September 1, 2020
A+ News
Berkeley High School teachers Hasmig Minassian and Kelly Boylan asked their Freshman Seminar Ethnic Studies class to describe their first day of school in two words. The resulting word cloud, where the most commonly reported words appear larger, showed distance learning felt “different,” “awkward,” “interesting,” “long,” and “exciting” to the ninth grade students.
Emerging Stronger Together
New Faces at Longfellow Middle School
As the 2020-2021 school year gets underway, Paco Furlan is excited to be the new Principal at Longfellow Middle school. as he enters his 20th year as a public school administrator and 24th year as a public educator. He most recently was the principal of Rosa Parks Elementary School, where he served for 9 years.

Mr. Furlan, who is bilingual in English and Spanish, explained his role at Longfellow is to “help students, staff and parents have an excellent experience in middle school.” He is committed to working with the Longfellow community to create a welcoming and thriving environment in which middle school students can learn.
What he’s reading: "I am reading How to be an Antiracist, by Ibram X. Kendi, because I want to be a leader who works for all kids, parents and staff."
Fun Fact: "I'm an avid windsurfer in the Bay."

Salita Mitchell, Longfellow's new Vice Principal, is a Berkeley native and former BUSD student. She started her career in education as a 6th and 7th Grade Math & Science teacher in South L.A. Most recently, Salita served as a Dean of Instruction and Vice Principal at Benito Juarez Elementary School in Richmond. "I'm beyond excited to return to my former school twenty years later and work to create a fun, loving, and positive school culture-- Lets go Tigers!!,” said Ms. Mitchell.
What she's reading: “The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett, because I am a part of an African American Women Authors Zoom Book Club with my friends from Loyola Marymount University.”
Fun Fact: “I am a First Degree black belt in the traditional Korean Martial Arts - Kuk Sool Won.”

Federico “Tito” Aquino, began working in nature education almost 15 years ago. He joined BUSD more than 10 years ago, beginning in the District’s Afterschool program, and as a teacher’s assistant, before joining the Office of Family Engagement and Equity (OFEE ) and working at Rosa Parks Elementary School.
Longfellow Principal Paco Furlan and Vice Principal Salita Mitchell welcome students to distance learning at Longfellow. (Photo: Mark Coplan)

Family Engagement Specialist Federico "Tito" Aquino will work this year to uplift the Longfellow Middle School community.

This year, Mr. Aquino will also work at Longfellow, where he will work to build the capacity of parents to successfully navigate the school system so their children can thrive. He loves working at Berkeley Unified schools because: “BUSD has Family Engagement, which I believe is essential for a school district to be successful".
What he’s reading: A Natural History of the Senses, by Diane Ackerman. “I love nature and enjoy learning about evolution, ecology, plants and animals.”
Fun fact: “I love riding motorcycles. If I was rich, I would have dozens of different types of motorcycles".
Berkeley High School's New Student School Board Director
Miles Franklin Miller recently joined the Berkeley School Board as this year’s Berkeley High School Student Board Representative. Miles is a 17-year old Senior who is currently busy applying to college where he hopes to major in education and mathematics.
Why did you run for Student Board Director?
I decided to run because I have an interest in education policy, and I believe education has the power to change lives! I wanted to find a position where I could give students the most power and a voice in their own education. I didn't just want to sit on the sidelines anymore, I felt an obligation to get involved and to become a student leader.
Why did you start attending School Board meetings so early--during the summer?
I wanted to start my term early because the students needed a voice as the district started figuring out what its plans would be for the fall.
Why are students' voices important?
Students' voices are important because a school district is meant to serve its students. Without our input, the district's work is incomplete. I plan to be persistent with amplifying student voices.
Miles Miller will represent Berkeley High School students as the School Board Student Director for the 2020-21 school year.
As an example, I called for and helped organize the student town hall earlier this month to provide students with a platform to speak with the District leadership about the distance learning plan. I plan to do more of these events in the future.

By the end of my term, I hope that the Board is able to recognize student voices in a much clearer way. I also want to provide a direct line for students to the Board of Education, and encourage students to be more active in the Board's process.
Grab and Go Meal Pickup Time Changes to 7:45 - 11:00 am M, W, F; USDA Renews Free Meals for all Children through December 31
BUSD can again provide free, bundled (multiple day) grab and go meals to all children age 18 and younger, thanks to a program renewal from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). This week, meals may still be picked up at any of these school sites.

Beginning on Wednesday, September 9, meals will be available at these schools on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday:

Berkeley Arts Magnet
2015 Virginia Street

Berkeley High School
1980 Allston Way

Longfellow Middle School
1500 Derby Street

Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School
1781 Rose Street

Rosa Parks Elementary
920 Allston Way

Washington Elementary
2300 ML King Jr. Way

Willard Middle School
2440 Stuart Street
Nutrition Services food server Milagro Andrade prepares fresh carrots for roasting.
New Meal Distribution Times
Meals are now available on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 7:45 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Meal distribution sites will be closed in observance of the Labor Day holiday on Monday, September 7.

Berkeley Food Network will continue to provide grocery bags to families at all meal distribution sites on the second and fourth Friday of the month.

The Gardening and Cooking Program continues to operate a food pantry with Berkeley Food Network on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month from 2:30 – 4:00 pm at Berkeley Technology Academy, located at 2701 Martin Luther King Jr. Way.
Outdoor Learning - One Element in Returning to Campus Instruction
The District is collaborating with community partners to explore how to use outdoor spaces as one element of a plan to bring our school community back to our campuses for in-person education. With a garden at every school, outdoor education is already a unique aspect of BUSD’s learning culture—something the District’s Gardening and Cooking Program and Facilities Department are seeking to further develop to address COVID-19 risk mitigation practices.

