In the Berkeley Public Schools we’ve:
Improved student achievement in all of our schools. Each of our eleven elementary schools achieved close to or above the state goal of 800 on the Academic Performance Index (API). All three middle schools have surpassed an API of 800. More district data in PDF here.
Increased the graduation rate for Berkeley High School to 86.1%. This has been helped by the fact that Latino and African American students are graduating at higher rates and dropping out at lower rates than their county and statewide counterparts. CDE BHS Graduation Data
Improved the academic performance of African-American students in our middle schools by 92 API points. This climb in African American student achievement, between 2008 and 2011, reflects improvements in both Mathematics and English Language Arts. Student engagement has improved through equity-based and culturally relevant practices. More API data – CDE website
Increased student attendance to 95.3% this past spring. More students in school each day means more time spent learning. It has also resulted in an increase in revenue reducing the extent of budget cuts. Read more…
Improved English fluency for students learning English. Berkeley is among only 14% of California school districts that met the state’s achievement objectives for English Learners. This year we recognized 170 students who achieved English fluency as measured by the state. In addition, we have increased translation and interpretation services for our families speaking other languages. Read more…
Aligned district, city, and community initiatives and resources. Berkeley’s 2020 Vision for Children and Youth is a partnership between district, city, and community partners focused on improved attendance, kindergarten readiness, third grade literacy, positive behavior, completion of high school math standards, and college and career readiness.
Implemented the Teacher’s College Reading and Writing Program in every elementary school. Our elementary teachers have embraced this research-based instructional program supported with leveled books, small group teaching, literacy specialists, and professional development in every elementary school. All significant student groups in third grade are showing gains in literacy.
Trained BUILD tutors from Cal in teaching literacy skills to students in our after school and summer school programs. With specialized literacy training from our teachers, Berkeley United in Literacy Development (BUILD) tutors use common language and strategies from our elementary school reading program in their work with students.
Prioritized middle school counseling and access to mental health services. A portion of Berkeley’s education tax dollars is dedicated each year to guide middle school students through their academic choices and support their social and emotional well-being. This means our middle schools have about three times more counselors than the state average (945:1) as well as interns and access to outside mental health services.
Hired a more diverse faculty. Teachers are role models to our students and families. Ethnic, cultural, and linguistic diversity in our faculty contributes to our welcoming schools and the engagement of all of our students and their families.
Made transitional kindergarten available for our young five year olds. With the minimum age for kindergarten changing over the next two years to five years old by September 1, a two-year kindergarten is now available for our students turning five in the fall. We call it “High Fives.”
Reduced the number of suspensions and expulsions over the last three years. A concerted effort has been made to improve school climate and offer positive behavioral support systems in our schools. Ask one of our students what it means to “be safe, be responsible, and be respectful” at school.
Prioritized education in the arts. Our teachers and staff work to integrate arts into the curriculum while students learn using all of their senses. Course offerings are expanded with Berkeley Schools Excellence Program (BSEP) and other locally raised funds to include music, drama, dance, and other visual and performing arts education.
Circulated 207,914 library books in one academic year. The Berkeley Schools Excellence Program funds $147,000 to purchase about 9,000 new books for school libraries each year.
Received federal funding to maintain garden and nutrition programs in eleven schools and all three preschools. These funds allow for hands-on garden and cooking-based nutrition education classes. Students learn where their food comes from and how to cook healthy meals and sometimes parents join in too.
Reduced tax liabilities to Berkeley property tax payers. The cost of voter-approved education taxes and construction bonds has been reduced by lowering Cost of Living Adjustments, accessing improved loan conditions, and refinancing construction bonds.
Submitted a balanced budget for the next three years. The state budget crisis and difficult economic climate have cut resources to our schools, but a combination of efforts by teachers and staff, parents, voters, and community supporters has provided the people power, creativity, and funding to ensure critical community priorities that strengthen our schools.
Made school and district buildings safer for students and staff. The relocation of the district office and the demolition of Berkeley High School’s (BHS) seismically unsafe Old Gym on Milvia Street are good examples. The change at BHS makes way for a multi-purpose gym and 15 classrooms that will allow the removal of the portables and the return of a softball field for the Lady Jackets.
Installed solar panels at four schools as part of the multi-year Solar Master Plan. Generating solar energy means more dollars for instruction and less on operating expenses. The four schools with solar panels are Malcolm X, Emerson, Washington, and Berkeley Arts Magnet.
Built a new stadium for Berkeley High Athletic programs and have broken ground on a multi-sport complex at Tim Moellering Field on Derby Street. BHS students enjoy new athletic program facilities on campus with the opening of the 2012-13 school year – there are 28 sports offered at Berkeley High School with over one-third of the high school’s 3,300+ students participating. By Spring 2013, BHS and Berkeley Technology Academy students will have expanded athletic space for baseball, basketball, and soccer at Tim Moellering Field.
Note: Much of the data noted is from the 2010-11 school year because state data from 2011-12 is not currently available.