May 5, 2020
A+ News

May 4-8, 2020 is Teacher Appreciation Week. On Wednesday, May 6, the School Board will adopt a resolution to honor the work of our teaching and educator support staff, noting that in this unprecedented time they are working to provide educational opportunities and social-emotional and practical support for students, even while they are also coping with the stress and uncertainty of this pandemic. #ThankATeacher
Information and Resources for Families During COVID-19
On April 29, the City of Berkeley Health Officer Dr. Lisa Hernandez announced that Health Officers from Berkeley, Alameda County, and five surrounding counties have extended the Shelter-In-Place-Order through May 31. While largely keeping the current restrictions, the Order does allow for the easing of some restrictions for lower-risk activities.

In addition to allowing for construction projects and certain outdoor businesses to resume operations, use of certain shared outdoor recreational facilities that were previously ordered closed may now resume, but not facilities that involve physical contact or the use of shared equipment.

The announcement made it clear that we must continue our efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the Berkeley community. Prematurely lifting restrictions could easily result in a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases in the region, according to the announcement.  

COVID-19 Resources
Stay Connected During COVID-19

Families can take these steps to make sure they are receiving timely information from Berkeley Unified School District:

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 with the following information:
  • Student's name
  • Student's school
  • Parent/Guardian name
  • Parent/Guardian email

Please follow the District on Twitter and Facebook. Families can also subscribe to receive the Latest District News.
Teachers are now free to conduct class sessions in either Zoom or Google Meet. Zoom Version 5.0, released last week, offers security enhancements including improved host controls and a waiting room default to "on" for education accounts. All District student Chromebooks have been automatically upgraded to Zoom 5.0. BUSD continues to work with Zoom to troubleshoot issues with creating an authentication solution for district email accounts and expects to have a solution in place before the school year ends. Please be sure to watch for communication from your children's teachers about their preferred online learning platform.
Crowdsourcing Highlights Community Concerns and Ideas at April 29 Town Hall Meeting
More than 300 community members participated in the April 29 Town Hall meeting featuring Superintendent Stephens, School Board Director Ka’Dijah Brown, and members of the Executive Cabinet.  The meeting focused on the current situation regarding COVID-19 and school facilities closure, as well as future planning.

Using the crowdsourcing platform Thoughtexchange, the online Town Hall's over 300 participants shared about 500 questions and suggestions, and then on average rated about 50 thoughts each, for 15,000 interactions. This allowed "Hot Topics" to surface and be addressed real time. One Thoughtexchange question remained open through the weekend, resulting in a total of 921 participants sharing of over 1,220 thoughts, and over 42,000 interactions.

Hot topics included the challenges faced by struggling families, caring for the emotional health of our students and educators, suggestions about forming "study groups" and other distance learning strategies, and safety precautions for reopening schools.

The April 29 Town Hall meeting can be viewed here. The Town Hall presentation slides can be viewed here . The next Town Hall will be held May 13 . Look for more information about this Town Hall, as well as a Spanish Language Town Hall which will be scheduled soon.
This Thoughtexchange word cloud helps to visualize themes resonating in the BUSD community.
Virtual Graduation Ceremonies; Signs For Senior Class
Berkeley High School's graduation ceremony at Haas Pavilion has been formally cancelled. Additionally, Prom 2020 has been postponed until further notice. In-person graduation ceremonies for Berkeley Technology Academy and Berkeley Independent Study students, as well as middle and elementary school students have also been canceled.

Canceling in-person graduation ceremonies does not mean our students, staff, and community won’t celebrate the achievements of our high school seniors, as well as rising 6th-graders and 9th-graders who will be marking the completion of elementary and middle school. 
In place of their beloved graduation ceremonies, graduating seniors will celebrate with a livecast graduation event that students and their families can view from their homes. The graduation event will include speakers, performances, and short videos of our graduates as they “cross the stage” into the next phase of their lives. Middle and elementary schools are also planning to hold similar online commencement events for their graduating students.

Seniors picking up caps and gowns later this month will also receive signs they can use to mark their homes as the residence of a soon-to-be high school graduate. 
Juan Raygoza to Step Up as Berkeley High School's Interim Principal
With Erin Schweng's departure as Berkeley High School's (BHS) Principal in June, Superintendent Stephens has appointed Assistant Principal Juan Raygoza to serve as Interim Principal at the school during the 2020-2021 school year.

Mr. Raygoza will assume the position after working as a Vice Principal at BHS for the last 3 years, where his responsibilities included overseeing the master schedule, teacher staffing, Small Learning Community lottery, math department, Arts and Humanities Academy (AHA), Communication Arts and Sciences (CAS), and counseling. Prior to serving in that position, Mr. Raygoza was an Assistant Principal and social studies teacher in Los Angeles, earning high marks from students as well as his supervisors.

