachers at King CDC who organizes and leads students in the forest, the program is designed so that the young students engage in similar hikes and outdoor activities with the level of depth increasing over the course of the year. Students learn to observe and inquire about changes they see in the environment and practice using journals to jot down seasonal changes they see in the plants and on the trails. Read More
2018-19 School Year Calendar
First Day of School is MONDAY, August 27, 2018
Berkeley Unified School District | 2020 Bonar Street | 510-644-8764 |