April 20, 2020
A+ News
Information and Resources for Families During COVID-19
On Thursday, April 9, Superintendent Stephens hosted a live video Town Hall with families that is now available for viewing on the district's YouTube page. Answers to the many questions families have been asking are provided in this Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document. Responses cover 16 different content areas including, Distance Learning Plan roll out, grading, graduation, facilities construction, IEPs, public health and more. Updates are being made regularly as new information becomes available.

All district communications to families are sent via email to addresses on file and posted on the Berkeley Unified School District website. If you are not receiving email updates from your school or from Berkeley Unified School District, please email contactinfo@berkeley.net with the following information:
  • Student's name
  • Student's school
  • Parent/Guardian name
  • Parent/Guardian email

BUSD continues to work closely with City of Berkeley Public Health to address health and safety concerns during this emergency. Public Health advises that we:

  • Continue physical distancing even when wearing face coverings.
  • Continue to wash hands.
  • Refrain from playdates.

On April 17 the City of Berkeley Public Health Officer Dr. Lisa Hernandez issued a new Order requiring customers (age 13 and older) and workers in essential businesses to wear face coverings so that infected people without symptoms don't unintentionally spread COVID-19. The Order, which also requires face coverings for riders and drivers of public transportation, becomes enforceable at 8 am on April 22, but the community is asked to follow it immediately. Please read the Order for more information.



City of Berkeley Resources

Teachers Using Google Meet to Connect with Students
This week of online learning was a fresh start for teachers and students with class sessions and office hours being conducted with Google Meet. Berkeley educators have been using the Google for Education Suite of tools for almost ten years and many of our staff are "Google Certified Educators." These and other tech savvy teachers are helping ease the transition to online learning. This past Monday, teachers, staff, and educators also had an opportunity to participate in specialized training to assist in the use of Google Meet for engaging online with students.

If you need support accessing technology tools, internet or other online learning resources, please visit this webpage for information and how to get in touch with our technology staff.
Berkeley student enjoys connecting with his teacher online this week.
Instructions on how to join a Google Meet session from a link provided by the teacher can be found here. Instructions on how to join a Google Meet session from Google Classroom are found here.
Drive-through Ed Hub Opens to Support Learning at Home
The Ed Hub is BUSD’s new, centralized distribution site for all things teaching & learning during school facility closures due to COVID-19. The drive-through setting allows for BUSD students and their families to pull in, pick up essential learning supplies, and head back home while staying safely inside their car.  

Organized by the Berkeley Public Schools Fund and staffed by BUSD employees and Berkeley School Volunteers, the Ed Hub is open on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays in the school district parking lot located at 2120 Browning Street just behind the Berkeley Unified School District Administrative Offices at 2020 Bonar Street.

Ed Hub Drive Through Operating Hours:
Mondays: 12:00-2:00pm
Wednesdays: 3:30-5:30pm
Fridays: 12:00-2:00pm

Delivery is available for families who can't get to the Hub during open hours.
Students and families can come to the Ed Hub for:
  • Technology needs (Chromebooks, computer exchanges, power cables, earbuds, internet tools, or tech support)*
  • School supplies – coming soon!
  • Activity kits – coming soon!
  • Hard-copy learning “packets” (by grade & subject-area)- coming soon!
  • Spanish-speaking support for any of the above

* For Chromebook pick up please first call 510-644-8931 or email chromebookhelp@berkeley.net 

More details on the Schools Fund webpage.
Berkeley High School Principal Erin Schweng Says Farewell
Today, in letters sent to students, staff, and families, Berkeley High School (BHS) Principal Erin Schweng shared that after the end of this school year in June, she will not be returning to BHS. After a 22-year career with BUSD, Ms. Schweng wrote she has “decided to move on to a completely different chapter in life.”
 
“Her empathy helps to set a tone at the high school, as does her positivity and her belief in the young people she serves,” said Superintendent Brent Stephens in a letter to the BHS community today. He credited Ms. Schweng with a legacy that includes strong support for students, teachers and staff; responsive communications, and building a cohesive administrative team.

When asked about her work at BHS, Principal Schweng said that the students continue to inspire her. “Whether adapting to this crisis, or articulating their concerns about local, national or global issues, I am deeply proud that our students have found ways to be vibrant and positive and active on behalf of each other and the community”

Dr. Stephens has appointed Assistant Principal Juan Raygoza to serve as Interim Principal during the 2020-2021 school year. In January of 2021, the District will begin a formal and inclusive process to select a new permanent principal for BHS.

Mr. Raygoza expressed a deep admiration for Ms. Schweng’s long-standing commitment to Berkeley Unified and her leadership at Berkeley High School. “ I have learned many lessons from Erin during my three years working with her as Vice Principal. I am honored to step into the Interim Principal role.”

