December 4, 2018
A+ News
In this Edition:
  • Winter Music Program
  • Gratitude & Goodbye to Board Directors Daniels and Hemphill
  • Physical Education
  • Easy Access to Free Menstrual Products
  • Computer Science Education Week Brings Hour of Code
  • BHS Athletes Celebrate Letter of Intent Signing Day
  • Superintendent Speaker Series: Dean of Berkeley Graduate School of Education, Dec. 11
  • Superintendent's Budget Advisory Committee and Board Meeting
Winter Music Program Brings Joy to All
Student performances are often the highlight of the holiday season as families and staff gather to marvel at our students’ musical and artistic talents and the commitment and expertise of the teachers who teach and lead them. A series of musical performances in our middle and high schools is underway. Please come support our students and enjoy the holiday spirit!
Gratitude and Goodbye to Board Directors Daniels and Hemphill
Expressions of praise and appreciation were offered to outgoing School Board President Josh Daniels and Director Karen Hemphill at their final Board meeting on Nov. 28.
 
Both outgoing members, who did not seek re-election, are leaving the Board at the end of their terms following the Nov. 6 election of Board members Ka'Dijah Brown and Julie Sinai, and re-election of Ty Alper.
 
Directors Daniels and Hemphill offered extended remarks during the Board meeting. President Daniels thanked a long list of individuals and presented slides showing improved outcomes and lessons learned in multiple areas over his past 8 years on the Board. Director Hemphill cited important programs initiated during her 12 years on the Board and stressed the need to address harms caused by implicit bias, specifically with regard to African-American students.
 
Their remarks can be accessed on the YouTube recording of the meeting beginning at 1:34.
State Senator Nancy Skinner presented state Legislature resolutions from her and Assemblymember Tony Thurmond expressing appreciation and gratitude for the outstanding contributions to BUSD and public education by School Board Directors Josh Daniels and Karen Hemphill.
Physical Education Teachers Focus on Fitness, Fun, and Inclusion
Physical education doesn’t look much like it did when most parents went to school. Gone are the days of being beaned with a ball in dodgeball and the competitive team sports that often involved students feeling left out. Today, the physical education curriculum in our schools focuses on fitness, fun, and inclusion in ways that inspire students to be physically active and to teach skills that we hope will lead students to adopt a physically active, healthy lifestyle.

An opportunity to strengthen the physical education program in our elementary schools was presented when the number of “prep” time periods for teachers in grades 1-3 recently increased to four 50-minute periods a week, equalling the amount provided for teachers in 4th and 5th grades. As a result, we now have dedicated, credentialed PE teachers in every elementary school teaching students in grades 1-3, usually twice weekly for at least 50 minutes. (The schedule and teaching arrangements vary slightly from school to school. In most cases, PE continues to be taught by the regular classroom teacher in kindergarten, fourth, and fifth grades.)

New elementary physical education teachers were hired this year from a highly qualified pool of internal and external candidates. Under their tutelage, students engage in such activities as playing High-Five Tag, climbing and hanging on play structures, practicing catching and throwing, and learning about muscle strength and the role of the heart.
Thrilled with the opportunity to offer a more comprehensive PE program to our young students, Director of Schools Maggie Riddle said, “We have an incredible group of professionals making up our PE team. This is a very exciting time for us to be building such a strong physical education program. The evidence is stronger than ever that physical health is deeply connected to wellness and academic success. This work is a critical part of our mission.”

More on physical education and information on California's physical education standards can be found on our webpage .
School Board Requires All BUSD Schools to Have Menstrual Products in Restrooms
The School Board unanimously approved a new policy requiring that all BUSD middle and high schools provide free menstrual products in all girls’ and gender-neutral restrooms at its meeting on November 28. The policy also requires that such products be provided in at least one girls’ or gender-neutral restroom at each elementary school.

Berkeley's policy applies far more broadly than the new state law, approved last October when Gov. Brown signed AB 10. The state law requires free menstrual products in 50% of the restrooms in any public school that serves grades from 6 through 12 if at least 40% of its students are below the poverty threshold. The benefits of Berkeley’s policy applies to all schools in the District and includes access in the elementary schools.

Students at Berkeley High School were the primary advocates of making menstrual products free and available to all students in our schools who need them. The School Board policy discussions began in earnest following student advocacy that started earlier this year; many of the issues were articulated in this opinion piece by BHS junior class vice president Rachel Alper published by Berkeleyside in September. Among other important details about the need for free and easy access, Alper shared the challenges students have faced being caught off guard at school, often embarrassed by the predicament, and having to miss class when no menstruation products are readily available.

More details are in the news post about the policy on the District website.
Computer Science Education Week Brings Hour of Code Activities
Hour of Code is an annual global event that happens during Computer Science Education Week (Dec. 3-9); it always falls on the first week of December. Across our district, there will be hands-on technology and computer science activities to expand opportunities for our students and teach them to create technology and practice valuable critical thinking skills.

Two big goals of Hour of Code are:

  • Increase the diversity of who is exposed to computer science.
  • Help kids and teachers see that any subject area can be integrated with computer science.
To get a flavor for what Hour of Code looks like in our classrooms, check out last year's blog post about the many learning opportunities that got students excited about computer programming.

If you'd like to explore coding at home, check out  code.org or these resources from Common Sense Media. ( En español )
Berkeley High School Athletes Sign Letter of Intent to Play College Sports
Congratulations to the Berkeley High School athletes who accepted offers to play competitive sports at the college level and celebrated National Letter of Intent Signing Day:

Khalil Means
Dominican University of California, Soccer

Michael Dixon
University of San Diego, Baseball

Alexandra Turchak
Sonoma State University, Tennis

Charlotte Kaplan-Pettus
UC Berkeley, Rowing

Shira Cohen
Columbia University, Soccer

Oona Bruss
Brown University, Volleyball
Berkeley High School celebrated these athletes for their achievement on November 28th on the high school campus with signing, celebratory words, and cake.
Upcoming Events & Meetings
Superintendent's Budget Advisory Committee
December 4, 5:00pm
2020 Bonar Street, Room 126

The Superintendent's Budget Advisory Committee (SBAC) is one of the key means by which staff and community stakeholders have an opportunity to participate in deliberations and recommendations for district budget priorities.

The SBAC meetings are open to the public and include an opportunity for public comment.
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School Board Meetings
December 12, 7:30pm - Annual Organizational Meeting, includes swearing in of new board members

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.
Berkeley Unified School District | 2020 Bonar Street | 510-644-8764 | www.berkeleyschools.net