January 29, 2019
A+ News
In this edition:
  • Oxford Students Inspire Waste Reduction
  • BUSD Striving for Zero Waste - Implementing our Sustainability Plan
  • Speaker Series: Professor Jabari Mahiri
  • New Mechatronics Classroom Buzzing
  • Mock Newbery Winner
  • 2019 BUSD Family Survey - starts next week!
  • Superintendent Search Firm Selected
  • Community Forum Event - What's the Impact of Berkeley's Soda Tax?
  • PSA Contest for Students
  • 2019-20 School Year Calendar
  • BSEP Planning & Oversight, Superintendent's Budget Advisory Committee and Board Meeting
Oxford Students Help Inspire Berkeley's Waste Reduction
The City of Berkeley made headlines on Jan. 22 when the City Council approved a new law, to be phased in over the next year and a half, aimed at prohibiting restaurants, including fast-food outlets, from using or offering disposable cups, straws, utensils and other foodware that are not compostable.

Less well-known is the key role played by Oxford Elementary School students who belong to a new school club, “Heirs to Our Oceans.”

“Community members and officials alike said they were inspired by a group of Oxford Elementary School students who came to the meeting to describe the importance of cutting down on disposable plastics,” Berkeleyside reported . “The students were able to reduce all their plastic waste to fit in a tiny bucket.”

“If they can do it, we can do it,” Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín said.
Oxford students speak at the Jan. 22 City Council meeting to urge support for reducing disposable foodware.
Read more on this story on our website.
Join the Movement! BUSD Striving for Zero Waste
Implementation of the BUSD’s new Sustainability Plan is gaining momentum. 
A BUSD Striving for Zero Waste meeting for staff and the community will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 5, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m, in the Longfellow cafeteria. 
This meeting will focus on reducing waste.
If you’re interested, you can also fill out an online form so that the sustainability team can provide you with more information about the meeting and campaign. You can direct any questions to Susan Silber at sustainability@berkeley.net .
Superintendent's Speaker Series Continues: Dr. Jabari Mahiri: Multicultural Education Beyond the Color-Bind
Please mark your calendars for the third event in the Superintendent’s Speaker Series on January 31 at 7pm. Berkeley Graduate School of Education Professor Jabari Mahiri teaches a nuanced and expansive view of diversity and identity. In particular, he designs lessons that help students think more clearly about equity, race, empathy and understanding of their own identity and people who are different from them.
At the January 31 presentation, he will share some of his research and thinking on how to create school and home settings that promote multiculturalism in a way that furthers our community conversation about equity and excellence in education.
MARCH SPEAKER EVENT: Richard Rothstein, Author of The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America Tuesday, March 5th at 4:30, Berkeley High Little Theater
New Mechatronics Classroom Now Buzzing
This month, Berkeley High students in the Mechatronics Engineering “Electrical Tech” class were able to get plugged into their new lab/classroom housed at the Berkeley Adult School.

Now in its pilot year, the class taught by Dirk Wright (in second photo) meets one afternoon a week for three hours.

Part of the high school’s Career Technical Education (CTE) offerings, the class provides hands-on instruction in designing, building and maintaining the electro-mechanical systems that undergird our lives. The class was developed in partnership with EBMUD and Los Medanos College.

The lab is equipped with specialized wiring, tools and machines that enable students to acquire basic skills and advance into developing individual projects. Their final projects might support a drone, autonomous vehicle or some other example of consumer electronics, Mr. Wright said.
And the Winner Is....
If you know anyone who worries that love of books is waning among our kids, be sure to tell them about our student Mock Newbery Book Clubs.

This year a record 367 4th and 5th graders participated in the regular book club meetings held in our 11 elementary schools since September. At the end, they cast their votes for the best book. With great fanfare the winner was announced last Friday. This year's BUSD Mock Newbery Award went to Front Desk by Kelly Yang, a story about 10-year-old Mia Tang, who manages the front desk at a motel while her parents clean the rooms and let immigrants stay for free, hoping the owner won’t find out.

The Mock Newbery Book Clubs drew their inspiration from the official Newbery prize, the prestigious Newbery Medal, presented every year by the Association for Library Service to Children. This year’s Newbery Medal winner, announced Jan. 28, is Merci Suárez Changes Gears by Meg Medina.