In a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report, the CDC advised school administrators to consider if underutilized school spaces, including outdoor spaces, could be repurposed to increase classroom space while also allowing for social distancing.
Farmer Ben and Sylvia Mendez garden class students. (photo: Haldun Morgan)
BUSD is approaching this work with equity at the forefront and evaluating our schools for outdoor learning based on each site’s accessible space and student need. Costs, existing infrastructure, materials, and staff support are being explored.
OFEE Presents Tech Needs for Distance Learning Webinar on Tuesday, September 1
Parents and caregivers are invited to join BUSD for an overview of the various online tools and resources being used for instruction this year. See how they fit together, and how you can support your child's learning. There will be some time for questions.

How to Attend
Date: Tuesday, September, 1
Time: 7:00 - 8:00 pm
Or Telephone: 1 669 900 6833  
ID: 861 8734 0716  
Passcode: 41636335 
Jessica Lee, BUSD Library Services Coordinator & Instructional Technology Team Lead, will host the Tech Webinar.
Thousand Oaks in the Spotlight as VP Candidate Senator Kamala Harris' Elementary School
After Democratic Presidential candidate Vice President Joe Biden selected former BUSD student and California Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate, media interest in the Senator's time at Thousand Oaks Elementary Schools has grown.The attention is keeping Thousand Oaks Principal Jacqueline Parker even more busy than she might typically be during the first few weeks of school.

KCRA TV featured Thousand Oaks and Ms. Parker in this recent story about the Senator. "What an amazing inspiration to have a woman of color leader rising," said Ms. Parker in the interview with KCRA. Univision and Radio France Internationale (French National Radio) have also recently covered the school and mural.

Senator Harris’s first grade teacher at Thousand Oaks was Mrs. Frances Wilson--a teacher who the Senator said changed her life. “Mrs. Wilson was so committed that when I graduated from Hasting College of the Law, she was in the audience,” Senator Harris wrote in 2018 Twitter and Facebook posts for Teacher Appreciation Day. "That’s just who she was. And the truth is, I wouldn’t have made it there without her.”
This mural at Thousand Oaks Elementary School Depicts Senator Harris and other trailblazing women. (Photo: Haldun Morgan)
Thousand Oaks Elementary School Principal Jacqueline Parker in a Zoom interview with KCRA.
Senator Harris at her law school graduation, joined by her mother and her Thousand Oaks first-grade teacher Frances Wilson.
Berkeley High School Students Organize a "Cook with the Community" Virtual Fundraiser with MasterChef Winner Shaun O'Neale
Zephyr Zoidis, a Senior at Berkeley High School (BHS) and this year’s Associated Student Body (ASB) Treasurer, spent his summer planning a virtual fundraiser with cooking celebrity and MasterChef winner Shaun O'Neale. The event, which takes place on September 7 and is open to everyone, will raise money for the BHS African American Studies Department and the Black Student Union.

Zephyr, who is a longtime MasterChef viewer, reached out directly to the celebrity chef to ask him to collaborate on the virtual cooking fundraiser. "Shaun responded to the idea with enthusiasm and was immediately willing to help." said Zephyr.

The fundraiser, which was organized and promoted with the help of other BHS students, will be hosted over Zoom. Attendees will follow along as Mr. O'Neale cooks his Roasted Garlic and Mushroom Risotto. He will take questions from participants afterwards. Besides being a world-recognized chef who taught himself to cook, Mr. O’Neale is also an accomplished DJ and the author of My Modern American Table.

"We hope everyone comes out to cook with the community, learn some new skills, and also connect with the legacy of Berkeley High School's African American Studies Department," said John Villavicencio, Director of Student Activities at BHS. "It was the first of its kind in the US and is run today by a talented group of educators committed to doing this necessary and important work."
Berkeley High School Senior Zephyr Zoidis worked with ASB Leadership students to create the virtual cooking lesson and fundraiser.
How to Attend
Date: Monday, September 7, 2020
Time 6:00 - 7:00 pm
Cost: $15
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 Seeking Residents for its Independent Redistricting Commission
The City of Berkeley is looking for dedicated residents to help shape the city’s future. Thirteen people will be selected from the pool of applicants to serve on an Independent Redistricting Commission in 2021-2022. Redistricting is the redrawing or adjusting of electoral district boundaries to ensure districts are balanced with the same number of residents.

The City’s goal is to reach all of Berkeley’s diverse residents to ensure diverse representation on the commission – a task that has become more challenging during the COVID-19 pandemic. The next round of redistricting will occur after the 2020 Federal Census is completed.

Census Deadline Approaching
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
Links to Recent Meetings
District staff and the BUSD community engaged in five Town Halls in August - one in English, another in Spanish, and Town Halls that were specifically designed for families of children with disabilities, for African American families, and for Berkeley High School students. The LEARNS program also held an informational meeting.
Events and Meetings Online
School Board Meeting
September 2, 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.
DELAC Meeting  Details >
September 1, 2020 5:30 - 7:30 pm
Zoom Meeting

PAC Meeting  Details >
September 1, 2020 6:30 - 8:00 pm
Zoom Meeting
Personnel Commission Meeting  Details >
September 3, 2020 4:30 - 7:00 pm
Zoom Meeting

Board Policy Subcommittee Meeting September 10, 2020 4:30 - 7:00 pm
Zoom Meeting