February 10, 2021
A+ News
February is Black History Month, and February 1-5 was Black Lives Matter at School Week at BUSD. This week of action highlighted, uplifted and affirmed the rich history and contributions of the Black community; cultivated in Black students a sense of pride, self-worth, and self-love; and developed a widespread acknowledgement for contributions of Black people to our community. Schools throughout the District concentrated teaching and activities on the Black Lives Matter movement. Each school library will receive ten new books from BUSD’s Black Lives Matter reading list that have been recommended as both age appropriate and educational. The books are devoted to cultivating Black joy, pride, and love, and celebrating the incredible contributions and history of the Black community.
Alameda County Superintendent of Schools Visits Oxford Elementary School During Black Lives Matter at School Week
Alameda County Superintendent of Schools L.K. Monroe spoke to Oxford Elementary School Students on February 5 as part of the school's Black Lives Matter at School Week celebration during Black History Month. Monroe, who attended Thousand Oaks Elementary School, said she did not always feel seen as a young student. She had two good friends though, one Black and one white, who were "upstanders" for her. "They used their voices to speak up for me when I couldn't," she told students.
Alameda County Superintendent of Schools L.K. Monroe spoke to Oxford Elementary School Students on February 5 during the School's Black Lives Matter at School Week celebration.
Pictured here when she was in 4th grade, Superintendent Monroe attended Thousand Oaks.
Emerson Elementary School librarian Rachel Budge read the book Black Is A Rainbow Color to students, which inspired the first-graders to create a poem in response.
Black Is...
by Emerson First Graders
Inspired by Black is a Rainbow Color by Angela Joy

My skater friends
The keys on my piano
My family
The captions in books
My dog's fur
My hair color
The night sky
My dad
My favorite boots
Burnt toast
My dog
The fur of my cat
The letters on a page
My favorite blanket
My mom and grandma
...and Me!
Town Hall Thursday, February 11 at 7:00 pm
Dear Community,

I will offer more information about reopening our schools for in-person learning at another Town Hall at 7:00 pm on Thursday, February 11th. I hope you can join via Zoom or watch on the BUSD YouTube channel.

Since we expect we may have very high turnout, it would be helpful to have some of your questions, concerns, and suggestions in advance of the event. We’re opening up a ThoughtExchange platform which will allow you to share your thoughts and “upvote” those submitted by others so that we can address some of the high priority questions and suggestions.

Thank you for your continued engagement and partnership in these challenging times.

Dr. Brent Stephens
BUSD, the Berkeley Public Schools Fund, and Sonic Partner to Offer Free Internet to Student Households for the Second Semester
BUSD and the Berkeley Public Schools Fund are excited to announce a partnership with local internet provider, Sonic, to offer free fiber internet to all qualifying Berkeley Unified School District student households for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year (through July 1, 2021). After July 1, families may purchase service from Sonic at then current rates.

Who Qualifies?
All households with at least one Berkeley Unified School District student, who are not currently Sonic internet customers, and are in the Sonic fiber service area, may be eligible for the free Sonic Fiber Internet service (up to 1000Mbps). Please note that Sonic Fiber may not be available for all BUSD student addresses.

How to Sign Up

Provide your student’s school, your name, contact information, and address to check for fiber service eligibility, then create an account. You will also be asked to consent to allow Sonic to share your information with the school district to verify you have a BUSD student.

Schedule installation (this currently takes 3-5 days from order date).

Cancelling Your Current Service
Check with your current internet provider about your contract terms before cancelling your current service to avoid any unwanted cancellation fees. To avoid interruption to distance learning, we recommend that you don’t cancel service with your current provider until your new service is installed.

Help is Available
For signup assistance, families can call Sonic at 510-858-7848.

The Office of Family Engagement and Equity (OFEE) and Dr. Khalid White are partnering to offer an affinity space for Black/African American fathers and father figures. This will be a safe space for a group of no more than 20 to come together to learn from Dr. White and from each other and share wisdom about the successes, challenges and opportunities for engagement in their children’s learning. Additional cohorts will be established as needed.

