December 18, 2018
A+ News
In this Edition:
  • A Retrospective: 50 Years of School Integration
  • 50 Years of African American Studies
  • Speaker Series: Dr. Prudence L. Carter
  • Emerson Elementary & Hour of Code
  • New Head of School Facilities: John Calise
  • New BUSD Buses
  • Superintendent's Budget Advisory Committee and Board Meeting
A Retrospective: 50 Years of School Integration
This year marks the anniversary of a landmark achievement for the Berkeley Unified School District and for racial equity in education nationwide. It was 50 years ago, in 1968, that Berkeley made headlines for its pioneering busing plan to fully integrate the city’s public schools.

Though the achievement may seem emblematic of Berkeley’s progressive leadership, it was by no means certain at the time. It was adopted only after intense community debate, protests and even a recall election against the School Board members who supported desegregation.

It was “the boldest desegregation plan yet devised in a city exceeding 100,000 population,” according to a 1968 study by UC Riverside and the Riverside Unified School District.

For more of the history of this momentous chapter in our history, see the post on the BUSD website .
Celebrating 50 Years of African-American Studies: Kwanzaa Dinner and Celebration Honoring Dr. Richard D. Navies
A joyous and meaningful community gathering took place on Saturday, December 15, in the Berkeley High Cafe, in recognition and memory of Dr. Richard D. Navies, who was a leading educator in the African-American Studies Department at Berkeley High that was founded 50 years ago. Members of the Navies family were among the speakers, with a program that included performances by BHS Afro-Haitian Dance and Young Gifted and Black, as well as reading of poetry, speeches by alumni, and a reading of a proclamation from the City of Berkeley, which declared December 15, 2018 to be Black Studies Day.

Later that evening the celebration moved to the Florence Schwimley Little Theatre where the audience enjoyed the all black cast of high school actors performing in the fall production of The Colored Museum .

Two more performances are happening next Friday and Saturday, Dec. 21 and 22. More details on the district website .
BHS staff member Liz O'Connell-Gates and English teacher Alan Miller attend the Dec. 15 celebration marking the 50 years of the African-American Studies Department at Berkeley High.
Dean of Berkeley Graduate School of Education Shares Research and Ideas on True Integration
The Superintendent’s Speaker Series recently featured Dr. Prudence L. Carter, Dean of the Berkeley Graduate School of Education, who shared her research on why “diversity is not the same as integration,” and why inequitable outcomes in achievement still persist.
To quote one of Dr. Carter’s slides, “representation and social diversity are necessary but insufficient for reduction of social and economic inequality if we don’t attend to the distribution of power, distinctions, and hierarchies.”

Speaking to an audience of more than 80 staff and community members at Longfellow Auditorium, Dean Carter said that it is important to provide access to safe facilities, good teachers, up-to-date technology and textbooks, but these resources are not enough to produce true integration and equitable educational outcomes among a racially and socioeconomically diverse school population.
Equity requires that we also address the social-cultural context, such as how students are organized in classrooms, the subtle messaging that reinforces stereotyping, and how students perceive social boundaries. 

Following her presentation, Superintendent Evans and Dr. Carter entertained questions from the audience. More details on Dean Carter's presentation are available on the district website .

NEXT SPEAKER EVENT: Jan. 31, 2019, 7pm
Dr. Jabari Mahiri, "Multicultural Education Beyond the Color-Bind"
100% Participation in Hour of Code at Emerson Elementary
With the help of parent volunteers, all classes in 1st through 5th grades at Emerson Elementary dedicated an hour to learning coding skills. Teachers, staff and volunteers provided an introduction to coding and then students launched into a pre-selected activity on the Chromebooks. First graders made their own mazes with Kodable . Second and third graders explored the new Minecraft Voyage Aquatic . Fourth and fifth graders designed their own dance party .

These details and a whole lot more about what happened in our schools across Berkeley during Computer Science Education Week, including the Girls Who Code Kick-Off Party at King Middle School, can be found on the DigiTech Teach Blog.
New Leader for School Facilities: John Calise
On the job in Berkeley for a little more than a month, new BUSD Executive Director of Facilities John Calise hasn’t missed a beat. With 19 official school sites and several other district properties operating daily, and an ambitious schedule for school modernization projects, John says, “I feel right at home. I’m used to being busy and engaged.”
John comes to BUSD from the Dixon Unified School District, where he served as Director of Facilities, Maintenance, Operations and Capital Projects since 2015 .

At Dixon, John earned high commendations, in particular for his successful management of two key challenges now facing BUSD: planning for a possible school facilities bond measure and developing a Facilities Master Plan.

John brings a strong commitment to full participation of all stakeholders in the district and community in major facilities planning and financing decisions. He’s excited to be working in a community that has so generously invested in its schools because, as he says, “T he work that we do in my division has a direct impact on the quality of services and programs we provide to the students and families of Berkeley Unified as well as the community I am now fortunate to serve.”
Of top priority for John right now is getting to know his team and the key players involved in the projects underway and planning for school modernization projects that will break ground in 2019. These projects include:
  • school cafeteria and kitchen upgrades,
  • structural and seismic mitigation, and
  • modernizing classroom and additional learning spaces for students and the community.
New School Buses Soon to Roll Off Transportation Yard
Eight bright new school buses will soon roll off the BUSD Transportation Yard located at Gilman and 7th Street.

The new, gas-powered buses seat 22 students, are wheelchair accessible and less polluting than the 12-year old buses they are replacing. The $640,859 grant to purchase the buses came from funds available through the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

Special credit for securing the funding goes to Transportation Operations Supervisor Amanda Espino and Transportation Manager Sheila Collier who successfully completed the complex grant application and saw it through the proper approval and funding channels to secure the funds.

The grant terms require the old buses be disabled and disposed so that they no longer contribute to air pollution.

The District also hopes to receive $1.66 million in funding for eight new electric buses and the necessary power charging infrastructure currently under review.
Upcoming Events & Meetings
Superintendent's Budget Advisory Committee
January 8,2019, 5:00pm
2020 Bonar Street, Room 126

The Superintendent's Budget Advisory Committee (SBAC) is one of the key means by which staff and community stakeholders have an opportunity to participate in deliberations and recommendations for district budget priorities.

The SBAC meetings are open to the public and include an opportunity for public comment.
School Board Meetings
January 9, 7:30pm

All regular Board Meetings are held in the Board Room, 1231 Addison St., and are streamed live and archived on the BUSD YouTube Channel .

School board meeting agendas/materials are posted at least 72 hours before meetings on the School Board Meeting Information page of our website.
Berkeley Unified School District | 2020 Bonar Street | 510-644-8764 |