Welcome back to school! I hope you all had a great summer. The start of a new school year is always an exciting time! The year ahead gives us new opportunities to improve the lives and futures of Berkeley’s children. We have many new initiatives to improve our program and continue to close the achievement gaps between ethnic groups of students.
- We will use our resources to communicate better and to respond faster to community needs and concerns.
- We will strive to provide the best instruction and support so that every student is able to be proficient in his/her academic skills.
- We will take action to make sure we are providing a safe learning environment.
- We will work with students and families to improve school attendance.
- We will work with our community partners to prepare our preschoolers for kindergarten and to assure that by the end of third grade they are proficient readers.
Communicating effectively and providing quality service to our families, schools, and community benefit all of our children. Several initiatives to improve our responsiveness to parents, families, and staff are underway, including developing standards for responding to parent concerns, formal complaints, and using technology to provide quick access to information.
We have steadily improved student performance in the K-8 program by supporting highly skilled teachers, while enriching our schools with libraries, music, and the arts. Our high schools, through the WASC accreditation self study, are in the process of improving standards based curriculum, instruction and assessment practices. We will continue to offer classroom and school-based intervention strategies and support services for all students who need them, including second language learners, students with disabilities and socio-economically disadvantaged students.
In order for students to achieve at the highest levels they have to attend school consistently and feel welcomed and safe in our schools. The district-wide average attendance for last school year was 93%. This rate of attendance is equal to every BUSD student missing 12 out of the 180 school days. As a result of student absences in 2010-11, the Berkeley Unified School District lost well over $2,000,000 in unearned revenue. Our goal is to increase average attendance to 96% this year. We cannot do this alone and I appreciate your support in helping us to reach this goal.
We have a talented and dedicated staff and strong parent and community partnerships. Berkeley is a wonderful place to live and raise children. Together we will continue to provide our students the best learning experiences that will enable each of them to be curious, productive and healthy adults who will improve our world.
Superintendent, Berkeley Unified School District