October 12, 2020
A+ News
Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month Recommendations from Berkeley High School Librarians
September 15 - October 15 is National Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month, a time we recognize the histories, cultures, and rich traditions of Latinx people and the many contributions they have made to our society. 

In celebration of Latinx Heritage Month, Berkeley High School librarians Meredith Irby and Sarah Rosenkrantz assembled resources for students that "amplify the voices of incredible Latinx authors, artists, and filmmakers." The librarians encouraged students to remember that the stories of Latinx people are not only "sources of joy and wonder, but also important windows and mirrors for our community."

Here's how to access free materials that include books, eBooks, podcasts, music and movies:
Radio Ambulante is an NPR podcast that tells uniquely Latin American stories in Spanish.

Latino USA offers insight into the lived experiences of Latino communities. It is the longest running Latino-focused program.
Alt.Latino is a spotlight on the world of alternative Latinx arts and culture. Listen to this interview with the incredible Mexican photographer Graciela Iturbide.

Download the Lupa app for Spanish language learners. Lupa uses Radio Ambulante stories and advanced tech features to help Spanish language learners improve their Spanish understanding.
Emerging Stronger Together
Over the last two weeks, the County and City Public Health Officers have amended their Shelter-in-Place orders to permit elementary schools to begin to reopen on or after October 13, due to the continued decrease in transmission of COVID-19.

While BUSD is not yet prepared to reopen all our elementary schools, on Wednesday evening of this week the Berkeley Unified School District Board of Education did approve the initial elements of a phased plan for reopening our elementary schools. While continuing to prepare for the reopening of elementary schools, the Board asked staff to focus first on providing prioritized, targeted support for a limited number of elementary school-aged students, with a possible start date of October 26.

The Board delayed a vote on a target date for a larger opening of elementary schools, asking District staff to provide additional data about family and staff reopening concerns by the October 21 Board meeting. I’m appreciative of the thorough attention that the Board of Education is giving to the important considerations.

In preparation for the Board’s continued deliberations at the October 21st Board meeting, I hope that elementary families will take a few minutes next week to respond to a very brief survey about your views on elementary school reopening. We will send this out early next week.

Meanwhile, the District has launched an Elementary School Reopening Readiness Dashboard. The Dashboard, which will be updated weekly, is intended as a transparent means for the community to track BUSD progress toward reopening our elementary schools. The next update of the Readiness Dashboard will be available on the BUSD website on Monday, October 12.

This path is far longer and more difficult than we could have imagined. I wish you and your family as many moments of respite and warmth as possible this weekend, and offer my gratitude to our amazing families and staff for their hard work and compassion.
Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Student Policy Likely to Advance to a School Board Vote in Late 2020; October is LGBTQ History Month
October is LGBTQ History Month, a time to recognize the trailblazers who fought for equal rights for the LGBTQ community and whose efforts continue to pave the way for a more just and tolerant world.  

This October, School Board President Judy Appel's proposed Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Student Policy has been working its way through the Board Policy Subcommittee before it is likely to make its way to the School Board for discussion and a vote in late 2020. 

This policy, which was featured in a recent Berkeley High Jacket article by student Pearl Gauthier, is designed to support a safe and welcoming educational environment for every district student, allowing all students to learn in our schools while free from discrimination or stigma and regardless of their gender identity or expression. 

At the October 8 Board Policy Subcommittee meeting, Berkeley High School Junior and President of the Alliance of Gender Expansive Students, Ruby Lim-Moreno, made several suggestions about definitions of terms in the Policy and asked for more clarification on specific sections. "I feel these suggestions are critical to ensuring administration is clear on how these issues are to be addressed so that change can be made quickly and effectively," Moreno shared in an email.

Moreno will continue to attend committee meetings to provide feedback and expects to speak at the School Board meeting to push the Board to pass the Policy. 

The Berkeley community has a long history of leadership in battling discrimination. The proposed Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Student Policy strongly aligns with Berkeley's community values.
Berkeley High Jacket reporter Pearl Gauthier recently wrote about the Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Student Policy.
Berkeley High School Junior Ruby Lim-Moreno proposed improvements to the Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Student Policy.
Bay Area Health Officers Issue Halloween and Día de Muertos Safety Guidance
In a September 28 announcement, City of Berkeley Health Officer, Dr. Lisa Hernandez, and Health Officers from surrounding Bay Area Counties urged families to limit Halloween and Día de Muertos activities to only include people in their own household.

Trick-or-treating increases contact with people outside of your household and parties mix people from numerous households. The guidance calls these “high risk activities” that increase the chances the virus can spread.  
Meet BUSD's New District Nurses
BUSD is happy to introduce our new district nurses, Amanda Frey and Julia Ingoldsby. Amanda joins the district from Cincinnati, Ohio, where she worked in pediatric oncology. Julia is originally from Boston, Massachusetts, and has spent the past three years as a travel nurse, working with people of all ages. 

Julia and Amanda are honored to lead the health, safety, and wellness efforts across our schools, and have been hard at work on systems to support our school leaders in the future phased return of students to campus. Julia summed up the work ahead succinctly in sharing, “We have the same goal, ensuring the health and safety of every student.” For our two leaders, as it is for so many who serve others in this capacity, nursing is personal. Julia’s sister, who needed learning support at a young age, inspired Julia’s path to nursing. Amanda, who has Type I Diabetes, understands deeply how to equitably and sensitively support all students and their health and wellness needs. Caring for the whole person is at the core of their approach to treating and healing.  

Amanda and Julia are working with the City of Berkeley Health Department, as well as with our district leaders and health personnel to ensure that when our campuses are ready to welcome students and faculty, our health and safety measures are at their highest. We are thrilled to welcome these incredible nurses to BUSD, and a gentle reminder to all, please, “get your flu shot.”  

Julia Ingoldsby
Amanda Frey
New Hours at the Ed Hub
The Ed Hub, which is located at the Curtis Street entrance of the Berkeley Adult School, has new hours:

Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 3:30-5:30 pm. 

If Berkeley is experiencing poor air quality due to fires, please check the Ed Hub website by 9:00 am to confirm that the Ed is open for the day.  

Volunteers Needed
The Schools Fund needs more volunteers to keep the Ed Hub running. Currently, BSV volunteers (over the age of 16*):

  • First sign up to join the COVID-response volunteer community.
  • Then sign up for specific Ed Hub shifts

*Those under 16 must volunteer with a parent present.
Valerie Kratzer from the Schools Fund gives a behind-the-scenes look at the Ed Hub.
The Ed Hub continues to accept gently used book donations for TK-8th grade students.

You can help the Schools Fund meet the urgent needs of students and families during this pandemic. Donate here to the Berkeley Public Schools Fund to support their campaign Emerging Stronger. Together.
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.

Keeping Up with District News
View the October 7 School Board Meeting on BUSD's YouTube Channel.
Events and Meetings Online
School Board Meeting
October 21, 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.
District Committee Orientation |  Details
October 14, 2020 6:00 - 8:00 pm
School Board Facilities Subcommittee Meeting  Details
October 20, 2020 1:00 - 2:30 pm