February 1, 2017
Many in our community continue to be deeply concerned about actions at the federal level pertaining to immigrant students and families, as well as the impact of recently imposed travel restrictions for refugees and for immigrants from certain countries.
We have created a BUSD webpage of resources for immigrant families, including local organizations which provide legal aid, and the School Board has asked that our staff direct families to these community resources if they express concerns or questions about their legal rights.
We want you to know that we have also created a document with resources for BUSD staff who work with immigrant families. It contains some of the same resources we shared with families, as well as some that are specifically for educators, as well as general immigration rights information.
Please keep in mind that the District’s recently passed policy requires that any requests for access to a school campus or requests for student information or other documents by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) must be directed immediately to the Superintendent who is responsible for district consultation with legal counsel and the school board. Our district has pledged to ensure that the safety and constitutionally protected rights of our students and their families are respected and upheld, particularly in our schools.
For many of you, recent political developments have been difficult on a very personal level, and we thank you for nevertheless continuing your efforts to engage and educate our kids in the midst of a very challenging social and emotional landscape. No matter your role in our district, you contribute to providing students with a safe, supportive environment in which to learn.
Donald Evans, Ed.D
Assistant Superintendent for Educational Services
August 29, 2016
We begin the 2016-17 school year at a time of great promise and great challenge. I am grateful for your commitment to equity and social justice, and for forging the meaningful connections with students and families that are making a difference in their lives. We are seeing positive growth in student achievement and other important measures of our students’ success, including improved third grade reading proficiency, a reduction in the number of suspensions, and more graduates completing the coursework needed to be college ready.
Our challenge is to continue this work with urgency while holding ourselves accountable for providing what we know each student needs, and sustaining our focus on the practices and programs that are having the best results for our students. All of us together, whether inside the classroom or providing many of the essential support services that make all this work possible, play a vital role in the success of our students.
You will soon be hearing about how we can all participate in making 2016-17 the Year of the Reader in the Berkeley Unified School District. Reading is essential to a world of opportunity; it is key to instilling in our students a lifelong love of learning. In the words of Frederick Douglass, “once you learn to read, you will be forever free.” Everyone who works in our district can contribute to the effort to boost reading at home and at school. Stay tuned for updates as reading takes center stage!
The excitement we all feel at the beginning of a new school year has been partially eclipsed by the recent and unexpected loss of members of our community who are gone far before their time. This is a difficult time, and yet there is comfort in recognizing that this loss draws us closer, and reminds us to cherish what’s special and unique about each of us. I am hopeful that the bright energy of the students soon filling the halls of our schools will lighten the heavy hearts of our many colleagues and friends, and give way to feelings of possibility and inspiration.
In the weeks and months ahead, I hope you will remind yourself and each other that our job of service requires us to ‘take care of ourselves so that we can take care of the children‘.