Creativity Abounds as Students Put Science and Art into Action
This week's science lesson for second and third grade students revolved around spring with a look at germination, seeds, and flowers. Students were asked to select two activities from choices that included reading, observing and drawing, and/or viewing a video on plant growth. Students wrote what they discovered and were invited to submit a photograph of their completed drawing or experiment. Victoria, a third grade student, submitted her colorful drawing on which she noted the lemon tree blossoms and seeds sprouting.

Across town, Isaac, an Oxford Elementary school student, was also getting creative -- he built and tested his Anti-Coronavirus Machine inspired by Rube Goldberg. It worked! Isaac hopes other students will enjoy his project and also remember to wash their hands. Check out the video.
Meal, Food Bag, and Food Pantry Services
BUSD serves free breakfast and lunch take-away meals to all children age 18 and younger. Meals are served at these schools on Mon/Wed/Fri from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm.

The Berkeley Food Network (BFN) is partnering with BUSD for food bag distribution to BUSD families and staff on every second and fourth Friday of each month. The next distribution is on Friday, April 24. Distribution occurs from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm at BUSD's meal distribution sites .  

Berkeley Technology Academy (BTA) continues to operate a food pantry with BFN on every second and fourth Tuesday from 2:30 – 4:00 pm at 2701 Martin Luther King Jr. Way. The next distribution is on Tuesday, April 28. Community members can pick up fresh produce, protein and eggs, frozen prepared foods, and packaged goods there. This week the pantry included fresh produce harvested from BUSD school gardens.




 A BUSD Garden IT organizes the harvest from the Willard Middle School garden for the BTA food pantry. (Photo credit: Matt Tsang)
BUSD's Nutrition Services provides meals from six school sites on Mon/Wed/Fri each week.
BUSD Library Program Participated in College & Career Awareness Summit
Just before the closure of school facilities due to the coronavirus pandemic, students across the school district had an amazing array of opportunities to explore, participate, and imagine college and career possibilities as part of  Berkeley’s 2020 Vision's College & Career Awareness Week

Our Library Department organized titles and reading events around the theme: "H ow'd you get that cool job ?". Learning activities included field trips, site visits, and guest speaker panels as well as a Community College Fair and an evening Middle School Parent event. 

A broad range of elementary reading book lists are now available online by grade level and reading level .
Students learned about famous people throughout history and how their work helped shape humanity for the better.
Berkeley High College and Career Center
College counseling has gone online while the school facilities are closed
Berkeley High College and Career Center (CCC) Open Online
College counseling has gone online while school facilities are closed.

Juniors: You are invited to participate in virtual advising appointments to talk about college majors, making a college list, goal setting, and requirements for college. Instead of college essay work being done in English classes, CCC staff are organizing video sessions to help students with brainstorming and drafting college essays and securing other opportunities to participate in virtual essay workshops.

Seniors: Need help making sense of your Financial Aid Award Letter? If so, watch this recent webinar featuring Julia Maciel, our very own BHS College Advisor, who together with other local high school college counselors talks about just how to read and understand your financial aid offer. Thanks, Ms. Julia!
Students met in the CCC during College and Career Week to listen to a panel discussion.

To make an appointment with your college counselor or to find online resources, visit the CCC Webpage.
Large Donation for Longfellow Makerspace After School Program
The STEM Makerspace at Longfellow Middle School is a studio where students can meet, socialize and collaborate on projects involving computers, machining, technology, science, digital art, or electronic art. Wareham Development recently committed $110,000 for staffing Longfellow’s STEM Makerspace for after school programs.

Jimmy Tran talks with students at the STEM Maker Space renovation that occurred earlier this year.
Berkeley Unified School District Seeks Personnel Commissioner
Candidates are being sought for appointment to the BUSD Personnel Commission to fill one of three seats as the board appointed representative.

The Personnel Commission is an independent body composed of three members, and is an entity separate from the BUSD Human Resources Department. 
Visit the post on the district webpage for more information.
You are Invited to the Berkeley Public Schools Fund Virtual Luncheon: May 8, 2020 at 12pm
This year the Berkeley Public Schools Fund is honoring the “Hearts & Souls” of our eleven elementary schools by recognizing eleven individuals who embody the warm and welcoming spirit of our schools.

The thirty minute program will be an inspiring event open to the entire community, including students, that captures the positive opportunity of this moment, the hope that it offers and how everyone can be a part of it.

Developed by the award-winning film makers Catherine Ryan and Gary Weimberg of Luna Productions, you won't want to miss this community event.
You are invited to join us on Friday, May 8 at Noon for a very special virtual celebration connecting our community!

Visit the Virtual Luncheon Webpage for details.
Events and Meetings Online
School Board Meeting
April 22, 2020 7:00 pm
May 6, 2020 7:00 pm

All Board meetings are now held via Zoom. Details 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.
P&O Committee Meeting  |  Details >
April 21, 2020  4:00 pm - 5:45 pm 
Zoom Meeting