May 22, 2018
A+ News

In this Edition:
  • Renaming Le Conte Elementary
  • Chávez-Huerta Contest Student Winners
  • Classified Employee Recognition
  • Local Control & Accountability Plan Feedback
  • BUSD is hiring!
  • Independent Study Orientation Sessions
  • Upcoming Events/Meetings
  • 2018-19 School Calendar, and more.
School Board to Consider Committee Recommendation for Renaming Le Conte Elementary School
The Superintendent’s Naming Advisory Committee is recommending to the Superintendent and School Board that Le Conte Elementary School be renamed “ Sylvia Mendez Elementary School.

The name of Sylvia Mendez Elementary School is being recommended because it lifts up the story of a little girl at the center of a landmark school desegregation case in California that led to California being the first sate to desegregate its schools. The Committee determined that the name connects with multiple criteria that are important to the school community:
  • represents an enduring story that can inspire children, a story that reflects core values of equality and justice,
  • recognizes multilingual/Latinx heritage and strong women,
  • illuminates an under-recognized piece of California history with local connections, and
  • emphasizes the right to a high-quality public education.
In the spring of 2017, Sylvia Mendez visited Berkeley Unified School District and met with students at a few schools, including those pictured here with her at Jefferson Elementary School who acted out the story of her family and their fight for equality and justice in the Mendez v. Westminster case. Their film won the 2017 Children's Choice Award.

More on the public process and work of the Naming Advisory Committee is detailed in the Board documents posted in preparation for the Wednesday, May 23 meeting of the School Board.
Chávez-Huerta Contest Celebration
The  César Chávez Dolores Huerta Commemorative Committee recently announced the winners of our 2018 Essay/Poem/Poster Contest and celebrated the students at an awards ceremony held in Longfellow's bright school cafeteria.

Ann Marie Callegari, Supervisor from the Office of Family Engagement & Equity reported out that “We had 130 submissions this year, and 97 came from Thousand Oaks Elementary School. Special thanks to all students who entered the contest, and to the teachers and other school staff who supported them. Special thanks to Thousand Oaks teachers Bob Garrison, Megan AbramsonWard and Jennifer Wendel for working with the students with the winning entries.”
The  student winners  were selected for their response to Reyna Grande’s memoir,  The Distance Between Us , about her difficult life in Mexico and in the United States.

Fifth graders at Thousand Oaks were especially connected to the story having read it as a class and recently meeting Reyna Grande for a question and answer session. She talked about her experience of becoming a writer who wanted to tell the story of her family's immigration from the children's perspective.
Congratulations and Thank You to Classified Employees for Their Longevity of Service
A festive celebration was held May 10 to honor classified employees who’ve reached milestones of 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25 years of BUSD service. See a list of the names of those who  were honored for their service! Please join us in thanking them.

Our schools would not run as smoothly as they do without the important work of our classified staff who serve in many functions that are critical to running our schools and meeting the needs of our students and families.
The California Department of Education marks this week of May 21-27 as Classified School Employee Week. It's a good opportunity for us to take the time to share our appreciation of the work they do every day.
Feedback Welcome on Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP)
The Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) is mandated by the state as the standardized vehicle for addressing state priorities and local goals. Each year the district’s LCAP is updated and directs the actions, services and expenditures directed to serve our high need students. Director of Special Programs Pat Saddler presented this set of slides at the last school board meeting and invited community stakeholders to provide feedback on the District’s Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) for 2018-2020. You can review the DRAFT 2018 executive summary and the full plan on our webpage.
You are welcome to submit feedback via email to
Berkeley Unified is Hiring!
Do you know someone who might be looking for a rewarding opportunity to join our school district? If so, please tell them Berkeley Unified School District is hiring!

We are hiring in a wide variety of areas - technology, transportation, teaching, facilities, food service, administration, office support, and more. We offer great benefits along with the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of our diverse students and families!

It takes a village to run our schools and serve our students and families!
Join us! You can find more information with links to the job listings on our webpage.
Independent Study Orientation Sessions Start in May
Berkeley Independent Study serves both high school and K-8 students – providing an alternative teaching and learning format in ways that acknowledge and welcome each student’s personal, cultural and academic background.

Information on orientation sessions scheduled for May and June
Upcoming Meetings and Events
BSEP Planning & Oversight Committee
Tues., June 5, 7:00pm

Berkeley Schools Excellence Program (BSEP) P&O Meetings are held at 2020 Bonar Street on the first floor of the district offices in Room 126.

This is a Brown Act Committee and meeting agendas and minutes are posted on this webpage.
The BSEP Planning and Oversight (P&O) Committee, comprised of representatives from each school, meets regularly to review the implementation of Measure E1 of 2016, and to ensure that the annual BSEP funds ($29 million) are spent in compliance with the Measure.

Upcoming School Board Meetings
Wed., May 23, 7:30 pm
Key Agenda Items:
  • Re-naming Le Conte Elementary School
  • BHS Universal 9th Grade Implementation Update
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.
School Board Members hold office hours at convenient cafe locations in the city.

In case you missed it
BHS Students Launch MEET, a Peer Educator Program for Mental Health
Ruby Spies and Abigail Steckel, graduating seniors at Berkeley High School, are leaving a legacy behind. They spearheaded the creation of the Mental and Emotional Education Team (MEET), a peer mental health education program to inform students of mental health issues and resources, reduce stigma and barriers to access, and improve health equity for students.

Last year Spies and Steckel conducted a survey of 242 students at BHS, and found that 60.4% of students reported struggling with mental health, and only 42% of those students had accessed services. 51% of all students surveyed said that if they were experiencing mental health challenges and that they would prefer their first point of contact be a fellow student, and yet only 22% indicated they were comfortable talking about mental health.

Spies and Steckel realized that mental health peer educators would be an effective solution to both increase awareness about mental health challenges and create more opportunities for peer support around mental health. A month after conducting the survey, they sent their proposal to the School Board and the City Council, and after a year of leadership and advocacy have recently secured joint funding from the city and school district to implement the program next year. The funding will cover compensation for a half-time supervising clinician and stipends for student presenters.
Peer educators will be trained to give presentations in freshman Social Living classes on symptom identification, coping skills, stigma reduction, and how to access existing resources.

Spies said that the idea behind the curriculum is to make mental health a universal concept rather than focusing only on mental illness, and to talk about mental health in the context of everyday experiences.

“Students need to be able to differentiate a sad day from mental illness,” Steckel said. “And it’s a topic that everyone needs to gain skills on in some way.”

Taking the students' lead in building awareness about teen mental health, the BHS PTSA invited student leaders, a social living teacher, intervention counselor and therapists working at BHS in the Health Center to talk about the issues with parents at their PTSA meeting on May 16. Here are the combined slides from the presentation.

The full story is on our webpage .
2018-19 School Year Calendar
First Day of School is MONDAY, August 27, 2018
Berkeley Unified School District | 2020 Bonar Street | 510-644-8764 |