Mr. Raygoza is a three-time UCLA graduate, earning his B.A. in Political Science, and graduate degrees from the Teacher Education program and the Principal Leadership Institute at UCLA. He is committed to equity in schools and his leadership experience and goals bring a strong emphasis on classroom instruction, culturally responsive teaching, and restorative approaches to school climate and culture.

Mr. Raygoza is a Los Angeles native and devout Dodgers and UCLA Bruins fan. He lives in the East Bay with his wife, Mary Raygoza, who also works in education as a Professor at Saint Mary's College, and their almost 3 year old daughter. He enjoys taking his daughter to parks, especially Little Farm at Tilden, and also reading, singing, and dancing with her. 
Schools Fund Expands Offering at Ed Hub with School Supplies for Students Impacted by COVID-19
Last week, 2,500 bags of school supplies were distributed to students in need at the Ed Hub, BUSD’s new centralized distribution site for all things teaching & learning while school facilities are closed.

The supplies, curated by grade level, were provided through the joint efforts of Berkeley Schools Volunteers/Berkeley Public Schools Fund and the City Center Church of Berkeley. The result of $55,000 in community donations, the supplies were made available to students who were identified by teachers as most impacted by COVID-19 school facilities closures.

Volunteers have put in 1,200 hours running the Ed Hub. The drive-through setting allows BUSD students and their families to pull in, pick up essential learning supplies, and head back home while staying safely inside their car.  

The Ed Hub is located in the school district parking lot at 2120 Browning Street just behind the Berkeley Unified School District Administrative Offices at 2020 Bonar Street.

Ed Hub Drive Through Operating Hours:
Mondays: 12:00-2:00 pm
Wednesdays: 3:30-5:30 pm
Fridays: 12:00-2:00 pm
Musical instrument pickup and repair is available on Mondays only.
Berkeley Public Schools Fund Executive Director Erin Rhoades readies a bag of elementary school supplies.
Pastor Raymond Hudson from the City Center Church prepares middle school supply bags for Ed Hub distribution.
Information on delivery for those who need it and more details on the Ed Hub can be found on the Schools Fund webpage .

Please remember to wear a face covering when picking up materials at the Ed Hub.
You are Invited to the Berkeley Public Schools Fund Virtual Luncheon: May 8, 2020 at 12pm
This Friday at noon, the Berkeley Public Schools Fund’s Annual Spring Luncheon will be an online , LIVE and FREE event. This special 30-minute, virtual event will celebrate the “Hearts & Souls” of our elementary school communities.

Please help pay tribute to the “Hearts and Souls” honorees, the community heroes who are the beloved staff, custodians, instructional assistants, family engagement coordinators, and teachers of BUSD's elementary communities. Families can join in viewing this event with their children. More information, the link for the event and the list of the honorees is here .
The program will feature two films: one highlighting our honorees, the second showing how the Schools Fund has risen to this moment for our schools, in the spirit of our “Hearts & Souls” honorees.

Please join the Berkeley community for this virtual celebration
this Friday at noon!
BHS Science Teacher and UCB Professor/BHS Parent Talk About Biology, CRISPR, and COVID-19 Testing while Raising Funds for Berkeley High
While the Berkeley High School Development Group was disappointed to cancel the Friends of Berkeley High Luncheon 2020 due to the COVID-19 crisis, they are delighted to share an online version of the planned presentation.  

 This online conversation features UC Berkeley Professor Jennifer Doudna, the co-discoverer of the CRISPR-cas9 gene-editing method and one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people. The CRISPR technology has the potential to achieve breakthrough therapies for diseases ranging from sickle cell anemia to cystic fibrosis. It also raises questions about the ethics of redesigning life itself.
BHS biology teacher Glenn Wolkenfeld moderates the discussion. 
Doudna addresses how CRISPR can be used to fight against COVID-19, her UC Berkeley lab’s vital role as a   pop-up testing center , the ethics of gene-editing technologies, and what everyone must do to achieve greater diversity and interest in STEM fields.
You can view the webcast here:
Events and Meetings Online
School Board Meeting

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.
SBAC Meeting Details >
May 5, 2020 2:00 - 3:30 pm
Zoom Meeting

P&O Committee Meeting  |  Details >
May 5, 2020  4:00 pm - 5:45 pm 
Zoom Meeting

Personnel Commission Meeting Details >
May 7, 2020 4:30 – 7:30 pm
Zoom Meeting

DELAC Meeting Details >
May 12, 2020 6:00 – 7:30 pm
Zoom Meeting