September 18, 2020
A+ News
Our Stories Connect Us / Nuestras Historias Nos Conectan
Sylvia Mendez Elementary School began the school year with the launch of a school-wide project that encompasses community building, personal narrative, and technology skills.
“Students are involved in activities at each grade level as they participate in the project,” explained Sylvia Mendez TK Teacher Erika Englund. 

“Our school has a story. It’s the story of the place and the people,” says Ms. Englund, as she narrates the video. “It's a bilingual story because we are a bilingual community.” This four-minute video introduces the initiative to students and families.
Emerging Stronger Together
Meet Debbie Dean, BUSD's New Director of TK - 8 Schools; New District Leadership Roles for Fall 2020
Debbie Dean has been an educator for over twenty years. She began her teaching career at Bishop O'Dowd High School, continued as a social worker in Oakland schools, and then as an administrator in Oakland and Napa. Ms. Dean was the Principal at Willard Middle School for seven years before moving to her new role as Director of TK-8 Schools this year.
What do you love about BUSD? 
The commitment to the whole child and social justice. I also LOVE that teachers will partner with administrators and continually work on strategies to improve the learning for all students. 
What are you watching and/or reading these days? 
I read the New York Times daily. I'm currently reading the newly released book by Jon Meacham, His Truth Is Marching On: John Lewis and the Power of Hope. I have likely read every book written by people who worked for Barack Obama. I watch one thing on TV: SF Giants games!

What would people be surprised to know about you? 
I am very quiet on the weekends! 

What do you do for fun? 
I love going to San Francisco. I have a favorite hike: Tennessee Valley to Muir Beach and back. I am struggling with not traveling, as I love to go to new places and explore.
Former Willard Middle School Principal Debbie Dean is now the Director of TK - 8 Schools ..
Please see other BUSD staff in new leadership roles for Fall 2020.
BHS Commissioner of Environmental Sustainability Promotes Sept 21 as "Zero Emissions Day"
Monday, September 21, is Zero Emissions Day, a one-day opportunity to take a break from fossil fuels and raise awareness about the harm caused by carbon emissions. Berkeley High School Senior and Commissioner of Environmental Sustainability, Zoe Creane, shared some tips for Zero Emissions Day. "Don't use or burn oil, gas, or coal, and minimize or eliminate your use of electricity generated by fossil fuels," Ms. Creane advised in a video message.

Ms. Creane, who is a member of the BHS Green Team, a climate activist, and a member of BUSD’s Sustainability Committee, has been doing environmental work throughout high school. “Right now, the environment is my focus because this feels like the biggest issue facing humanity,” Ms. Creane stated.

BHS students are organizing a Bike Berkeley event for September 21 with suggested routes to encourage everyone to explore the city on a bike.
Ms. Creane is also encouraging her family and friends to skip meat on September 21 because of the environmental impact. "By not eating a pound of meat you can save more water than not taking a shower for six months," she stated. "Producing one calorie of animal protein requires eleven times as much fossil fuel as producing one calorie of plant protein."

Learn more about BUSD's Sustainability Plan, A Deeper Shade of Green.

Bike Berkeley routes will be posted on the @juicethejackets Instagram account.
Serve on a Citizen's Bond Oversight Committee for Measure G or I
BUSD is seeking seven community members to serve on the Citizen’s Bond Oversight Committee for Measure G and two community members to fill vacant Citizen’s Bond Oversight Committee positions for Measure I.

Oversight Committee Purpose
State law requires the District to establish a Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee appointed by the District’s Board of Trustees. The Committee purposes are to actively monitor all projects and expenditures approved by the voters; provide proper oversight and accountability to ensure that Measure G or Measure I are used as they were intended; and report to members of the community on the progress of Measure G or I projects.
How to Apply
Applications for committee positions must be received by September 25.

Anyone interested in serving on the Measure G Citizen’s Bond Oversight Committee can apply by filling out this questionnaire.

Anyone interested in serving on the Measure I Citizen’s Bond Oversight Committee can apply by filling out this questionnaire.

A New Name for Jefferson Elementary School
In 1885, a small public elementary school in North Berkeley began life as the Rose Street School. Two decades later, a larger school building was constructed and before it opened in 1907, the school board debated a new name for the school. Suggestions included Hawthorne, Garfield, and Bryant, until in what was called a compromise solution, the name "Jefferson" was selected.

In 2003-2005, a group of staff and parents advocated for a school name change in order to no longer honor a slaveholder, and brought a proposal to the Board to rename the school “Sequoia”, only to have the Board vote 3-2 against the change. In 2017-18, a new generation of name change advocates asked to initiate a name change process under a newly revised board policy, but had to wait until the name change of Le Conte Elementary (now Sylvia Mendez School) was completed.

