February 21, 2020
A+ News
Berkeley Symphony's "I'm a Performer" Concerts Give Students Performance Experience
This week, students at many BUSD elementary schools participated in the Berkeley Symphony's “I’m a Performer” concert series, which is part of the symphony’s Music in the Schools program. In the fall, Berkeley Symphony musicians conducted in-class visits in our elementary schools. These were followed by a "Meet the Symphony" concert a few months later, allowing students to see the musicians that they met earlier in the fall performing in a full orchestra.

In the "I'm a Performer" concerts, students enjoyed making music with musicians they've already created a relationship with over the course of the year. They performed favorites by Beethoven and Mozart, as well as the music of pop artists like Bruno Mars and Elvis.

Musical proficiency opens up a lifetime of opportunities for students. This week they built confidence while performing in front of their peers and parents, with the backing of a professional orchestra. The experience helped students see music as a valid and attainable career or personal path for their futures. 

Berkeley Symphony Free Family Concert with the San Francisco Girls Chorus
Join the Berkeley Symphony on Saturday, April 18 at 10:30 a.m. at Longfellow Middle School for a free family concert featuring musicians from the Berkeley Symphony performing with the San Francisco Girls Chorus, and an after-concert instrument petting zoo. No RSVP required.
"I'm a Performer" concert at Maclom X Elementary School on February 19.
John Muir students rehearsing.
The horn section rehearses at John Muir.
BHS National Society of Black Engineers Jr. (NSBE Jr.) Students Headed to National Conference
Members of Berkeley High School's National Society of Black Engineers Jr. (NSBE Jr) will be attending the organization's national conference in San Antonio this March. NSBE Jr. is designed to stimulate interest in STEM. The goal is to encourage students in grades 9–12 to attend college and pursue technical degrees through a series of educational workshops, activities, and competitions that are designed for their age group.

Dwayne Byndloss, BHS Counselor and NSBE Jr. Advisor, explains why this trip is so important for young Black engineers: “It’s hard to strive to be something that you haven’t seen.” According to Byndloss, it is important for students to attend these conferences so that they see there are thousands of other young Black engineers pursuing similar goals.

NSBE Jr. students participate in regular STEM career exploration activities, including field trips and guest speakers, and are encouraged to enroll in engineering pathways. BHS’s Career Technical Education (CTE) program offers three engineering pathways; Biotechnology, Computer Science, and Robotics and Mechatronics Engineering.

These courses are designed to help students discover firsthand how engineering and technology relate to the world around them and discover the excitement of academic excellence, leadership, technical development and teamwork. 
Robotics and Mechatronics Engineering students working on an air compressed pinball machine in class.
NSBE Jr. field trip to San Francisco last Fall.
Biotechnology students getting hands-on learning in the lab.
Berkeley JazzGirls Day March 7
Every year in March—usually close to International Women’s Day—Berkeley High School Jazz produces JazzGirls Day.  The 9 th Annual Berkeley JazzGirls Day is on Saturday, March 7 from 1-5 p.m. (registration opens at 12:30 p.m.) at Berkeley High School's Community Theater.

Elementary and middle school girl musicians ages 10-14 who play or sing jazz—or are thinking about trying it out—are invited to join professional female jazz musicians and educators for the afternoon. Activities include master classes, and jam sessions. Female high school jazzistas from the Berkeley High jazz program serve as mentors and volunteers.

Berkeley JazzGirls Day is free and open to all girls who sing or play an instrument.  No pre-registration is required. Send your student with her instrument. JazzGirls do not need to be enrolled in Berkeley schools.
JazzGirls Day activities include master classes, jam sessions, and a closing group concert.
Professional female jazz musicians and educators instruct JazzGirls.

New to the District: Bajé Thiara, Associate Superintendent Educational Services
Bajé Thiara brings twenty-plus years in public education to her new role as Associate Superintendent Educational Services at BUSD. She most recently served as Executive Director of School Strategy & Systemic Support for the San Francisco Unified School District.

What do you love about BUSD?
I was drawn to Berkeley Unified by the district’s strong commitment to education diversity and equity—this thoughtful approach to teaching and learning provides inclusive experiences for all students. I love the community’s unyielding support of public education too! 

What are you watching these days?
I’ve been binge watching Grace and Frankie on Netflix. On vacations and holidays, I love to start my day with Good Morning America , especially when George Stephanopoulos is featured. 

What would people be surprised to know about you?
I am the youngest of seven, and I’m a farmer’s daughter. That means I know how to pick peaches, drive a forklift, and load a truck. I’m a small-town girl who grew up in the Central Valley. 

What do you do for fun?
I love Kayaking in Santa Cruz and Sausalito. It brings me a kind of inner peace while also challenging me to be both brave and strong. I’m traveling to Panama over spring break to do some kayaking with other educator friends.
Bajé Thiara heading to a meeting at the District Office.
Thiara, and her Executive Assistant, Amber Spencer, planning activities for the day.
Berkeley's 3rd Annual Oratorical Fest at Longfellow on March 19
The Office of Family Engagement & Equity (OFEE) and BUSD Parents are proud to announce the 3rd Annual District-Wide Black History Oratorical Fest Competition at Longfellow Middle School.

The purpose of the Black History Oratorical Fest is to uplift Blackness, while providing Berkeley students with an opportunity to shine through public speaking. Students recite published or original speeches, skits, spoken word, and poems related to the theme of Speak and Inspire - Black History Past, Present & Future.

Talented and passionate performers, BUSD students of all ages never fail to deliver an engaging and entertaining event. The Oratorical Fest is a visible medium to showcase their performance skills. School Board Director Beatriz Leyva-Cutler’s comments about the 2019 Black History Oratorical Fest Competition capture the significance of this competition: “It was just a great example of our students’ energy, creativity, their voice, and the inspiration they carry with them. There was a light that shined brightly in all the students that performed.”
Census 2020; You Count - Be Counted
Once every ten years the US Census Bureau counts every person in the United States, regardless of immigration status. In March you'll be mailed information detailing how to safely and confidentially complete your Census online or request a paper form. You'll also see district staff providing Census 2020 information at various school sites in mid March.

Why it’s Important to Be Counted
California schools receive $7 Billion in federal funding, which is impacted by a complete and accurate Census Count. Census numbers are used to allocate, monitor, and evaluate education programs.

The 2020 Census will determine the number of representatives California has in the U.S. House of Representatives and the number of votes we have in the Electoral College. Census data will also be used to redraw State Assembly and Senate boundaries.  

The 2020 Census is Safe and Secure   
The Census Bureau cannot release any identifiable information about individuals, households, or businesses--even to law enforcement agencies. Census information can only be released after 72 years. 

You Count - Be Counted!
Families will begin receiving information about how to complete the Census in mid March.
In Case You Missed It
Upcoming Events and Meetings
School Board Meeting
March 11, 2020 7:30 pm
March 25, 2020 7:30 pm


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.
PTA Council Meeting  |  Details >
February 24, 2020
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
2020 Bonar #126 Computer Lab

SBAC  |  Details >
February 25, 2020
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
2020 Bonar #126 Computer Lab

BSEP P&O Committee Meeting  |  Details >
February 25, 2020 
7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
2020 Bonar #126 Computer Lab
Personnel Commission Meeting  Details >
March 5, 2020
4:30 pm - 7:30 pm 
2020 Bonar #126 Computer Lab

Daylight Saving Time
Begins  Details >
March 8, 2020  

DELAC Meeting  |  Details >
March 10, 2020 
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
2020 Bonar St