The Mock Newbery winner at each school can be viewed online .
Berkeley Arts Magnet students gather in the library for the Mock Newbery.
Please Participate in the 2019 BUSD Family Survey!
BUSD's annual Family Engagement and School Climate Survey will open on Monday, February 4th, and we’d like to hear from you! The purpose of this survey is to give school site staff and district leaders valuable and actionable feedback to improve school climate and increase opportunities for parent and family engagement.  

Next week you can check this post on the district website to find the active survey links that will be open between February 4th and February 22. You'll also find the survey link in the next edition of the A+ News.
Update: Superintendent Search Firm Selected
At a special meeting Wednesday morning, the Board selected Leadership Associates to serve as the search firm our next Superintendent to succeed Dr. Donald Evans, who is retiring in July of 2019.
The search process will include opportunities for community input on the desired qualities for our next superintendent.
The firm’s process will lead to finalist candidates for spring interviews and a final selection by the School Board.
Five Years of the Soda Tax: Come Learn About the Impact
Berkeley's Soda Tax has raised millions of dollars in revenues and the city of Berkeley has been granting the funds to a diverse array of local organizations working to promote health in our community.

On Monday, February 4th , the Berkeley Food Policy Council invites everyone curious about the impacts of the Soda Tax to come learn about what local organizations are doing with the funds.

Jezra Thompson, supervisor of BUSD's Gardening and Cooking Program, is one of the featured event speakers and will discuss how the tax revenue on sugar-sweetened beverages is benefitting our students.

Click here  for more details on who else will presenters and to register for the free event being held in the YMCA PG&E Center, 2111 MLK Jr. Way from 6:30 - 8:30.
Does your student like contests? Would they like to help be a part of banning flavored tobacco products?

The Alameda County Tobacco Use Prevention Advisory Board is hosting a contest for 6th to 12th graders in the county to create a public service announcement (PSA) aimed at banning flavored tobacco products in their communities. 
Submissions are being accepted in three categories:
  • Poster/Graphic image
  • Audio
  • Video
The deadline is March 22. Prizes for winning entries include gift cards valued at $25 to $100.
2019-20 School Year Calendar Released
The first day of school for the 2019-20 school year in the Berkeley Unified School District will be Monday, August 26, 2019.

The full academic school year calendar is posted on the district calendar webpage.
Upcoming Events & Meetings
Superintendent's Budget Advisory Committee Considers Budget Reductions
Committee (SBAC) is one of the key means by which staff and community stakeholders have an opportunity to participate in deliberations and recommendations for district budget priorities. The Committee is currently considering recommendations for budget reductions in 2019-20. The School Board is scheduled to discuss proposed reductions at the Feb. 6 board meeting.

The next SBAC meeting is currently scheduled:

January 29, 2019, 5:00pm
2020 Bonar Street, Room 126

The SBAC meetings are open to the public and include an opportunity for public comment.
Berkeley Schools Excellence Program (BSEP) Planning & Oversight Committee
January 29, 2019 at 7:00pm
2020 Bonar Street, Room 126

The P&O Committee, mandated by the BSEP Measure and comprised of representatives from
every school, meets regularly to:
  • Review the implementation of the many aspects of the BSEP Measure, ranging from Class Size Reduction to Music & the Arts, from Technology to Professional Development for Teachers, and much more;
  • Ensure that BSEP funds are spent in compliance with the Measure;
  • Make annual recommendations to the School Board for the use of BSEP dollars.
The BSEP P&O meetings are open to the public and include an opportunity for public comment. More information is available on the BSEP webpage .
School Board Meetings
Feb. 6 & 20, 7:30pm

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.
In Case You Missed It
BUSD Community Report Mailed to Residents, Available Online
The Berkeley Unified School District Annual Community Report was recently mailed to all city residents. The purpose of the report is to inform the Berkeley community about district initiatives and the use of local taxpayer funding. This year’s report focuses on recent programmatic developments in Career Technical Education, school district progress, and the upgrading of school facilities. Other topics covered include current budgetary challenges facing Berkeley Unified and other California school districts and the 50th anniversary of Berkeley’s school integration plan. An online version is available on the district website.
This four page community report includes a school data report card, a section on "money matters," and a cover letter to residents from Superintendent Evans.
Berkeley Unified School District | 2020 Bonar Street | 510-644-8764 | www.berkeleyschools.net