This year the School Board approved a Black Lives Matter resolution, with many components intended to address systemic racism, and to support and honor the achievements of Black students and families. As part of the resolution, the Board committed to supporting a process for renaming both Jefferson and Washington Schools, following the policy used successfully for Sylvia Mendez Elementary.
School community members were asked via ThoughtExchange to share their thoughts about criteria for a new name.
Naming Suggestions Form

There is now a School Name Suggestion Form which is open and available for anyone who would like to suggest a new school name for the school formerly known as "Jefferson". The form will be open until 5 pm on Sunday, September 27.

Please be sure that the name suggestion comes with a description of the name, why it is a good fit for the school, and something about the person/people, place, thing or idea it represents...basically a one paragraph “Wikipedia” about the name! You can suggest more than one name, just complete a separate form for each name.

For further information, please see the BUSD webpage on Jefferson renaming.
Important Ed Hub Updates; Schools Fund
Current Hours
Current hours (through September) are: Monday and Friday 12:00-2:00 pm and Wednesday from 3:30-5:30 pm.

New Hours
Starting on October 5, the Ed Hub hours are changing to Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 3:30-5:30 pm.

The Ed Hub is located at the Curtis Street entrance of the Berkeley Adult School. 

Book Drive
The Ed Hub is still accepting gently used book donations, for TK-8th grade.

How-To Google Classroom Videos
Berkeley Schools Volunteers (BSV) Tech Team spent the summer producing a series of 15 'how to' videos to help families navigate Google Classroom. The videos are now available here in English and in Spanish.

You Can Help
Help the Schools Fund meet the urgent needs of students and families. Donate here to the Berkeley Public Schools Fund to support their campaign Emerging Stronger. Together.
Schools Fund volunteer Sachiko Moran sorts pipe cleaners for PreK supply kits at the Ed Hub. (Photo: Valerie Kratzer)
Free Live Virtual Tutoring Available Through Berkeley Public Library
Berkeley Public Library patrons now have access to free, live virtual tutoring assistance from 1:00-10:00 pm daily with Brainfuse HelpNow. Students can receive support for a range of needs including:

  • One-to-one homework help
  • California State standards–aligned skills building
  • Test preparation, comprehensive writing assistance
  • eExpert support on math, science, social studies, and writing.

Brainfuse also offers Spanish-language lessons, online study groups, virtual flashcards, and support for English Language Learners.

October 6 Family Support Webinar: Helping our Children Thrive in Distance Learning
How to Participate in the Webinar

Date: Tuesday, October 6, 2020.
Time: 7:00 - 8:00 pm

Join the webinar on Zoom.
Telephone: 669 900 6833
ID: 991 3644 7442
Passcode: Mz5SDH

Share the Zoom Link:
For more information contact:
Nominate Your Student's Teacher for Alameda County's Bridging The Distance Award
The Alameda County Superintendent of Schools is inviting parents and caregivers to nominate Pre-K through 12th-grade teachers employed during the 2019-20 and/or 2020-21 school year for the County’s Bridging the Distance Award. The Award, which honors teachers for their excellence in delivering distance learning opportunities during the spring and fall of 2020 as schools were closed for in-person instruction, will be presented virtually at a ceremony on December 9, 2020 at 7:00 pm.

“The shift from traditional learning environments to distance instruction was challenging for all of us in the education community. Thank YOU for all you did to support this effort, and for taking the time to uplift an educator for their work,” said L. Karen Monroe, Alameda County Superintendent of Schools.
Serve on the BUSD Personnel Commission
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.
BUSD n ew logo with BUSD
 Visit the post on the district website for more information.
City of Berkeley Hiring Youth Age 16 and Older for Fall and Winter
The City of Berkeley's Parks and Recreation Program is collaborating with BUSD to run outdoor after-school programs so kids can get out of their homes and have some fun. All programs are run in COVID compliant environments.

The City is now recruiting for part time, fall and winter-season positions that will be responsible for a stable pod of 12-14 elementary-school-aged kids on Monday - Friday afternoons from 1:30 - 4:30 pm or 2:00 - 6:00 pm.
The City will train and provide support for programs to be carried out in strict accordance with Health Officer directives, and will be running daily health screening protocols including temperature checks. Supplies and facilities will be provided to allow all protocols to be adhered to.

Submit completed applications to
Census Deadline Is September 30.
The Deadline to complete the 2020 Census has been moved up to September 30. When children are counted, their schools get their fair share of funding and resources.Here are three important facts:
  1. The 2020 Census only has nine questions, and does NOT include any questions regarding citizenship.
  2. The Census is available to complete online today.
  3. The Census can also be completed by phone in 13 languages, click here for instructions to respond by phone.

Keeping Up with District News
View the September 16 School Board Meeting on BUSD's YouTube Channel.
Events and Meetings Online
School Board Meeting
October 7, 2020

All Board meetings are now held via Zoom. Details can be found 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.
Personnel Commission Meeting  Details >
October 1, 2020 4:30 - 7:00 pm
Zoom Meeting