Dr. Khalid White is a Fatherhood Engagement Specialist and member of the Alameda County Fathers Corps. Khalid is the author of the book Black Fatherhood: Trials and Tribulations, and facilitates workshops on the complexities Black/African American men face in their daily lives while parenting. Dr. White is a college educator, public speaker, and founder of BLKMPWR,LLC. With 13 years experience working with fathers, and father-figures of African Descent, he focuses on education, empowerment and equity. As a father of two, Khalid is ready to support the needs of BUSD’s fathers and father-figures.

Tuesday Night Dates: February 23, March 2, March 9, March 16, March 23, March 30

Time: 6:30-8:00 PM

Seeking Skilled Individuals as Contractors
to Support Short-Term BUSD Projects
BUSD is currently looking for skilled individuals to support several short-term projects over the coming several months. The district seeks to offer paid contracts to individuals or groups with skills in writing and communication, online meeting facilitation, planning, and project management. BUSD employees who seek additional responsibilities are also encouraged to apply.

A brief description of these projects and information about how to apply can be found here.
Three Berkeley High School Students Honored at MLK Breakfast
Berkeley High School Student activists Hadassah Zenor-Davis, Ny'Aja Roberson, and Shayla Avery were presented with the 2021 Next Generation Leadership Award, for carrying on the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King by promoting social justice, non-violent conflict resolution, and peaceful community activism. Congratulations to these three inspirational leaders, and to the BHS faculty, staff, and administration for supporting them, and all students, in leading for social justice and change, every day! Watch these leaders share at minute 32 HERE.
(Photo: courtesy of Kamala Harris)
CNN Documentary:
Kamala Harris, Making History
In case you missed it, click the link below to watch the special on BUSD Alumna and Vice President of the United States Kamala Harris.

Welcoming New BUSD Leaders
Connection at the Core
Welcoming Our New BUSD Title IX Leaders
BUSD is proud to welcome our new district Title IX leaders, Stephen Jimenez-Robb and Mary Keating.

Jimenez-Robb joins BUSD most recently from the Palm Springs Unified School District, where he served as a site administrator for five years, and the Los Angeles Unified School District, Office of General Counsel, where he served as a Title IX Coordinator for eleven years. His expertise spans law and policy, harassment, discrimination, special education, social emotional development, student rights, LGBTQ+ rights and advocacy, and creating programs to provide services for underrepresented students and families. As our BUSD Title IX Coordinator, Jimenez-Robb seeks to lead the office with a true systems lens, working with community members, engaging with families, bolstering curriculum, and ensuring equitable support and resources for students and families.

Keating joins BUSD from Baltimore, Maryland, where she spent many years practicing employment law and raising her family. A former resident of San Francisco and a graduate of UC Berkeley Law School, Keating is very excited to be back in Berkeley, and away from the East Coast winter! As our BUSD Title IX Investigator, Keating will provide robust and responsive expertise and supports to uphold non discrimination law and policy. Further, our BUSD students will be able to access Keating’s support on campus, which is a vital component of continuing to keep our places of learning safe and welcoming for all.

Jimenez-Robb and Keating are two leaders who understand the complexity of this purpose-driven work. When asked what drives their passion for supporting students and families, Keating shared how she has been involved in civil rights work for many years, and is particularly driven by the ability to educate people, and to instill in them at a young age how to honor the human experience for all. Jimenez-Robb articulated that so much of the work is driven by his desire to help students and families “know and feel their self worth,” to be an equal part of the K-12 experience, to understand the importance of connecting students to programs, to help them achieve, and to feel true connection.” 

BUSD's Title IX leaders are an integral part of ensuring that every student and family in our schools, of every identity and intersection thereof, has the opportunity to feel safe, seen, heard, and connected.

