New State Testing Period Begins After Spring Break

Public school students across California will be experiencing a new way of testing this spring, replacing the old paper-based, multiple choice assessments with a more individualized approach.


The Smarter Balanced Assessments (SBA) are new computer-based tests that measure student knowledge of California's English Language Arts/literacy and mathematics standards. One of the best features of SBA is the way the technology is able to adapt the level of difficulty based on student answers, which allows for a more precise measurement of student achievement. The tests also tend to be shorter, since the "computer-adaptive" approach requires fewer questions than the traditional paper-based standardized test.

The Berkeley Unified School District is holding a Smarter Balanced Assessment Workshop on April 9th, 6:30 - 8:00 pm at Longfellow Middle School. The evening will provide parents/guardians with more information about this new testing program, a chance to have their questions answered, and time for families to experience the online assessment tool. Join us!


Each school's testing period takes place over a period of about two weeks and falls between April 8th and early June. Look to your school for the specific dates and more information about the student experience in the coming weeks. 

More information about these tests can be found here.  
District-wide Family Survey on LCAP Programs and Actions
A district-wide survey was created by a staff-parent workgroup team in order to learn about your and your child's/children's experiences in the Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD). Your participation in this survey provides important feedback regarding programs and actions designed to meet our goals for students in our Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP). The survey is anonymous;  all current BUSD families are encouraged to participate.

This survey will take about 15 minutes to complete, and may be followed by a second section specific to your child's school.
 Each School Governance Council (SGC) makes a plan to obtain community feedback; many are doing school surveys, others are holding focus groups or community meetings to solicit input.

Thank you for taking the time to provide your feedback before April 1st. You can find all the quick links to the surveys here.
To find out more about the LCAP, visit this page.
César Chávez/Dolores Huerta Commemoration Period cesar & Essay Contest
Every Berkeley school is honoring the legacy of César Chávez and the continuing work of Dolores Huerta during the  commemoration period from March 20 - April 23. Service learning activities and school-wide events are being held during this period marked by the spring equinox, the birthdays of both civil rights and social justice leaders, and the beginning of the traditional planting season.

César Estrada Chávez Day: March 31 
Dolores Huerta Day: 
April 10

You can read more about the commemoration period in the recently adopted School Board Resolution.

Essay Contest
Students in grades 2-12 are encouraged to participate!
Submission Deadline: April 17 Contest details here.
King Middle School Students Perform Original Piece by Teacher Richard Silberg
"In the Valley of Astonishing Things" is a rumination on memory and loss, which takes place in a not-so-distant future when much of humanity has been wiped out by disease. A small band of theatrical performers claim "Survival is Insufficient" as they wander the landscape and encounter survivors who struggle to remember the past and others who wish to forget it.  
King's In the Valley of Astonishing Things
King Middle School Presents:
In the Valley of Astonishing Things

King Drama teacher Richard Silberg wrote the story based on the creations and inspirations of a spirited group of forty-five 7th and 8th grade students.  Live music was provided by the newly formed "Pit Band" under the direction of music teacher Lendl San Jose. This was their only show of the year -- you don't want to miss the chance to see this production!

Berkeley Students Engaged and Inspired on College and Career Day
Berkeley College and Career Day was dedicated to engaging Berkeley's children and youth in imagining their futures, and included activities inspired students from preschool to high school. Some of the day's events were captured in our photo stream and posted here.