October 30, 2017
A+ News

In this Edition:
  • Middle School English Curriculum
  • Art of Coaching for Principals
  • Lights on After School
  • Parent-Teacher Conferences/Illuminate
  • Schools Fund & Berkeley Half Marathon
  • Dine out for Gardening & Cooking Program
  • Upcoming Events/Meetings, and more
New Curriculum in Middle School English Classes
Strong teaching and effective teacher collaboration very often depend on common instructional goals for students. This premise helped drive the process this past spring of adopting Inquiry by Design (or "IBD"), a new curriculum for the middle school English Language Arts classes.

As the first quarter of the school year comes to a close, English teachers in grades 6, 7, and 8 are finishing up the first "microcourse" of the newly adopted Inquiry by Design curriculum which focuses on students "developing a reading life" by creating a text-based culture in the classroom. Students are exposed to different genres and teachers use diverse teaching and engagement strategies to lead students to dig deeply into the text.

Other key elements of the Inquiry by Design curriculum include "microcourses" focused on "developing a writing life" as well as on interpreting text and forming an argument.

We'll post occasional stories in the A+ News as this new curriculum unfolds in all three of our middle schools. In the meantime, you can learn more about the new curriculum on our webpage , or maybe ask your middle school student what they've been reading in class.
Before reading aloud to his 8th grade students, Willard English teacher Ben Jackson (above) introduces a reading selection that's part of the new middle school English curriculum. Students follow along and annotate the text for deeper understanding and discussion.
The Art of Coaching - Leadership Training for Principals and Program Administrators
As part of the district-wide professional development program in the Berkeley Unified School District, this year principals and several program administrators are participating in a series of trainings and workshops designed to build their capacity as instructional leaders and coaches.
Listen to this two minute video of four BUSD school principals discussing the importance of adult learning in our schools and the value of the Art of Coaching workshops they are participating in this school year.
Lights on Afterschool
BUSD youngsters readily put their talents to work for “Lights On Afterschool,” an annual observance to recognize the valuable impact that after-school programs have on students. The event, which took place Thursday, Oct. 26, is estimated to draw more than a million participants across the U.S. (and in Japan).
Students in afterschool programs in our schools produced colorful posters, banners and displays of light bulb images, and some students also wrote appeals to legislators in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., to maintain funding that helps support BUSD-sponsored programs like LEARNS and BEARS .
Here students make posters reflecting how they feel about the BUSD after school program. This poster says:
"After school programs keep kids safe!"
Upcoming Meetings and Events
End of First Quarter: Parent Teacher Conferences & Illuminate
The end of the first quarter of the 2017-18 school year is here and it's time for Parent Teacher Conferences for parents/guardians of elementary and middle school students. Please be sure you have signed up and/or know what time your child's teacher(s) is/are expecting you.

Please remember that there is no school for students on Friday, November 3 and school schedules are adjusted for conferences the week of Nov. 6-9.
If you have not done so already, this is a good time for parents/guardians to ask your middle and/or high school student(s) to show you the new Illuminate portal where students track homework, grades, and attendance records. Information on setting up a parent portal is on this BHS webpage .
School Board Meetings
Nov. 1, 7:30 pm
Nov. 15, 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.
Superintendent's Budget Advisory Committee (SBAC)
Nov. 14, 5:30-7:30 pm

SBAC meetings are held at 2020 Bonar Street on the first floor of the district offices in Room 125.

General information about the Superintendent's Budget Advisory Committee as well as meeting agendas and notes are posted on this webpag e .
Is This Your Year for the Berkeley 5K, 10K or Half Marathon? It's November 19th!
The Berkeley Public Schools Fund is partnering again this year with the Berkeley Half Marathon to raise funds for their grant programs for Berkeley teachers. They're looking for team members to run the 5k, 10k or Half Marathon. Free registration is available!  Just click "Get Started" on the  Fundraising/Team Page   and get ready to run on November 19!
Save the Date: November 30

Dine Out Fundraiser for Gardening & Cooking Program in the Schools
On Thursday, November 30th, BUSD's Gardening & Cooking Program partners with local restaurants throughout Berkeley for a food-filled day and night in support of garden and nutrition education. Dine Out at participating businesses and support our 13 educators and over 7000 students at 17 school gardens and 5 kitchen classrooms. Dine Out at one of the participating restaurants and a percentage of your check will go to programs for kids! Our list of participating restaurants is growing and can be found  here .
You will find more about our Gardening & Cooking Program on our webpage .
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Berkeley Unified School District | 2020 Bonar Street | 510-644-8764 | www.berkeleyschools.net