Welcome to BUSD, Stephen Jimenez-Robb and Mary Keating!
Mary Keating has joined BUSD as the District's Title IX Investigator.
Stephen Jimenez-Robb has joined BUSD as the District's Title IX Coordinator.
BUSD Welcomes New Director of Technology
We are honored to welcome our new Director of Technology, Max Eissler, to BUSD.

Eissler comes to the district with over twenty years in K-12 technology leadership all over the state of California. He and recently-retired BUSD Technology Director Jay Nitschke co-founded the East Bay Technology Group for technology directors across several counties. Eissler has also served on the Board of Directors for California Instructional Technology in Education, and has mentored other technology professionals in the state for over ten years. He formerly served as a K-12 technology leader in Palm Springs Unified, Oakland Unified, Martinez Unified, and Dublin Unified school districts. 

Learning the work of K-12 technology leaders reminds those outside of the realm how many often-unnoticed privileges we experience daily. Eissler and his team of technology professionals manage our student information systems, ensure technology access and distribution to our school sites and our students, manage our data and data reporting systems, vet and test software, provide training on digital citizenship, lead education for curriculum and instruction for the 21st Century, innovative learning, and the list goes on. 

As we approach almost one year of distance learning, the COVID-19 pandemic has allowed us to gain a deeper understanding of the digital divide. Eissler and his team understand the importance of leveraging technology in equitable, transformative ways that can bridge that divide and address the equity gaps that exist through access and education.  

Eissler is thrilled to join the Berkeley Unified School District as Director of Technology, as he firmly believes in our commitment to equity for all learners, and hopes to utilize technology to continue to further that mission and build on the existing foundation, for all of our students. 

Welcome to BUSD, Max Eissler!

Keeping Up with District News
The first day of school for the 2021-2022 school year is Monday, August 16, 2021. View the 2021-2022 school year calendar here.
Library Book Return Boxes Now at Every School
We know that it is not always easy to get to school during the hours when materials are being exchanged. If there are books in your home that you would like to return, there are now library return boxes outside of every school in BUSD. They are available to students and families all day, every day.

Books do not need to be returned at a student's school. It is fine to return books to any district school. As long as the book is from a BUSD school library, we will get it back to the original school.

The district does not charge students for late books. Keep them as long as you continue to read and enjoy them.
Teacher Librarian Tom Holmes at the book return box at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School. (Photo: Jessica Lee)
Middle School Enrollment Community Engagement Plan
At its meeting on January 20, 2021, the Berkeley Unified School District Board of Education directed the Superintendent to develop a plan for further engaging the Berkeley community on the topic of middle school student enrollment. This plan, originally designed for last year, was delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Elements of the 2021 community engagement will include a review of a variety of indicators, including demographic information about BUSD’s three middle schools; outcome information about student learning; and educator, caregiver, and community input.

The purpose of this nine-month engagement process is to inform the Superintendent’s recommendation to the Board of Education about the middle school student enrollment policy.

Ed Hub Winter Hours Tuesday and Thursday, 3:00-5:00 pm.
The Ed Hub, which is located at the Berkeley Adult School on Curtis St., between Virginia and Francisco Street, is a one-stop distribution site for all things teaching and learning while school campuses are closed for in-person instruction. During the winter, the Ed Hub is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:00 - 5:00 pm.
No School February 12 and 15
School will be closed on Friday, February 12 in observance of Lincoln's birthday and again on Monday, February 15 for Presidents' Day. District offices will also be closed both days. Enjoy the break.
Recent School Board Meetings
Recent Meetings
Events and Meetings Online
School Board Meeting
February 17, 2021

All Board meetings are now held via Zoom. Details can be found on our webpage.

School board meeting agendas/materials are posted at least 72 hours before meetings on the School Board Meeting Information page of our website.
PAC Meeting | Details
February 11, 6:00 - 7:30 pm
Superintendent's Town Hall on Reopening Schools | Details
February 11, 7:00 - 8:00 pm