December 5, 2017
A+ News

In this Edition:
  • ESL Program at Berkeley Adult School
  • LeConte School Name Change Approved
  • Testing for Lead in Water
  • Budget Cut Discussions
  • Committee Meetings
  • Upcoming Events/Meetings, and more
Adult School ESL Program Opens Pathways to Future
A stylist back in her native Thailand, Wanthana Tidchom (photo) arrived in Berkeley in 1993 without knowing English, but eager to become a part of her new community. She soon found her way to the Berkeley Adult School and attended English as Second Language (ESL) classes from morning to evening for a couple of years, until she was confident enough in her language abilities to study at a beauty school in Hayward where she acquired her license. Now with a successful salon on Shattuck Avenue and a family to take care of, she no longer needs intensive English study, but she still takes English classes to refine her skills from time to time.

When Tidchom first came to Berkeley, she met Laura Grossmann, who has taught at the Adult School since 1990. Today Grossmann’s high intermediate level ESL class has 36 students from 24 nations and meets for three hours every weekday.

“No one and no law makes them do it,” Laura Grossmann says. “They are here because they want to be.”

You can read t he full story about Tidchom and the vibrant ESL program offered at the Berkeley Adult School on our homepage.
This feature article was researched and written by Tianyi Dong, an intern working with BUSD through UC Berkeley's Public Service Center . Born and raised in Tianjin, China, and a non-native English speaker herself, Dong is in her final year at UC Berkeley with majors in history and linguistics. She is interested in pursuing post graduate studies and work in the education field.
Lead Testing of Water at All School Sites
The water at all California public schools must be tested for lead under a new state law approved by Governor Brown in October.

We will be testing water at all of our school sites next week, beginning Dec. 11, and expect to be finished in three or four days, except for King Middle School and the pre-K sites, which will done on Sat., Dec. 16.
The testing will take place early in the mornings, before school starts and be conducted by our local water agency, the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD), in coordination with BUSD maintenance staff. The community will be notified of the results in January 2018.

Preliminary testing for lead, done earlier this year at four sites, Washington, Jefferson, BHS and Plant Ops, found no problem.
Admissions Season Underway

The school visitation schedule and information on the school specific kindergarten and middle school information nights is available on our website.

The Office of Admissions will begin taking registration materials, including residency documentation, for all incoming 9th grade students in the fall of 2018 (current BUSD 8th grade students and those new to BUSD) from December 5-15 and Jan. 2-12. Enrollment forms for students entering grades TK-5 and 6-8 will be accepted from Jan. 2 - Feb. 2.

All students must be re-enrolled in the Berkeley Unified School District at the transition to 6th and 9th grades. Please review the important information and exact dates and times on our webpage.

Board Approves Recommendation to Change the Name of LeConte Elementary School
The School Board unanimously voted to approve the Superintendent's recommendation to change the name of LeConte Elementary School. An advisory committee is being formed as part of the community process to rename LeConte Elementary School.
A brief summary of the process so far is on our website.
New District Complaint Form
This past spring, Dana Clark was hired in the role of District Compliance Officer and Title IX Coordinator. Since then, she has been leading the effort to simplify the district complaint process. As a result, a new complaint form is now being used. More information is on the district website .
While the ideal approach to addressing a concern or issue is to first communicate directly and seek to resolve it by working with those most closely connected with you or your child at the school site, a formal complaint process is available for any parent, student, employee or resident who wishes to initiate a formal complaint at the District level.
Upcoming Meetings and Events
Winter Concert Performances Start Tonight
Students and teachers have been developing a repertoire of fine music as a prelude to the winter season. The Winter Concert Series begins tonight at Longfellow Middle School with performances at Willard (Dec. 6) and King (Dec. 14) Middle Schools, and at Berkeley High School (Dec. 6). Details on our homepage .
Budget Cut Discussion Continues at Superintendent's Budget Advisory Committee (SBAC)
Tues., Dec. 5, 5:30-7:30 pm

This SBAC meeting is being held in the BUSD Board Room at 1231 Addison Street behind the BUSD Administrative Building at 2020 Bonar St.

The work of this committee takes on added urgency as the Board plans to begin making difficult budget decisions in January and February for the 2018-19 school year.
Current budget estimates point to painful decisions for the 2018-19 school year. The District is facing estimated cuts of $1.8 million, and the School Board must decide where to reduce spending.

The extent of needed cuts could be affected by the Governor’s proposed budget, which is issued in January.

A key public forum for considering the various proposals for reductions is the 17-member Superintendent’s Budget Advisory Committee (SBAC), consisting of representatives from key district stakeholder groups who meet regularly to discuss the budget and make recommendations to the Superintendent.
BSEP Planning & Oversight Committee
Tues., Dec. 12, 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 A of 2016, and to ensure that the annual BSEP funds ($28 million) are spent in compliance with the Measure.

School Board Meetings
Dec. 6, 7:30 pm - Organizational Meeting
New Board President Election

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.
In Case You Missed It
From the DigiTechTeach Blog...
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, children ages 8-18 now spend 9 hours each day on media and technology To ensure our students take to heart how to be safe, responsible, and respectful online, we are proactively incorporating digital citizenship curriculum in grades 3-8.

In fact, Berkeley Unified is now a Common Sense Media Digital Citizenship Certified District after nearly every  3rd-5th grade  classroom carved out time for at least three digital citizenship lessons last school year–that’s 300 lessons in 96 classrooms for 2,500 students. This year all three  middle schools  are launching a digital citizenship curriculum.

Read more in the Nov. 6 post on the blog about how Eric Silverberg, an elementary library services teacher, and other Berkeley teachers are making sure our students are smart digital citizens.
Berkeley Unified School District | 2020 Bonar Street | 510-644-8764 |