May 14, 2019
A+ News
In this edition:
  • Peer Educators at Willard Win Tobacco Prevention Education Award
  • Brent Stephens, Next BUSD Superintendent
  • Celebration of Employee Milestones in Years of Service
  • Scholarship Fund for Immigrant Students
  • BUSD is Hiring!
  • Preschools Celebrate Reading Aloud
  • BSEP Planning & Oversight Committee, School Board Meeting, and more!
Peer Educators at Willard Middle School Win County Award with Tobacco Prevention Video
Congratulations to the eight peer-educator students from Willard whose anti-nicotine video won first place in a countywide contest hosted by the Alameda County Office of Education:
  • Karek Walker, Aaron Avery, Mei Saphir, Tatum Phelps, Olivia Clark, Noe Linville, Ava Distasi and Erin Abramson-Newman.

The contest called for PSAs (public service announcements) on the theme “Under the Wrapper – Ban the Sale of Flavored Tobacco Products!” Congratulations and appreciation is due to Willard counselor Jen Antonuccio for working with students all year on tobacco-use prevention.

E-cigarettes are sometimes called “e-cigs,” “vapes,” “e-hookahs,” “vape pens,” and “electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS).” Some e-cigarettes look like regular cigarettes, cigars, or pipes. Some look like USB flash drives, pens, and other everyday items.

Click on the arrow above and share this award-winning video by peer educators at Willard with your family.

Visit the detailed CDC webpage to learn more about the dangers of vaping to young people as early as middle school and advice for families on prevention.
New Superintendent of Schools Appointed on Unanimous Board Vote
The School Board voted unanimously on May 8 to appoint Dr. Brent Stephens as the next BUSD Superintendent, effective July 1.

After being named as the finalist, he has met with many stakeholders in the BUSD community, and a delegation of BUSD staff and parents visited schools in San Francisco to learn more about him and his work.

He plans a “listening tour” in coming weeks that will include visits to schools, meetings with students and parents as well as staff, and outreach to community members and organizations.
“I’m thrilled to join the Berkeley community in the coming school year,” Dr. Stephens said.

“The last month has provided me many opportunities to engage with parents, union leaders, some teachers, principals, central office staff, and Board members. I’m so impressed with the commitment and kindness I see. Working in partnership, I hope to make meaningful contributions to this culture in the coming years, while building on existing work to ensure equitable outcomes for Berkeley’s most vulnerable learners.”
Celebration for Employee Milestones in Years of Service to Berkeley Schools
A festive “You are a Big Deal” celebration with a special meal and cake was held May 9 to honor 98 classified employees who’ve reached milestones of 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 years of service to the Berkeley Unified School District and the Berkeley school community.

Special appreciation and certificates were offered to our long-serving employees, with special recognition for the four employees celebrating 30 years:
  • Cecilia Adams
  • Michael Gage
  • Martha Murillo
  • Sheila Rose 
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.

A list of all the honored employees is posted online .
Retiring Berkeley Adult School Teacher Creates Scholarship Fund
After 34 years of teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) to immigrants and newcomers at the Berkeley Adult School (BAS), Jann Sweenie is supporting students ready to transition from BAS to the Peralta Community Colleges in a new way. In honor of her retirement, she's started a scholarship fund aimed to assist immigrant students who have studied ESL at the Adult School as they “graduate” and transition to taking on classes at Peralta Community Colleges. The first twelve students recently received $200-400 each toward the fees and materials required in the next phase of their educational journey.
If you'd like to know more about how this scholarship fund is helping students, you can read more on this webpage. 
Berkeley Unified School District 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!

It takes a village to run our schools and serve our students and families!

You can find more information with links to the job listings  on our webpage .
BUSD Preschools celebrated Día on April 30th
(El día de los niños/El día de los libros or Children's Day/Book Day)
Our youngest students welcomed BUSD employees
Betty James and Betty Pizarro as they read aloud for Día.
Upcoming Events & Meetings
Berkeley Schools Excellence Program (BSEP) Planning & Oversight Committee
June 4, 2019 at 7:00pm
2020 Bonar Street, Room 126

The P&O Committee, mandated by the BSEP Measure and comprised of representatives from
every school, meets regularly to:
  • Review the implementation of the many aspects of the BSEP Measure, ranging from Class Size Reduction to Music & the Arts, from Technology to Professional Development for Teachers, and much more;
  • Ensure that BSEP funds are spent in compliance with the Measure;
  • Make annual recommendations to the School Board for the use of BSEP dollars.
The BSEP P&O meetings are open to the public and include an opportunity for public comment. More information is available on the BSEP webpage .
School Board Meetings
May 22, 7:30pm

All regular Board meetings are held in the Board Room, 1231 Addison St., and are streamed live and archived on the BUSD YouTube Channel .

School board meeting agendas/materials are posted at least 72 hours before meetings on the School Board Meeting Information page of our website.
In Case You Missed It
Small Changes in Testing Environment Boost Student Performance
Sometimes even small environmental changes for students can result in big gains in academic performance. In 2018 the Berkeley Research, Evaluation, and Assessment (BREA) department conducted a study that resulted in significant gains for students on California’s state test, the Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBA). merely by changing the testing environment for some students. 

During the 2018 spring state testing cycle, a group of 11th grade BHS students who were identified as at risk for underperforming were randomly assigned to take the SBA test in a more comfortable testing environment in an academically homogenous group. The goal was to mitigate the impact of negative stereotypes students have about themselves based on their academic status relative to their higher achieving peers. It worked!

According to David Stevens of BREA, "The bottom line is that we created a testing environment that reduced psychological barriers to student success and allowed students to perform at a level closer to their actual ability."

You can read the full story and access David Steven's award-winning paper on the study on this page of the district website .

California's Smarter Balanced Assessment 2019 testing period is now underway in our K-12 schools (April - June, 2019). All students are tested in grades 3-8, and in grade 11.
School Calendar
2019-20 School Year Calendar Released
The first day of school for the 2019-20 school year in the Berkeley Unified School District will be Monday, August 26, 2019.

The full academic school year calendar is posted on the district calendar webpage.
Berkeley Unified School District | 2020 Bonar Street | 510-644-8764 |